{Q&A} Preparing for THIS Will Make You an Expert OncoPT

The ABPTS Oncology Specialist Certification Exam is just around the corner, which means it’s time to buckle down on preparation.

But that resource list can be really confusing & overwhelming.  How do you start studying & focus on what’s actually important?

By listening to this podcast episode!

Today’s episode is a recorded Q&A session I did with oncology residents Dr. Athena Manzino & Dr. Stacy Weber.  They asked all their burning questions from how to get started, what resources to use, & how to be most efficient when studying with a buddy.

Listen in now so that you can formulate your preparation plan & actually get started studying!

Review the DSP to identify your strengths & weaknesses in OncoPT

The Description of Specialty Practice (DSP) is the official document released by ABPTS that outlines the content that can/will be asked about on the oncology specialist certification exam.

But that’s just it – an outline.  

It’s a summary, a starting point for identifying your strengths & weaknesses within oncologic physical therapy.  

Rather than going through the DSP from start to finish, identify your weakest areas & DON’T skip over those!

Then, prioritize these areas & plot these content sections into your study schedule.  

How to use your resources SMARTLY

There is a very well known textbook about cancer rehabilitation that has long been hailed as the bible of cancer rehabilitation.  

However, it actually contains limited applicable information for PTs preparing for the oncology specialist exam.

When preparing for this exam, one of the worst things you could probably do is read a textbook start-to-finish & call it good on your studying.  

Similarly, do not read all the listed articles (from the aforementioned resource guide) mindlessly.

Instead, approach each resource with this question: “how can I apply this knowledge to a patient?”

As you’ll hear time & time again, this exam is all about applying your knowledge to real life patient cases & scenarios.  These questions you will encounter are not about basic knowledge & stats.  

Instead, can you apply your knowledge to a patient scenario effectively & safely?

Why you need a study buddy (& how to do it smarter)

Study buddies can really help you stay motivated during those hard times.

However, it’s easy to get derailed when working with a group, so make sure you set yourself up for success.  

Decide from the beginning: How are you going to study/prepare together?  What are you trying to get out of this group?

Once you’ve set goals & expectations for study groups, hold each other accountable as you move through the material.

How to know what’s important

If an article or resource is suggested in multiple sections, PAY ATTENTION.  It’s repeated on purpose because it is important.

As you move through material, pick out the themes or key points that are most important from these resources.  

Ask yourself, “why did the powers that be pick this resource?”  What’s actually important to take from this article, textbook chapter, etc.?”

How to build “testing endurance”

Let’s not beat around the bush: this exam is 7 hours long.  It’s a doozy.

But it’s totally doable.  Right now, there are no full-blown practice exams you can take.  So here’s how you should prepare to take the exam effectively.

Studying for 50 minute time blocks mimics the exam time blocks.  Practice for how you will perform.

Have a plan going into the exam:

  • Take the scheduled breaks.  
  • Get up & move.  Leave the room, go to the bathroom, eat your snacks, drink your water: remove yourself physically to get a mini-break.
  • Again, take your breaks!

For more helpful tips on preparing for your Oncology Specialist Certification, listen to the episode now!

Don’t forget to register for my webinar on December 1: Mistakes to Avoid When Studying for Your Oncology Specialist Certification!

Learn the mistakes to avoid & implement a plan for effective oncology specialty preparation now!

Until next time, this is Elise with TheOncoPT.  And remember you are exactly the physical therapist that your patients with cancer need. So let’s get to work.

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