Mehd School

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Hi guys. I'd like like to make a space where CA1's (and very soon we'll be CA2's I guess) can discuss how we're prepping for the Basic exam in early August. Curious to hear what materials you're using, and general discussion about the exam as a whole.

I'll start by saying that I'm a little nervous about the exam as I did quite poorly on the ITE. Just less than 20th percentile. I'm historically a good test taker, I just happened to draw the short straw and was on our tough Trauma/SICU month at the time of the ITE. I was coming off of two weeks of night float and was not adequately prepared. But man oh man has my program put a lot of pressure on me to do well on basic after flunking ITE.

I'm planning on making it through True learn 2 full times, and 1 final quick scan of my incorrects. Also reading Morgan and Mikhail for weak spots. One of our fellowship program directors is an author of the book "Basic Sciences in Anesthesia", so I'm planning on making it through that text this month as my primary written resource. It's not a very well known text but seniors at my program swear by it.

I was considering using pass machine, but will save that in case I fail basic the first time. I truly don't think I will, as I'm historically a strong test taker (260/262) and was simply underprepared for ITE. Using two weeks of vacation as a dedicated time but I have a lot of free time inbetween now and the test which is almost exactly 2 months away.
 

Mehd School

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I should add, my prep for ITE was basically just make it through Truelearn. I did it, but the last half of the q bank was half a$$ed, in that I had time to do the questions but not enough time to thoroughly review them. Fixing that for BASIC for sure.
 

SnapperRocks

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Good luck. You obviously have ability based on your step scores. You can only go up from here.

I think your case demonstrates the importance of doing well on exams during residency to avoid creating an uphill battle for restoring your reputation. Luckily for you, i think you are in a safer position being appropriately nervous than you would be if you had randomly crushed the ITE and gained false reassurance.

Residency and studying is a lot like working out. There is a trade off for time between being early for cases, studying, and maintaining a healthy amount of personal time off. If you create good habits early and keep up with it long enough, you will build stamina and will be able to make all 3 work.

If you are planning on doing a qbank twice, make sure you give a concerted effort to understanding the questions, answers, and wrong answers the first time through. The second time through you may simply know the answer, not understand why you got it right, and glaze over questions you don’t necessarily understand as well as you should.

Strategize understanding high yield points. If most test takers get a question correct and you don’t, you need to master that question. If only 20% get it right, there’s a chance the question is faulty. Make sure you know the high yield points before getting lost in highly technical questions that make your head spin and drain your energy.
 
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I echo what SnapperRocks said. Truelearn is a phenomenal resource. Whether that is the only resource you should use to obtain necessary foundation to become a great anesthesiologist is a completely different story. But, for the purpose of passing this exam, Truelearn has more than enough information. The key is knowing all the information on Truelearn. Just like any question bank, it is so easy to half-ass through the question bank. Spend the time to learn it well, even if you get the questions right. With your step score, you are clearly smart and are a great test taker. If you give yourself adequate time to study, you will be fine. Good luck.
 
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Mehd School

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Definitely appreciate everyone's input.

Other CA1's feel free to chime in with how things are going for you.
 

ToKingdomCome

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Does the percentile/score matter and does it get sent to fellowships or is this virtually just a passs/fail exam?
 

amandaeleven

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Hi there!

I wrote up what I did to study for the BASIC in my blog entry: How to study for the ABA [American Board of Anesthesiology] BASIC exam

Heads-up that if you're an ASA Resident Member, you have FREE access to the ACE 2019 questions through June 30th, 2020! Here's the link: ASA Education Center: Complimentary Courses for Resident Members - if you have some free time for the next couple of weeks, I'd focus on getting these complimentary questions done with notes taken on them before the offer expires.

Let me know if you have follow-up questions! Good luck to you!
 
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Does the percentile/score matter and does it get sent to fellowships or is this virtually just a passs/fail exam?
it is pass/fail/top 10%. I can only speak for cardiac. Programs asked for the “pass letter”, and if you scored top 10%, you can submit the top 10% letter to programs.

As for how much impact it makes, I have no clue, but many interviewers congratulated me on getting top 10%, so some do look at it.
 

amandaeleven

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During my fellowship applications [I initially applied for dual cardiac/ICU... and then quickly realized that my quality of life would be impacted by such a decision and dropped cardiac], most places asked for ITE scores and confirmation of P/F. I did not score in the top 10% [never been a strong test taker], but it didn't hinder me from getting offers. Perhaps it would matter more when applying to pain [which is more competitive]?
 

Gern Blansten

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Getting top 10% is a huge deal and should absolutely be listed in the honors section of your CV. It will impress fellowship directors who have increasingly fewer data points with which to evaluate applicants. It gives them confidence that you will not fail the advanced written exam (and therefore be distracted by test prep during your one year fellowship) as well as confidence in your ability to pass sub specialty board exams including the advanced TEE Exam. Fellowship programs, like core residency programs, are evaluated by the board pass rates of their grads. Any fellowship director would be happy to have someone where they know passing a test will be something they don't have to worry about. So, a track record of excellence will go a long way towards making you stand out among your peers.
Not getting top 10% is not bad and most will still get the fellowships they want, they may just have to work a little harder in the other important areas. Getting top 10% will just put you in the pole position in the race, which is not a bad place to start.
 
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apr27

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it is pass/fail/top 10%. I can only speak for cardiac. Programs asked for the “pass letter”, and if you scored top 10%, you can submit the top 10% letter to programs.

As for how much impact it makes, I have no clue, but many interviewers congratulated me on getting top 10%, so some do look at it.
Any tips? I guess, what did you do?
 

abolt18

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it is pass/fail/top 10%. I can only speak for cardiac. Programs asked for the “pass letter”, and if you scored top 10%, you can submit the top 10% letter to programs.

As for how much impact it makes, I have no clue, but many interviewers congratulated me on getting top 10%, so some do look at it.
Agreed. Not having top10% can't hurt you, but having it can only help you. My scores were commented on in every interview.

Good luck with the match next week!
 
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Any tips? I guess, what did you do?
I did two passes of Truelearn and read faust. I read barash throughout my CA-1 year as well. I think I finished most of the chapters that are tested on BASIC by the time I took it.
 
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