Studying for the Psychiatry Shelf Exam


By Ravish Amin

Preparing well for the psychiatry shelf exam requires studying multiple resources such as board review books, reference texts (for reading up on your patients’ specific conditions), and practice questions from to master core concepts. Psychopharmacology is essential high-yield content for shelf exams. Most common psychiatric symptoms such as anxiety, dementia, depression, psychosis, and delirium, are learned by a multifaceted approach. Reading, doing practice questions, studying board review books, and (perhaps most importantly) developing interview techniques to obtain relevant information from your patients will help you excel on your psych rotation.


Conquer those Multimedia Questions on Step 1 and Step 2 CK!


Need help with the multimedia questions on the USMLE Step 1 and Step 2 CK exams? The First Aid Team has you covered! Two of the topics that are easily tested in a multimedia format are heart sounds and EKG tracings.

Both of these areas can be intimidating, but with the help of the Blaufuss Medical Multimedia Laboratories, you can review and test your knowledge and become familiar with the way in which material may be presented on the exam, helping to keep you calm and collected on exam day.

Check out their Cardiac Examination/Heart Sounds and Electrocardiogram/Arrythmia tutorials and Quizzes HERE.


The Realities of Med School


We love this video from:

Michael Jones, Carisa Lippmann, Katie Meyer, Mark Liwanganag, Michael Appelblatt, Jamie Mazzurco, Monica Bartoli, Eric Chung, Julie Bemski, Darya Blagerman, Kat Beditz, and of-course Dr. Dribbin!

Here’s Your Chance to Write for the First Aid Team blog!

The First Aid Team is looking for motivated individuals to contribute to our First Aid Team blog (


Do you have strong writing skills? Can you commit to generating biweekly posts on issues relevant to medical students? If you are interested in applying for this position, please send the following materials to us at
  • Curriculum Vitae (CV) or resume
  • Medical School GPA
  • USMLE score(s)
  • Writing Sample
This position is a one-year term, and the selected individual will receive a generous stipend as well as the opportunity to work with First Aid authors.


Pediatric NBME Shelf Examination Resources


By Haley Masterson

While I take into account the opinions of several other students at Columbia, please remember that, in the end, these reviews are the words of only one student.  Opinions will vary.  However, I used all of these resources during my Pediatric shelf examination preparation.

One of the major challenges of the Pediatrics shelf exam is reconciling the importance of what you see every day on the wards (RSV, viral gastroenteritis, developmental delay) with the importance of what you’ll be tested on in the shelf examination (glycogen storage diseases, symptoms and antidotes of various poisons, congenital heart disease).  Be prepared to relearn all the rare syndromes you forgot after Step 1.  Flashcards will be your best friends.

There are a few tried-and-true resources for this shelf, as well as a couple of underrated gems.


A Message from the Editor


By Walter Wiggins

I want to first thank Dr. Jaysson Brooks for his leadership as the Editor of the First Aid/USMLE-Rx Web Team this past year. I’d also like to thank Dr. Tao Le for giving me the opportunity to take the helm for the coming year. My hope is that we will continue bettering our efforts to serve your needs and maybe provide a little entertainment along the way. I want to start by informing you, our readers, of a few changes that we’ll be making this year in an effort to improve the quality of our outreach on our blog, Facebook, and Twitter.


Get Started on Your Residency Application


By Vamsi K. Kancherla

This time of year marks the annual start of the residency application process through ERAS (electronic residency application service) for every 4th year medical student pursuing a residency position in the specialty of his or her choice. Like your application to college and medical school, you’ll need to gather a number of documents in a timely fashion. Below, we’ll cover the key components of your residency application, separated into two categories: items for which you are primarily responsible and items that your medical school will complete on your behalf. Additionally, be on the lookout for the ERAS “token” (provided by your Dean’s Office) to enter the ERAS website, and be sure to keep your AAMC ID and password in a safe, secure area.


Go to Top