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The Final Exam – OBGYN Oral Boards – Why Does it Strike Fear in the Candidates?

During the last OBGYN Oral Board Review course, ExamPro asked 134 OBGYN Oral Board Candidates about their greatest fears about their last exam before Board Certification. The Oral Boards is spending 3 hours with 6 examiners in a room, the result of which will have a major impact on their job security and lives. 95% of the respondents had these burning questions.

We asked them the following question: “What question would you ask of the examiners, if you had the opportunity?”

The most common response was:

“What is the most common issue that causes a candidate to fail?

More questions that they had could be grouped as follows:

1) A few positive questions

What is the examiner most looking for in a candidate?
What is the most important piece of advice that you have for any candidate preparing to take the oral board exam?
What can a candidate do in the exam room to give a positive impression to the examiner?
What are the basic things you expect to pass a candidate?

2) Negatively motivated responses

Are there any situations/answers that candidates give that result in automatic failure?
What characterizes a passing candidate vs. a failure?

3) Case list questions

Does a well organized case list have any impact on your impression of the candidate and the potential exam outcome?
What is the risk of having a high number of cases, especially the surgical volume?
If the case list showed that the candidate was a subspecialist taking the general board exam, would you conduct the exam any differently?

4) Other kinds of questions

Explain the scoring system for the exam.
How are examiners selected?
Are they assessed for examining-ability prior to examining?
If a candidate gets upset and is in tears will they give you a minute to collect yourself? Or will you automatically fail?
Are the examiners practicing general OBGYN, or are they primarily educators or Program Directors?

Candidates need more qualitative information. Their questions were posed to a (retired) OBGYN Oral Board examiner in a live interview which ExamPro makes available at Board Prep Course.

The candidates merely want feedback so they can concentrate and improve their presentation skills in the exam. ABOG does a superb job in administering the exam and all the details regarding taking the exam.

The Oral Board candidates would welcome more information on realistic expectations of the ABOG examiners. This can assist candidates in better preparing themselves and reducing their anxiety (which cannot be underestimated)!

ExamPro concentrates on alleviating the fear and the stress of the unknown by providing materials on oral board techniques and MOCK Orals to give candidates a platform to practice and get critical feedback on their presentations.