We all know from the moment we enter optometry school that NBEO exams are looming. And optometry students all across the country tell us that their lives are crazy busy. In the midst of this craziness, and just trying to keep up with the typical responsibilities of optometry school, the challenge of boards and how to juggle these huge NBEO exams with our school schedule can be challenging for any student.
We are excited to help. As doctors who have gone before you in this process, we know what it’s like to agonize over boards. We remember the sleepless nights and mountains of red bull and pizza. That’s why we created KMK… to reduce stress in the lives of our students. Here are a few tips we wanted to share to make your life easier.
5 TIPS TO MAXIMIZE STUDYING FOR NBEO EXAMS
- Start early. While some people revel in their ability to study “under pressure” , crunch time is never a good way to study for an exam that has such a monumental effect on your career. Whether you are taking Part 1 or Part 2, make your top goal to get through all of the content 1x, 12 weeks prior to the exam. For example, if you are taking Part 1 in March, your top goal is to make it through the entire NBEO exam matrix one time by January 1st.
- Schedule your review time. Block out specific times on a calendar for when you will study. Make a commitment to yourself and stick to it.
- Get an accountability partner. Even if you block time on your calendar, who’s going to make sure you actually use that time? Getting a study buddy, or simply someone you can text and “report” your progress to is an idea worth implementing!
- Start with subjects you’re most familiar with. Build-up momentum by starting with the areas where you’re already knocking it out of the park. This confidence will carry you over to the parts where you need a bit more help. Just as important, we encourage you to start with an area within the NBEO® matrix that has a lot of questions! KMK refers to these area as the BIG 8®. These are 8 subject areas on Part 1 that comprise 80% of your exam.
- Repeat and repeat again. Studying for the Part 1 and Part 2 exams are a gradual process; make sure you leave time to revisit each subject area and dig a little deeper each time. Don’t think of it as repetitive. Instead, think of it as repeating a subject from different perspectives (e.g. videos, flashcards, test questions) in order to learn the information at such a high level that you are not only ready for any type of test question, but any type of scenario in clinic that could change the lives of your patients.
- Get away from distractions. This could mean finding a dedicated study place, closing all apps, putting your phone on silent, etc. There are even apps for Mac and PC that close all social media applications and won’t let you reopen them for a specific period of time. Do what you need to in order to get “in the zone” and stay there!
Kyle graduated from Centre College (KY) with a B.S. in Biology and completed optometry school at Indiana University School of Optometry before accepting a prestigious residency at the Kansas City VA Hospital. Dr. Cheatham practices at Vision Specialists, a group practice in Omaha, Nebraska. He serves as an adjunct faculty member of six schools and colleges of optometry