Derm In-Review

I Wish I Had Known: Studying for the Boards

Studying for the boards can be an incredibly stressful and daunting time. The Board exam is really a culmination of three years of intense dermatology training. You have been preparing for this exam throughout your entire residency. The weeks or months before the exam should be used as final preparation to review concepts or areas that you are rusty on or never properly learned. Be comfortable with the fact that you know so much already! Don’t feel compelled to re-read every chapter of your textbooks or memorize the entire Derm-in-Review binder. Focus on subjects you are not comfortable with and just glance over subjects that you have mastered.

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Do not underestimate looking at photos.

So much of clinical dermatology and dermatopathology require pattern recognition that is best mastered by studying photos rather than reading text. I found this to be the “fun” part of studying. It wasn’t as intense as reading and memorizing, but in retrospect I think this was probably the most useful preparation I did.

And don’t let yourself get too burn out or anxious during these last few weeks of preparation. If you can or need to study eight hours a day, good for you! But if you’re anything like me, by this point after a few hours a day of studying you need a break! Stay healthy, sleep well, eat well, exercise, and know that all you have learned these past three years will get you through your dermatology Boards. Best of luck!!