The Ophthalmic Knowledge Assessment Program (OKAP®) and the written board exams are 250-item multiple-choice tests administered to ophthalmology residents to measure residents’ basic science and clinical knowledge.
Approach the written boards like you would the OKAPs, and use whatever study method you used for the OKAPs to prep for the written boards.
To help ensure that you perform your best, here are several preparation resources to add to your ophthalmic library, including both print and online sources to bookmark.
1. Basic & Clinical Science Course (BCSC) - Apart from the reading material itself, review the pictures, pathology slides and illustrations throughout all the books several times in the weeks leading up to the written examination! The questions at the end of each book are also a very helpful source of review.
2. ProVision: Preferred Responses in Ophthalmology, Series 5 - Brand new set of 550 multiple-choice questions, with thorough discussions of the preferred responses, numerous images and suggested resources for further study. The question-and-answer format is ideal for an interactive activity that quickly identifies strengths or areas for improvement. The content is heavily illustrated and covers all 11 subspecialties, with 50 questions per subspecialty.
3. The Ophthalmic News & Education (ONE®) Network - The Academy's ONE® Network has a vast wealth of information, including videos, courses and cases. In particular, the self-assessments on the ONE Network can augment your OKAP preparation. Also, residents who are in programs that subscribe to The Resident Hub™ have access to many practice assessments via a database of more than 4,000 questions.
4. Review of Ophthalmology, William Trattler, MD; Peter K. Kaiser, MD; and Neil Friedman, MD - This is an excellent resource to use in preparation for the standardized written exam. It is well organized and packed with information, illustrations and review questions.
5. Ophthalmology Review Manual, Kenneth C. Chern, MD - This is another outstanding resource to use during written exam preparation. The information presented is slightly less detailed than the review book above.
6. Review Questions in Ophthalmology: A Question and Answer Book, Kenneth C. Chern, MD, and Kenneth W. Wright, MD - This question book provides a nice complement to Dr. Chern’s review manual above. The questions are not as rigorous overall as those in some of the other books, but they still serve as another high-quality resource.
7. The Massachusetts Eye and Ear Infirmary Review Manual for Ophthalmology, Veeral S. Sheth, MD; Marcus M. Marcet, MD; Paulpoj Chiranand, MD; and Harit K. Bhatt, MD - Online reviews suggest this recently released version is vastly different from the former one, which is a great question book in itself. The book is filled with pictures, questions and more current information.
8. Last-Minute Optics: A Concise Review of Optics, Refraction, and Contact Lenses, David G. Hunter, MD, PhD, and Constance E. West, MD - This is a fantastic short book to read and re-read during the last few weeks. It covers the gamut of clinical (e.g., Why is the sky blue? Why does Ms. Goldbags not like her current glasses?) and “mathematical” optics (e.g., prisms, lenses and mirrors).
9. Neuro-Ophthalmology Review Manual, Sixth Edition, Lanning B. Kline, MD, and Frank J. Bajandas, MD, or Rod Foroozan, MD, depending on the edition - This is an excellent skinny book on neuro-ophthalmology. The topics are presented clearly, and the illustrations, albeit fewer than I would like, are very easy to understand. This is another fantastic book to read more than once before the exam.
10. Ophthalmology Board Review: Pearls of Wisdom, Second Edition, Richard Tamesis, MD - Use this book to quiz your friends in rapid fire! It is formatted in a question-and-answer flashcard format, which makes it a nice additional resource to use with your colleagues during the last few weeks of studying.
* * *
About the author: Elizabeth Yeu, MD, is an assistant professor at the Eastern Virginia Medical School and in private practice in Norfolk, Va., with Virginia Eye Consultants. Upon completion of fellowship training in cornea, anterior segment and refractive surgery at the Cullen Eye Institute, Baylor College of Medicine, Dr. Yeu stayed on faculty for several years before moving to Virginia.