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    5 Study Tips For Your ABIM Recertification Exam

    Key takeaways:

    1. Make sure to review the ABIM board recertification exam blueprint and scale the amount of time you focus your studies based on the percentage weights of each topic.
    2. On the day of your ABIM Recertification, the schedule is divided into four sessions, each containing a maximum of 60 multiple-choice questions. 
    3. Use Preview | Review Questions in the Internal Medicine Core to find your knowledge gaps and help you self-test before and after reading each topic.
    4. Rely on the process of elimination to narrow down your multiple choice answer options and choose the correct answer. 
    5. Use Personal Trainer to implement spaced retrieval into your study routine. Spaced retrieval is the process of repeating the same Q&As (while constantly practicing recall) at least 3 times, with progressively longer intervals of time between sessions
    6. Gearing up for an exam is stressful and can take a toll on your physical and emotional health. Take steps to ensure that you're taking care of yourself in the time leading up to your exam day


    The traditional 10-year ABIM board recertification exam is a few months away for 2023 exam takers (Oct. 19, 23, 26). Whether you’ve been preparing for months or if you’re just getting started, these tips will help you feel confident walking into exam day.

    If you're taking the Longitudinal Knowledge Assessment, use the tips on this page instead

    1. Take a look at the ABIM recertification exam blueprint

    Screenshot 2023-01-13 at 2.10.07 PM-1

    The ABIM board recertification exam blueprint for MOC exam

    This one might feel like a no-brainer, but it’s also something easily-missed by busy physicians: you can (and should!) scale which topics you study based on the ABIM’s exam blueprint. For example, you should put in more time studying for Cardiology (15% of the exam content), and can scale back the time you spend studying Ophthalmology (1% of the exam). 

    This strategy is especially helpful when you’re getting closer to your exam date because knowing the blueprint will help you tailor your study efforts towards the bigger sections of the exam. You should still study the smaller-represented areas to make sure you have a general understanding of the content.

    How many questions are on the ABIM recertification exam?

    The day is divided into four sessions, each containing a maximum of 60 multiple-choice questions. 

    ABIM recertification exam schedule 

    ABIM recertification exam schedule 

    How MedStudy tools use the exam content outline 

    Our Internal Medicine learning tools are all based on the ABIM board recertification exam blueprint. So, you can be sure when you're using MedStudy learning tools that the percentages of each topic are used to scale how many questions/how much content is presented in each section of our material. Here's one quick example, in the Internal Medicine Board-Style Q&As, there are 239 cardiology topic questions, and not as many psychiatry (24) questions, since the psychiatry questions make up 3% of the exam, and so on. 

    Topic filtering feature in the Internal Medicine Board-Style Q&As

    Topic filtering feature in the Internal Medicine Board-Style Q&As

    2. Use Preview | Review Questions to self-test before exam day 

    preview review sections in the core  The Internal Medicine Core has features to help you StudySTRONG

    Our Internal Medicine Core is designed to feel like lectures from experts that are concise, yet casual. We include formatting to help you study more efficiently, one example is our Preview | Review Questions in the Core books (both print and digital). 

    The Preview | Review questions are short questions that appear under many of the primary and secondary headings. They help you self-test before and after reading each topic. The highlighted text includes must-know concepts and the answers to the questions—it’s exam prep at-a-glance.

    Use the Preview | Review questions like Q&As. Then, go through the highlighted text to find the answers, plus any other nuggets of information you should know before exam day. 

    3. Practice question-answering strategies 

    Another useful exam day tip that’s actually really simple: hack the questions. You already know the types of questions you’ll be asked during the exam, and the format (they look super similar to the questions in our Board-Style Q&As), but here are our other helpful question-hacking tips:

    Read the last sentence first

    Practice the question hacks you employed while taking standardized tests back in the day, like skipping to the end of the question and reading the final sentence, then going back to the start to read the question. This helps you understand what the question is asking so that you know exactly what you’re trying to comprehend while you’re reading through.  

    Rely on process of elimination

    Since you know basic steps to take for each disease process, (the best initial text, the most accurate test, the best initial therapy/treatment, the best next step in management) eliminate the answers that you know are wrong, and reason through the options that are left. 

    gif showing the strikethrough feature in the questions and answers

    Use the Strikethrough feature in our Q&As 

    Pro Tip: In the Board-Style Q&As you can quickly eliminate incorrect answer options by using the strikethrough feature! It allows you to "cross off" answer options you know for sure are incorrect.

    4. Use ‘spaced retrieval’ to to easily recall info on exam day

    Spaced retrieval is the really big secret to learning medicine: It’s how you move all this new information into long-term memory.

    Here's how to practice spaced retrieval: Repeat the same Q&As (while constantly practicing recall) at least 3 times, with progressively longer intervals of time between sessions. Each time, the information you’re trying to learn becomes more durable and more easily retrieved. 

    Pro Tip: Personal Trainer sets up your perfect study plan and will show you the same question or section under the "Spaced Retrieval" tab, that way, you don't have to worry about remembering what to study and when. Your Personal Trainer will do it for you. 

    Tutorial of Personal Trainer

    Personal Trainer is designed to move the knowledge you are studying into your long-term memory. To read all about the MedStudy Method and how it will help you study stronger than ever before, download StudyWise.

    5. Focus on your mental and physical health 

    The months before a big exam (and stress) can take a toll on your body. On the physical side, watch what you eat, get plenty of sleep, and exercise regularly. On the mental health side, take extra steps to stay focused and committed. In learning, motivation powers your commitment and provides you with the enthusiasm, focus, determination, and persistence to reach your goal.

    Looking for even more brain-hacking techniques to help you gear up for exam day? Download StudyWise


    Related content:

    1. 3 Tips for Studying 1 Month Before Your ABIM Recertification Exam
    2. The ABIM Blueprint for the Internal Medicine MOC Exam
    3. The Difference Between the ABIM Knowledge Check-In and the 10-Year Exam

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