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When should I start studying for NBEO Part 1?

Posted by Talin Amadian on January 27, 2022 at 7:54 AM
Talin Amadian
Dr. Talin Amadian is a practicing optometrist, writer and content contributor for Optoprep. She graduated from Western University of Health Sciences College of Optometry and continues to practice in Southern California. Her clinical training includes Neuro-Ophthalmology, Cornea and Refractive Surgery, Glaucoma and Ocular Disease. Dr. Amadian takes pride in educating patients and providing specialized care and education based on each patient’s needs. She is passionate about dry eye treatment and management. During her spare time, she enjoys mentoring and helping prospective optometry students succeed.

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OP01-1Thinking of when to start studying for NBEO ® Part 1 is very overwhelming. Sometimes it feels too early to start since not all courses have been completed, but other times it feels like it’s too late. If you feel like you’re running behind on officially studying for NBEO ® Part 1, here are my thoughts and insights on how I would do it. 

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First and foremost, do not let your timeline bring you down. It’s easy to get discouraged and overwhelmed by the days that are left until the test or by looking at your fellow classmates and their study progress. It’s important to understand that this test in particular is a test of your cumulative knowledge, meaning everything that you have studied and practiced in school thus far is fair game for the exam. Everything is also relative, so it’s not productive to compare the time others have been spending on studying, as each student is different. Though it’s nice to be able to thoroughly review all the material again, it can be overwhelming if you only have a few weeks left. 

Regardless of where you are in your study timeline, it’s important to start with practice tests and practice questions at least 60 days in advance. Though at least three months in advance is recommended, it’s understandable that sometimes, it’s not so easy to do. With lecture and school deadlines at that same time, it’s hard to get organized and start right away.

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Practice questions and exams are going to help you identify your strengths and weaknesses, while you have adequate time to read through explanations and retain material. Going through practice questions on a daily basis will strengthen your knowledge beyond what you get by reading the same information over and over again in textbooks and reading material. 

If you have not begun officially studying for NBEO ® Part 1 by the 90 day mark, practice questions are even more important. They will help you identify what you need to spend more time on and what topics you are proficient in.  This will help you develop a game plan on topics you should be spending more time on in order to be absolutely prepared by test day. Proactively recalling topics in random order will help with recall time as well as show you how much you really know beyond the textbook and lecture notes! This will give you confidence, something every student needs during this process.

So back to the real question, “When should I start studying for NBEO Part 1?” Though in my mind it’s never too early to start, you still will have adequate time if you begin proactively studying 60 days in advance. This means you should organize your resources, start your practice questions, read the explanations, identify your weaknesses and tackle them well before test day. It seems too late to start, but if you put in the time, effort, and most importantly practice, you’ll still be in great shape!

~ Dr. Amadian

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Topics: NBEO, NBEO Part I

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