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Strategies for the ABAI Exam

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Strategies for the ABAI Exam

  1. 1. Curtain Page Preparation Strategies for the ABAI Cert/Recert Exams Tao Le, MD, MHS Associate Clinical Professor Chief, Section of Allergy & Immunology Department of Medicine University of Louisville
  2. 2. www.slideshare.net/taolemd
  3. 3. Disclosures • Editor, ACAAI Review for the Allergy and Immunology Boards • Senior Editor, First Aid for the Boards review series (McGraw-Hill) • Executive Editor, USMLE-Rx.com
  4. 4. Disclaimers • No affiliation with the ABAI • ABAI makes no recommendations regarding test preparation resources or guidance
  5. 5. Learning Objectives • To describe the ABAI certification and recertification examination • To identify and select study and testing strategies for the ABAI examinations • To identify and select appropriate study resources for the ABAI examinations
  6. 6. Brief History of the ABAI • First administered in 1974 • First recertification administered 1977 • 10-yr certificates first awarded in 1989 • Offered annually starting 2005 • Certified roughly 120 allergists each year • Roughly 85% of diplomates recertify
  7. 7. ABAI Exam Overview www.abai.org Certification MOC Recent Advances Items 225 200 30 Time 7hrs (2 sessions) 4hrs (1 session) 6 weeks Location test center test center ABAI Web Portal Method computer-based computer-based computer-based Passing Score absolute minimum absolute minimum 80% correct Basic Science ~35% 0% 0% Clinical Science ~65% 100% 100%
  8. 8. Anatomy of an MCQ Stem A patient who is HIV+ (peripheral blood CD4+ count ≤ 200/µl) develops acute maxillary sinusitis. Lead-In Which of the following organisms is most likely to be causative? Options A. Pseudomonas aeruginosa B. Listeria monocytogenes C. Aspergillus fumigatus D. Streptococcus pneumoniae
  9. 9. Question Structure • Best single answer • No negatively phrased • 4 response options • Some questions have images • Trends towards: – Short vignettes – Basic science and clinical integration – Multi-step questions – eg, clinical presentation  dx  molecular defect?
  10. 10. Certification Exam Content 2010-11 Basic Science 32% --Immune mechanisms 6 --Cells involved in immune responses 5 --Specific immune responses 7 --Laboratory tests 9 --Anatomy/physiology/pathology 3 --Research principles 2
  11. 11. Certification Exam Content 2010-11 Clinical Science 68% --Hypersensitivity disorders 27 --Immunological disorders 13 --Pharmacology/therapeutics 12 --Specific diagnostic modalities 9 --Allergens/antigens 7
  12. 12. Certification vs. ITE • No relationship between ABAI and AAAAI’s ITE • Similar style and construction • Similar content blueprint • No evidence of correlation between ITE & Cert • Differences – Different computer interface – ITE – 200 Q’s in 3.25 hrs – ABAI – 225 Q’s in 7 hrs
  13. 13. Recertification Exam Content ABAI Clinical Items 2009-10 Hypersensitivity disorders 41% Immunological disorders 18% Pharmacology/therapeutics 16% Specific diagnostic modalities 13% Allergens/antigens 12%
  14. 14. Recert vs. Recent Advances • Style and construction of test items are identical • Both with 100% clinical science coverage • Exams share no questions • Differences? – Questions: 200 vs. 30 items – Content: established literature vs. clinical advances – Test situation: secure exam vs. open book/multiple attempts – Passing: 400 scaled score vs. 80%
  15. 15. Pass/Fail Criteria • Norm reference standard – Until 2001 – A fixed percentage always fails – Competent candidates could fail in a strong year • Criterion reference standard – Implemented in 2003 – Competency threshold predetermined – Theoretically, 100% can pass
  16. 16. Certification Pass Rates Group 2013 5 Yr Avg* Overall 82% 86% First-time 89% 93% Repeater 29% 36% U.S./Canadian Grad 86% 89% IMG 67% 65% www.abai.org * Means are approximate
  17. 17. Recertification Pass Rates www.abai.org Group 2013 5 Yr Avg* Overall 98% 97% First-time 98% 97% Repeater 50% 55% * Means are approximate
  18. 18. Score Report • 3-digit scaled scores – Overall – By category – Range: 300’s – 600’s • Overall passing threshold = 400 • Percentiles not reported
  19. 19. Text Resources • ACAAI Review for the Allergy and Immunology Boards – Written by fellows, recent graduates – Based on the ABAI outline – Revised Fall 2013 – FREE • JACI Primer – revised 2010, online, 120 questions
  20. 20. Text Resources • Allergy texts – Middleton’s Allergy: Principles and Practice – source for many questions – Patterson’s Allergic Diseases – more clinically relevant – Pediatric Allergy: Principles and Practice – UpToDate – clinically relevant • Immunology texts – Abbas – Cellular and Molecular Immunobiology – Janeway – Immunobiology – Bellanti – Immunology IV – Choose one and stick with it
  21. 21. Journal Reviews • Annals Allergy, Asthma and Immunology • JACI • JACI: In Practice • Allergy • Allergy and Asthma Proceedings • Journal of Clinical Immunology
  22. 22. Question Resources • ABAI Recent Advances exam • ACAAI FIT Corner practice questions • ACAAI/AAAAI board review course • JACI Primer practice questions • Past ABAI Home Study exams
  23. 23. Other Resources • AAAAI/ACAAI Live Review – Good framework – Not enough for cert/recert – Basic portion • High-yield for cert • Low-yield for recert • Review Online/DVD -- great for catching the details in context • ACAAI Conferences On-Line Allergy (COLA)
  24. 24. Preparation Tips • Many ways to prepare • Review ABAI exam blueprint • Incorporate materials from training • Use ITE/Recent Advances exam to pinpoint areas of weakness • Establish a study schedule and stick with it • Alternate study methods for variety
  25. 25. Preparation Tips • Focus on: – Dogma – Nuances of management – Common dz  uncommon/complicated presentations – Uncommon dz  common presentations • Focus on understanding vs. memorization early • Tie basic concepts to clinical correlations • Save crammable stuff for the end
  26. 26. ABAI “Tendencies” • No mouse-specific immunology • FDA-approved treatments only for therapeutics • Off label indications unlikely • MOA possible for investigational drugs
  27. 27. Test-taking Tips • Know the CBT tutorial • Pacing should not be an issue • If long question, read lead in first and scan choices before returning to stem • OK to second guess • Low quality questions should be challenged
  28. 28. High-Yield Topic Areas • Basic immunology – Cytokines – Chemokines – CD molecules – Immune cells – Signal transduction • Biostatistics and research principles • Immunodeficiency • Food/inhalant allergens • Asthma/allergy meds and disease management during pregnancy • Drug AEs and interactions • Images – pollens, molds, flow-volume loops, tympanogram
  29. 29. ABAI Exam Registration • Primary deadline – April 30 • Late deadline – May 31 with $500 penalty • Adds 10 years of certification to end of current cycle
  30. 30. • ABAI website – www.abai.org – Exam description – www.abai.org/exam.asp – Exam blueprint – www.abai.org/Outline.asp – Email – abai@abai.org • AAAAI JACI Primer – www.aaaai.org >> JACI >> 2010 Primer • ACAAI Review for the A/I Boards – www.acaai.org • ACAAI FIT Corner Questions – www.acaai.org >> Fellows in Training >> FIT Corner Questions • ACAAI COLA – www.youtube.com/user/ACAAICOLA • Copy of this presentation – slideshare.net/taolemd Useful Links

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