joyfulangel28

7+ Year Member
Jan 7, 2010
3
0
Status
Medical Student, Attending Physician
Hi guys! I wanted to post some personal tips on the oral boards since I felt there just wasn’t a lot out there about the orals! I took it in September, and got the results today (pretty fast turn around!)

I was worried about the oral boards because it was a new test format and it was the very last step to becoming board-certified. It also has a higher fail rate than the written.

Lastly, I did not feel great AT ALL about how I did after taking the orals, and I still passed! So it goes to show that how you feel afterwards does not reflect on how you actually did.

**Also I’m selling my Pemberton book for $99, half off. PM me for details.

Here are the resources I used:

  1. Pemberton book. Use this as the guideline to prepare a script. It’s imperative to be able to go in recognize a picture immediately and have a plan. I prefer this format of listing the ddx prior to coming up with the plan over the reverse order that Ophtho questions use. I also recommend doing practice cases with a friend! 1 hr a week starting 1-2 months beforehand. My colleague used this, wills, and another review text and our practice sessions and passed!
  2. Wills Eye. Read through this at least 1x so you are familiar with common diagnoses and plans.
  3. Osler course. This is expensive, and takes vacation time, but for someone like me that was very anxious about the orals - I thought it was worth it! We had about 200 attendees (so pretty much HALF the class taking the orals will be here.) What I found most valuable was seeing new photos/cases in topics I was not as strong in, and that were not in my review books. They also show some video cases so you can learn that format. However, you should go in already knowing the typical format for your “script.” I probably would have done ok without the Osler course - but with it, it gave me a boost of confidence and more knowledge that I thought was helpful!
  4. Friedman review book. (Rented on Amazon! Great deal.) This was helpful in giving me more practice cases, but the format is very different from Pemberton. I would recommend using the same outline Pemberton gives and applying it to these cases.

Things I did not use, but may be helpful:
  1. Ophtho question videos. I discovered this too late in my prep, having already paid for Osler. From the videos available for preview, these seem like a helpful and cheaper alternative to the Osler course. I don’t think you need both Osler and this! Pick one, or none if you are very strong in knowledge. I also disagree with their focus to be to memorizing every script! That is a lot of time wasted - just know the outline and then study the topics.
  2. Luviano book and Osler case book. I didn’t use either of these.
  3. Denver mock oral. This is held weeks in advance. Would consider if one lives really close, or really needs help with brushing up oral presentation techniques.

In summary, I think Pemberton + Wills + one more review book is probably all you need +/- review course if you have any anxiety about doing the oral boards! I started studying 2 months prior to the test.

Hope that helps.
 

mjohnsonets

2+ Year Member
Feb 28, 2017
4
0
Roanoke, VA
www.etsvision.com
Status
Non-Student
Great post, I hear every year how stressed docs are preparing for boards. I thought I would add another tip for those intending to do fellowships and preparing for boards. It may be a bit of a Captain Obvious point but...

You don't have to take your boards while you're in fellowship. I have yet to have a practice turn down a doc with less than 5 years experience for not being board certified although most will want you actively pursuing it if you're not yet. Typically your lifestyle will be better once you start practice especially if you join a practice with a surgery center that doesn't require hospital/trauma call. This gives you more time to study!

I know most tell me they want to get it knocked out but I thought I would just mention this.
 

LightBox

7+ Year Member
Sep 4, 2011
368
162
Status
Great post, I hear every year how stressed docs are preparing for boards. I thought I would add another tip for those intending to do fellowships and preparing for boards. It may be a bit of a Captain Obvious point but...

You don't have to take your boards while you're in fellowship. I have yet to have a practice turn down a doc with less than 5 years experience for not being board certified although most will want you actively pursuing it if you're not yet. Typically your lifestyle will be better once you start practice especially if you join a practice with a surgery center that doesn't require hospital/trauma call. This gives you more time to study!

I know most tell me they want to get it knocked out but I thought I would just mention this.
I personally dont think this is good advice. When you are still training, everyone around you is prepping for their boards/orals, so there is some peer pressure to study hard for it.

However, when you are out on your own, no such external pressure exists and one has a tendency to half-a** it. I know several people who decided to put off the orals, and now are having a hard time passing despite multiple attempts. To each his or her own, but personally, I would not procrastinate.
 

dantt

Member
10+ Year Member
Jun 28, 2006
728
38
Status
Medical Student
Great post, I hear every year how stressed docs are preparing for boards. I thought I would add another tip for those intending to do fellowships and preparing for boards. It may be a bit of a Captain Obvious point but...

You don't have to take your boards while you're in fellowship. I have yet to have a practice turn down a doc with less than 5 years experience for not being board certified although most will want you actively pursuing it if you're not yet. Typically your lifestyle will be better once you start practice especially if you join a practice with a surgery center that doesn't require hospital/trauma call. This gives you more time to study!

I know most tell me they want to get it knocked out but I thought I would just mention this.
My contract requires board certification within 2 years and prior to partnership.