The most common question I receive, naturally, is whether the recordings contain information that is up-to-date.  I want to make certain that anyone purchasing the recordings knows exactly what they are ordering.

I created most of the recordings a year or two ago.  As you will notice, I have the recordings divided into two sections– one for part one exams, and the other for oral exams.  Since producing the recordings the oral boards have been replaced with a new format of exam; the clinical skills assessment.

The part one exams have not changed considerably since the recordings were produced.  The QA recordings contain PRITE-style questions;  exactly the types of questions that are on current written board exams.  The only ‘dated’ part of the part one lectures is the psychopharm recordings, in a couple very specific areas.

Fist, the psychopharm lectures include the typical antipsychotics and the first five ‘atypical antipsychotics’, i.e. quetiapine, olanzapine, aripiprazole, risperidone, and ziprasidone.  The recordings do not contain the several atypical agents released since then, namely asenapine (Saphris), lurasidone (Latuda), Iloperidone (Fanapt), and paliperidone (Invega).

Second, the recofdings do not contain the antidepressant vilazodone (Viibryd), nor the newest products for sleep (i.e. the ‘ultrashorts’ like zolpidem are there, but not the new indication for doxepin, as Silenor, or rapid-melt zolpidem (Intermezzo).  People using the recordings are encouraged to add their own work in those newest areas.

The part II section is now the clinical skills assessment, a series of oral examinations that take place within the residency program.   The criteria recordings continue to be a valuable resource for those exams, as the diagnostic criteria have not changed since the recordings were made.  The point of the criteria recordings is to reinforce, over and over, the different criteria for diagnosis as you drive to and from work.  If you do that, you will be much more able to think in ‘real time’ when faced with a patient during the exam;  you will be better able to cite the different reasons you are leaning toward one diagnosis, or away from another diagnosis, based on the criteria that you identify during the exam.

Please feel free to leave a comment or send an email, if you have any questions about the product.

J

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I don’t produce these recordings to earn a living– I earn my living as a psychiatrist. I began making these recordings a few years ago as I studied for the Boards– first for the written exam, and then the orals.   I made the recordings for myself, because I couldn’t find what I wanted– something that I could listen to during my drive to and from work each day.  Like you, my life was pretty busy– with residency, family, and other obligations.  It was hard to set aside a couple hours at night, knowing that my three kids hadn’t seen me for a couple days!  But the drive time was being wasted.  I didn’t like talk radio, and as a “second career psychiatrist” I was a little old for the pop music on most of the stations.

Once I started using the recordings, I knew I was on to something.  Heck, the review courses were charging almost $1000 for  recordings that were MUCH less useful.  I had a hard time understanding them because of heavy accents or poor sound quality, and they were mostly from lectures that included a bunch of accessory information, that I knew would not be on the Boards!  Some of the lectures even referred to slides or other visual information that didn’t even come with the set of recordings.

Psychiatry is my second area of medicine.  I passed the Boards in Anesthesiology back in 1993, and so I have a bit more experience in taking the exams than some people.  I’m also older– I’ve been a doctor for over 20 years– so I have a bit more confidence about what I know and what I don’t know than the average resident.  My goal in making these recordings was to take my experience with Board exams and my knowledge of psychiatry, and to produce a better and less expensive product than what was currently available.

I can assure you that I pulled it off– I frequently hear nice things about these recordings in e-mails from people who have purchased them, and many people who purchased one set have returned a year later for the next exam.  After passing my own exams I re-made the recordings, tinkering with the sound quality to flatten the dynamic range so that they can be heard more easily in a car.  I also used the audio software to subtly speed up the recordings, packing them with information more efficiently.  I slowed down when going over more complicated topics, and you can always hit the pause button if necessary!  Finally, I took out the ‘ums’ and ‘ers’ and vocal pauses that often take up 20% of a lecture– something that is never done to those more expensive recordings.

Finally, I priced them much more reasonably than the ridiculously-priced competition.  Don’t let the cheap price fool you– I lecture at a major medical school (I actually was nominated for a teaching award this year), and I know the material as well as anyone.  I passed the boards myself on my first try;  I have a PhD in Neuroscience that adds to my understanding, particularly of psychopharm, and I have a voice that projects well and is easy to understand.

In fact, if you want to hear my voice, go to itunes and search the podcasts for ‘junig;’  I have a weekly radio show about psychiatry and you can download a show for free!

Thanks for reading this long appeal…  and I encourage you to check out the recordings.  The ‘criteria’ are particularly helpful for the second exam, but are also very useful for anyone looking to improve their understanding of how the diagnostic criteria fit together– to get a solid base for understanding psychiatric pathology.  And the psychopharm, of course, is always a part of every psychiatry exam, whether written or oral.  I wish you the best with your studies!

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Psychiatry Board Preparation

 

The process for becoming Board Certified in Psychiatry is exceedlingly complex right now, thanks to the phasing in and out of three different processes. The old format for the oral examination was changed in 2006 to include patient vignettes. Apparently not satisfied by the confusion caused by that change, oral examinations were phased out completely for current residents, replaced by the ‘clinical skills evaluation,’ which must be passed three times during residency. As for ‘who must do what,’ here is the description from the ABPN site:

Psychiatry Certification Process: New Format and Timetable Announced September 2008

For residents who began training as a PGY-1 on July 1, 2007 or as a PGY-2 on July 1, 2008:  The Psychiatry Part II (oral) examination will be eliminated. The Psychiatry certification process will consist of a single computerized examination (Psychiatry Certification Examination); first administration in 2011.

For residents who began training as a PGY-1 before July 1, 2007 or as a PGY-2 before July 1, 2008:  To become Board certified in Psychiatry, candidates must pass both the Part I (computer-administered) and Part II (oral) examinations.

Candidates who do NOT pass the Psychiatry Part I examination in 2013* or before or who do NOT complete the certification process by December 31, 2016, will be required to submit documentation of satisfactory performance in the evaluation of clinical skills completed by the current Program Director of an ACGME-accredited program as part of the ABPN credentialing process. In addition, such candidates will be required to pass the new Psychiatry Certification Examination.

Got it?

Bottom line– if you are starting residency after 2007, you must pass the clinical skills evaluation several times and then take one certification exam.  Residents who started earlier– poor blokes– must take part I, pass, and then be invited to take part II.  If it is any consolation, those who are adequately prepared for part II will find it to be, in it’s own way, a fun time.  The examiners are not there to fail you; they are doing everything that they can to pass you.  Once you understand that, you will loosen up and display the confidence and breadth of knowledge to ace the exams.

Of course, some people fail part II. The way to fail the exam is to present yourself as ‘cocky,’ to argue with the examiner, to make the patient feel uncomfortable or humiliated, or to refuse to answer questions.  The examiners want to engage you in a discussion about psychiatry;  don’t let them down.  Even if you are not absolutely certain about something, let the examiner know what you are thinking.  Talk about the issues you are thinking over in your head, so that the examiners know that you are not just ‘blank’ inside.

And of course, be prepared.  I prepared the ‘psychiatry criteria’ tapes to help me to keep things straight, and they did exactly that.  They consist of a monologue, slowly recited, of psychiatric diagnoses and their criteria, presented in an orderly way.  I used the recording for board preparation by playing it over and over;  the result was that I had the criteria down cold.   When I viewed the vignettes or met with my live patient, I was noting criteria as easily as ‘shooting ducks in a barrel’ (sorry to the PETA folks– it is just a phrase!).

Whether you are facing part I or part II, be careful to watch the deadlines, get your paperwork in on time, and get a good head start on studying.  The most recent examination schedule can be viewed here.   Of course, when it is time to study, I recommend using MY recordings– they are inexpensive, direct, and well-organized.  I prepared them in order to study for my own exams, and they worked well.  They are meant to be used as a stand-alone tool– using audio only– so if you exercise with an MP3 player or have a morning commute, you will be all set.   In fact, if you have the exam somewhere ahead of you– say a few months away– now is the time to start listening.  I can promise you that if you listen to them several times over– not a difficult task– you will be miles ahead of your colleagues at exam time, whether for part I, part II, or for the clinical skills evaluations.  Do well!