It’s no secret that step three is often a maligned exam. It is functionally pass fail for almost all residents, but it’s the longest and most expansive of all the board exams. If you are one of those residents who just needs to pass and move on with their life, you may not need much. But how do you know who will be one of those and who will need a full scale review?
Family medicine, internal medicine, and emergency medicine are very heavily represented on the exam. Residence in these specialties almost guarantees you review of the content during your day-to-day work. If you only have need for a pass, you may only require rudimentary review of other topics for example, I am an emergency medicine resident. Much of the exam is based around the basic workups of a presenting complaint in the ER what is most of my day-to-day job. I needed some review of outpatient clinical medicine, but knew that I didn’t need to do it as comprehensively as I did for step one or step two because the stakes were much lower. A single pass through a qbank and review of CCS cases should be sufficient.
However, if you are a resident of a super specialized field like ophthalmology then you may need a more robust review if you haven’t done anything close to family Medicine or internal medicine since third year of medical school. Ophthalmology makes up a very small percentage of step three so while you will rock those questions, it will not be enough to carry you across the finish line. These residents likely need a more traditional plan with content review and practice questions.
The caveat here is that if you struggled to cross the pass line on prior board exams or are in a transitional year, you have to take a look at step three as an extension of step two and put forth a full plan to get the number required to move your career ahead. The nice part about step three is that most students are more laxidical then earlier exams so the curve tends to be friendlier.
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