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The family medicine rotation is a summative experience that incorporates components of outpatient medicine from many other specialties including internal medicine, pediatrics, and OB/GYN. As a result, you can readily align your preparation for this clerkship and the shelf with how you would prepare for Step 2 CK. Furthermore, because this rotation often affords the ability to study during your nights and weekends, you should have plenty of time to shine on the clerkship and still rock the shelf exam and ultimately your Step 2 CK. We'll show precisely how to do so here.

What are the Best Step 2 Resources to Review While on Your Family Medicine Rotation? 

To prepare for your family medicine shelf exam, we recommend reviewing the following materials while on your family medicine rotation:

1. The Case Files Family Medicine

2. Step Up to Medicine

3. UWorld

4. AAFP Board review questions

5. PreTest Family Medicine Edition

6. OnlineMedEd

7. Screening Vaccination Guidelines

Read on for more information about each of these resources and how to utilize them while on your family medicine clerkship!

 

Best resources for reading for in-between family medicine rotation patient rooms

The Case Files series arguably shines the most for the family medicine rotation. The bite-sized cases included in this text parallel many common ambulatory patient presentations and will help you expand your fund of knowledge to improve your performance in the clinic and on the shelf exam.

A great way to utilize the resource would be committing to review two to three cases every day and to tailor which cases specifically to the real patient experiences you have had each day in the clinic.

Step Up to Medicine is a great review of general internal medicine, the specialty most highly emphasized on Step 2 CK. While much of the book discusses diagnosis and management of complex conditions requiring inpatient care, the section devoted to ambulatory medicine covers topics tested on the family medicine shelf.

One of the most useful components of the chapter is the section going through many common chief complaints of patients presenting for outpatient care; in addition, the chapter also features a review of ambulatory musculoskeletal medicine.

 

Is there a question bank specifically for the family medicine shelf exam?

Unfortunately, no. There is no single go-to question bank that is well-tailored specifically for the family medicine shelf and ambulatory medicine on Step 2 CK. The UWorld does include many useful questions, but it is difficult to isolate these questions and study them specifically, given that they are mixed into the combined internal medicine, pediatrics, and OB/GYN sections.

If you sign up for a free student AAFP membership, you will be able to access selected board review questions which are good preparation for the shelf and Step 2 CK.

The Pretest series is another great option that offers five hundred in-print practice questions and explanations specifically tailored to ambulatory medicine.

The best way to approach incorporating these questions into your study bank is simply to sum all of the questions from the banks you intend to use and divide them over the course of the rotation so that you are completing a fixed number each day. The point is to ensure that you do not save them until the end of the rotation in an attempt to develop a fund of knowledge from other resources that you can then test with these questions; these banks are intended to be used as learning tools and not diagnostic ones, so it is perfectly fine to get questions wrong--even many of them--as long as you are learning the relevant points to get similar questions right on the shelf exam and Step 2 CK.

 

Additional Step 2 resources for the family medicine clerkship

OnlineMedEd has many videos covering ambulatory medicine; here again, they are not specifically earmarked, but fortunately it is relatively straightforward to identify the relevant ones to view. One strategy is to align which videos you will watch with the chief complaints of the patients that you saw in the office earlier in the day and with the chapters you are reading in Case Files.

One important topic for the family medicine shelf includes the screening vaccination guidelines for adults and children, like which patients should have an abdominal ultrasound to evaluate for abdominal aortic aneurysm or should receive the pneumococcal vaccine.

For these questions on both the shelf and Step 2 CK, the USPSTF guidelines are the authority and what you should commit to memory. These recommendations as well as the indications for other therapies like antihypertensives and lipid-lowering agents (e.g., who should receive a statin medication based on ASCVD risk calculation) are relatively high-yield concepts.

 

By seeing a wide variety of presentations for many of the most common chief complaints on the rotation, you can align what you are studying with the experiences you are having in the clinic. Because family medicine is such a broad field incorporating principles of internal medicine, pediatrics, and OB/GYN, doing your best to develop your fund of knowledge on this rotation in particular will help you succeed not only on the shelf exam but also on Step 2 CK.

Need help preparing for your Shelf Exams? Contact us today to schedule your free consult.

Additional resources: 

Balancing Third Year Rotations with Exam Studying

4 Reasons Shelf Exams Matter

Step Up to Medicine: How One Book Can Carry You Through Third Year and the Step 2 CK


Photo by Marvin Meyer on Unsplash

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Michael Stephens

Michael Stephens

Originally from the Kentucky suburbs of Cincinnati, OH, Mike finished his undergraduate degree at a small Kentucky liberal arts school called Thomas More University. From there, he attended medical school at the Perelman School of Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania in Philadelphia, PA, where he was involved in the Medical Student Government, Dermatology Interest Group, and University City community clinic. He is currently completing an preliminary internship in Internal Medicine at Brigham and Women's Hospital in Boston, MA and will be staying for dermatology residency at the Harvard combined program. Outside of medicine, Mike enjoys hiking, playing tennis, and just generally being outside; though the Patriots and Eagles might have super bowl wins behind them, he will always be a Bengals fan at heart.
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