by • July 11, 2017 • Clinical Rotations, Medical SchoolComments (0)2012

Surviving Psychiatry Clinical Clerkship Shelf Exam

Currently I am on my Surgery Clerkship and as a side note to the intent of this blog entry, it is awesome! I would have to say the consultants that I am under, are so open to teaching us as students, it is very refreshing. I am not saying that other consultants weren’t that open and willing, but it is just a great enthusiasm that comes from them along with an understanding that at the end of the day we’re still students, in the learning process and this period in our life should be an enjoyable one, rather than a stressful one.

Now, as I have gotten that out of my system, I can focus on the reason I am making this blog entry. I mentioned previously, that once my NBME score came back for my psychiatry clerkship, that I would write up on it. Well recently I received my score for it, and it was a lovely A.

I would have to admit, that although I have only taken 1 NBME (shelf exam; pediatrics) prior to the psychiatry exam, this most recent one, definitely was an very easy exam. Now, it isn’t void of any of the nonsense and ambiguity that is the NBME in general, but it felt more like UWorld questions compared to what I experienced with Pediatrics and what most people experience with that NBME.

Most of the questions that were asked, focused on diagnosing a patient, and some focused on the medications and the side effects associated with them, like with valporic acid or lithium. I got the advice to focus on those, just in case, from a reddit post and it did pay off because they were very straight forward questions. The only downside to the exam, was that sometimes the information in the question was either very ambiguous or not enough, to truly feel comfortable with making a diagnosis. You knew that if it was a vignette based on actual circumstances; say if you were ever to encounter a patient with the information presented in the question, that you wouldn’t be able to really pin point a diagnosis. You’d probably be able to develop differential diagnoses, but that’s about it. Also, sometimes the answer choices were literally like 10, options. As a personal irritation, I felt it highly unnecessary and ridiculous to have 10 options available to you, in a timed exam. It’s as if the individuals behind the exam, purposely attempted to make a very simple and passable exam, into a bit harder one. They clearly couldn’t be as impossible with the questions as with the pediatric NBME, so they clearly had to make up for it, in some other way.

Now the only resources that I used for the psychiatry NBME, was Firecracker and UWorld. There weren’t that much questions in UWorld but it was more than enough. I would honestly believe those to be sufficient and more than enough, to pass this exam.

So in the end, this Shelf Exam is going to probably be your easiest and most stress free exam, to study for. So I’d say enjoy it and good luck! 🙂

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