Big Blue necessary for the Jensen course?


Passing gas
15+ Year Member
Nov 20, 2003
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Is it necessary to purchase Big Blue for Jensen's course? I don't really want to drop $575 on yet another book, but I do want to get the most out of the course without frantically scribbling notes.


Gern Blansten

Account on Hold
15+ Year Member
Jun 21, 2006
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You will get a handbook that has snippets from big blue that discusses a lot of the topics as I recall. He does not let you leave with "his" questions, but he does give you discussion points on the topics covered in the question. Granted, it was years ago when I took his course, but I suspect the way he runs it is pretty similar to how it was back then.
Beware when he asks the audience, "where are my pain experts?" They will be the group near the front who are taking the course for the 3rd and 4th times because they can't pass the exam. I had a bit of heart burn thinking that these were his "experts" that he would call on when they was controversy over what answer was the best for a given question.
His course is a good review and a focused last minute cram session. If you have done extremely well on the ITE, you probably don't need it though. Many take it for insurance reasons. They don't want to live with regret if they fail and wonder if they could have passed with Jensen's help.


California Dreamin
10+ Year Member
Sep 25, 2008
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The Jenson course is basically just 2 days of doing Qs like the hall book. From what I've heard most of the material is covered in Big Blue but since it's basic anesthesia stuff any good book will prolly have the same stuff. If you need a good boards review book, I've good things about big blue but if you'd rather read other stuff then save your $$


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Oct 26, 2010
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Is it necessary to purchase Big Blue for Jensen's course? I don't really want to drop $575 on yet another book, but I do want to get the most out of the course without frantically scribbling notes.

I'm Niels Jensen, and I teach the course. I don't think Big Blue is necessary for many people taking the course. If it truly is "yet another book," as you note, I would not get it. Big Blue is really for those of us who struggle on standardized exams, who have a hard time trying to figure out what's really important in textbooks when it comes to Boards, and who lack the focus required to do well on the exam. The ABA wants a pretty comprehensive coverage of the content domain(s), that's clear, and Big Blue really tries to summarize in a fairly tight and hopefully increasingly well-written way the information database examiners are likely to find most interesting and testable as they write questions around the key words the Board requests them to query. So this is the purpose of Big Blue.

Here are some more thoughts about Big Blue, but know that I constantly work upon it, I tweak it, I update it, and I really try to perfect as a single best source for ABA Board study. I see some very old Big Blues and I cannot understand with so much on the line people not wanting the best there is to be their best. There is more information regarding Big Blue at links edited by mod. This having been said, of course, I understand many have constraints. Don't we all. However, as Warren Buffett says, “Investing is the transfer of purchasing power now with the reasoned expectation of receiving more purchasing power in the future.” I can't tell the number of times people who had not made partner or whose entire future was cloudy by this silly test told me, "Big Blue was the best investment I ever made."

One more thing noted above in the comments, just in commenting upon my thinking about "expert views." Many of you sell yourselves short. Just because you don't yet have a piece of paper on the wall does not mean that as very expert clinicians you don't have very valid views of complex clinical questions whose answers are not in any textbook; you do. And I therefore feel it is very valid, beyond just breaking things up a bit during a long day, to get opinions from such very fine clinicians. So I do, and often those opinions and the discussion which ensues is interesting and enlightening to all of us. So don't buy into anyone putting you down because you don't yet have a piece of paper--which you will get, with or without me, in due time and after focused study.

Here are some additional comments about Big Blue:
Big Blue has 25 years of focused key word, old question, remembered information, and ABA GAP information input. No other source can make that claim.

Big Blue has also been updated with the new Basic and Advanced content domain key words from the ABA, which govern the exams. Given this, I would definitely make Big Blue my central source for both the Basic and Advanced content domain examinations.

Further, please know, three things: 1) The pass rate for the Basic exam is in the mid-90’s; 2) Almost every Basic key word has an Advanced content domain very much along the same lines—almost every one without exception; 3) The pass rate for the Advanced content domain exam is much lower. The Advanced part 1 Written exam should not be forgotten nor disrespected by neglect after the Basic exam is passed. The Advanced content domain is our goal--hidden, camouflaged but formidable for many.

For all three reasons, I have chosen to have Big Blue before you incorporating both sets of key words. Again, Big Blue is the only source to have real, direct, discernable, demonstrable, key word correlation from the Basic and Advanced content domains; relevant key words are listed and embedded directly above the information relevant to them for you to read and appreciate as you study. This adds greatly to immediacy and relevance, and to your assessment as you study of what’s truly important. In other words, these key words listed and embedded throughout Big Blue alert you very clearly as to what needs to be cemented into your synapses and what you can perhaps be a bit more casual about. Furthermore, let’s not forget that the Varsity team (Advanced part 1 Written exam) is still expected to know and command the knowledge and skills necessary for success on the Junior Varsity team (Basic exam) where, again, the success rate is very high and confidence is being instilled; the Board does not want your training program to fail, but as for you and I after your diploma is received. . . well. . . then we face a true test. Best to know this, prepare for it, and act accordingly.

With regard to one versus two versions of Big Blue, one for the Basic exam and one for the Advanced exam, as one person told me, too, “Please don’t make me buy a second Big Blue for the Advanced exam and especially since the pass rate for the Basic exam is so high, ultimately I must pass the Advanced exam, I get very familiar with the pages, and I just don’t have nor do I want to spend the money on another Big Blue which is substantially the same with all of the key word overlap between the content domains.”

So, for these and other reasons, BOTH content domains are attacked by and covered by Big Blue. For twenty five years, as I have served as the Wingman for so many flying successfully over enemy territory, taking the vital shots with the aid of focus as you do, I’ve been an honest coach and advisor. This is the honest thing to do because essentially studying for both exams, the easy one and more the difficult one, is the way to go. To represent this otherwise and try to deny the overlap, try to deny that the pass rates on the Basic are so high, and try to perpetrate the deception of two legitimate tracks is just that—less than truthful.

We have one goal presenting obstacles of different challenges and difficulty—the Basic, Advanced, and Applied Advanced Oral exams all leading to our ultimate goal, namely Board certification.

I will also post below my analysis of these content domains, and you can see for yourself that I attack these content domains daily and have done so as much if not more than anyone in the United States over these past many months and over these past 25 years.

Finally, I would also come to a course, as early as possible as this changes the manner in which one prepares; this, too, greatly adds to focus and success. Here is some more information of interest regarding Big Blue and the program, and below I will post my analysis of the respective content domains, as well as my time logs so you can appreciate the time and effort behind the words.

Finally, I received a pretty darn nice note very recently and I wanted to share it with you. It’s nice to read some good news, and especially when we defy the powers that be. . .

On 1/26/15 4:05 PM, "DXXXXX wrote:

Can you please forward this to Dr. Jensen? Thanks

Dr. Jensen,

I would like to send you a note of gratitude. I purchased Big Blue and

took your course in San Diego in preparation for repeating the Basic exam

in January. I was one of only 50 candidates that failed. I have a history

of poor performance on standardized tests and I completely agree with you

that it¹s embarrassing already. My PD and ³mentor² attending both told me

in December that they knew undoubtedly that I would fail in January

because my initial exam I scored in the lowest percentile. I told them I

was working with you, reading Big Blue, and completed your course in SD.

I told them you believed I would pass based on the study plan we

developed through Army of One, my scores on exams at your course. They

weren¹t interested, insisted they knew more about board prep than you.

Ha!!! I just smiled and continued our plan- read Big Blue 4x prior to the

exam, listened to the Stats CD repeatedly through November, December AND

on my way to the exam in January. And I found out this morning that I

passed. Thank you for working with me, helping me to find flaws in my

plan before it was too late, and for having confidence in me when my own

program turned their backs on me. I¹m sure they will find something else

to harass me over now. Now to start studying for the Advanced exam. I¹ll

see you in early 2016 at a course to prep for the next battle.

Thank you again,

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