Read the Questions

Read the Questions

December 15th, 2015, (0 Comments)

It appears to be a simple assumption, but for CLINICAL VIGNETTE questions this is a reallyimportant issue, the amount of clinical cases in step 1, step 2 ck and step 3 have been increasing over time getting in some cases to about half the test, this makes even more important to be advised on this type of questions.


When dealing with clinical cases it is important to read the whole case before trying to solve it, it is common that when reading a question we immediately try to give an answer before finishing our reading, the reason of this advice is because many clinical cases are not about the pathology, lab data or treatment, currently there are many questions using this format to evaluate biostatistics, population genetics, medical ethics, etc. 


You have to ask yourself, what do they want me to answer here?, generally the question lies in the bottom of the case but you should read the whole case first, many try to anticipate the answer reading the bottom question first, this may confuse you by giving an answer based on the first lines, its common that many information is hidden in the middle of the case that changes and obvious diagnosis, so again read the whole thing first, then try to answer.


In the exams you will find many questions using different words to ask for biostatistics terms, say specificity, sensitivity, odds, median, etc. learn to identify what they are trying to ask first, so you can give a correct answer and make the appropriate calculation, you may find questions where they use the definition of a term instead of saying it directly, or rephrase that definition to confuse, or may ask for a negative trait of the specific term for example how many false positives will this test give, memorize the definitions of all terms that include a formula, since you will need to solve first what term are they asking to make the calculation.


In the case of laboratory tests and treatment, it is common to be asked about the second best, or the one that doesn’t apply to the case from the list of answers in this cases you are required to identify the wrong one, or the best second alternative, remember when studying to memorize the treatment in order of importance or according to protocol because this may be asked in a clinical case.


Other topic used in clinical cases is medical ethics, for example in child treatment, consent information, NDR forms etc. it is important to identify the type of ethical case first to be able to give a correct answer, although these are less common and you may find only a couple of questions in each exam, having them secured is really helpful.


The best way to improve for the exams is to practice, make as many questions as possible during your preparation, remember that is better to start practicing early for example when you finish your first subject make everyday questions about this subject while preparing the next one and so on, look for questions that are as real as possible, there are many question banks that are really accurate, but also even when doing questions that resemble the real thing there will be differences so the most important part of your preparation is to memorize definitions and curiosities or odd information about each topic  as much as possible and keep the mnemonics to a minimum.


If you have other suggestions for clinical vignette questions please leave them in the comments. other candidates might like them too.


Wishing you as always success 





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