Books Preferred for Psych Shelf Exam

  • BRS

    Votes: 2 3.2%
  • Blueprints

    Votes: 15 23.8%
  • Appleton and Lange

    Votes: 16 25.4%
  • Boards and Wards

    Votes: 4 6.3%
  • PreTest

    Votes: 14 22.2%
  • NMS

    Votes: 6 9.5%
  • High Yield

    Votes: 6 9.5%

  • Total voters
    63
  • Poll closed .

utlonghorn50

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I am just starting Psych and I was wondering if anyone just studied First Aid and Pre-test. If so, did you do well. If not, what do you suggest. Yes i did read the recent post. Thanks for the help.
 

Back34

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utlonghorn50 said:
I am just starting Psych and I was wondering if anyone just studied First Aid and Pre-test. If so, did you do well. If not, what do you suggest. Yes i did read the recent post. Thanks for the help.

I used BRS psych and Pre - Test religiously and wound up with an 84 on the shelf.
 

PACtoDOC

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I just took it yesterday, and it was rather tough and LONG. Like the Peds shelf, it took me the entire time, and I am never one to take long on most exams. I usually finish in half the given time or so.

I used First Aid for Psych, and then followed it with Platinum Vignettes. I think the vignettes are essential for understanding psych, and so you don't get caught up counting symptoms like DSM IV says. One thing was for certain though. There was a ton of internal medicine on the SHELF, and taking Psych after medicine will be of help. There were some questions that had no psych correlate for the most part and where none of the answers was a psych diagnosis.

I'll post my score once I get it, but I think I was as prepared as I could habe been.
 
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phoenixsupra

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I went through the psych pre-test a bunch of times. It's woefully inadequate. So is the BRS. The psych shelf is HARD. You need to know consult liason stuff backwards - you know, the med/psych issues. They come up everywhere. Also know dsm and drugs really well. Good luck.
 

Harrie

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I had NO theory stuff on my test. Studied only blueprints and that little green book. Did a few questions in Appleton and Lange. Got a 91 or 92.
 

phoenixsupra

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Maybe one or two questions about nomal child development. Same with theories. But there is a TON of med/psych questions. The psych shelf is tough. Don't underestimate it.
 
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bremd

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Maybe one or two questions about nomal child development. Same with theories. But there is a TON of med/psych questions. The psych shelf is tough. Don't underestimate it.

when you say med/psych questions, do you mean what medical conditions can look like psych diagnoses? Also, what do you guys think about memorizing those lists of which medications can cause psychosis/depression/etc?
 

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bremd said:
when you say med/psych questions, do you mean what medical conditions can look like psych diagnoses? Also, what do you guys think about memorizing those lists of which medications can cause psychosis/depression/etc?

Yes, that's what I meant. LOTS of stuff on med issues that look like psych issues. Know that stuff really well. If you can memorize the list you mention then go for it. I have to say that's not my strong suit. But know all the psych meds (including really new ones) inside out first. Good luck. :luck:
 

ThinkFast007

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I read some previous threads, that were from 2003 about the psych shelf. BUT....more recently how is it like?

I've been told that it's mainly a medicine shelf? Some ppl say that theres a lot of pharm (atleast in the prvious post from 2003), however, kids in my school said they had very minimal pharm and 'theories'.

SO whats the deal? THose that took this exam very recently, how was it like? What's import and whats not?

Thanks again!
 

mountaindew2006

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hi there...
do we have to know what the stages of those psychologists are and the ages they correspond to?

as in initiative vs guilt is from teh ages of 3-5?

i figure that we need to know that initiative vs guilt is stage 3, but beyond that?
 

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Last week I found out that I had failed the psych shelf exam. I did so mainly because I could not finish the exam (I just straight up put A down for about 20 q's). It sucks!

so the books i used were these: Current Clinical strategies, blue prints, kaplan, first aid for step 2.

I feel like I had some solid resources.

q's i did were from: qbank for psych, qbook for psych, pretest for psych, and the 75 q's at the back of blue prints

I feel like i really knew the material. i could nail a dx and tell you the tx rather easily. time though is killing me! it appears that none of the q's i used to prep for the exam were as long or convuluted as the real deal. From any of you that aced the bad boy, any suggestions? In particular is there a "GOOD" question source?

I know ppl say that you should read the last line, but gosh i just can't get myself to do that....
 
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ekimsurfer

mountaindew2006 said:
Last week I found out that I had failed the psych shelf exam. I did so mainly because I could not finish the exam (I just straight up put A down for about 20 q's). It sucks!

so the books i used were these: Current Clinical strategies, blue prints, kaplan, first aid for step 2.

I feel like I had some solid resources.

q's i did were from: qbank for psych, qbook for psych, pretest for psych, and the 75 q's at the back of blue prints

I feel like i really knew the material. i could nail a dx and tell you the tx rather easily. time though is killing me! it appears that none of the q's i used to prep for the exam were as long or convuluted as the real deal. From any of you that aced the bad boy, any suggestions? In particular is there a "GOOD" question source?

I know ppl say that you should read the last line, but gosh i just can't get myself to do that....

don't feel bad... psych is a field meant for those who can't interact within the other fields. you shouldn't feel bad that you are normal and don't feel like dealing with the deranged (no pun) world that is idiotic psych questions.
 

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drcrusher said:
Does anyone have suggsetions for passing Psych shelf? What books and question sources were successful?
I'm using Blueprints, PreTest, and the A&L question book......I'll keep ya posted
 
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drcrusher said:
Does anyone have suggsetions for passing Psych shelf? What books and question sources were successful?

used BRS/kaplan notes and lange....92(98%le)
 

bigfrank

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Took the Psych. Shelf today and I must say that I'm not sure how I did. I studied fairly hard for it and used Blueprints, A&L's question book, and PreTest. That's it.

All in all, it was, I suppose, a fair test, that really forced you to know your differential diagnoses. Quite a bit of "real" pathology on it (seizures, drug OD, IBD, FAS) that forced you to oftentimes work-up the patient with an EKG as opposed to prescribing a SSRI for a panic disorder.

Some suggestions/observations...

1. Know your Bereavement vs. MDD vs. Adjustment Disorder COLD. Literally, these three were in the options for "what is the diagnosis" questions many times. Like 7-8 times on my shelf.

2. 2-3 developmental questions, like "is it normal for a 3 yowm to still poop in his diaper?"

3. The treatment questions were my favorites. I had...treatment of Mania, EPS treatments in patients on Haldol (2), treating delirium in the elderly, patient w/ priapism caused by ____, treating Li-induced tremor, treatment of GAD, treatment of Trichotillomania, treatment of severe anxiety in a businessman before flying, treat school phobia, treatment of dementia, etc..

4. Don't be afraid to go with ECT if the patient is old, has PD, is actively suicidal, and had CABG a few years ago.

5. I had 2 questions where I believe the answer was MDD. One in a kid and the other in a teenager. The kid had somatic complaints and appeared sad. The distractor was IBD. The teen had extreme irritability with occasional thoughts of death. The distractor was ODD, adjustment d/o.

6. I had to treat acute ASA OD and recognize Methanol poisoning (AG metabolic acidosis). I had to recognize a TIA -- question had nothing to do with psychiatry.

7. Know MRI findings in Tourette's. I didn't know the answer but put down decreased frontal lobe mass. Up-to-Date supports this, so I think it's correct. Basal Ganglia changes weren't an option.

8. Know presentation of FAS vs. Trisomy 21 -- based on facial description.

9. Know epidemiology of BP d/o. MZ twins have >50% risk, even if raised apart.

10. I had a very tricky questioning where I had it narrowed down to Pain d/o and Factitious d/o by proxy. Put Pain d/o but no clue which one's correct.

11. Be familiar with drugs that can cause delirium (i.e., thioridazine).

I had a good smattering of questions. Best of luck to all.....
 
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I took the psych shelf today too. Yours looks a lot harder than the one I got. The key to the psych shelf is knowing the pharm backwards. Med-psych problems are high yeild too. That's it really.

All the rest is conceptual and pretty simple.
 

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stw2361 said:
Big Frank, I suggest you delete the above post. You give away quite a bit of "test-specific" information in there. Just trying to help out!
I was as vague as I possibly could have been. :D
 

bigfrank

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bigfrank said:
Took the Psych. Shelf today and I must say that I'm not sure how I did. I studied fairly hard for it and used Blueprints, A&L's question book, and PreTest. That's it.

All in all, it was, I suppose, a fair test, that really forced you to know your differential diagnoses. Quite a bit of "real" pathology on it (seizures, drug OD, IBD, FAS) that forced you to oftentimes work-up the patient with an EKG as opposed to prescribing a SSRI for a panic disorder.
Promised I'd post when I got results back.

Raw score 91 = 98th percentile. I'd say that my sources were sufficient, but Blueprints was a complete waste. I really liked A&L's question book and PreTest, but PreTest had a significant amount of "psychology" in it (theories, psychological testing, etc.) that is absolutely NOT Step II or Shelf material.

Good luck to all.
 

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You know, i'm still waiting for that ONE shelf exam where i will walk away actually knowing how i think i did. Took psych a week ago--felt exacly like all the other shelves: you know some, and are confused by others and by the end just want to get the hell out of there.
 

irrka

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Just got my score back: got an 85, which is good enough for honors where i am. Used mostly PreTest (without the theory questions) and Lange (not the whole thing, obviously).
 

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P.S. On my newly started ob/gyn rotation just saw a patient with h/o temporal lobectomy for intractable temporal lobe epilepsy. None of the psych people i had talked to during psych had seen a temporal lobe epilepsy (even though it is on ddx for a bizillion things)
 

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What was your timeline for studying for the exam? How long did you spend studying? Thanks!
 
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ekimsurfer said:
don't feel bad... psych is a field meant for those who can't interact within the other fields. you shouldn't feel bad that you are normal and don't feel like dealing with the deranged (no pun) world that is idiotic psych questions.

this post by far wins the "most ignorant post of the year" award. kudos. and i do hope you have fun dealing with the ridiculous number of patients with psych problems that you're going to get regardless of which specialty you go into.
 
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Doc07

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The Psych shelf was NOT easy. I used BRS, High-yield, and Pre-test and all in all, I'd say that the test was difficult mainly b/c you really couldn't study for it very well with just psych resources. Be prepared for tons of questions about medical issues such as delirium, treatment of substance withdrawal, etc. There is very little on stages of development - it's more important to know the differential of diagnoses. Also Pharm is on there big-time. G'luck - I'll let you know how I fared...(fingers crossed)
 

Mike59

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I studied my A$$ off for the psych shelf and just got my results back - a disappointing 67, our class average was in that ballpark.

I knew Blueprints COLD, did about 100 Qbank questions and 1/2 of Pretest. I think Blueprints is what saved me from completely bombing cause it provided a nice overview of every topic you need to know. The problem I had was teh pharm: not only do you need to know psych drugs but also about treatments for comorbid neurological conditions, and lots of weird questions where you think you know the answer and then it's not in the choices. NOTHING about behavioral theories/development, don't waste your time.

I'm not convinced that any particular book can prepare you for a high score. I think it's a combination of what you know, whether or not you're a good test-taker, and your ability to sift through BS questions and somehow get them right :(
 

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For my rotation I used:

First Aid - read it about 3 times w/ some annotating.
Current Clinical Strategies - Psychiatry
Current Clinical Strategies - Psychiatric Drugs

The above two CCS books have been great, especially the drug book. It is essential to master the drugs in an easy to read manner. Plus, the CCS books are great to carry around in your jacket during inpatient.

I will update later with my shelf score - I take the exam tomorrow AM.
 

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Took that mofo today...it was a beast. I barely had time to finish, and I was hustling. Made step 1 look like a joke. I studied first aid and did Appleton and Lange. I heard the national average is 70, does that mean the average person gets 70 out of the 100 questions correct or is the 70 an adjusted score?
Thanks.
 

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Yeah, the avg is a 70/100. I took it today and it was tough. I would say that I only had about 15-20 sec to THINK about the answer to each question before I marked my choice. I had 2 min left when I finished, and I consider myself a pretty quick test taker. The books that I used (see above) were good and I felt good with my prep. This test will come down to "splitting hairs" on some Dx's, those that do it well will get a >78, those that do it poorly will get <70.

I did have some child development Q's, maybe 3-4, so be ready for those. Other than that, know your ****!!




skidmark said:
Took that mofo today...it was a beast. I barely had time to finish, and I was hustling. Made step 1 look like a joke. I studied first aid and did Appleton and Lange. I heard the national average is 70, does that mean the average person gets 70 out of the 100 questions correct or is the 70 an adjusted score?
Thanks.
 

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I must have had one of the easier versions. It was pretty much all diagnostic criteria and you pick the correct diagnosis. One caveat is that the it pretty much only tests on old drugs...it seemed like every other question was about Haldol, whereas they only mentioned atypical antipsychotics in I think one question. All I studied was blueprints and the A&L question book, which helped a lot. I got a 90%.
 

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At my school, you have to get a raw score of a "90" on Psych Shelf Exam (PLUS a 90 for clinical evaluations). I still don't know what percentile this corresponds to on the exam.

Anyone know what percentile a raw score of 90 is on the psych shelf exam?
 

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EasyRider said:
At my school, you have to get a raw score of a "90" on Psych Shelf Exam (PLUS a 90 for clinical evaluations). I still don't know what percentile this corresponds to on the exam.

Anyone know what percentile a raw score of 90 is on the psych shelf exam?

An earlier post stated that a score of 91 was in the 98th percentile...seems like your school is giving y'all the shaft.

If I remember correctly in A&L it mentions that the average score is around 70 with a SD of 8 or so. I no longer have the book so someone correct me if I am a little off.
 

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Mike59 said:
I'm not convinced that any particular book can prepare you for a high score. I think it's a combination of what you know, whether or not you're a good test-taker, and your ability to sift through BS questions and somehow get them right :(

Just took the exam today. I agree with this statement. The questions were a mixbag of stuff. Out of 100 questions, I would say 60-70 were pure psych. 15-20 were pseudo-psychiatry, and 15-20 had no relevance to psychiatry at all. First aid for Psych should be enough for the 60-70 pure psychiatry questions (IF YOU KNOW IT COLD). The exam had 100 questions. There were 93 questions with a clinical presentation, and 7 short matching questions at the end. The matching questions had about 15 different choices, and a short 1-2 sentence question. I did these first to get off to a good start.

The 15-20 pseudopsychiatry questions were management of outpatient/ER patients and mechanisms of common drugs in psychiatry. Appleton and Lange Qbook should net you some points here.

The last 15-20 had no relevance to psychiatry at all! These questions depended on what you brought to the table with your knowledge base. These questions were pure pediatrics, neurology, or endocrinology. These include presentations of Creuzfeld-Jakobs disease, papilledema in a patient with intraventricular hypertension, temporal lobe lesion with quadranopsia, how to treat SIADH, PKU vs Lead Poisioning, and cushing's vs addison's disease.

Good Luck
 
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Okay this is what I got raw score 80, and my school told me my percentile rank is 74. For some reason this doesn't seem right, maybe denial on my behalf. Was a little dissapointed with the percentile rank, I was under the impression that the averages for shelf exams are in the 70s with a SD of 7-9. Oh well, what I used, Blueprints, A&L and pretests. This was my first rotation after step 1 so was a little burnt out on studying and going threw problems with gf. Should of done the questions I got wrong over again but didn't have enough time, was to busy going out trying to pick up on girls during brake up with my gf. +pity+
 

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I used First Aid and did all the A&L questions at least twice. I got a raw score of 86. I am very pleased with this score considering the difficulty of the test. As I look back, the hardest thing about the test was that it made you think fast. I had no time to think twice about an answer and I still finished the test with less than a minute left. There were very few questions about psych drugs on my exam. I had a few medicine questions which had nothing to do with psych (i.e.Lesch-Nyhan) I had a couple of child development q's. Unlike in A&L, I had absolutely no questions where the answer was a percent (i.e. what percent of schizophrenics commit suicide). A&L was full of those questions so don't worry to much about them.
 

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used blue prints, first aid for wards and did most of pretest. took the test today...all i got to say is it was more straightforward than the OB/GYN shelf...although i studied a bit more for this one. some of material on the shelf wasn't covered in either blueprints or first aid, but i only got them right because of reading the explanations in pretest.

and again like my other shelf...it came down to time. i finished right as time was called, but you do have to keep chugging away if you get stuck on one problem because the fricking question stems are ridiculously long...most questions you could do without 1/4 to 1/2 the information they give you. as with all other tests, make sure to read the question they're asking you prior to reading the vingette.

hope this helps.
 

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I was wondering if I was the only one on this thread that has to take 3 shelf exams in the same day with 30 minute gaps in between? :luck: I figure most of the country takes them immediately after their particular rotation. And secondly, if I have 3 in a row, is there any possible positive out of this or am I just royally screwed? :thumbdown:
 

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we take all our shelf exams at the end of the year after our last rotation. Like one everyday for like 7 days straight.
 

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I did all the questions in A&L, made notes on questions I missed, and flipped through the psych section of First Aid for the Wards a couple of times. I made a 99.

That being said, it was the 2nd to the last shelf exam I took last year and thought it was the easiest of all of them.
 

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skidmark said:
I used First Aid and did all the A&L questions at least twice. I got a raw score of 86. I am very pleased with this score considering the difficulty of the test. As I look back, the hardest thing about the test was that it made you think fast. I had no time to think twice about an answer and I still finished the test with less than a minute left. There were very few questions about psych drugs on my exam. I had a few medicine questions which had nothing to do with psych (i.e.Lesch-Nyhan) I had a couple of child development q's. Unlike in A&L, I had absolutely no questions where the answer was a percent (i.e. what percent of schizophrenics commit suicide). A&L was full of those questions so don't worry to much about them.

When you say First Aid, do you mean First Aid for Psych? or First Aid for Step 2 or First Aid for the Wards?
 

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VicAmor7 said:
When you say First Aid, do you mean First Aid for Psych? or First Aid for Step 2 or First Aid for the Wards?

First aid for psych.
 

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EasyRider said:
Just took the exam today. I agree with this statement. The questions were a mixbag of stuff. Out of 100 questions, I would say 60-70 were pure psych. 15-20 were pseudo-psychiatry, and 15-20 had no relevance to psychiatry at all. First aid for Psych should be enough for the 60-70 pure psychiatry questions (IF YOU KNOW IT COLD). The exam had 100 questions. There were 93 questions with a clinical presentation, and 7 short matching questions at the end. The matching questions had about 15 different choices, and a short 1-2 sentence question. I did these first to get off to a good start.

The 15-20 pseudopsychiatry questions were management of outpatient/ER patients and mechanisms of common drugs in psychiatry. Appleton and Lange Qbook should net you some points here.

The last 15-20 had no relevance to psychiatry at all! These questions depended on what you brought to the table with your knowledge base. These questions were pure pediatrics, neurology, or endocrinology. These include presentations of Creuzfeld-Jakobs disease, papilledema in a patient with intraventricular hypertension, temporal lobe lesion with quadranopsia, how to treat SIADH, PKU vs Lead Poisioning, and cushing's vs addison's disease.

Good Luck

This is the most accurate description of a shelf exam I have seen on this board. This is EXACTLY how the test is.
 

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Did any use Case Files and if so did they help? I personally think case files may be better than blueprints, but haven't took the exam so not confirmed.
 

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VicAmor7 said:
Did any use Case Files and if so did they help? I personally think case files may be better than blueprints, but haven't took the exam so not confirmed.
I used Case Files and FA Psych plus I also paid attention at the required lectures we had to attend every week as part of the rotation at our school. Also went through A&L questions once. I did well enough to H at my school.

Reading Case Files taught me a thing here or there, but most of it felt like a review of Behavioral Science (FA Psych made me feel the same way....) I do know I did pick up one piece of info to answer a question I wouldn't have gotten right if I hadn't read it. I actually ended up recommending these 2 books to my second year as a supplement for behavior science.

So far I'm learning a lot more from Case Files Med than I did Psyc. If you didn't have a strong behavioral class in your basic sciences, it would probably be a good read for you.
 

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I just got my psych shelf score: 69. Does anyone know what percentile that corresponds to? My school doesn't give us the nifty score sheet some of you are getting.
 

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Just took the Psych shelf today. Much easier than the Internal med shelf, I finished with 12 minutes to spare. (2 hours 10 min total, 100 q's).

Observations:
- A sizable fraction was more like neuro than psych.
- Big focus on anti cholingergic/anti dopinergic side fx.
- One question regarding benzos and liver metabolism, I got it wrong.
- At least 30% of q's were children/adolescent
- About 25% or more were o.d./withdrawal q's
- A disproportionately high number of anorexia/bulemia q's, maybe 7 total.
- I had a similiar acute dystonia question three times on my test.

That about sums it up.
Pertinent negatives:
Absolutely no %'s or numbers q's (ie what is the prevalance of bipolar? 1%, 3%, 5%?) Absolutely no epidemiological q's. Almost no q's on defense mechanisms, no q's on psychoanalytical/developmental theories.
This test seems like it was written with the title, "What should an internist know about psychiatry?"
 

zedpol

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carrigallen said:
Just took the Psych shelf today. Much easier than the Internal med shelf, I finished with 12 minutes to spare. (2 hours 10 min total, 100 q's).

Observations:
- A sizable fraction was more like neuro than psych.
- Big focus on anti cholingergic/anti dopinergic side fx.
- One question regarding benzos and liver metabolism, I got it wrong.
- At least 30% of q's were children/adolescent
- About 25% or more were o.d./withdrawal q's
- A disproportionately high number of anorexia/bulemia q's, maybe 7 total.
- I had a similiar acute dystonia question three times on my test.

That about sums it up.
Pertinent negatives:
Absolutely no %'s or numbers q's (ie what is the prevalance of bipolar? 1%, 3%, 5%?) Absolutely no epidemiological q's. Almost no q's on defense mechanisms, no q's on psychoanalytical/developmental theories.
This test seems like it was written with the title, "What should an internist know about psychiatry?"


A&L, blueprints, and working on the rotation...96 on the shelf.

Z
 

jel27a

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Mar 13, 2003
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99th percentile, used lange, pretest, bluprints and UCV. lange is by far the best
 
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