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    How to build the perfect ABIM study plan

    Key points:

    1. There is a "best way" to prep for the boards. You should build these evidence-based learning techniques into your ABIM study plan. 
    2. An ABIM study plan is a combination of the schedule, learning techniques, and content you'll learn as you prepare to take the Internal Medicine Certification exam.
    3. You can automate your ABIM study schedule with an app that serves you regular assignments that perfectly cover the information you must learn, while also bringing in those evidence-based learning techniques. It's called MedStudy's Personal Trainer.

    Over the last 50+ years, a tremendous amount of work has been done rigorously testing study techniques to determine which ones result in better learning. This has been empiric testing—testing each method against a control group. There is a "best way" to prep for the boards. 

    You've probably heard terms like "spaced repetition" and "interleaving" as techniques you should be working into your ABIM study plan. But it's really complicated to put into practice. Not to mention the sheet volume of medical information you need to study.

    We've been teaching how to weave these evidence-based learning techniques into your study time for years, but a lot of doctors still have questions, nuance to their study habits, and simply need something that will take the away the stress of having to build a study schedule themselves. 

    What is an ABIM study plan?

    An ABIM study plan is a combination of the schedule, learning techniques, and content you'll learn as you prepare to take the Internal Medicine Certification exam. Every individual has a unique study journey ahead of them as they prepare for the boards, so no ABIM study plan can be the same. 

    How do you create an ABIM study schedule? 

    When you're creating your ABIM study plan, start by writing down how long you have to study. This should be the day you're taking the board exam. Some doctors will make a study plan end-date that's one or two months before their board exam, and use those 30 or 60 days to just go through questions. 

    Going beyond just the schedule, your ABIM study plan will detail how you'll study all the information you need to know for the boards. 

    1. Figure out what you need to study. You can use your ITE results as a baseline for which subjects you're already strong in, which subjects you can spend a little more time in. You can also look at the ABIM exam blueprint to see the 16 content domains the exam will cover, along with relative percentages for each subject.
    2. Think about the learning techniques you'll pepper into your study program. Figure out how you can use science and evidence about learning theory to build an ABIM study plan that helps you truly learn the material. That way you'll easily recall the information on exam day.

    Pro tip: Relying on a single format (i.e. just Q&As) won't reliably prepare you for the board exam. You'll want a comprehensive review before you dive into any qbank. 

    Then build out a schedule that weaves the content you need to study with the learning techniques that will improve your recall of the information for exam day. Even better—automate your ABIM study schedule with an app that serves you regular assignments that perfectly cover the information you must learn, while also bringing in those evidence-based learning techniques. 

    MedStudy's Personal Trainer uses evidence-based learning techniques with MedStudy content to bring you a smart study plan—based on your goals—that adapts with you throughout your learning journey. 

    You can optimize how you study with evidence-based techniques proven to help you truly learn medicine for the long haul. 

    How to set up your ABIM study plan

    First, we'd like you to meet Personal Trainer! Personal Trainer combines MedStudy content (which is aligned with the ABIM exam blueprint) with those evidence-based learning techniques (interleaving and spaced repetition) to create your perfect ABIM study plan. 

    Meet the Personal Trainer, your super smart guide to the Internal Medicine Core and Q&As

    You'll start each week with new assignments, and Personal Trainer will walk you through what you need to study, what questions you need to answer, and what material you need to preview before your next study session. 

    Once the Internal Medicine digital Core is in your myMedStudy account, you'll set up Personal Trainer. Tell the Personal Trainer your study goals, when your exam is, and when you'd like to start studying. Personal Trainer will use the content from the Internal Medicine Core (and the Q&As, if you have those, too!) to crafto weekly personalized learning plans that appear on your Study Board.

    Using Personal Trainer's Internal Medicine Board Exam Study Schedule

    Each time you settle in for a study session, start with a visit to your Study Board. There, you'll see your study schedule separated into the three essential phases of studying: Study, Spaced Retrieval, and Preview.

    personal trainer on a white laptop

    Study, Spaced Retrieval, and Preview on the Personal Trainer

    Here's a breakdown of the Study, Spaced Retrieval, and Preview sections that appear on your Study Board and how these sections work together:

    1. The Study section pulls in material from your Internal Medicine Core. You’ll read this information through for understanding, not memorization.
    2. Spaced Retrieval includes study units to help you practice recall of the same material you’ve already studied. This moves the study material into your long-term memory.
    3. Preview provides an overview of content you haven't reviewed yet to help make the information sticky and prepare your mind for your next study session.

    Want to hear the best part about using Personal Trainer for your ABIM study plan? It adapts to any changes in your timeline, so you don’t have to manually adjust anything like you would with a self-made plan. It's YOUR personalized study plan that tells you what to study and when—not to mention, it shows you everything you’ve accomplished along the way!

    Unlock the new Personal Trainer as your Internal Medicine board exam study schedule now by answering a few questions to get started. Don't have it but want to give it a try? Start a free 30-day trial of Internal Medicine Study Strong Essentials to get access to Internal Medicine Core, Q&As, Flashcards and Personal Trainer. 

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