Are You Taking The Family Medicine Board Exams? Read This

Family Medicine Board Exams. If it has always been your dream to become a doctor, probably even way back when you were in kindergarten, you’re likely shocked about the intricacies of the medical field by the time you got there. For Career Day, wasn’t wearing an oversized lab coat and plastic stethoscope enough to earn you praise from your teachers and peers? Weren’t you a highly revered medical expert just because you’ve got glasses on and maybe a humongous toy injection in one hand? Little did you know that the real road to achieving this pipe dream is a crazy one. And half of the time, you’re not even sure if you’re going in the right direction.

Luckily, there are websites like ours that genuinely want to help you out when the going gets tough.

Today, we are going to walk you through the Family Medicine Board Exams – what it is, why you need to take it (or should you even take it?), and how you can be qualified for it.

Determining Your Specialization

We believe that more than the challenges you have to overcome in order to achieve that MD status, deciding on what facet of medicine you’re going to focus on is much more confusing. You would think that getting that degree and passing the USMLE are all the things you need to do to finally have your future path dawn on you but you’re quite mistaken. Like how the twigs diverge from a branch of a tree to how branches swerve from the trunk, multitudes of possibilities lie ahead of you in the medical industry. And as much as you would want to explore each and every one, you’ll need all the time in the world to do it.

So YES, you have to make that big decision: What are you going to specialize on?

Staying a general practitioner is an option but it is not advised. After all, it is hard to gain the trust of the masses if you are not a subject-expert about anything. Still, the desire to help all kinds of people from all walks of life regardless of sex, age, ethnicity, and status in life is an understandable desire in many health professionals. This is why instead of becoming a general practitioner, why not become something better? Here we introduce Family Medicine.

What Is Family Medicine?

As you may already know, there are many paths a doctor can take. He or she can choose a specialization based on demographic, organ systems, or type of procedure. For example, you may choose to specialize in medical diagnoses and treatments of adult patients. That would make you an internist. If you choose a specialization based on organ systems, a good example is gynecology – a specialization that centers on the reproductive system of males and females. Lastly, you can decide your specialization through function. Will you become an OPD or Surgical Doctor?

These paths diverge in the world of medicine and choosing just one is more challenging than it seems. It’s not like you can try to take on everything either. If you want a more generalized approach to medicine that will allow you to help as many people as possible, regardless of the area of concern, becoming a family doctor is the most plausible option for you.

Family medicine is exactly as it sounds. It’s a branch of medicine that’s broad enough to help you cater to a family’s concerns as a whole. It involves learning masterful medical techniques that will allow you to provide expert help for an entire household where acute and chronic medical conditions are concerned. This means that family medicine is basically a type of practice that’s holistic in approach. It allows you to handle children and adults alike and foster better doctor-patient relationships with them.

After all, Family Medicine is founded for this very purpose. Specialized practice generally negates the idea of fostering long-term relationships with clients. If every doctor specializes on one thing, it would be hard for patients to establish a solid relationship with any of them. They will be clinic-hopping for every concern they have. Family doctors bridge this gap. They are able to maintain long-term relationships with patients because they are able to cover a wider range of medical problems that are common to children and adults alike.

If your idea of medicine is being of service to anyone who needs help, then this is the best medical track for you.

How To Apply For The Family Medicine Board Exams?

But before you even get ahead of yourself, first things first: You need to take the Family Medicine Board Exams or FMBE. This is the only way you can be legally certified to practice this field of medicine. 

Before anything else, you would need to complete a residency training in order to be eligible to take the FMBE. On average, you will need to complete a total of 3 years residency, 4 or 5 in some other countries like Canada. Once you complete this residency period, you are given another 3 years to pass the actual exam. But not without having to complete the CEP or Certification Entry Process, though.

The CEP is a 5-step process that you must follow in order to advance to the examination day. We decided to digest all 5 steps below:

  • Self-assessment – You need a total of 50 points for this one. You will need to take at least one KSA (Knowledge Self-Assessment), one PI or Performance Improvement test and other activities such as additional KSAs and CKSAs. Practically speaking, you just need to take enough tests to earn you 50 points.
  • 150 CME Credits – That’s right. Within the allotted three-year time period, you must be able to achieve 150 Continuing Medical Education (CME) credits.
  • Compliance to the American Board of Family Medicine Guidelines
  • Payment and Submission of Processing Fee
  • Submission of application as well as the actual exam fee

Make sure that your application to take the exam is approved (you can check this online).  Once everything is in place, the only thing left to do is to pick a testing center that’s convenient for you and to brave through the FMBE. Of course, your victory is not merely attributed to just luck.

There are many measures you can take in order to ensure the success of your test results.

What To Expect In The FMBE?

I know a lot of people who fail to pass their board or licensure examinations just because they weren’t able to maintain their cool during the test. This is why I advise you to try to calm yourself before you start answering on the day of the exam. Don’t try to look at the paper as a whole and instead, just answer one item at a time. If all you think about is how hard the questions are or how much you don’t know about them, you’ll just end up feeling overwhelmed. It will make you lose your better judgement so you end up choosing answers you feel pressured to choose.

The exam duration is roughly 6 hours in total. It’s a one-day examination with a 100-minute break in-betweens. There are a total of 300 questions divided into 4 different sections. You get to have 95 minutes to complete each set of 75 questions (which is a fourth of 300). If you really think about it, that gives you a little over a minute to answer – which I think is reasonable time for state exams.

Since it’s in multiple-choice format, the best approach would always be to “comprehend” what you are learning. Question masters can do all sorts twists to make your life more difficult so it’s important not just to memorize concepts but also learn them by heart. That way, you won’t find it difficult to decipher the right answer even if the question has been flipped over several times.

How To Prepare for The FMBE?

The FMBE is taken every 10 years. That’s right; your license to practice becomes outdated after a certain amount of time passes. After all, there’s so much medicine can achieve in just 10 years. You have to consistently and constantly prove that you are on top of your game.

To best prepare for the exam, maintaining a good and healthy study schedule as well as acquiring source materials that are likely to be used for the examination are great options to consider. You can also refer to one-on-one FMBE tutoring if you want a review experience that is more suitable for you.

Luckily, Medlearnity has just the thing for it. We can help you successfully review exam materials that are fundamental to the upcoming FMBE. We can help you digest mock test results as well as explain concepts that are still rather confusing to you.

Medical professionals should also help fellow medical professionals. With Medlearnity, you are in good hands!

About the author 

Akshay Goel MD

Dr. Goel is a body-trained radiologist and an expert in medical education and imaging informatics. He completed his Radiology Residency at Columbia University Medical Center and his fellowship at Weill Cornell Medicine. Dr. Goel has guided several students and doctors into successful careers over the past decade. He continues to help Medlearnity tutors optimize their educational methodology to drive the highest tutoring and admissions impact possible.

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