evilbooyaa

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Reminder to keep it vague to avoid moderation, copyright violations, etc. and subsequent thread closure on SDN.

Overall, didn't feel it was too horrible. Maybe I studied enough as being terrified of failing. Felt confident on 70-75% of questions. Less than 5-10% that I was completely in the dark on. Multiple questions (5-10) that I definitely thought had multiple correct answers.

We'll see in 4-6 weeks what the pass rates are. I'm not as confident in passing as I would've liked but felt like the level of detail requested was not outrageous. Would be interested in thoughts of those who were re-taking one or both exams as to perceived difficulty between last year and this year.

Everyone else's thoughts? Let's try to remain on-topic for this thread.

Definitely a strong minority of cancer bio (or at least completely unrelated to RT) on the exam, looks like that component is here to stay.
 
May 15, 2018
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Bio was a completely different exam this year. Very little if any repeated questions as I didn't recognize a single one.

I have a feeling the exam we just got was more similar to the 2017 and prior exams, and the 2018 was just a total outlier (as we all already knew).

Lots of bad questions, some testing the same concept over and over, wording not clear. Still, nothing like last years in terms of the minutiae.
 
Aug 27, 2018
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Reminder to keep it vague to avoid moderation, copyright violations, etc. and subsequent thread closure on SDN.

Overall, didn't feel it was too horrible. Maybe I studied enough as being terrified of failing. Felt confident on 70-75% of questions. Less than 5-10% that I was completely in the dark on. Multiple questions (5-10) that I definitely thought had multiple correct answers.

We'll see in 4-6 weeks what the pass rates are. I'm not as confident in passing as I would've liked but felt like the level of detail requested was not outrageous. Would be interested in thoughts of those who were re-taking one or both exams as to perceived difficulty between last year and this year.

Everyone else's thoughts? Let's try to remain on-topic for this thread.

Definitely a strong minority of cancer bio (or at least completely unrelated to RT) on the exam, looks like that component is here to stay.
Agree 100%, but for the amount of studying I did it’s a little disheartening to be confident about 70-75% instead of 80-85%, unless the cut score will be lower this year. But who the hell knows. Congrats to everyone for being done
 
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evilbooyaa

evilbooyaa

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Bio was a completely different exam this year. Very little if any repeated questions as I didn't recognize a single one.

I have a feeling the exam we just got was more similar to the 2017 and prior exams, and the 2018 was just a total outlier (as we all already knew).

Lots of bad questions, some testing the same concept over and over, wording not clear. Still, nothing like last years in terms of the minutiae.
That's honestly kind of what I figured based on what was asked last year. Here's to hoping it was a one-year outlier so that residents don't have to worry about board pass rates on top of everything else. Of course maybe ABR will punish me by making the cut-off threshold obscenely high (like they did for physics last year)
 

WVXRT

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Overall thought both tests were poorly made. Lots of terrible, confusing wording, tricky way to ask things, not straightforward, some very nitpicky. thrown off completely that multiple questions appeared to have more than one right answer. Not a “minimal competency” exam, felt like a classic weed out test we have been taking our whole life. They are going to fail many people again is my guess.

Radbio: many just badly worded questions and a good amount of zero xrt related questions, like step1 level trivia. Easy calcs. Many important concepts in “study guide” completely ignored and some things overly emphasized.

Physics: also badly made questions, calc questions on the more complicated end generally, one to two completely stomped me. Many conceptual questions, some terribly worded. Some reasonable questions.

Overall i left the test not feeling well, not like feeling terrible like i failed for sure but very dissappointed with leadership, ABR, our field. This is a complete RUSE and i have definitely some regret to have gone into a field that would put me in this situation after all i have done and sacrificed, busy all day at work and studying after hours in a bad place and having to take not one but TWO nonsensical tests. Shame on them!
 
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Jul 30, 2018
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Overall thought both tests were poorly made. Lots of terrible, confusing wording, tricky way to ask things, not straightforward, some very nitpicky. thrown off completely that multiple questions appeared to have more than one right answer. Not a “minimal competency” exam, felt like a classic weed out test we have been taking our whole life. They are going to fail many people again is my guess.

Radbio: many just badly worded questions and a good amount of zero xrt related questions, like step1 level trivia. Easy calcs. Many important concepts in “study guide” completely ignored and some things overly emphasized.

Physics: also badly made questions, calc questions on the more complicated end generally, one to two completely stomped me. Many conceptual questions, some terribly worded. Some reasonable questions.

Overall i left the test not feeling well, not like feeling terrible like i failed for sure but very dissappointed with leadership, ABR, our field. This is a complete RUSE and i have definitely some regret to have gone into a field that would put me in this situation after all i have done and sacrificed, busy all day at work and studying after hours in a bad place and having to take not one but TWO nonsensical tests. Shame on them!
I feel sorry for those that had to relieve this misery all over again. I’m sure this year will be just as disappointing.
 

taserlaser

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What I can say is while there certainly was less 'alphabet soup' in the radbio than last year's, regrettably I didn't have nearly as much time to study as last year and so some concepts were still nitpicky and challenging. Took last two weeks off of June to move, and new health system in July meant I was busy with life stuff. Front loaded the clinical study earlier in the year so will see how that goes. Overall, definitely a meh and very frustrating process.
 
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tjquinn

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I am first time taker so I cannot comment on how it compared to last year. Having said that, the test seemed fair overall. Yes there were questions that were poorly worded or tested seemingly useless factoids, but that is true of all tests I have taken. The majority of questions seemed fair. I felt like every radbio question could be identified from Hall in one way or another. Physics seemed fair too, the calculations on the physics test were no more difficult than Raphex 2019 (I would argue some were easier). Anyway, I did not come out of the test feeling like I rocked it, but I did come out of it feeling like I studied the right stuff (maybe emphasized the wrong things).

Anyway, I suppose in 6 weeks? I will know if my experience reflects a PASS. Glad it is over!
 
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Some of the physics questions were quite straight forward which was satisfying, however I really did not like the rounding up/down on some of the calcs. I found that was unsettling.
 
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tjquinn

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Some of the physics questions were quite straight forward which was satisfying, however I really did not like the rounding up/down on some of the calcs. I found that was unsettling.
Agreed but again, if I made a rounding error on one of those questions, I don't think that will be why I failed (please say I didnt fail!)
 
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Recent graduate. Did not pass either exam in July 2018.

First off, I'm very appreciative of everyone sharing their exam experiences last year. It has been a very isolating experience to fail in a field of highly-successful people. I've tried to make up for it by working diligently this year, but not sure it paid off. Walked out feeling pretty poorly.

Physics seemed relatively fair (more calculations than anticipated). Rad Bio was really "Cancer Bio with Some Rad Bio." Interesting stuff, just not really useful or applicable for radiation oncologists. Frustrating.

I just wish these exams were more focused on the kind of things that are useful in 2019 to practicing radiation oncologists. Not medical oncologists or PhDs, just plain ol' radiation oncologists. In the mean time, I'll enjoy the next 4-6 weeks until finding out if I'm set up for Lucky Number Three in July 2020.
 
May 15, 2018
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First time taker. Many questions in rad bio poorly written. Same concepts tested over and over which have nothing to do with radiation therapy. Hopefully passed so do not have to take this crap again
No serious implications other than having to take it again. You won't delay orals. You most likely won't have to answer YES to the question of "Have you failed a board examination?" as the hospitals typically consider the certifying exam the board examination. Most employers won't even ask. Academic hospitals might, but only because they know lots of people have been failing. Still shouldn't affect your chances of getting hired. I don't know anyone who didn't get offered a job because they failed radbio
 
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doctordoctor99

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I thought it seemed fair overall. I was a first timer, so based on the reports from last year I think I overstudied a lot of irrelevant minutiae from the study guide that just wasn’t there—if trends stay the same, I’d caution those next year to avoid doing that. The questions that totally stumped me I don’t think I would have gotten from studying harder since the answers weren’t in any of the materials I was using (or to be honest, easily discoverable from a dedicated Google search). If I pass (I know big if), I’d say try to study the basics you know will be on there cold and hopefully that will be fine.

Ironically there were a handful of clinically relevant questions that I had absolutely no idea how to answer since I was too busy studying other things.
 

thompa

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First time taking these tests as well. I'd concur with the general themes mentioned above. Tests overall seemed fair. After last year's debacle, I was expecting to walk out of there feeling AWFUL...and I didn't. Taking that as a positive sign, but we'll see in 4 - 6 weeks!

For Rad Bio, I also aggressively overstudied pathway minutiae. It helped me rule out some wrong answers on a handful of questions, and maybe netted me an extra 3 or 4 questions. But I think most of the pathway questions were in Hall and most of my "beyond Hall" studying was unnecessary. Agree with above that there were probably a couple questions that actually had clinical relevance that I missed due to memorizing trivia, such as the step-by-step phosphorylation sequences of the MAPK pathway. Ugh. Cancer pharm was also reasonably high yield, probably on par with the pathways.

Physics honestly seemed reasonable. I cracked Khan once, to look up total skin electron therapy. Other than that I used Raphex, radoncquestions, and McDermott. And lots and lots of flashcards (same for radbio too). The actual test yesterday didn't feel too much different than the Raphex exams in terms of topics covered / level of difficulty. TG reports were high yield, so for future lurkers reading this thread, I'd recommend knowing those recommendations pretty solidly.

As for the poor quality of question writing, dunno what to say. It's simply not the same level of professional question development that we got from tests like the Step exams or the MCAT. Some of them were poorly written/vague/open to multiple interpretations, some of the rounding for answers was questionably aggressive, and it's clear that not every question was written by someone with idiomatic command of the English language. There's definitely still a lot of work needed to improve the professional quality of the question writing and much clearer expectations for what we're getting tested on. This whole process was unnecessarily stressful.

Here's hoping for good news in a few weeks...
 
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evilbooyaa

evilbooyaa

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First time taking these tests as well. I'd concur with the general themes mentioned above. Tests overall seemed fair. After last year's debacle, I was expecting to walk out of there feeling AWFUL...and I didn't. Taking that as a positive sign, but we'll see in 4 - 6 weeks!

For Rad Bio, I also aggressively overstudied pathway minutiae. It helped me rule out some wrong answers on a handful of questions, and maybe netted me an extra 3 or 4 questions. But I think most of the pathway questions were in Hall and most of my "beyond Hall" studying was unnecessary. Agree with above that there were probably a couple questions that actually had clinical relevance that I missed due to memorizing trivia, such as the step-by-step phosphorylation sequences of the MAPK pathway. Ugh. Cancer pharm was also reasonably high yield, probably on par with the pathways.

Physics honestly seemed reasonable. I cracked Khan once, to look up total skin electron therapy. Other than that I used Raphex, radoncquestions, and McDermott. And lots and lots of flashcards (same for radbio too). The actual test yesterday didn't feel too much different than the Raphex exams in terms of topics covered / level of difficulty. TG reports were high yield, so for future lurkers reading this thread, I'd recommend knowing those recommendations pretty solidly.

As for the poor quality of question writing, dunno what to say. It's simply not the same level of professional question development that we got from tests like the Step exams or the MCAT. Some of them were poorly written/vague/open to multiple interpretations, some of the rounding for answers was questionably aggressive, and it's clear that not every question was written by someone with idiomatic command of the English language. There's definitely still a lot of work needed to improve the professional quality of the question writing and much clearer expectations for what we're getting tested on. This whole process was unnecessarily stressful.

Here's hoping for good news in a few weeks...
Completely agree.

"We recommend a language review prior to re-submission of this paper.... er wait, board exam. "