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ABA Advanced Exam

Discussion in 'Anesthesiology' started by acidbase1, Jul 29, 2017.

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  1. acidbase1

    acidbase1 5+ Year Member

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    The ABA is a joke.

    Im sure I passed. But what a worthless exam

    That is all
     
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  3. hankbb02

    hankbb02 5+ Year Member

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    Completely agree. There were so many esoteric worthless questions. On top of that you pay all that money and then can't even cross out answers or highlight.
     
  4. ericL

    ericL Member 10+ Year Member

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    I never realized that hyperbaric therapy or obscure landmark based blocks were such cornerstones of modern anesthesia practice...


    Sent from my iPhone using SDN mobile app
     
  5. anbuitachi

    anbuitachi ASA Member 7+ Year Member

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    i guess it's to prepare you in case an asteroid hits and knocks out all our ultrasound and stuff
     
  6. acidbase1

    acidbase1 5+ Year Member

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    A horrible benchmark to test your proficiency in anesthesia. Everyone I've spoken to are pissed. Three guys who routinely scored >90 percentile on ITEs are worried they failed. Just a complete crock
     
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  7. turnupthegas

    turnupthegas 2+ Year Member

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    That thing was a bunch of crap. Literally everyone is pissed


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  8. Robotic Wis-Hipple

    Robotic Wis-Hipple

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    Sounds like it was the same as last year then. Relax, enjoy that you're past it. I don't know anyone that failed it so the vast majority pass.
     
    AdmiralChz likes this.
  9. likeaboss

    likeaboss ASA Member 5+ Year Member

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    when do we get results?
     
  10. linkin06

    linkin06 We are all witnesses. 7+ Year Member

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    Anyone feel like TrueLearn is still the way to go?
     
  11. acidbase1

    acidbase1 5+ Year Member

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    4-6 weeks. I did truelearn and a few questions showed up, but not many. Not sure how to study for the advanced. I was always greater than 60th percentile on ITE and was no slouch on USLME (>240 on all). I've never felt like this after an exam in my life
     
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  12. turnupthegas

    turnupthegas 2+ Year Member

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    True learn helped a bit. But not really. I did Hall and some of the ACE as well. Maybe helped a tad. But in the grand scheme, not sure what would of prepared me for it. It was terrible.


    Sent from my iPhone using SDN mobile
     
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  13. Pharmado

    Pharmado PharmaDo 5+ Year Member

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    I screwed up my test prep because I actually studied anesthesia. I didn't realize that modern day anesthesia wasn't actually going to be on the exam. If I didn't pass this time (I'm sure I'll be pleasantly surprised) I'm going to diligently study my fantasy football lineups in prep for my next go. That will probably be just as productive and will very be less miserable.
     
  14. pgg

    pgg Laugh at me, will they? SDN Moderator 10+ Year Member

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    90% of you passed. There are always some WTF questions on that exam, and the oral too for that matter. The weird stuff sticks in the head.

    If you were doing fine on your ITEs, and you didn't blow off prep for this exam, and you didn't have a fever of 103 on test day ... just have a beer and celebrate. Your odds are good.
     
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  15. chewychew

    chewychew ASA Member 2+ Year Member

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    I have to echo the sentiment's of the other posters and add my own. It's not about passing/failing. I mean yes, we all want to pass. But it's an $800 board exam to become a board certified general anesthesiologist that only tangentially tests on actual, everyday topics in anesthesiology. It's frustrating to bust your a$$ studying for an exam only to realize that for more than a handful of questions, it doesn't matter what you studied, because they will ask the most obscure, irrelevant questions that have zero focus on being a generalist. Surely there must be better ways to differentiate knowledge base between people sitting for the exam then test like we are trying to practice anesthesia in Abu Ghraib.
     
  16. OTCAwesome

    OTCAwesome 2+ Year Member

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    Concur with all of the above. I guess I forgot to study what fire extinguisher to use in case an ultrasound machine catches on fire, or which poison gas causes the most pulmonary edema. My problem was definitely that I studied way too much practical clinical anesthesia material.
     
  17. thinkorswim

    thinkorswim Mr. Monster 10+ Year Member

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    Like 50% of the exam was WTF questions. The other 50% covered topics they tested us on in the Basic exam, like mechanisms of action.

    I, for one, love spending my evenings and weekends away from family and friends studying for the wrong exam. I think the ABA needs to do these more often and charge even more for it.
     
  18. acidbase1

    acidbase1 5+ Year Member

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    See I just don't agree with this at all. The ITE for instance, there are always a fair amount of WTF questions on there. However, there are also a decent amount of doable questions one might see in say "Miller" or "M&M". If I took the ITE today I'd have scored in the 80th percentile, at worst the 70th.

    It's a slap in the face to be extremely well prepared on the fundamentals of your specialty and get tested over none of it. I don't know what the ABA is trying to accomplish with the crapshoot exams. It's not making anyone a better anesthesiologist. Furthermore, it's going to discourage people from choosing anesthesia as a specialty. Med students are already put off by the fact we have to take the basic.

    We need as many board certified anesthesiologist as possible given the climate of our specialty.
     
  19. cf817

    cf817 7+ Year Member

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    Completely agree....that test was a giant stinking pile of bull$hit. Esoteric crap that rarely had any relevance to what we do on a day to day basis. What really bothers me is I don't see what the hell was the point of splitting the written boards into two exams. There was no delineation between material, so what was the point??? Just seems like a money grab.
     
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  20. pgg

    pgg Laugh at me, will they? SDN Moderator 10+ Year Member

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    Well, obviously I didn't take this particular exam, so I'll take you guys at your word when you say 50% wasn't anesthesia. But you're hardly the first person to walk out of there wondering WTF the exam authors were thinking. And the vast majority pass. If you're an 80th %ile'r then you'll be one of them.

    Also remember that every year there are experimental questions on the exam. Odds aren't bad that at least some of those WTF questions don't matter.

    And in the end, if you want board certification to mean anything, the exam can't be easy.


    I thought the cost of the Basic + Advanced = cost of the old written?
     
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  21. Pharmado

    Pharmado PharmaDo 5+ Year Member

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    I did 20,000 practice questions (not exaggerating-4000+ Original questions from multiple Q-banks-TrueLearn Adv, TL ITE, multiple ACE exams, M5, Hall, some old ITE questions each repeated multiple times) and there were still dozens of questions on topics I never saw and wouldn't have studied. I remember obstetric and trauma questions that would have been suited for their residents, but had nothing to do with us. The ABA isn't testing us on things we need to know nor are they setting an appropriate standard.
     
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  22. KetamineIsAHellofaDrug

    KetamineIsAHellofaDrug

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    Had these questions too. Seriously, has mustard gas still been thought to be a viable threat since WWI? I counted 13 questions on toxicology, 4 of which were on cyanide poisoning. Apparently I got the EM board exam.. When, as anesthesiologists, are we ever going to be the 1st line physician dealing with poison gas victims or treating toxic overdoses? There definitely seemed to be more non-anesthesia questions than anesthesia questions, and of the anesthesia questions, odd ball or rare topics came up. Not a single question on difficult airway, TEE, bread and butter pain syndromes, only a handful of questions on common blocks (most of the regional stuff was out of left field), etc. This reminded me of Step 2 and 3... Waste of money and time. Shame on the ABA...

    Truelearn helped for the few actual anesthesia-related questions. I don't think any potential Q-bank or review book would've prepared me for the oddball questions on this exam.
     
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  23. Pharmado

    Pharmado PharmaDo 5+ Year Member

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    I had 0 questions on anesthesia gases. None. We use gases for 95%+ of cases and yet the ABA doesn't feel like they are important. I had 1-2 questions on induction drugs and 2 on pain meds (and even those were peripheral and not direct questions). I didn't get a single difficult airway question, only 1 TEE question but like ketamine said, there were multiple questions on toxic substances (mustard gas, ricin, sarin etc). The test is a joke and the ABA should be ashamed of themselves for taking my money and putting that product forward.
     
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  24. teeva

    teeva 2+ Year Member

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    Lol you guys think the ABA GAF after they've collected your testing fees in advance, much less your initial ABA candidacy fee.

    Look at their goals. They want to differentiate you anesthesiologists from CRNAs by showing how knowledgeable you are by testing you to death and doing it again and again every few years, and forcing you to collect certificates in dumb **** like regional and OB and PSH. They can't say you're better by default than CRNAs clinically since CRNAs are tied to some of your incomes. So when WW3 or the apocalypse comes, the ABA can say you are capable of serving in the battlefield because you're so smart, while your CRNA comrade stays at home doing plastic surgery anesthesia for those who are rich enough to stay home and maintain their lifestyle.
     
  25. acidbase1

    acidbase1 5+ Year Member

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    I've never in my life done something like write a letter to a board, but I'm seriously considering it. Or at least talking to my PD about it. Is this a complete waste of time? (Think I know the answer).

    Again, id be surprised if I failed, this is a matter of principle. I spoke to a buddy who graduated three years ago who took the traditional exam before the advanced. He said it was identical to the ITE. I just think it's ridiculous they base our progress off the ITE then throw a complete game changer at the end with no way in hell of preparing for the exam.
     
  26. acidbase1

    acidbase1 5+ Year Member

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    Furthermore, aren't they supposed to follow their content outline?
     
  27. FFP

    FFP Grunt, cog, body, pompous ass Gold Donor Classifieds Approved 10+ Year Member

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    Wrong!

    We need as many GOOD anesthesiologists as possible. Board certification should not be just a rubber stamp.

    For those who complain about "esoteric" questions, guess what? That's exactly what one pays for when they ask for a doctor, not a CRNA. It doesn't take an anesthesiology residency to know the routine crap. Monkey see monkey do, remember? The CRNAs know that crap after a while, too (plus they have had some form of schooling in anesthesiology for 2 years, too). The difference is in those details, because in anesthesiology one cannot foresee when the answer to the esoteric question will become part of a "you have 2 minutes to fix the patient before he's harmed" problem.

    All of you complainers, you ain't seen the CCM board questions. Answering those feels like sh!tting bricks. That's exactly how a board exam should be. I don't think I will ever score close to 90% on that exam, even after decades of experience. It's just humbling. When one gets board-certified even after that, one never forgets how little one knows, and one continues to seek wisdom and knowledge.
     
    Last edited: Jul 30, 2017
  28. FFP

    FFP Grunt, cog, body, pompous ass Gold Donor Classifieds Approved 10+ Year Member

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    Have you read it? You'd be surprised how comprehensive it is.

    Many people make the mistake of just reading some board-prep and other favorite book(s), instead of covering the content outline, line by line. Then they are surprised when the exam contains stuff that was not included in Morgan and Mikhail, Truelearn or whatever material they had used.
     
  29. FFP

    FFP Grunt, cog, body, pompous ass Gold Donor Classifieds Approved 10+ Year Member

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    Did you take your Basic exam, or was that your twin? :p

    Because, according to the content outline (90% of the test takers probably haven't read), that's where many of those questions belong.
     
    Last edited: Jul 30, 2017
  30. chewychew

    chewychew ASA Member 2+ Year Member

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    I don't have a problem that the ABA put in 'esoteric' questions into their board exam, my issue is the amount of said questions. I get it, they need to make questions that are different levels of difficultly to stratify test takers and weed out the bottom few. But it's just pure laziness of the ABA to accomplish this goal by peppering the board exam with (IMO) an excessive amount of the 'esoteric' questions. I'm sure they could write difficult, tertiary level questions related to anesthesia that we encounter in real life. But they don't, they're lazy. Their approach is to write 4 questions on hyberbaric oxygen, 2 questions on drowning, 2 questions on chemical warfare, etc. The test is only 200 questions long.

    I think the other problem is that these exams are randomly generated from a large bank of questions. On my exam I had two question stems that were almost identical and both of the questions had identical answer choices. The answer was the same for both questions. I'm not complaining b/c it was an easy question, but again, the fact that the test is only 200 questions but I'm being asked about the same thing, in the same way, twice, is pretty damning of the lack of quality control of this exam.
     
  31. dannyboy1

    dannyboy1 7+ Year Member

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    Exactly. All of the "esoteric" stuff is somewhere in the 1500 + pages of Barash or M and M, but how much of it is relevant to the usual practice of anesthesia?Instead of writing some longer stemmed questions that emphasize clinical reasoning they just write one line "factoid" questions. Either you know it or you don't.
     
  32. vector2

    vector2 ASA Member 10+ Year Member

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    FWIW, I took the advanced a year ago and did way worse on it than ITE and basic, which I got 90th% on the first year it was administered. I consider myself a pretty good test taker (hopefully good enough to pass both advanced PTE and CCM board this year), but even last year I thought the advanced aba was a joke and that I had accidentally walked into an EM board. It's disheartening to see the trend is continuing.
     
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  33. acidbase1

    acidbase1 5+ Year Member

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    You're clearly misguided. You think BS unrelated esoteric questions make a good anesthesiologist? You're full of @&$&. Knowing the MOA of mustard gas is making me better? Give me a break. If they're trying to weed someone like me out they're doing the specialty an injustice. I have done well academically and studied for over 6 months to take the exam. (In excess of what I already did in residency). It does not even come close to testing the true aspects of the specialty.
     
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  34. acidbase1

    acidbase1 5+ Year Member

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    How old are you? You haven't taken boards in decades probably so your opinion is irrelevant. The pass machine follows the content outline line by line genius
     
  35. FFP

    FFP Grunt, cog, body, pompous ass Gold Donor Classifieds Approved 10+ Year Member

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    Yep, I am totally irrelevant. Thank God you and the pass machine are not.
     
  36. FFP

    FFP Grunt, cog, body, pompous ass Gold Donor Classifieds Approved 10+ Year Member

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    Nope. It's the residency programs and the oral boards that are supposed to weed out the idiots, the clinically incompetent. The written board exam is supposed to weed out those who are too lazy to read up beyond the daily routine practice requirements (aka the CRNA level). And still the system doesn't work; everybody becomes board-certified, sooner or later, in this country.

    I am sure that there were a number of stupid, useless and/or esoteric questions. I am also sure that most of them were not, regardless how they seem after 3 years of residency. The problem with our board certification system is that it's still a joke compared to the UK or ANZCA, because of the MCQs. Just take a look at the amount of knowledge that is required for their exams. It's still way too easy to become board-certified in this country; that's why 95+% of the graduates are, after 5 years from graduation. IMO, it's good that the ABA makes us sweat for it, if nothing else.
     
    Last edited: Jul 30, 2017
  37. dannyboy1

    dannyboy1 7+ Year Member

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    Board certification is pretty much a requirement to maintain credentialing at a hospital. Therefore the ABA needs pretty much everyone to be board certified. If board certification became so difficult that a sizable portion of anesthesiologists were not able to be certified there would be a huge shortage of docs leading hospitals to do away with board certification as necessary for credentialing leading to markedly less revenue for the ABA
     
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  38. FFP

    FFP Grunt, cog, body, pompous ass Gold Donor Classifieds Approved 10+ Year Member

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    And that's where the problem is with board-certification in this country. Quantity, not quality. That has never been the way to excellence.

    That's why I applaud when they at least try to make people sweat for that title. There is an increasing tech-type mentality in the specialty, if not the entire profession; people only want to learn what they use in their everyday routine practice. Guess what? That's not what being a doctor is about, in most of the world. The term "doctor" comes from expert, authority on a subject, teacher, adviser. The routine stuff? That's something even a "DNP" should/will be able to do.
     
    Last edited: Jul 30, 2017
  39. rakotomazoto

    rakotomazoto ASA Member 7+ Year Member

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    Sounds like I am in for a real treat in a year! Sorry to hear it was such a frustrating experience for so many. I'm on deck to take it next year, good to know that all I need to do is know everything about everything, anesthesia and otherwise.
     
  40. acidbase1

    acidbase1 5+ Year Member

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    Here are the facts. The ABA sets a standard to which we track our progress... the ITE. Now WE (the past two graduating classes) are the guinea pigs for this new standard. I said it earlier, the graduates three years confirmed their board was virtually identical to the ITE. This is a crapshoot but thank god it's making us better anesthesiologists.

    FFP you're a pompous ass.
     
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  41. dannyboy1

    dannyboy1 7+ Year Member

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    Maybe. But in this specialty common sense, quick thinking, and lack of stupidity go a long way in avoiding bad outcomes. The esoteric stuff, not so much. FWIW the guy in my residency program who scored in the top 10 percent on the basic and crushes the ITE, I wouldn't let him anesthetise my dog ...
     
  42. complainaboutaba

    complainaboutaba

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    [Made a new account for purposes of posting about this exam.]

    This above post was well said. And FFP, I really don't think you would have liked this exam, at all, had you taken it. This was not a rigorous exam (as you describe the CCM boards) with highly difficult clinical questions that differentiate great anesthesiology providers from okay ones. It was an extremely lazy exam from the question writer standpoint.

    I performed > 93%ile all four years on ITE, and got the 10% letter on ABA basic. I pride myself on being very serious in my attempts to be a highly knowledgeable young anesthesiologist. I finished this exam in roughly 65 minutes (30 minutes, 5 min break, another 30 mins) because every question was a tiny stem asking either a very easy anesthesia question or a really, really clinically irrelevant piece of trivia. There were very few of the questions I would like to see - the kind that have a stem more than 5 words, make you think about physiology and relevant patient care principles, require some critical thinking, and differentiate those with lots of knowledge from those that only know the basics. I asked some CCM-boarded and EM-boarded folks a couple of the trivia questions that fell into their realms out of curiosity this weekend, and their response was the same as mine during the test - laughter, who the f knows, and who the f cares.

    I know it's annoying to see people complain about exams - I almost never do - and yeah we passed, it'll be fine, I get it. But I agree with many of the above posters - this exam was lazily-produced garbage. The ABA put out a crap exam, and I hope they realize a lot of young anesthesiologists lost a lot of respect for their certification process this weekend (not that they care, I know).
     
  43. FFP

    FFP Grunt, cog, body, pompous ass Gold Donor Classifieds Approved 10+ Year Member

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    +1. Unfortunately, if the knowledge is not far from a CRNA's, what's the difference? What does "doctor" stand for? What does one build the clinical expertise on?

    For the record, I also hated my own written exam. I remember a number of Step 1 level questions and details that were completely irrelevant to the practice of anesthesia. I couldn't care less whether an adrenergic receptor subtype increases or decreases cAMP or whatever in the cell. I used to know that, but I cannot imagine a clinical scenario where that would matter.
     
    Last edited: Jul 30, 2017
  44. complainaboutaba

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    I think FFP sees people complaining about an exam and thinks we're exaggerating the amount of dumb questions and whining because it was hard, since that happens all the time.

    I agree, this exam felt different - lazier, stupider, etc than other exams I've taken before. If he had taken it, I really think he would've been disgusted how little critical thinking and detailed knowledge of anesthetic practice was useful in answering the questions
     
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  45. anbuitachi

    anbuitachi ASA Member 7+ Year Member

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    i guess i should study for anesthesia jeopardy
     
  46. FFP

    FFP Grunt, cog, body, pompous ass Gold Donor Classifieds Approved 10+ Year Member

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    +1.
     
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  47. complainaboutaba

    complainaboutaba

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    Don't stress too much reading these accounts of the exam. In reality, you should be relieved if they give a similar exam, even though you'd feel frustrated afterwards.

    We only had to know really basic anesthesia-related things, and do an okay job educated-guessing on other b#llcrap, in order to pass. There were few difficult anesthesia questions that required brain function. If I could guarantee that you would receive the same exam next year, I would tell you to spend any of your free time on something other than studying for it.
     
  48. sigrhoillusion

    sigrhoillusion ASA Member 2+ Year Member

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    I remember taking my written exam a few years ago and thinking I had failed. Then ended up like >90%ile which to be fair was much better than ANY of the ITE results I had taken. That being said the first day or so all I could think about were the WTF questions and questions I knew I got wrong based on asking other people. But then I got together with some co-residents and we sat down and tried to remember questions. Within a day or two we had probably remembered all but a handful of the questions and realized the WTF questions were like 10% of the test. 20-25. But those are the ones you remember. Then you see that 100-150 of the questions were easy and initially forgettable. Then you get in that situation where you're questioning a total of maybe 50 questions you're not sure if you got right or not. In the end you get more right than wrong and you end up passing.

    And even if THIS test was heavy on the garbage questions, that's the reason why they curve it. They spend weeks using pretty complex analysis to create a fair curve. So if EVERYONE gets questions that 20% of test takers get right, most likely that will be tossed. Again, not sure what the exact curve analysis will be, but in the end it will be fair.
     
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  49. acidbase1

    acidbase1 5+ Year Member

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    I want to reiterate I have never complained about an exam before this one
     
  50. complainaboutaba

    complainaboutaba

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    Btw, in case an ultrasound catches on fire when we're doing the ABA Applied OSCEs later this year, I'd love to know what extinguisher to use! (From what I read out of curiosity afterwards, two of the options are routinely used for electrical fires.)

    [ABA, instead of being angry that this question got mentioned online afterwards, just get rid of it. It's really, really stupid. Let me emphasize, really stupid. In fact, fire that question writer from your staff.]
     
  51. Robotic Wis-Hipple

    Robotic Wis-Hipple

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    Guys, it is a fairly silly exam that definitely has a much larger portion of WTF questions on it than the ITE's, and I did feel similarly this time last year after I took it. It's odd to look at that exam and think "this is what 8 years of training culminates with? This is what my 3 years of Anesthesia training boils down to?" But, now, a year later I can tell you, it's the Oral Boards that serve that purpose. And that exam does. So be careful what you wish for.
     
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