Tuesday, September 1, 2015

What in the world?!?

I was supposed to be much farther along in my studying goals and there are 6 weeks until my pediatric boards and every week I realize how much further off track I am.

I thought my schedule was “made for” studying. Four-day work week with Fridays off. And then my clinic closed for 2 days and I’m making up those days on my off days because I don’t have enough comp time yet.

And then the fancy, super detailed Google calendar study plans that I worked so hard on are being utterly obliterated. The first 2 weeks I was solid, but that was when my patient load was only at 50%. Then when I got up to 75% things got real. And now that I have a full patient load there is literally not enough time in the day to sleep, eat, see patients, work on notes, call patients back, read consult notes, spend at least a few hours with my family, and finish the notes that I didn’t get done earlier in the day.

I hadn’t even realized I had gotten to the 6 week mark until one of my study partners mentioned it. What in the world?!? She said “it’s time to go to PICU hours?” And she’s totally right. Something has to give and I don’t have $2,265 nor the time to retake these Peds boards. My husband is super supportive and tells me to take the time that I need but after so many years of missing out on tons of family related activities it just breaks my heart to be at this coffee shop doing Med Study questions on a beautiful Sunday morning while my family is at the park but hey - it’s going down!!! (well right after I write this pity-party of a blog post)

I’ve got this, right?!? I just remember how grumpy I was during the PICU because of the sleep deprivation. At least I don’t have to calculate TPN (total parenteral nutrition) or ventilator settings.

Alright ladies - I need your support. Your encouragement. What did you do? (I scratched that because I have all of the resources I plan on using and don't really want general info about how you studied cuz' we all study differently and I know me - I'm all about practice questions). How did you do it? How did you balance it? Did you study as much as you'd planned? Did you get up at 5am? When did you do your notes? When did you study?


  1. Breathe. Relax. It will be fine. I took the boards well before my daughter was born; I studied on weekends only for two months. That was it. I passed. You'll pass. It will be fine.

  2. iM here, but I did some practice questions for about 3 or 4 weekend days, total. no big deal, you'll be fine.

  3. I'm following this keenly! I have boards next summer and will have a new infant as well as a 4 year old. Wonderful timing!

    Everyone is different with their study needs/practices, but my most successful boards/usmle/whatever exams while having a little one have involved me making myself miserable studying for the shortest time possible. All this "give up 3 hours/day on weekends for 6 months before the exam" just never worked for me. I'd rather call family for help and work my butt off studying for 2 weeks prior than continually miss those trips to the park. :) it seems to work! Happy to hear other suggestions too.

  4. MDs have to calculate TPN? I thought that was the RD's job.

  5. Mommabee, you've got this. Don't sweat it. Residency is like a 3 year long boards review course. My first job out of residency needed me to start immediately on the wards as a hospitalist. Granted, I did not have children at the time, but I basically did practice questions for one week prior to the exam. I was too tired to do anything else. I easily passed. Took boards recert a few years ago, this time with 3 kids in tow. I value sleep way too much to lose it over studying! No early morning risings. I did practice questions and read about those I missed for an hour or two on the weekends for a month on only those subspecialty areas that I don't get regularly during inpatient practice and high yield on the IM exam: endo, cards, rheum. Did fine and was so glad I did not spend more time studying than I had. Remember: residency is great preparation!

  6. I took the peds boards two years ago. After knowing a handful of people who didn't pass (I think the peds boards pass rate is one of the lowest), I took the test pretty seriously. That being said, there were definitely times when I just didn't feel like studying, and I think it's good to respect the times when you are mentally fried (or depressed about missing your family!) and just take a break. It will make the other study time more fruitful because you will be able to concentrate better.

    I didn't even bother making a schedule in advance, because I knew I would not be the type of person to follow it. Instead, I focused on completing as many prep questions as I could, and then doing the Med Study flash cards when I only had time or mental capacity for short stems and responses.

    Most of the people I knew that didn't pass were in fellowship. Being a general pediatrician will definitely give you an advantage because you are being reminded (or reading up on) the gen peds stuff every day while you care for your patients.

    So take it seriously, but give yourself a break when you can. I have to disagree with the comments above about taking only a few weekends or a couple weeks -- I did not know anyone who studied that little for the peds boards...!

  7. I didn't have children when I took the peds board, but I did when I took my endo boards. I stuck to my schedule pre-kids but completely fell off the wagon post :) Guess what - both times were fine. I read http://www.laughingyourway.com/flipping-books/passing-the-pediatric-boards, highlighted some notes from a residency board review, and did some PREP questions.

    In terms of time to do these things I definitely did not spend hours per night but maybe 3 hours per week total for a month or two leading up to the exam. (this was pre-kids). my studying for the endo boards was less intense.


Comments on posts older than 14 days are moderated as a spam precaution. So.Much.Spam.