The National Board of Medical Examiners (NBME) Subject Exams, also known as shelf exams, are an important phase for medical students in their clinical years. If you’re taking family medicine, the degree of difficulty of your exams differs from that of exams intended for internal medicine, psychiatry, and other subjects. Here’s a guide to help you prepare specifically for this exam:
Answer as Many Questions as You Can
It’s difficult to assess one’s skill without application. If you want to know how much you’ve learned, Exam Guru and other exam learning centers suggest that you answer as many questions as possible. For instance, you can download a mobile application or pay for a shelf exam question bank contributed by physicians. Don’t feel frustrated about getting the wrong answers because that instance can help you remember it better in the future. It’s like taking the exam itself.
Focus on Important Topics About Family Medicine
Family medicine has a large scope, so it’s best to know your strengths and weaknesses. Spend time in an outpatient clinic. If there’s something that’s uncertain or new to you, ask open-ended questions to any attending staff member who is not busy. The exam may include high-yield concepts not only found in books, but also other sources. Here are some examples of topics you should focus on:
- Cardiology – Acute Coronary Syndrome, Angina, and ECG
- Head and Neck – Eyes, Nose, and Throat Differential Diagnosis
- Respiratory Tract Infections, Pulmonary Medicine, and Connective Tissue Disease
- Psychiatric Assessment, Nephrology, and Vascular Diseases
- OB-GYN, Pediatric Musculoskeletal Study, Wound Care and Skin Ulcers
The family medicine shelf exam is a combination of many fields of study evaluating your intelligence. If you want to pass, then you have to make an effort. There are different ways to study, all you need is to find what’s more effective and within your capabilities.