I realize that everybody’s rotation is going to be a little bit different depending on the location, preceptor, school, etc. That being said, I’m pretty sure all rotations go over the basics, and there’s a standard of knowledge that’s required for successful completion as well as for the exam. This is by no means concrete instruction on how to study, but simply what I did to prepare for the OBGYN shelf exam.
MATERIALS (in order of importance, to me)
1. Case Files OBGYN
2. APGO UWise question bank
3. U World
4. Blueprints Obstetrics & Gynecology* - I read maybe 10 pages total in this book. It’s a fantastic text for information, but I would recommend to use it as a reference. Unless you really really like reading dense textbooks, then go for it. This has everything you would need to know, except it’s not an easy read (unlike Case Files). The material is dense, the book is quite large, and I just didn’t have the time to really get into it.
I’m a firm believer that one should avoid resource overload. During basic sciences, there were a million resources for everything; all of them pretty much provided the same information in different layouts. I don’t think any particular resource is “better” than the others in regards to academics, but it’s just more what you prefer to use and how you study best. I always chose to stick to as few resources as possible, and to try to get as much out of it as possible!
1. Case Files OBGYN (Amazon)
I LOVE LOVE LOVE this book. It was the first Case Files book I’ve read, and I’m definitely a fan (currently I’m reading the Case Files for Internal Medicine). What I find unique about the Case Files series is that the material is presented “backwards” in relation to a regular textbook. Most textbooks list the disease, then symptoms, associations, treatments, etc. On the contrary, Case Files provides cases of the various pathologies first. You read the case and have a chance to try and pick out what is pertinent and come up with a diagnosis and plan of your own before confirming the information and learning more on the next couple of pages. There are multiple cases in each book, and are pretty short and sweet. There are helpful charts to look at, and questions at the end to test your knowledge. I do have to say though, if you’re a picture-person, you might not like it. The book is very text based, with few charts and photographs. I do love a good image to supplement my learning, but I’ll trade in photos for a concise text any day. I read the whole book and too some notes; some cases I read twice.
2. APGO UWise Question Bank ($175)
This was recommended to me by a classmate, and this was my second main resource. The questions are similar to Uworld, but I thought they were more involved, and mirrored the actual exam more closely. The questions are broken up into topics, with 10 questions per topic. The Q-bank has 500+ questions total, with practice exams included as well (separately for OB and GYN). Though I found these questions superior to Uworld, it’s lacking in explanation. It does not straight out tell you which answer is correct - you have to read the short paragraph and figure it out yourself. That’s fine, but I like concrete feedback. The answers are not detailed at all either, so you’ll have to do some more digging. But overall, these are the best practice questions. I didn’t end up finishing all the questions.
3. U World
UWorld is UWorld. Just do them. There’s only around 280 questions though, so it’s definitely not enough to be your only resource. I love their explanations, but I found the questions rather limited on scope. I got through these within the first week…
Week 1 - I started doing U World questions the first week. I did a few questions each day, then reviewed the answers. Started reading Case Files (I spread out the cases to have them all finished by week 5)
Week 2 - U World review of incorrect answers.
Week 3 - I started the APGO question bank, did about 10-20 daily.
Week 4 - Flew home, attended a wedding, didn’t do anything except read 3 or 4 cases…
Week 5 - Kept going with APGO, finished reading Case Files.
Week 6 - Reviewed my notes, crammed in as many APGO as I could.
Exam day at Prometric. The exam takes about 3 hours. I thought some of the questions were a bit tricky, but overall it went well! Let me know if this was helpful, and what you did similarly or differently! I'd love to hear how you guys prepared for your exams!