If your dream is to become a psychiatrist in the United States, you are going to have to pass the American Board of Psychiatry and Neurology Initial Certification Exam. Since 2016, this is the only way you can achieve certification that will allow you to practice as a psychiatrist in the future. It is a difficult exam with which many promising psychiatrists are struggling and it should not be underestimated.
Are you preparing to become a psychiatrist? Are you ready for the challenge that is the certification exam? If you’re looking for tips on how to pass this exam, you have come to the right place. With this short guide, you’ll hopefully be able to properly prepare yourself and pass the American Board of Psychiatry and Neurology Initial Certification Exam.
Take care of formalities
To properly prepare for the exam, you need to know exactly how it’s going to look. The first thing you have to do is to apply for the exam online through the American Board of Psychiatry and Neurology website. The application fee is $700, followed by another $1245 examination fee and a $500 late application fee if you haven’t applied in time. Nobody wants to waste $2000 and not get a certification, so prepare well for the exam. If you fail, you will have to pay all of the fees again!
You need to sign up for the exam at least 7 months in advance. Reviewing your application can take up to 16 weeks, after which you will be contacted for any additional information or documents that might be missing. Before your application gets approved, you need to obtain a medical license and complete your residency training – both of these will be verified before you’re accepted for the exam. About two months before the exam, you will be able to schedule your appointment.
The exam itself takes place in an agreed-upon location. Arrive at least half an hour early to prepare for the test, have two forms of identification with you, and leave any personal items at the entrance. After you take the exam, it can take up to 12 weeks for the committee to grade it and send you the results. If you have passed the exam, your certificate will be mailed to you no longer than 3 months after the tests have been reviewed.
What is the exam’s formula?
After you have prepared everything and have successfully applied for the exam, you need to know how the exam is going to look. At the psychiatry certification exam, you are going to face 425 questions from a variety of subjects you have studied at the university. These areas are further broken down into two dimensions – Psychiatric Disorders and Topics, as well as Physician Competencies and Mechanisms.
As you are tested based on Psychiatric Disorders and Topics, you can expect tasks regarding the development through the life cycle, childhood disorders, addictive disorders, depressive disorders, schizophrenia, anxiety disorders, bipolar disorders, obsessive-compulsive disorders, trauma and stress-related disorders, somatic disorders, dissociative disorders, eating disorders, sexual dysfunctions, gender dysphoria, neurologic disorders, and more.
The Physician Competencies and Mechanisms dimension is slightly shorter and features topics such as neuroscience and mechanisms of disease, behavioral and social sciences, clinical aspects of psychiatric disorders, diagnosis, treatment, communication skills, professionalism and the knowledge of law and ethics, as well as learning and improvement.
The questions are different every year, which means you can’t simply memorize what the committee will be asking for. However, the American Board of Psychiatry and Neurology provides in-depth content specifications that list all of the requirements that are expected of the candidates. Each of the dimensions is broken down into specific topics, and these are also broken down into concepts and ideas. Carefully study the content specifications and look for sources of knowledge that will give you exactly what you need – the content specifications are the key to passing this exam!
Develop good studying habits
Now that you know how the exam is going to look, it is time to think about what you might do to better prepare for it. One of the best things you can do is to set up proper studying habits that will allow you to study smart, not hard. First of all, obvious as it might sound, you should always study regularly. Many students procrastinate for months on end, only starting to study a couple of weeks before the exam. Instead of doing that and risking a fail, introduce regularity into your studying habits and try to go through your notes every day.
Review your material daily and frequently take notes on everything you read. Whether you like it or not, major medical exams require a lot of work from the applicants. By reviewing your notes every day, the knowledge you learn will be still fresh in your mind during the exam. Use a simple planner to write down a schedule, or use one of the many apps available for this purpose. Put aside an hour or two every day just for studying – no need to strain yourself with more than that, but remember to do it every day! Try not to go through more than a few days without studying, as you will start to forget some of the things you have learned.
You might think this one isn’t really a tip, but you would be surprised by the actual impact good health can have on your exam results. Always eat a healthy meal after your classes are over and never skip breakfast. Keeping your body full of energy will allow you to focus on studying. If you’re having problems with focusing during your study time because your stomach is constantly growling or you’re simply lacking energy – those might be the callsigns that you should change something about your lifestyle! Keep eating healthy and pay attention to whether you’re taking enough vitamins and minerals. Exercising and staying fit can also vastly improve your mood.
Also, make sure you are studying in a comfortable space. Don’t just go through your notes sitting on a couch or wherever it may appear convenient at the moment – create a separate studying space where you will be able to study in comfort without distractions. If you’re feeling like it, you can go to the library – it will definitely be less distracting than studying at home!
Train for the psychiatry certification exam with QUPI
QUPI App is a useful tool that can help you study for a variety of medical exams. QUPI is a bank of over 10,000 medical questions, categorized into different fields and segments. With QUPI, you can easily create your own quizzes, composed of questions specifically chosen by you. These quizzes will make your revision more efficient, helping you memorize the material and increasing your information retention.
While studying for the psychiatry certification exam, QUPI can help you prepare by allowing you to access practice questions from the related fields. Whether you’re looking for a quiz to test your knowledge of various disorders and ways of treating them, or if you need to hone your neuroscience and disease mechanisms skills, QUPI will help you do just that. Give QUPI a try today with a Free 7 Day Trial and improve your chances of passing any medical exam!