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Emergency medicine residents' attitudes and opinions of in-training exam preparation

Authors Eastin TR, Bernard AW

Received 10 June 2013

Accepted for publication 2 July 2013

Published 22 August 2013 Volume 2013:4 Pages 145—150


Checked for plagiarism Yes

Review by Single anonymous peer review

Peer reviewer comments 4

Travis R Eastin, Aaron W Bernard

Department of Emergency Medicine, The Ohio State University College of Medicine, Columbus, OH, USA

Purpose: Emergency Medicine (EM) residents take the American Board of Emergency Medicine (ABEM) in-training exam, and performance on this exam has been shown to correlate to performance on the ABEM qualifying exam. Though many residencies have in-training exam preparation activities, there is little data on the effectiveness of these efforts. This study aimed to elicit resident perspectives about the exam and exam preparation in order to generate hypotheses and better inform future preparation efforts.
Methods: Second- and third-year EM residents at a single institution were interviewed using a semi-structured format. Qualitative methodology was used to analyze the data.
Results: Thirteen EM residents participated in the study. Eight major themes and 18 sub-themes were identified. These were further characterized as relating to the exam itself or to exam preparation. Residents generally value the in-training exam. Sixty-nine percent noted that it provided an assessment of their current knowledge and deficiencies. Thirty-eight percent noted that it improved familiarity with the qualifying exam. Regarding exam preparation, residents stated that a question format was preferred, especially when accompanying explanations were of high quality. Additionally, practical considerations, such as portability, impacted resident selection of study tools.
Conclusion: Residents value the in-training exam as a marker of their academic progress and for their ability to gain familiarity with the qualifying exam. They prefer question-based preparation over text-based learning, as long as there is a detailed explanation of each answer. Educators creating structured in-training review may want to focus on question-based material with detailed explanations.

Keywords: examination preparation, graduate medical education, in-training examination, resident education

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