08. December 2013 · Comments Off · Categories: Uncategorized

When I began this journey towards earning a doctorate in optometry, I never thought there would be a time when I would have to evaluate 60 patients in one day! Part 2 of the board exam can be likened to just that. It is officially called ‘Patient Assessment and Management.’ Over the course of the day, you are faced with 60 cases with a number of assessment/management questions that follow. By the end of the exam after having to think so much, my brain literally felt like it was going to pop out. But having said that, it was a good challenge.

For anyone reading this and who is due to take the exam, please do not worry. By the time you get around to taking the exam, you will have dealt with a fair number of patient encounters through your clinical rotations. In my opinion, it is through these real life cases that you truly learn about assessment and management. My best advice would be to be an active learner during your clinical rotations.The data gathering part of the eye exam should be fairly cemented by this point. The challenging and fun part is to interpret that data and come up with an assessment and plan. So it is not enough to just show up for clinic — really challenge yourself. If there is a tough case, step up to the plate and take it on. Your preceptors and support staff are there to help you, so there is nothing to be afraid of. Ask your preceptors questions and start making a mental database of cases and how best to manage them. I also found the format used in the KMK and Optoprep courses both helpful in my preparation for the exam.

The following are a few tidbits of advice you may find helpful if you are going to take the exam. Visit the NBEO website for particulars regarding the test content and what you are required to bring on the test day.The actual exam is offered at test centers throughout the USA. Map out and even do a test drive/visit to the site. Many of these test centers are tucked away in buildings that are not obvious. The last thing you want to do on the exam day is get lost. The test centers are very strict. No watches or bracelets can be worn. I had a bad cough on the day and was told I had to unwrap my cough drops and put them in a tissue.There is a 45 minute break in between the morning and afternoon session. Essentially, the clock keeps running and if you do not return to the computer, the exam will have already started. My advice would be to pack a power lunch. Something you can quickly eat in the test center. Ever since high school, I have a tradition whereby I eat a Snickers bar, right before an exam. I have always regarded Snickers as the original boost before all the fancy energy bars hit the market. So, I was sure to bring along a Snickers bar as part of my halftime snack.

Lastly, definitely get a good night’s sleep. It is very much a thinking exam and being well rested is essential. Hopefully you will find some of these tips helpful when you set out to manage 60 patients in one day!

For me, it is now time to step back from the books for a bit and enjoy this wonderful time of year. Warm holiday wishes to you all!!