How To Study For The Family Medicine In-Training Exam (FM-ITE)
The FM-ITE is an in-training exam for family medicine residents. This exam is taken each year and is used to evaluate the progress of each individual resident in preparation for the family medicine board exam. In preparing for the annual FM-ITE, you are essentially preparing for the board examination. Thus, if you do well with your FM-ITE, there’s a good chance that you will be board eligible to take the board exam and do well in taking the family medicine board exam itself. So the question is, how should you study for the FM-ITE?
What tools do I need?
To be successful in taking the FM-ITE, you will need a set of resources that will expand your knowledge base in family medicine and regularly assess your progress.
- First, you will need a resource that you can use daily during rounds, in the outpatient clinic, in the emergency room/ urgent care facility, and during your specialty rotations. This can be a family medicine board review book (I would recommend Graber and Wilbur Family Medicine Review Examination and Board Review), board review course (such as AAFP Board Review Course), or a primary source such AAFP (members have access to recent and archived journal articles).
- Second, you will need a resource for osteopathic principles such as the OMT Review 4th edition also known as the “Green Book” if you are taking the ABOFP (American Board of Osteopathic Family Physicians).
- Third, you will need a question bank that will assess your knowledge such as TrueLearn FM Prep where they have questions specifically made for the osteopathic FM-ITE. In prep for the FM-ITE and the ABFM (American Board of Family Medicine), going through the AAFP (American Academy of Family Physicians) self-study questions is also very helpful as the wording of the questions are very similar to ABFM board examination.
How should I schedule my studying?
Once you have the tools to study for the FM-ITE, you will need to make a schedule so you can set aside time dedicated to studying.
I began studying for FM-ITE/boards during the middle of my first year using TrueLearn FM Prep questions, AAFP self-study questions, and the AAFP board review course. I would complete a minimum of 10 board questions daily from either TrueLearn FM Prep or AAFP and one lecture from the AAFP board review course once or twice weekly.
During my second year of residency, I would complete one set of old in-training exam questions monthly and began reviewing the osteopathic principles and practices on the weekends (it is probably best to do this during your first year).
Where should I focus my studying?
During the first year as a resident, it is best to place your efforts in expanding your knowledge with each clinical rotation you complete. After receiving the results of your first FM-ITE, you’ll notice your weakest points and where you need to focus your efforts while continuing to expand your general medical knowledge on your clinical rotations.
Best practices and tips!
When studying for the FM-ITE it is key that you pace yourself as this is a marathon and not a sprint. Make sure you make time for yourself. If you are not on call or in the hospital during the weekends, enjoy your time off by getting involved in activities you love doing. Be sure to keep yourself mentally, physically, and spiritually fit. This will reduce your risk of being burned out prior to your exam day. Most importantly, do not wait until you are weeks away from taking the FM-ITE to begin studying. Your sanity and retention of knowledge will be much better studying during your years in residency and not weeks prior to the exam.
Get your study tools, question bank, and study plan together to knock the FM-ITE out of the park!