ABA Writtens Study Tips

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20+ Year Member
Jun 13, 2002
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I figured most of the guys who took the writtens this year and passed would want to help out the current CA-3s with study sources they found to be useful (and not useful).

I'll start:

Don't blow the writtens off. It's totally doable to pass the exam, but it's also really easy to fail them. I knew a few friends who failed because they either had poor study habits or used poor study materials.

The writtens consist of multiple choice questions, thus doing tons of practice questions is probably the best use of your time. Knowing Chantigan and Hall inside and out is a MUST. ACE questions were also extremely high yield. Try to get the last 4-5 years and pound through them. If you can get more, than do more! Finally the MedStudy 2007 ?'s were useful as well. Remember in addition to doing the questions make sure you read and understand each explanation thoroughly. Many additional topics are mentioned in the explanations, so that by doing one question you might hit on 4-5 topics that could be tested on the boards.

In total I ended up doing close to 2000 questions.

I came out of the exam not knowing what to expect (I thought the exam was tougher than the 2010 ITE) but was happy knowing many of the topics covered in the above sources made their way into the writtens.

In the end I passed and that's all that matters.

Didn't use big blue. Didn't use that Anesthesiology Board Review book that recently got published by LWW. I find that I learn the best by doing tons of MCQs and reviewing areas that I am weak in, in a supplementary text (like M+M).

Good luck, and study hard. I want as many of my future colleagues as possible to be board certified...we got a tough road ahead of us with Obamacare and CRNAs and having a good knowledge base and being board certified is gonna be essential to fight back.

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Congrats first of all, for passing your board. Wish you the best in your practice.
As I start to prepare for the written and oral board, I am in need of good study material. I am currently reading Clinical Anesthesiaology by Morgan, Mikhail & Murray, any one recommend this for board?
Also, can you tell us where to buy ACE questions?

Agreed. My formula-

1. go through Chantigan and Hall question book twice in great detail
2. Faust as primary study source- outlined and basically memorized it- ready my outline each night before I went to bed for one month.
3. Quick read of big blue (someone gave me a copy) to identify any gaps and outlined those
4. old ABA exams X 5 years

I never do great on standardized tests. But I left the test thinking what the hell, almost 99.9 percent of those questions were covered multiple times in my regimen from above. Easiest exam I've ever taken thanks to the high-yield stuff I studied. And I was much smarter for it at the end.

I started in May, easy to cover with work schedules over that period of time.
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1. read Big Blue 3-4 times over the course of CA-3 year
2. did 3-4 old ABA exams

Passed. Owned Hall & Chantigian but didn't use it.
I am an older graduate and completely out of the loop. Where can I get old ABA Exams? Any help would be greatly appreciated.

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Thank you. I see this link is to the old in training exams. But are old actual written exams also available?
I started reading consistently as a CA-2, some M&M, some Barash. The last six months of residency, I focused on going through Big Blue and knew it pretty well (except Physics, Stats, Electricity, and Machines). I did the old ABA ITE's '94-96 just for practice--I did not look up answers when I got them wrong. Also, I went through the cardiac, respiratory, and regional chapters as well as some other random questions in Hall.

I agree with the above regarding the importance of reading throughout residency. It will make preparation much less miserable and stressful.

Ultimately, you have to determine what works for yourself. For me, its all about repitition.
Thank you. I see this link is to the old in training exams. But are old actual written exams also available?

I am under the impression that the ITE's were also the actual written exams for those particular years. In fact, when I was a CA-1, I remember people taking their ABA written exam, while we were taking the ITE.