An in-depth review of Elite Board Review

Published: 18th November 2011
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I have recently attended one of the newer medical licensing prep courses (USMLE), which was called Elite Board Review and was in Toronto, Canada. Because it is so young, I felt as though writing a decent review would help other students who were considering this prep course for their own USMLE preparation. So here goes:

What this course is, is a 3-week review course that is held throughout the day in a classroom setting. The teacher is young and knows his medicine and test-prep pretty well. It is relatively intense in that we move through the material at a rapid pace, usually stopping only when questions are asked by either us or him to us. Below is a list of all the pros and cons I believe the course contains.

Pros of the course:

1. Intensity: it is short and intense, so no time is really wasted on long, drawn-out stories that are irrelevant to learning.

2. Conceptual: there was a big emphasis on concepts of medicine taught throughout the course, which was very helpful in helping us see the big-picture, which he was also able to help us link to so many other things in medicine (this helped me organize my head and really helped me with questions)

3. Small class size: the classes are super-small, I'm talking we had 4 people in ours, so it was really easy to get the kind of attention you needed in order to understand. Also, since classes were so small we were like a small family or study group, which really helped with morale.

4. 1-on-1 tutoring: they offer to meet you at least once per week for a 20 minute 1-on-1 session, which I used mainly to help me with a study plan and to learn how to answer questions a bit smoother and faster. Definitely a big plus.

5. Friendliness: I realize most people could care less about the character of the instructors of a USMLE course, but I personally appreciated that the instructor was friendly to me always, was always willing to answer a question, even after class, and was also willing to answer countless questions the whole class had about residency, visa sponsorship, IMG friendly programs, and a bunch of other information that would help us in our futures.

6. Cost: this is a very new prep course, and you really can't beat the cost which is much less than other more well-known options. I am pretty sure within 5 years or so this will be a top program and people will wish it was the price it was today.

7. Staff are MD's: I think a PhD teaching USMLE material is wrong, simply because they haven't taken the exam. If you have taken the USMLE then you can teach it, and because they only use MD's to teach their material, I find this a big plus.

Those are the 'pros' that stood out for me at Elite Board Review. Now let me give you the cons of the course.


Cons of the course:

1. It is new: it felt slightly risky for me to attend a relatively new prep course, but I actually called them up and spoke with the instructors and they seemed like they truly cared and this is what helped me overcome any worry.

2. There is a lot of writing: They provide you with a good coursebook, but they will add a lot of extra information during class, so you are writing a ton during the day. If you hate to write non-stop then this can be a big hurdle.

3. Lodging: they don't offer lodging in the same spot where the course is held, which can be troublesome for some people. They recommend a long-stay hotel within about 20 minutes of the course site, which isn't a big deal though because there is plenty of bus service in Mississauga.

4. The classroom is shared: The classroom in which they hold the course is actually shared with another company that is unrelated. They don't actually get in the way of the class, but there are some people who will come in and out of the classroom throughout the day, which I don't think is that big of a deal but might distract some.


This is about all I can really say as both positive and negatives of the course. All in all, I'm glad I went and I definitely feel as though it was worth more than what I paid, and would recommend that if you are looking for motivation, discipline, and a structured learning environment then you can benefit from this program.

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