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  • Fast-Track Your OKAP Review

    The month before 2024 Ophthalmic Knowledge Assessment Program (OKAP) examination scheduled for March 14-17 is often the time when residents start going into review mode.

    This is the time when your  preferences should shift to high-yield resources. Find one review text you trust and stick with it. Look for situations where ophthalmic findings may lead to unexpected or occult systemic diagnoses (i.e,. hypertension, syphilis, Wilson’s disease). When studying related conditions (i.e., keratoconus and pellucid marginal degeneration, histoplasmosis, and multifocal choroiditis), look for testable distinctions in diagnosis and management. If optics remains on your to-do list, jumpstart your review with the Academy course on Geometric Optics by Leon Strauss, MD, PhD. 

    Tips to Focus Your Studies

    • Spend an hour with Kevin Lai, MD. In his 2023 webinar, “Effective Study Strategies for Ophthalmology Residency,” he reviews the evidence-based study strategies. Don’t stop there. Check out his webinar on mastering ophthalmic knowledge with self-assessment tools.   
    • Create a realistic review schedule that allows you to spend some time with each tested ophthalmic subspecialty. Prioritize areas you’ve had less clinical exposure to. 
    • Make time for your wellness. If you insist on multitasking, consider listening to Academy podcasts. Averaging 20 to 30 minutes each, they provide a great way to learn something while lifting your spirits (and/or weights). 
    • Use the Academy’s EyeWiki® to get a rudimentary framework on your knowledge gap before turning to a more in-depth resource like the BCSC®. While there, check out Eye in Numbers and Mnemonics.
    • Not getting a concept? Ask your faculty! A quick email can result in a new perspective or explanation that improves your understanding while also saving time. 
    • Cultivate a growth mindset. Impostor syndrome is common and many never feel adequately prepared for the OKAP examination. So, when your performance on practice questions is demoralizing, take a long-term view and be kind to yourself. Acknowledge areas for growth and direct your focus toward improving them. You’ll become the physician you want to be one small effort to improve at a time.

    Top 5 Academy Resources for OKAP Preparation

    From the latest headlines, to full-text journals, to a wealth of educational content, there is something for everyone. Click the “Resident” tab at the top of the page for quick access to resident educational content, YO Info, OKAP and board exam resources, the pediatric ophthalmology educational center, and the Resident Knowledge Exchange. Need more questions? Check out the ONE Network Self-Assessment section. It has over 1,000 free questions separated by subspecialty. The BCSC also has high-yield questions. 

    Steven B. Flynn, MD’s, study presentations were by far the most-viewed pages on the Academy’s ONE Network in 2023, and for good reason. These high-yield, fun, question and answer presentations are a “must-do” for all residents. Check back frequently for additional content. 

    There are over 4,500 questions in the BCSC Self-Assessment Program to help you understand how to apply and identify gaps in your knowledge. Take four minutes to hear from the Academy’s Resident Self-Assessment Committee on how to use it. Spaced Repetition Mode was developed to enhance knowledge retention and maximize study efficiency!  

    Launched in 2021, the Resident Knowledge Exchange provides residents with a way to view and share study materials while also engaging in discussions with their peers. You’ll find a complete BCSC Anki Deck, mnemonics, landmark study summaries, memory palaces, and more. Pay it forward: Contribute materials that you have developed.

    The residents at SUNY Upstate created over 1,800 flashcards, separated by ophthalmic subspecialty. The Academy website interface is simple to use and easily downloaded to an Anki application. 

    Robert-T.-Swan-MD-smallAbout the author: Robert T. Swan, MD, is chair of the Academy’s Committee for Resident Education.