Prepping for Boards Part I

After the hardship that optometry students like to call second year, third year seems great! You now have an opportunity to practice your skills on real-life patients in clinic, have a lot less classes and labs, and just overall have more free time. That is, until studying for Boards Part I rolls around! NBEO Part I Boards is very intimidating for a lot of students. It tests most of the information that you learn during your first three years of optometry school! Even though this can be very daunting, UIWRSO aims to help students to better prepare for boards.

One of the first things UIWRSO encourages students to do is prepare by using KMK’s services. If you don’t know what KMK is, it is a company who provides study materials to prepare for NBEO Boards Part I and II. Most optometry schools work together with KMK to help them get ready for the test. They offer online support (such as flashcards, quizzes, tests, and videos), as well as live review courses where they come to your school and review the material with you! Our school had two sessions of KMK live review, one in November, and one in January. Both were extremely helpful. Below are some snapshots of the two sessions I attended.

Another suggestion made by our school is to order OptoPrep. It is a database of questions to help you prepare for boards. Each question has an explanation of why each answer choice is correct or incorrect. In my opinion, it is a great supplement to KMK’s online quizzes and tests. It is especially helpful if you are somewhere you cannot have all of your books with you (such as the airport or the supermarket), but have a few extra minutes. Log into your account and start answering questions! Every minute counts when it comes to studying for boards.

Our school has also had a unique approach to studying for boards. UIWRSO is committed to having their students pass part I the first time. This year, for my class, we have started an online movement called #noretakes2017. During the fall semester, we were split into groups that could be considered our “study group” for boards. Any time we post great study material or something that might help our classmates out online, we earn “points” for using the hashtag. We also get points for finishing material on KMK, taking online quizzes, and playing our optometry trivial pursuit game (which I have written a previous blog about before—go check it out!), all of which go towards our team scores. It has been a pretty close rivalry between the teams, so I am excited to see which team comes out on top!

It really does feel like all hands are on deck when it comes to Board Exam preparation.  The curriculum is configured to help students prepare for Board Exams.  Further, the faculty assist in our structured review sessions, create questions, and participate in the Optometry Knowledge Challenge.

Everyone learns differently, and UIWRSO takes that into consideration. It is a top priority of our school to make sure everyone passes boards, which is why they have given us the tools and the support we need to succeed. I am very grateful for all that our school has done to help my classmates and I. I recommend using all of the methods I have mentioned here. No matter how you learn or study, make sure to use the methods that work the best for you. Good luck to all the third year students taking part I boards in March!

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