Do’s and Don’t’s

Do:

Take some kind of review course.

I know it’s expensive as all get out when you’re a poor PA student living on loans. There are a few reasons I say this. First, confidence. It is a COMPREHENSIVE review from people who have been in the trenches and know the exam. Second– if for some forsaken reason you do not pass all you will think is “coulda, woulda, shoulda….” If you need suggestions see my review course and material page!

Be confident.

Go with your gut. Literally unless you read the question for a second time and realize “Oh, shit I read the question wrong” do not change your answer. I also recommend answering in your head before you read the options!

A lot of review questions.

Practice makes PERMANENT, not perfect. Take the review questions seriously, exactly how you would take the exam.  Also look things up you miss/don’t know.  I can’t stress this enough–it was such a pestering thing during school–and if I have to be honest I didn’t do it enough and now I feel like I’m almost playing catch up sometimes.  I’m always reading or looking things up.

Quick hit review points

Even if it seems easy, it drives home knowledge and builds confidence!!

Play the numbers

 Know the breakdown of the nccpa blueprint. Click here to access NCCPA Blueprint. I will also say that sometimes they sneak in more heme or derm than anticipated as “diagnostic” or other type of questions. However, generally speaking you will see the more cardiology as opposed to some of the other areas less represented.

Don’t:

Fret if you don’t know one answer!  

There are hundreds of questions, and not knowing one of them will not break you. Do your best to make an educated guess and move on, don’t waste too much time and do not allow it to waiver your confidence.

Procrastinate

About half way through my clinical rotations I started continually studying for boards. It was also nice for me that my last 3 rotations were very comprehensive medicine: Emergency, Internal Medicine and Family Practice. If you are able to organize the order of your rotations I highly encourage that strategy.

Listen to everyone in your class freaking out

Cause we all do it. Be real about the fact that this is important, but don’t let other people’s fears become your fears or intimidate you.