Seven Tips to Prepare for the Neurology AAN RITE® Exam
The AAN RITE®* exam is one of those hills neurology residents learn to climb during their training. The RITE® exam is more than a tool for your residency program to gauge how you are doing year to year. In fact, you can use it to prepare yourself for the ABPN Neurology Board Exam and find where you need to focus your baseline residency studying. Essentially, the AAN RITE® exam is meant to be used as a self-assessment tool for residents and programs. There is, in fact, a correlation between performance on the RITE® exam and performance on the ABPN Board Exam, especially as you approach your PGY4 year. Here are 7 tips and resources for your neurology RITE® exam.
1. Invest in a Textbook
You should invest in the neurology question review textbook, Comprehensive Review in Clinical Neurology by Cheng-Ching. By the time you’re ready to sit for your ABPN Neurology Boards after you graduate residency, you probably will have gone through this book about three times. These questions are very realistic to what is seen on the RITE® exam and the ABPN Board Exam, and the explanations are very detailed and easy to follow/understand. If you’re taking the RITE® exam for the first time as a junior resident, you certainly don’t need to complete the entire book. Rather, familiarizing yourself with some of the chapters is more than enough. By your PGY3 and PGY4 year, you’ll be a pro!
2. Start with the Basics
Start by focusing on the basics such as neuroanatomy and physical exam (especially as a PGY2).
- If you’re a textbook person: Neuroanatomy through Clinical Cases by Blumenfeld and Clinical Neurology and Neuroanatomy: A Localization-Based Approach by Aaron Berkowitz are two well-rated textbooks. There are, however, several others that your program can recommend to you as well.
- If you’re a visual person: In addition to textbooks, great resources include Draw It To Know It and Dr. Najeeb’s neuroanatomy section.
3. Review the RITE® Exam Blueprint
Take a look at the Blueprint for the AAN RITE® Exam. This link shows the 2023 RITE® exam content. It’s worth looking over this to see what topics will be high yield on the exam.
4. Leverage Didactics
Use your residency didactics to compile a “library” of high yield images. Particularly in the following categories:
- Neuroimaging (CT, CTA MRI, MRA, MRV, angiography, PET).
- Histology (brain, muscle, and nerve specimens).
- Gross anatomy
There are certain topics that will show up time and time again on the RITE® exam (and the Neurology Boards for that matter). Residency programs usually will have a lot of images that are utilized in didactic review. By saving these images in PowerPoint or flashcards, you will be able to revisit the material again and again and have a stronger chance of retaining it. An option is to split this task with your co-residents and study together!
5. Check out AAN Trivia Night
Typically, the AAN sends out reminder emails regarding AAN trivia night before it happens. This event occurs once a month. Not only is it an opportunity for you and your co-residents to put together a team, but it also covers a wide variety of topics that tend to show up on the RITE® and ABPN Neurology Boards.
6. Invest in a Question Bank
A big hurdle of standardized tests is getting used to the question format. The RITE® exam is no exception. It’s worth checking out TrueLearn’s AAN RITE® Question Bank and their ABPN Neurology Board Exam Question Bank. I will say, while the RITE® exam and the ABPN Neurology Exam are similar, there are some differences. The RITE® exam may ask more nuanced topics than the Neurology Board Exam, and the RITE® may also have longer question stems. As a result, if you practice for the RITE® exam properly, your ABPN Board studying will also go smoothly.
7. Neurology Loves Genes
It is worth making a list of high yield genes as you study questions. Use a mix of resources, namely Cheng-Ching and question banks. The act of writing out this information or creating flashcards can help with retention. If you’re a mnemonics person, I would recommend the resource Laughing Your Way to Passing the Neurology Boards by Amy McGregor.
In general, if you are working hard and studying in residency, you are going to be just fine. These tips are here so that you may feel a little more at ease and ahead of the game as you approach your RITE® exam!
About TrueLearn’s AAN RITE® SmartBank
Use TrueLearn practice questions to test your best on your board exams with thousands of high-yield test items written by board-certified physicians. TrueLearn helps to track your individual performance to gauge where you stand amongst your peers and provide testing analytics to improve performance to outperform on your exam.
*Disclaimer: AAN RITE® is a registered trademark of the American Academy of Neurology (AAN). TrueLearn is not affiliated with or endorsed by the American Academy of Neurology (AAN).