- Choosing the best internal medicine board review course can actually take you beyond just the “course” or event format. There are a variety of formats and options available to internal medicine physicians preparing for their ABIM certification exam—the most popular resources are courses, qbanks, and textbooks.
- Most internal medicine physicians who are considering the best internal medicine board review courses want a course that aligns with their goal of efficiency—it should save you time AND only teach you content that you'll be tested on during your ABIM exam.
- To find the best internal medicine review course, research course reviews online and try to start a free trial of the course.
- Consider how you will focus best, what time you have available, and how you want to watch the review course. The best internal medicine review courses will be flexible to fit your needs—available as an onsite course you travel to, a livestream course you watch from anywhere, AND an on-demand course you watch (and re-watch!) on your own time.
- Ask friends and colleagues what review courses they've attended in the past. Why did they like it? What did they not like? Did they feel like it prepared them for the board exam? Why or why not?
Preparing for the Internal Medicine Certification exam requires a comprehensive approach because the field—and the exam—cover a vast range of topics. Physicians often use multiple resources to craft their own honed approach to preparing for this exam, which often leads to the question “which is the best internal medicine board review course?”
Let’s break down the most widely used resources for internists preparing for their certification exam.
How to choose the best internal medicine board review course
Choosing the best internal medicine board review course can actually take you beyond just the “course” or event format. There are a variety of formats and options available to internal medicine physicians preparing for their ABIM certification exam—the most popular resources are courses, qbanks, and textbooks.
To choose a format for your internal medicine board review resources, you should reflect and consider your own learning style, study habits, and budget.
Most internal medicine physicians who are considering the best internal medicine board review courses want a course that aligns with their goals of efficiency. If time is your most valuable resource, then you need an internal medicine review course that helps you study efficiently AND is extremely relevant to the exam content.
Internal medicine review resources should address the ABIM exam blueprint
The ABIM releases a blueprint for their board exam that details exactly what you need to study—and companies who put together internal medicine board review courses use these same blueprints to create their study tools. How do you know if the company got it right? The best place to start is word of mouth—ask your peers who are taking the exam about what they used. What did they find most useful?
You should also do your own research—if the company says they follow the blueprint, do they detail their table of contents? Do they tell you exactly how and what parts of the blueprint are covered? Most importantly, can you sign up for a free trial to test out the content yourself?
8 questions to ask yourself to choose the best internal medicine board review course
Once you do your research and start to narrow in on a few internal medicine board review courses, here are some questions to ask yourself to decide which will be best for you:
1. Do you have a week to take off to sit through a board review course?
Do you want to travel, livestream, or watch as your schedule allows? You need to decide which option will allow you to focus the best. For example, many internal medicine physicians who have young kids at home prefer to travel to a review course in order to have focused time for their board review. Everyone’s situation is unique, and your review course should be flexible enough to accommodate however you will focus best.
2. How close is the internal medicine board review course to the date of your exam?
Consider the proximity of the course to the actual exam. Great internal medicine board review courses will help you uncover your weaknesses and understand how to better self-direct your studies. Don’t be tempted to enroll in a review course that’s weeks before your exam—you will want at least 2–3 months between your review course and the exam.
Your board review course should have the option to keep reviewing the lectures on-demand after the course is over. The best internal medicine review courses will provide you options for watching live and re-watching the lectures after the course is over!
3. How tightly related is the content of the course and the board exam?
Many internal medicine review courses are focused on bringing physicians up-to-date on new guidelines, but this is often unnecessary for the board exam. New guidelines don’t make it into the exam blueprint, and therefore usually are not represented in any exam questions. The best internal medicine review courses are aligned with the ABIM exam blueprint, and are renowned for being a true board review. Again, word of mouth will help you gauge this—you can talk to peers or read reviews of the internal medicine review course online.
We touched on the importance of board relevance in the points above. It’s crucial to your exam prep that the review course is comprehensive and covers the entire blueprint, yet is focused on exactly what will be on the exam.
4. What will the review course experience be like?
Think about how you'll focus best, and make sure the course you choose aligns with an experience that will optimize your focus. You want an internal medicine review course that's professionally produced, so that the audio and visual quality is top-notch.
Dr. Fred Zar discusses how he puts together his MedStudy course content.
5. What supplemental learning tools are included?
You should also look for supplemental resources that will be included: is there a course syllabus? Are there any Q&As included with the review course? MedStudy’s Internal Medicine Board Review Course includes a color-printed syllabus that details everything in the slides. It covers all of the Q&As from the lectures, along with the answers. It also comes with 100 supplemental Q&As.
MedStudy also includes mini-lessons on how to strategically set up your study sessions to use evidence-based learning techniques, plus reviews of statistics and acid-base disorders.
6. What is the cost of the review course?
The best internal medicine review course is one that’s within your budget! If there’s a specific course that’s out of your range, can you get a discount somehow? If you book early, you can often get an early bird discount. Sign up for an email discounts—most companies have easy unsubscribe options (your Gmail account will give you a single-click option for this!) if you don't want future messages. You can also see if the company goes group discounts.
7. Is there CME and MOC available? Is it an ACCME-accredited activity?
If you’re taking your internal medicine certification exam, you’re probably not concerned about CME and MOC yet. Physicians preparing for the LKA or another MOC exam may want to attend an internal medicine review course since both types of MOC exams question you on the vast range of topics on the ABIM MOC blueprint.
For all physicians, choosing a review course that’s been accredited by the ACCME is a signal to you that the specific review course you chose is a worthwhile investment, because accredited providers have proven their commitment to delivering relevant, effective, and independent CME for clinicians.
8. What is the company like?
Finally, if you’re still torn between multiple internal medicine review courses, you can look to the company itself. Is it a physician-led company? What’s their reputation? Do they focus on one or two medical specialties, or are they creating review resources for a variety of specialties, even a variety of career fields? Take a look at their website and reviews online.