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The pathology shelf that i took several months ago had a very wide variety of questions on it covering many different subjects. I do remember that there were multiple questions from the infectious disease chapter in robbins. I would also quickly review micro and virology. There were several questions about both that would have been easy if I have reviewed it just for a couple of hours. The test is mostly on all the diseases that you have covered in med school. I didn't study for it at all and i made in the mid 70's on it. So its not impossible. I hope this helps.


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The advice above is good. I would add a few more thoughts:

(1) This might be the most challenging exam you've taken since you started medical school. It was for me. I felt like I was guessing on a huge percentage of questions. So, be prepared to be stumped on some questions and be making educated guesses on MANY questions.

(2)There are some specimen photos on the exam, but not too many. Most questions with photos could be answered without even looking at the photo. So don't waste a lot of prep time on webpath or atlases.

(3) If you have some time to study and want to do well (not just pass), you might do all the questions in the Robbins question book. The questions are similar to the questions on the shelf, and it covers most topics.

(4) There are definitely some micro questions--mostly clincial infectous diseases type stuff. know HepB antigens/Antibodies.
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Hi! I highly reccomend doing all the q's in Robbins Q-book if you want to do very well on the exam. I would also very quickly skim genetics- I remember a few q's on my exam a couple of months ago that would have been easy if I had reviewed genetics. Also, focus on key words- don't let distractors get you to doubt yourself. If there are "magic words" that point to a typical dx, don't let anything else deter you from answering that one (unless it's not a choice- I hate it when that happens). Good luck- you'll do well!


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Oct 18, 2001
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I am taking the Pathology Shelf Exam on Friday. I really need to do well on it. I hate having Shelf Exams for finals and worth 30% of my grade! JoeG (or anyone else who has taken it), did you find this test difficult? I am begining to stress about it!
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