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need sincere advice re AP boards

Discussion in 'Pathology' started by general_pathologist, Sep 6, 2014.

  1. general_pathologist

    2+ Year Member

    Sep 6, 2014
    Likes Received:
    Fellow [Any Field]
    Hi fellow pathologists, I have been an on-and-off reader of this forum for several years, and I am writing for some general, sincere advice.

    Firstly, I am most certainly not a troll, so please don't treat me as such.

    Very briefly, my immediate family had gone overseas to vacation in my 4th year of AP/CP residency, which was a few years ago. While abroad, they were victims of armed robbery and were senselessly murdered by their assailants.

    Due to legal proceedings, my siblings and I had moved overseas soon after my graduation, and I was in no state of mind to sit for the boards.

    Life has gotten better since that devastating tragedy, we've mourned, and moved on. Having met my husband overseas, I'm planning on settling down with him and his family. I'd like to work overseas as a pathologist, but cannot do so unless I am board certified in AP (the government will accept ABP certification). I found out, that in order to sit for the AP exam, I needed to do a surg path fellowship (since my eligibility period had expired). I managed to find a fellowship spot in a basically private "academic" group, and am currently trying to study for the board.

    I did a search on the forum for advice, and found some nice tips- thanks to all of you who have shared your insight.

    For encouragement, I'm reaching out to you, in the hopes of hearing from people who have, for whatever reason, studied for and passed at least the AP exam some time after graduation from residency. I have been trying to study as best I can- a friend kindly provided some "special" resources, but they're old, and I'm doing the Hopkins unknowns for image memorization.

    I have to say, I am scared ***tless, as I simply cannot memorize all the translocations, IHC panels for heme, etc.

    I would appreciate ANY constructive advice from you all.

    Thanks so much
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  3. mlw03

    mlw03 Senior Member
    Physician 10+ Year Member

    Aug 15, 2003
    Likes Received:
    Attending Physician
    I didn't take the boards delayed, but I can address your concerns about the ancillary "stuff" like IHC panels and cytogenetics. When I took my AP exam a few years ago, there was very little of that stuff. Not none, but not nearly as much as some of the faculty at my residency program made me fear, especially a soft tissue guy who implied that without knowing every sarcoma translocation, I'd never pass AP. That just wasn't the case. I remember the exam being a lot of "what is this" based on an H&E image. No more, no less. Some of the images were poor and some diagnostic choices were weird, but there were not a lot of "What translocation does this entity have?" - ie, few second order questions. I also remember a healthy dose of cytology, and was glad I had studied that too (JHU has a series for that also, worth going through). I think if you're going to memorize translocations, focus on heme, with soft tissue a distant second, but the bulk of your study time is best served by just seeing as many different entities as possible.

    Good luck.
  4. jp123ok

    jp123ok Dermatopathologist
    10+ Year Member

    Sep 21, 2007
    Likes Received:
    Attending Physician
    I think that the Osler review course will be very beneficial for you. It is expensive but it is worth the money. Also, I agree with MLW that the Hopkins online cytology website is useful. I would recommend that you skim through Cibas before the exam as well.
  5. jace's mom

    jace's mom Member
    10+ Year Member

    Mar 27, 2006
    Likes Received:
    Resident [Any Field]
    Please accept my sincere condolences on the deaths of your family members.

    I will be sitting for the AP board at the end of the academic year, and I'm considering ordering the Osler streaming material - the 2013 course with video, audio, and powerpoint on your computer for $599. It's an alternative to actually traveling to the course. The info can be found here:


    I wish you all the best.

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