The Ophthalmic Knowledge Assessment Program (OKAP®) is a 260-question, multiple-choice test administered to ophthalmology residents to measure basic science and clinical knowledge. The in-training exam helps you develop good study habits and identify areas of weakness in your knowledge. It also serves as a gauge for the written qualifying exam (boards) that you take once you’ve graduated. Use these print and online resources to prepare for success on the OKAP.
1. Basic and Clinical Science Course™ (BCSC®)
Published by the Academy, this series serves as the basis of questions that appear on the exam. Set a schedule and stick to it; reading all 13 volumes will take you a full year. Find reading schedules designed to cover the entire BCSC series from July to February in the YO Info section of aao.org (www.aao.org/young-ophthalmologists/yo-info/article/first-year-resident-reading-guide). Leading up to the exam, it can also be helpful to review the pictures, italicized terms, illustrations and pathology slides. Finally, use the questions at the end of each book to gauge your understanding of the material. Get the series in print or e-book format.
This online question bank offers thousands of quality test questions spanning all subspecialties. Its editors add to the database of questions often and actively manage the site and respond to specific issues raised about questions. You can monitor your performance by subspecialty and compare yourself with your peers. Use the site’s tutor mode or sit for a full-length mock exam — or anything in between.
Editor’s note: In June 2018, the Academy launched the BCSC Self-Assessment Program, designed for residents in collaboration with residency program directors to help you effectively prepare for the OKAP. Content is written and approved by experienced question writers, and each answer provides a full discussion and excerpts from the BCSC. Because each question is tied directly to the BCSC outline, the program keeps you focused on areas of further study.
3. The ONE Network
The Academy’s Ophthalmic News and Education (ONE®) Network has a vast wealth of information, including videos and cases. Use the self-assessment quizzes to augment your OKAP preparation. The more than 400 “Diagnose This” quizzes also offer a quick and engaging challenge and provide discussions.
4. Review of Ophthalmology
William Trattler, MD, Peter K. Kaiser, MD, and Neil Friedman, MD
This review book uses a bullet-point format that emphasizes the highest-yield information. It is well organized and packed with information, illustrations and review questions. To make the most of any review book, add your own notes and annotations as you read and do practice questions throughout the year.
5. Ophthalmology Review Manual
Kenneth C. Chern, MD, and Michael A. Saidel, MD
The information presented may be slightly less detailed than other resources, but it provides a nice review.
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 the Ophthalmology Review Manual. The questions are less rigorous than those in some other resources, 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, Harit K. Bhatt, MD, Jeffrey C. Lamkin, MD, and Rama D. Jager, MD, MBA
This question book offers a high-yield review section that uses mnemonics to help with retention. It covers all ophthalmic subspecialties and includes many high-quality pictures and photos, plus explanations of answers.
8. Last-Minute Optics: A Concise Review of Optics, Refraction, and Contact Lenses
David G. Hunter, MD, PhD, and Constance E. West, MD
This short book serves as a good resource during the last few weeks before the OKAP — especially if you consider optics a weakness. It covers the gamut of clinical and non-clinical optics. Dr. Hunter also has a four-part lecture series you can view on iTunes.
Quizlet is a mobile and web-based study application that lets you create your own flashcards to use as study tools. What makes Quizlet unique is that flashcard sets are public. Do a quick search for “ophthalmology” to find hundreds of flashcards that other trainees have created. Available for iPhone and Android, this app is great for quickly quizzing yourself on the go. Remember, though, that this resource is publically sourced and hasn’t been checked for accuracy.
* * *
About the author:
Andrea A. Tooley, MD, is a fourth-year resident at the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minn. This July, Dr. Tooley will start an oculoplastics fellowship at Manhattan Eye and Ear Hospital/Institute of Reconstructive Plastic Surgery-New York University Medical Center in New York City. She joined the YO Info
editorial board this year.