Failed the Pediatric Boards? 5 Tips to Help You Pass Next Time

Failed the Pediatric Boards? 5 Tips to Help You Pass Next Time

Are you a pediatrician who has taken the boards only to pass them? Don’t be too discouraged because many pediatricians have been in this situation. The board certification process can be intimidating, and most people need to prepare for the amount of knowledge required to pass. Many resources are available to help prepare and study for the test, but what do you do if you don’t pass the first time? Don’t give up! Here are 5 tips for pediatricians who failed their exam on the first try to use when preparing for their next attempt. With careful preparation and dedication, passing your boards will be within reach.

1. Get Notes from Your Previous Experience

Now that you have taken the boards, you can go back to the information given to you by your colleagues who helped work on your behalf. You should review all of your old notes from studying. If you still need to obtain a copy of these notes, get another copy as soon as possible. These notes will be more helpful than you can imagine and will make it easier to know what you need to work on going forward.

Notes from your previous experience will tell you which topics you struggled with most and what areas you needed more reinforcement. This information can help you focus your studying efforts and learn exactly what you need to know.

2. Find a Study Guide

If you studied with a study guide when preparing for the first time around, then continue to do so when studying for the next time. Using a study guide will allow you to concentrate on your weak points and other areas that need improvement. When you focus on your weak areas, you can study more efficiently. Failed pediatric boards test takers often wish they had used a study guide during their preparation; others say they don’t know why they didn’t. Study guides are an invaluable resource that should be considered.

Ensure the study guide you use is well-researched and, most importantly, up to date. If the information given in the book is no longer relevant or even correct in some cases, you will need more time to prepare for your next board exam. Look for a study guide that has been updated within the past few years. This way, you will have access to as much information as possible.

3. Know Your Weaknesses

After reviewing your notes and using a study guide, you will be in a good position to find out what areas you need to improve. This is where a good friend or colleague will prove their worth. You may be surprised by some of their comments and the suggestions they have for you to use when studying. Make sure to communicate with them throughout the process so that they can provide you with the best tips and strategies for passing this next time around.

Knowing areas, you need improvement on can also help you develop a plan to study in the most efficient way possible. For example, if you are weak in neonatal care, you should focus more of your studying time on that subject. This will help you spend valuable time focusing on what needs work most.

4. Study More Than You Feel You Should

Pediatrician board exam training is an important and stressful process that takes time and endurance to complete. Doctors who have taken the exam more than once say that the amount of study time required to pass is far greater than they ever imagined. Many people are surprised at how severe the exam is and how much required study time is. When preparing for your next board exam, allow yourself enough time to sit down and study properly.

For example, if you failed your first board exam, you may have felt that studying only an hour a day was sufficient. However, when you begin studying again, all of your old notes will have you studying more than you have ever studied before. Depending on how much time you feel is necessary to adequately cover all the content required for your board exam, studying twice as much time is what works best for you.

5. Take Practice Exams

The last thing you want to do is make the mistake of thinking that your first time around was a fluke and that you can’t possibly fail the second time around. To avoid this, take practice exams after completing your studying plan. These practice exams will allow you to see exactly where you need to improve and show you what areas you need to work on most. This information can be more valuable than any book, study guide, or study plan.


Failed pediatric board test takers often feel defeated and unsure of where to start when preparing for their next board certification exam. The tips above have been proven effective by numerous pediatricians who have found success on the second attempt. These tips can also be used for anyone who failed the boards in the past and wants to improve their game plan this time around. When you fail, it is best to take it in stride and improve your study plan to make a successful second attempt at passing your boards. These tips will help you reach your goal of successfully passing your next board exam.

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