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I failed the oral boards again :(

Discussion in 'Anesthesiology' started by Patron, May 17, 2012.

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  1. Patron

    Patron 2+ Year Member

    Dec 27, 2009
    How many times can I take it?
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  3. sevoflurane

    sevoflurane Ride 10+ Year Member

    Jul 16, 2003
    Ahhh man. Sorry to hear that. Figure out what went wrong and kick it's butt next time around.
  4. Patron

    Patron 2+ Year Member

    Dec 27, 2009
    Sevoflorane thank you for your kind support. I studied very very hard for it , I thought I did good on the exam but I was shocked with the result. I did practice and always got excellent feedback from Ho examiners and my coworkers. It was huge disappointment but not the end.
  5. aneftp

    aneftp 7+ Year Member

    Mar 23, 2010
    Unless they changed the rules within past 5-6 years.

    U have 3 shots at oral boards.

    If u fail orals 3 times. U lose your board eligibility. And either have to do one year of training again OR (and this is path 99% of people take). They continue as attending but have to sit and pass the in training exam.

    Once they pass the in training exam. They must than pass the written exam again. Before taking the oral exams.

    I know one person who had to repeat these steps. It's painful. But in the end they got board certified in 2008. They had failed their orals 3 times. Last time was in 2005.

    Took in training exam in 2006. Passed it. Pass writtens again in 2007. Than finally passed the orals in 2008.
  6. Jay K

    Jay K nullum gratuitum prandium 5+ Year Member

    Good luck Patron.

    Congrats to that persistent individual; I wonder how many job changes they had to go through during that whole process.
  7. darby11

    darby11 Banned

    Apr 26, 2012
    call michael HO stat you doosh
  8. UMgrad

    UMgrad Member 10+ Year Member

    Mar 26, 2002
    I personally think that the Michael Ho course is not very helpful. The book was very worth it and having 2 mocks was a great in that it gave me an idea on what to expect, but otherwise useless course. If you took it once already, I don't think continuing to take it will help. I know someone who has taken the course several times and failed.
  9. Trisomy13

    Trisomy13 ultra 10+ Year Member

    Apr 13, 2004
    mountain home
    I also think the Ho course is non-essential. My colleague took Ho's course this year and failed. I used a different service that provided multiple mock exams and personalized feedback, and I passed. Obviously there are many other variables involved.
    I read large chunks of Yao&Artusio, supplemented with Reed's Clinical Cases in Anesthesia, and did about 15-16 mock exams via Skype with a board review service that worked for me. Only after about 10 did I start to get very confident with the pacing and potential hostility of examiners. On exam day it came down to the luck of the draw regarding knowledge base (read, read, read). The actual verbalising and "acting" part of the exam - that was cake by then.
  10. aneftp

    aneftp 7+ Year Member

    Mar 23, 2010
    The person I know who had to re do the entire board certification process again after failing the orals 3 times.

    They have worked at same hospital for at least 12 years. So they did not get "booted out" since they lost their board eligibility. They were placed on "probation" for that one year while they took the in training exam again to become board eligbile. So yes, it's stressful.

    It's not like you instantly become a bad anesthesiologist if you fail your oral boards 3 times and have to start over. This one particular person. They had anxiety/public speaking issues. Went to see a psychiatrist. Put on a beta blocker prior to oral board exam again and passed finally.

    I know some hospitals, physicans will lose staff priviliges if they do not become board certified after 3-5-7 years etc. This one particular hospital was a large teaching hospital and they gave that MD the benefit of the doubt.

    Now if you are a bad clinical anesthesiologist along with giving collegues and surgeons bad attitude/cancelling too many cases for no reason. You betcha, you may be out of a job if you lose your board eligiblity.

    So it's not the end of the world if you fail 3 times. Crap happens. Keep your head up.
  11. aneftp

    aneftp 7+ Year Member

    Mar 23, 2010
    I took the Michael Ho course. It's not "essential". I agree with a lot of people. But it sure was a wake up call to prepare for the orals.

    Michael Ho can't "teach you" anything you do not already now. But it's the way to approach preparing for the oral boards.

    All this preparing for the oral boards is really just practice, practice, practice. The writtens are all about knowledge. The orals is justifying that knowledge in real life situations. How do you analyze and clearly express your thoughts to examiners.

    And that's what Michael Ho introduces you to in his classes.

    I did take a 2 day Ho weekend course. Like other posters, I didn't feel like I gained a lot of of the course. The second day was too long...I think the NFL playoffs were on and I was missing out on some football!

    But Ho gets your brain stimulated. Find friends to practice with.
  12. Arch Guillotti

    Arch Guillotti Senior Member Lifetime Donor Classifieds Approved SDN Administrator 10+ Year Member

    Aug 8, 2001
    Keep plugging away my friend.

    Search for some posts by CambieMD, he went through the process and has excellent advice.
  13. PinchandBurn

    PinchandBurn 7+ Year Member

    Jul 26, 2010

    I think the Ho course does stimulate your brain. I would recommend taking different forms of it.

    The first course should be taken 'months' before as a 'wake up call' and to scare you a little. This being the weekend course.

    Then take the weekend course that has the must know's attached to it on Monday and Tuesday.

    Then take another 'must know' course (different cases) --this is a monday/tues thing.

    Supplement with Just Oral Boards .....doing web cam based mock orals.

    Finally, also what helped is michael Ho had these free 'web cam clubs'. This is when he reviews hot topics a few times a week.

    Finally, if English is your second language, then get some help. You can know all the anesthesia in the world but need to articulate it.

    Good luck!
  14. cincincyreds

    cincincyreds 5+ Year Member

    May 9, 2010
    So if about 1000/year take it with about 80-85% pass rate, they are failing between 150-200 people. Seems like a lot of people are getting screwed over by this process. Can someone remind me, was there an article 2 or 3 years ago in Anesthesia and Analgesia about females doing better than males on this exam, or was that article my imagination? Wouldn't an article like that nulify the validity of the exam?
  15. Arch Guillotti

    Arch Guillotti Senior Member Lifetime Donor Classifieds Approved SDN Administrator 10+ Year Member

    Aug 8, 2001
    I thought the exam and examiners were very fair.

    Of course I passed:).

    I think there may be a few folks out there that get "screwed" but IMHO they are few and far between.
  16. TrustMe

    TrustMe Junior Member 7+ Year Member

    Jan 19, 2006
    Where you wish you were.
    I too thought that they were very fair......except when they asked things that I didn't know. Then I thought that it was unfair to ask line isolation monitor questions.

    I all honesty though, one set of my examiners were much more "helpful" than the other set. Meaning that if I did not know an answer they seemed much more likely to "lead" me in the right direction with more questions as opposed to asking the same question in a different way that I still didn't have the answer to. Don't know how they can standardize things like that, but I am told that they have some way of doing it.

    I am not sure about the best study method. I had a friend that went to two review courses prior to the exam and I didn't go to any review courses. I did all of my practicing with friends and staff members. Don't know which method is the best. If you have gone to review courses for most of your standardized exams (SAT, MCAT, USMLE, written boards, etc.) and that worked for you, I wouldn't change it up now. If you have never gone to a review course (myself) then you are probably okay not starting to now. Stick with what has worked for you thus far.
  17. proman

    proman Member Moderator Emeritus 10+ Year Member

    Mar 5, 2002
    Yeah it might be rough to answer about a question about line isolation but you have to admit it is a clinically relevant topic that has implications on patient care. Chances are if you're fielding a question like that they're just killing time.
  18. bassvp

    bassvp MS4--Doing the derm dance... 7+ Year Member

    Apr 13, 2010
    Sorry to butt in here, but if you are able to keep practicing as an attending without being board-certified, then what are the actual negatives of not being board-certified? Obviously it gives an employer an easy "out" in getting rid of you should they wish, but are there other repercussions aside from being pissed at yourself?
  19. bullard

    bullard Senior Member 10+ Year Member

    Oct 15, 2005
    Depends on the practice. In my group, you can't be offered partnership without being board-certified.
  20. B-Bone

    B-Bone Attending 10+ Year Member

    Jun 22, 2004
    same here. plus my hospital won't continue to credential you if you're not BC within 5 years of starting to work there.
  21. Bertelman

    Bertelman Maverick! 7+ Year Member

    Feb 11, 2006
    Had a Cooch
    Exactly. It is hard to find employment if you are neither board certified nor board eligible.
  22. PMPMD

    PMPMD 4G MD 10+ Year Member

    Oct 15, 2001
    My group won't make anyone partner without BC. = Significant salary difference.

    I'm taking the CCM boards in August - if I fail the oral boards, they don't count. (Yes, I could wait and take them the following year but I want to take themthis year with my knowledge base at its peak).
  23. LongSnow

    LongSnow Junior Member 10+ Year Member

    Mar 2, 2003
    The oral board are about one thing: are you going to be safe out there?

    So, don't worry about the petty little grab bag questions, and memorize a bunch of stuff right before the exam. That will just stress you out and take away from the big picture.

    Tell them what you would do - because you perform good and safe anesthesia. You know more than you think.

    You can't control the questions they are going to ask. Don't fret about it.

    Practice mock exam under realistic scenarios, and make it as realistic as you can. Wear a suit if you think that would help you prepare. Whatever.

    Rest, relax, the examiners are normal people who breathe air just like you. Talk slowly, pause if you have to. Don't ramble, if you catch yourself and you made a mistake, you can ask to correct it.

    Just because they challenge your answer doesn't mean you're answer was bad - its just you're natural defenses making you feel insecure about your answer. Only change your plan if it is a bad plan.

    "Agree with the negatives" - "You're right that my plan would cause X, but in this patient I have to choose either Y or Z, and I chose Y that will cause X but will instead blah blah blah....."

    Good Luck -
  24. IDontKnowWhoIam

    IDontKnowWhoIam 5+ Year Member

    May 25, 2012
    Hi, you may already know this by now - as a result of recent ABMS requirements there has been a change in ABA policy. Candidates now have 7 years from graduating residency to complete the certification process. This means that once you pass Part 1 (written), you can take Part 2 (oral) anually until you pass or 7 years have elapsed, whichever comes first. You no longer have to repeat a written examination after 3 attempts at the oral exam.
  25. Idiopathic

    Idiopathic Newly Minted Lifetime Donor Classifieds Approved 10+ Year Member

    Apr 21, 2003
    may be no repercussions, but likely a financial sacrifice, and in some cases, you actually cant get hired/retain your position without board certification.
  26. Idiopathic

    Idiopathic Newly Minted Lifetime Donor Classifieds Approved 10+ Year Member

    Apr 21, 2003
    from what i understand, they hold your scores, so that you wouldnt have to retake the CCM boards again.
  27. Lee123

    Lee123 2+ Year Member

    Sep 19, 2011
    Not true. Questions like this can be part of the material that needs to get covered. If I recall, this had to do with an electrical failure during this case. This is a relevent topic that can happen during the course of a case. One should at least be able to describe what is going on and how to trouble-shoot it.
  28. Patron

    Patron 2+ Year Member

    Dec 27, 2009
    That is good news, Thank you.

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