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|Conrad Fischer's Internal Medicine Board Practice Exam||
There isn't a huge amount of material available out there for Internal Medicine Board Review. There's all the usual large review texts, and perhaps one or two sets of good medicine boards questions floating around, but beyond that, residents are always looking for more material for medicine board review. Dr. Conrad Fischer, a residency program director from New York has created this set of questions for use in Internal Medicine Board Prep.
The CD Rom consists of two main items. The BrainX Digital Learning engine, a computer based tool to take notes and quiz yourself as well as 320 ABIM Exam style questions broken down into 4 blocks.
Installation on a Windows PC is painless. They even include some necessary Microsoft software on the disk that may be required for your system. The system also runs just fine on a Macintosh OS X system if you are using Virtual PC. After guiding you through a quick registration process (and internet activation) you're set to go.
I have to admit it took a few minutes for me to figure out the interface. After clicking on the Internal Medicine Questions, it was not entirely intuitive how to get the "exam" up and running. Once you get past that, you are presented with the questions.
There is a main window, where the question appears, then a section with your multiple choice answers. From there you can also save a few notes. After reading the question, you have the opportunity to view the answer. The answer/explanation box appears (the only down side to this is that the answer box was often too small, and you have to scroll to see the complete answer, or resize the box each time to see everything.)
Next, you click the "Correct", "Incorrect" buttons, in a self-test sort of way, and you even have the chance to say if the question was easy or hard. This is another quirk in the program. This method is great for self testing, and "self-grading." However, if you simply want to run a big block of questions, and have the system tell you at the end how many you answered correctly and how many you missed, you can't do that. You can save your progress if you take a break within a test. You can also sort questions by specialty, simliar to MKSAP.
Ok, on to the questions. You can see a sample question here. The question quality is quite good, and most of them are good cases that are similar to ABIM style questions that I have seen on actual exams. The vignettes are perhaps a bit shorter than the ABIM ones (since they seem to be getting longer and longer!) but the main points are there. I felt the questions were well rounded and complete. Question distribution between the various subspecialties also seems well rounded. Perhaps the most important aspect of any question review source is the quality of the answers.
The Conrad Fischer Internal Medicine Board Practice Exam does a great job of thoroughly explaining the question. Unlike some question books, this system not only explains the correct answer, but also takes time to explain why the other choices were incorrect. This is a valuable asset. In addition, numerous tables make their way into the answers as well.
There is also "hint" you can ask for when answering the questions, but it really isn't terribly useful, because it ends up sort of like playing "wheel of fortune" with the answer slowly being highlighed when you ask for hints.
Overall, if you need a high quality source of Internal Medicine Board Review questions, you won't be dissapointed with the Conrad Fischer Internal Medicine Board Practice Exam Cd Rom and the BrainX system. While learning the interface may take a moment to get used to, the main point is that the questions are there, and they are quite good from general internal medicine to cardiology, infectious diseases, etc...