#EMexams | Crowd-sourcing questions for test-enhanced learning

In Mentorship, TipsForEMExams by Andrew PetrosoniakLeave a Comment

We need your help! Remember not so long ago when you wrote that little quiz known as the Emergency Medicine Board Exam? No? Have you gone through CBT to forget it? Think back to those days when your life revolved around that little quiz because BoringEM needs your help.

What we’re up to: Introducing #EMexams

We’re compiling a database of practice exam questions to help residents prepare for their tests. Questions will be tweeted from the @BoringEM account using the #EMexam hashtag once a week and followed by a post containing the question and answer on the BoringEM blog. Hopefully we will create an amazing repository of practice questions from staff physicians from across the country and around the world.

There is great education theory that suggests that frequent retrieval practice (e.g. through testing) can enhance memory.  In fact, in medical education it has been suggested that more effortful retrieval (e.g. short-answer questions) may promote better retention than recognition-based testing (e.g. multiple choice questions). [1-3]

We will be focusing on written, short-answer questions because we believe that, in addition to being difficult, they are covered poorly by existing preparation materials and are better for discussion on social media. Remember that these questions do not represent actual exam questions and that any similarity with decades worth of historical board exam questions is purely coincidental. The answers that we publish will be the best that we can determine using this crowd-sourced method and there is no guarantee that it would be considered the most correct answer if you were asked a similar question on an exam. Our goal is simply to assist in exam preparation by providing reasonable potential exam questions and answers.

What we need from you!

We need you to submit your 2nd favorite practice exam question! (Your favorite can be saved to stump your residents.) Submit them, along with your best answer, using the Google form below and we will get them into the realm of social media.

Here’s how it will work:

1. Fill out the form below.
2. Your questions questions/answers will be uploaded onto our database. The BoringEM editorial team will then review the questions and answers in a pre-publication peer review fashion.
3. Once a week a question will be tweeted from @BoringEM using the hashtag #EMexam – please help us create the best answer possible by responding!
4. A few days later a reminder tweet with a link to the answer will be posted on BoringEM.
5. Comments from staff & residents from across the country and around the globe will be welcome as we try to refine the answers to those particularly controversial questions!

Submit your practice question here:


1. Larsen, D. P., Butler, A. C., & Roediger III, H. L. (2008). Test‐enhanced learning in medical education. Medical education, 42(10), 959-966.
2. Kromann, C. B., Jensen, M. L., & Ringsted, C. (2009). The effect of testing on skills learning. Medical education, 43(1), 21-27.
3. Larsen, D. P., Butler, A. C., & Roediger III, H. L. (2009). Repeated testing improves long‐term retention relative to repeated study: a randomised controlled trial. Medical education, 43(12), 1174-1181.

Andrew Petrosoniak

Emergency Physician & Trauma Team Leader. St Michael's Hospital, Toronto, Canada. Interested in both simulation & social media. #FOAMed supporter.
BoringEM has been 'bringing the boring' to emergency medicine since 2012. In 2016 this Canadian blog brought its content to CanadiEM.