First, to answer a common question: the site where you can get a practice board question e-mailed to you daily is: http://www.zukureview.com. This site also has a lot of good review materials, and you can buy a subscription for a full board-review type program. I didn’t personally, but I’ve heard good things about it and think it’s probably good.
In addition to ZUKU, the other popular online board review site is http://www.vetprep.com. VetPrep is probably more popular, though my guess is that it and ZUKU are pretty comparable.
There’s also a lot of good board review material at this site: http://www.gumshoevet.net. The A-Z Guide (liked to in the left sidebar) is an excellent, quick reference. A caveat about the A-Z is that it’s getting dated and some of the info is flat-out wrong – don’t believe everything you read! Apomorphine is definitely NOT an anti-emetic.
I’ve heard a lot of stories about how people have studied for boards before me; everything from one student reading the Merck Manual cover-to-cover and another who started, and finished, VetPrep the weekend before. Honestly, I don’t know what was best.
This is what I did: I started VetPrep in mid-August. I printed out the A-Z Guide and had it bound. When I got a question wrong (OFTEN, especially initially), I’d look it up in the A-Z and either highlight or write it in. I paced myself w/ VetPrep, trying to do about a percent a day, and I did finish it just last Saturday, according to plan. I also took the VIN online class, and it was good. A few weeks ago, I started a cheat-sheet for each of the species, and took notes on the major diseases for each (I wish I had done this earlier, I think).
It’s really, really hard to tell if any one thing was more useful than another. So I’m not sure what advice I could give. I can say that if, God forbid, I have to take the exam again, I really am not sure what I’d do differently; maybe focus more specifically on the top 20 diseases for each species, but I’m really not sure it would be helpful.
I also took the exam on the first day it was offered, in a month-long window. Also, I didn’t take any time off before or during explicitly to study/cram. It’s possible that another few weeks of reviewing, or a week of empty days with nothing to do but study, might have been worth it; I’ll definitely think so if I didn’t pass! But in reality, I kind of doubt that it would have helped. Cramming would NOT have worked for me as well as slow-and-steady did. And really, the relief of being done and being able to enjoy Thanksgiving and start getting ready for the holidays, is pretty much priceless. Um, unless I didn’t pass.
So in short, I have absolutely no valuable advice whatsoever. All I can say is completely obvious: do the best you can, put the effort it, and don’t leave room for regrets.
As to why it takes them an eternity to get us our scores…the best theory I’ve heard is vet student torture. Because it really does suck – I want to be happy and thrilled and excited that I’m DONE, the LAST MAJOR HURDLE has been jumped, but I can’t because maybe I’m not, maybe I failed and have to do it all over again. So while I desperately try to avoid worry and bad thoughts, I really can’t be too excited that it is over just yet. The exam isn’t scaled in relation to other exam-takers, but apparently some group of people determines the minimum passing score based on exam difficulty – so maybe they at least need to wait for everybody to take the exam to determine that? I have no idea. Annoying.