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ABA Basic Exam 2015

Discussion in 'Anesthesiology' started by acidbase1, Apr 25, 2015.

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  1. acidbase1

    acidbase1 5+ Year Member

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    Hello people, so I am gearing up to take this exam, few questions.

    1) Is the exam going to be the same as last year? I know the 2014 exam was 4.5 hours, ours is going to be around 6 hours. Did they add questions or something?

    2) Wasnt the 2014 exam 250 questions long?

    3) So the pass rate was about 96.5% in 2014, is there any indication that it will be raised this year? Also, the passing percent correct in terms of questions was around 62% correct wasnt it?

    4) Lastly, how did you folks study? I am using pass machine and Start prep (AKA Stanford course). Do you guys has further suggestions for resources?

    I know some of the questions are probably impossible to know unless you have a mole inside the ABA, but any help is greatly appreciated. Take care
     
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  3. acidbase1

    acidbase1 5+ Year Member

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    Anyone???
     
  4. Shimmy8

    Shimmy8 ASA Member 5+ Year Member

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    I've been listening to pass machine, then doing m5 questions related to that and then reading M&M anything I don't feel I have a good handle on.

    Been taking notes on the questions, so last week or two before exam going to review the pass machine handouts, go over my answers/notes to m5, and then do Hall and/or Start Prep question bank with any time left.
     
    acidbase1 likes this.
  5. Gern Blansten

    Gern Blansten Account on Hold 10+ Year Member

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    I fully expect the pass rate to drop to around 93-95%. Just a hunch. The previous pass rate of ~97% is exceedingly high for any standardized exam administered by the ABA.
     
    acidbase1 likes this.
  6. acidbase1

    acidbase1 5+ Year Member

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    Thanks gents, I'm just uneasy taking an exam with so many unknowns. Hence, I knew pretty much exactly where I stood walking into the USMLE examinations.

    I really hope they don't ratchet up the pass cutoff, not that I plan on being anywhere near the 10th percentile, but it's nice to have that in the back of your mind.
     
  7. txhorn

    txhorn ASA Member 5+ Year Member

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    I'll be using Hall and M5 almost exclusively, should be more than enough to pass if you really read and understand the explanations.
     
  8. acidbase1

    acidbase1 5+ Year Member

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    Aren't only the first four sections geared solely towards the basic science section in hall? The rest of the qbank would be a waste of time
     
  9. scudrunner

    scudrunner ASAPAC Supporter 7+ Year Member

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    The bar will be higher. Not sure how much, just higher. This was communicated to our PD by the ABA.
     
  10. acidbase1

    acidbase1 5+ Year Member

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    My guess is 90%, hopefully they don't make this ridiculous like everything else
     
  11. acidbase1

    acidbase1 5+ Year Member

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    Complete bs giving us a board in the middle of our training, only specialty that does this
     
  12. polar403

    polar403 ASA Member 10+ Year Member

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    Radiology does it, too, I believe.
     
  13. kingcer0x

    kingcer0x Re-Member 10+ Year Member

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    big difference between a board after PGY 4 and a board after PGY 2

    As said in a previous post, this test is going nowhere, given the performance of CA-2s compared to CA-3s on the latest ITEs

     
  14. acidbase1

    acidbase1 5+ Year Member

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    Please expand, what do you mean it's going nowhere?

    The Bulls!t part of it all is that it's gonna make passing the subsequent tests that much more difficult
     
  15. acidbase1

    acidbase1 5+ Year Member

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    I see what you meant, going nowhere as in the CA2s out performed the CA3s. Yeah, and as I mentioned, the curve is just gonna get steeper.
     
  16. Soccerchick

    Soccerchick

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    How did you find out the basic exam this year is going to be 6 hours. On the ABA website basic exam blueprint it says the exam is 4 hours and 40 mins and 250 questions, although it also says the exam will be offered in July as well.
    Also are we sure the exam is pass/fail again? And why wouldn't they keep about the same pass/fail rate??
    Thanks for your responses!
     
  17. rishk789

    rishk789 "Anesthesia" 7+ Year Member

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    Good luck to all of us taking the Basic exam in the coming days! :luck:
     
  18. turnupthegas

    turnupthegas 2+ Year Member

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    Van down by the river
    Cannot wait to get this over with.
     
    acidbase1 likes this.
  19. Notanerd

    Notanerd 5+ Year Member

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    I hate to say it but I have put very little effort into this exam especially since it is a pass fail. I scored approx 80 percentile on the ITE and I have heard that this test is just so random there is no use in studying. Everyone I have talked to about this test says studying for it is almost impossible bc of its randomness. Especially since last years pass rate was 97%
     
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  21. polar403

    polar403 ASA Member 10+ Year Member

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    The latter.
     
  22. acidbase1

    acidbase1 5+ Year Member

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    I'm curious to hear everyone's thoughts on this exam...
     
  23. Guillemot

    Guillemot 5+ Year Member

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    A few comments:

    Time: Plenty of time given to take the exam.
    Software quality: overall poor. Crashed on me 2x. UI design was also ****ty if compared to the USMLE exams..
    Content: Mostly reasonable, some stuff that was reasonable but I didnt know. Also a few random q's or things that made me think "who gives a ****."
    Not worried about passing as I score well on tests.
     
  24. Shimmy8

    Shimmy8 ASA Member 5+ Year Member

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    Agree with above.

    Overall, the best word my fellow residents have used is it was a "dumb" exam.

    "Who gives a ****!" is also a popular sentiment.
     
    acidbase1 likes this.
  25. Midwest088

    Midwest088 2+ Year Member

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    Left pretty frustrated. Definitely not a reflection of how I studied :( just hoping for that pass so I can forget about this
     
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  26. acidbase1

    acidbase1 5+ Year Member

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    Wow you're pretty awesome
     
  27. acidbase1

    acidbase1 5+ Year Member

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    I thought they questions were written to overtly trick the examinees. ABA are a bunch of cock suckers. That being said, I passed. On to the next hoop
     
  28. ericL

    ericL Member 10+ Year Member

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    Yeah.... Mostly non-clinically relevant minutiae type bull$hit.... Vast majority had me asking "Who the F cares?"
     
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  29. acidbase1

    acidbase1 5+ Year Member

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    Anyone know when we will get the results?
     
  30. CharleyVCU1988

    CharleyVCU1988 Are we having fun yet? 10+ Year Member

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    My PD said we would get the results in September.

    That's a really long, agonizing wait.

    Then again, some other people are claiming 6 weeks.

    My thoughts on the exam? The first section had a bunch of surprisingly easy questions and I burned through it in 30 mins. 15 or so questions I didn't know. Rest of the time on the 1st section I kept going over my answers to make sure I didn't make stupid errors.

    However on the 2nd section there were a LOT more "WTF?" moments. Lots of little minutiae that made me wonder how knowing that would help me in the long run.

    Could have studied better on anatomy and statistics, however, a lot of my time was spent trying to memorize all the little minutiae for the organ-based systems/clinical assessment. I felt there was a lot more anatomy/statistics than I thought there would be. I also thought there were too many questions about physician impairment as well - and not like "spot the signs of impairment" but specific numbers and stuff.

    I also now officially hate Mapleson and Bain circuits and that's all I will say without giving anything else away. I have never seen one of those things in real life in order to appreciate them and really know how they work.

    I don't work for StartPrep but I felt like doing their stuff, while tedious, helped reinforce the concepts needed for this exam. Their explanations were a LOT better than Morgan and Mikhail IMO.

    Whoever said the exam questions were written to trick the examinees is probably correct. There were a lot of questions where you were stuck with two choices, both of which equally valid, but one slightly better than the other. I think that's the way it has been on the USMLE as well. The M5 question bank as well as StartPrep had a couple of head-scratcher questions like that as well. Was I expecting these type of questions? Yes. Would I LIKE to face them? Absolutely not.

    Agree with the software issues - the test crashed on me 3x during the day. Unacceptable.

    So basically one big day with one teeny tiny little break in the middle - not like the USMLE - which is what I would have rather preferred.
     
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  32. CharleyVCU1988

    CharleyVCU1988 Are we having fun yet? 10+ Year Member

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    This was a handout given to me by our PD during a CA-1 resident meeting in March...looks official, but maybe the ABA changed things up after this came out.
     

    Attached Files:

  33. cf817

    cf817 7+ Year Member

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  34. acidbase1

    acidbase1 5+ Year Member

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    This is to a tee how I felt...
     
  35. CharleyVCU1988

    CharleyVCU1988 Are we having fun yet? 10+ Year Member

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    Huh, okay thanks, maybe our PD grabbed the flyer that was meant for last year's CA-1s, because I remember we got an email about all of ours passing in September, and at the same time, they handed off their study materials to us...
     
  36. BigMAC3

    BigMAC3 2+ Year Member

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    Overall, the exam was poorly executed. ABA seems to be having a lot of software issues -- my exam crashed twice. The first time was halfway through the first question block. Abruptly flashed a "Terminating..." screen, and went to a prometric home screen. I was the first at my test center to experience the problem, so the prometric person didn't know how to fix it at first, then rebooted my test to resume where it left off. Then at least 10 other test takers had the same problem. Then at the end of the second question block, the same thing happened all over again.

    The purpose of this exam was supposed to be to test CA1s understanding of fundamental knowledge for anesthesia training. However, much of the exam was factual recall, often times not well suited for multiple choice questions. Obviously I can't give any specifics. But some general points - when asking the prevalence of a condition in a population -- it's best not to have answer choices within 2% of eachother ....ex: 4, 6, 8, 10%. The answer depends on the study you happen to read, method of reporting, and half the answer choices probably fall in the study's margin of error anyway. Some questions didn't pertain to anesthesia at all (For example, topics such as personal computing hardware -- my theory: the ABA is trying to foster a new generation of computer savvy anesthesiologists -- they need someone who can build them some exam software that won't crash for half the test takers...:) )

    There was no multimedia - occasionally a graph. Question stems were short. There was plenty of time. I agree that the first question set was easier than the first. Coming back from the break into the second set had a particularly difficult series of questions, then got better towards the end.

    Overall, the ITE was a better test in terms of question quality and relevance to anesthesia practice.

    If anything, this exam detracted from my CA1 anesthesia experience. For example, time spent obsessing over memorizing second messengers, should have been spent getting comfortable with blocks on my regional rotation. This year has been focused on prepping for board exams -- things like research, presentations, medical leadership activities -- all things that I consider to be an important part of my education, all went on the back burner to prepare for a high-stakes exam.

    Best of luck to all those who took the exam! To future generations, you have my condolences :)
     
  37. partydoc

    partydoc 7+ Year Member

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    spot on
     
  38. likeaboss

    likeaboss ASA Member 5+ Year Member

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    When do we get results?
     
  39. acidbase1

    acidbase1 5+ Year Member

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    I've preached this to my attendings time and time again. The past three months of residency have suffered BIG-TIME due to this exam preparation. This is complete bullsh but at the end of the day this exam is all abt making money, so nothing will change.
     
    CharleyVCU1988 likes this.
  40. likeaboss

    likeaboss ASA Member 5+ Year Member

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    Actually, the new exam structure of basic + advanced + applied is $775 + $775 + $2100 which is $3650, and the old format was part 1 + part 2 was $1550 + $2100 = $3650

    So it costs the same...

    I think the ABA actually just wants us to study earlier...
     
  41. acidbase1

    acidbase1 5+ Year Member

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    I want to send a formal complaint to someone. This impacted patient care in a big way. Who could actually do something?
     
    CharleyVCU1988 likes this.
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  43. acidbase1

    acidbase1 5+ Year Member

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    Clearly I wasn't referring to the aba
     
  44. pgg

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

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    Can you elaborate on how this exam impacted patient care? I can't tell if you're joking or serious.
     
  45. acidbase1

    acidbase1 5+ Year Member

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    I'm serious
     
  46. pgg

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

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    OK. So elaborate. How did the existence of the ABA Basic exam impact patient care?
     
  47. Gern Blansten

    Gern Blansten Account on Hold 10+ Year Member

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    The ABA exams almost always contain questions that are being trialed to see how they perform on an exam. Until they get some data on how they do, these questions don't count and are not graded. It has always been this way. I have heard that in the past, as many as 25 of these questions exist. Most often, they are placed in the second half of the exam. For as long as I can recall, people have complained that the second half of the exam was much tougher than the first. I suspect that these non graded questions are a large part of that perception.
    Results have been said to be coming out mid July.
     
  48. Gern Blansten

    Gern Blansten Account on Hold 10+ Year Member

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    Maybe he is talking about the fact that it was very difficult to get all of the residents out on that Friday to take the exam. The Saturday option was relatively non-existent in many testing centers across the country. It was a bit of a fiasco. The ABA is well aware of this issue.
    If the complaint is that you had to study while taking care of patients, that is likely not valid and is not the fault of the ABA, IMHO.
     
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  49. acidbase1

    acidbase1 5+ Year Member

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    That's BS. While working 70-80 hours a week, trying to study an additional 30 for boards this early in training is unreasonable. We have ACGME hour restrictions for a reason. I wasn't alone when I say fatigue lead to mistakes specifically caused by the extra load of this exam. Problem is, we live in a medical world where it isn't okay to show weakness, so nobody says anything
     
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  50. Gern Blansten

    Gern Blansten Account on Hold 10+ Year Member

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    I respect your frustration, but this is not really a new issue. The only difference is the stakes of the exam are somewhat higher. However, in the past, many programs put residents on probation or let them go for low ITE scores prior to the Basic Exam. In addition, prior to duty hours restrictions, the hours were way worse ( I recall a few 120 hour weeks). Residency is a challenging time in your life, there is no doubt. However, it has always been challenging. The challenges have shifted somewhat, but they have always been there. The issue of fatigue management has always been a reality that needs to be watched closely, with or without the new exam. I think today's resident is being asked to do more in less time. A whole bunch of it is data entry stuff now that everything is computerized (Case logs/duty hours/faculty and rotation evals/ACGME surveys/constant barrage of emails etc). The unspoken pressure is on to stay past to make sure your work is completed.
    Best of luck to you on the results of the exam. I have a feeling you did fine.
     
  51. pgg

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

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    I see the problem. It's not the ABA.

    Giving you the benefit of the doubt, and believing that you really did spend 30 hours/week studying, you're doing it wrong. You don't need 30 hours per week of study time to prepare for the ABA Basic exam. Seriously, 4 hours per day of reading is far, far above the mean hours/week of reading that anesthesiology residents do. I refer you to this study:

    http://www.researchgate.net/publica...on_the_anesthesiology_in-training_examination

    Specifically Figure 1:

    [​IMG]

    Note that this is self reported (read: exaggerated) data collected by a program about their residents' reading time. (I congratulate the brave residents who told their PD they were reading 1 hour per week!) Their average reported hours/week is in the 6-7 hour range, with similar ITE performance from most of the residents in the 5-10 hour/week range. One crazy outlier at 20 hours/week ... but the freak put up a 49 on the ITE. (As I recall 43-45 is usually 98-99th percentile for CA2/3 classes.)

    30/week is half again as much as that freak.

    So either you're exaggerating your 30 hour per week figure (and also exaggerating your 70-80 hour per week clinical load?) or you're devoting way, way more time to board study than everyone else needs to. The former doesn't help discussion. The latter points to inefficient study. Neither amounts to a valid criticism of the ABA for introducing the Basic exam.

    The notion that putting an exam of consequence at the end of the CA1 year risks patient safety, because of work hours, is nonsense.


    Regardless, if you really did read 30 hours/week your CA1 year, I bet have an awesome knowledge base, which will only magnify what you learn from your clinical experience. That's great. I think too many residents cram and catch up at the end of residency. They end up studying as much or more than the ones who front-loaded their CA1 year reading ... except they didn't have the benefit of all that reading when they were actually learning how to practice.

    To the extent that the ABA Basic exam forces residents to front-load their reading, I think it's a great thing.

    And given the fact that the for the last ITE, the CA2s (who took the ABA Basic exam) outscored the CA3s (who didn't) ... the exam is here to stay.
     
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