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Just took oral board exam: Holy [email protected]&!

Discussion in 'Anesthesiology' started by MD Dreams, Oct 2, 2012.

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  1. MD Dreams

    MD Dreams Senior Member 10+ Year Member

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    Man, that test was a lot harder than I imagined. Got killed. Truly don't think I passed. One of the guys wouldn't let me get a word in. Anyone else feel this way afterwards? That 30 minutes feels like an eternity!
     
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  3. tracheatoedoc

    tracheatoedoc 7+ Year Member

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    If the examiner kept redirecting the questions you were probably answering them correctly
     
  4. Planktonmd

    Planktonmd Moderator Emeritus Lifetime Donor Classifieds Approved 10+ Year Member

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    Congratulations... you have passed :thumbup:
     
  5. ssmallz

    ssmallz California Dreamin 7+ Year Member

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    Yeah that sounds about right.....I walked out of there and knew I failed, each week leading up to the results I remembered more and more things I screwed up or could have said better. In the end I accepted my fate, logged in and found out I passed. Get drunk, have a good dinner, try not to think about it for 6 weeks
     
  6. MD Dreams

    MD Dreams Senior Member 10+ Year Member

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    I appreciate everyone's support. It's definitely been a rough day. But I will try to relax and wait patiently. Thank you.
     
  7. 2win

    2win 7+ Year Member

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    You passed - I bet 50$. Put your money down.
    2win
     
  8. HollywdAnesth

    HollywdAnesth 2+ Year Member

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    I had convinced myself that I had failed. I would have flashbacks to parts of the exam periodically. I would realize that the examiners weren't badgering me, they were trying to push me in the right direction to a better answer. I would randomly start screaming and beating the steering wheel of my car when I would realize I had answered something incorrectly a month ago.

    Then I got my pass letter, and I've had tremendous self esteem ever since then. You probably did fine. The worst is over.
     
  9. 2win

    2win 7+ Year Member

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    50$ too? At the 2013 ASA? Drinks on me.
    2win
     
  10. periopdoc

    periopdoc Cardiac Anesthesiologist Lifetime Donor Classifieds Approved 7+ Year Member

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    Congrats diplomate!

    - pod
     
  11. lilycat

    lilycat Moderator Emeritus 10+ Year Member

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    Took mine on Monday AM and felt the same way, OP. First stem had a very aggressive examiner, questions popped up that I didn't anticipate at all and I really felt thrown off my game. He even misheard things that I said, ie, thought I said Sufentanil instead of Fentanyl, at which point I had to correct him. It sucked. Second stem was smoother, but still a few hiccups on one of the grab-bags. I'm progressively feeling worse and worse the more I think about it. And I actually felt decently prepared going into it, including 3 mocks with 3 board examiners in the past month, all who would have passed me at the time. I actually didn't think I would feel this badly following the exam, but reading this thread has made me feel a little better. Also, I saw another test-taker at the airport after the exam and he had some of the same problems with the first stem that I had had, and said that he heard other examinees saying similar things. So, hopefully this feeling of suckiness is universal.
     
  12. VolatileNavyDoc

    VolatileNavyDoc Junior Member 7+ Year Member

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    Yeah. Just finished mine. Felt pretty good initially, but the longer I think about it, the more I realize I messed up. The questions were fair, the examiners were fine, I just said a couple of stupid things for no good reason. Oh well. 6 weeks and I'll see how merciful those guys are.
     
  13. Jalopycat

    Jalopycat 10+ Year Member

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    I took mine Monday afternoon. The first session I feel terrible about. The 2nd session I pulled it together and I think I did ok. But the more I think about the exam, the more wrong things I think I said. And how many times can we say "I don't know"? At least they interrupted me a lot, which I hear is a good sign. Everybody was very nice to me. I never felt bullied. And wow, could the ABA have picked a better location? I don't think so! The exam hotel was right at the water. Absolutely beautiful!
     
  14. Retro1

    Retro1

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    Long time lurker here too. I just took my exam and like many of you guys I thought I was okay on the first one and did much better on the second. Actually thought I did fine until I started thinking about mistakes. I definitely blew one of the additional topics in my first exam. Got it completely wrong in hindsight. Do you think totally missing one additional topic in the face of two otherwise acceptable exams is enough to put you in the bottom 20%?
     
  15. Yo GabbaPentin

    Yo GabbaPentin 5+ Year Member

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    Just took the Wednesday exam. I felt very good about the first exam. Saw the score sheets and they were all to the correct side of the scoring sheet.

    Then came the second exam. This was the short stem for preop and intraop eval. The two examiners had their way with me. My brain was tired following the first exam and their realitively vague and aggressive questions destroyed me. It just snowballed. Thank god they asked me a pain question at the end. I'm hoping the two exams avaraged together will get me by with a pass. Scores were all over the place when I caught a glance of one of the second sheets.

    I give my STRONGEST recommendation for the ultimate board prep cases. Even if I failed, I would have failed much worse without those books.
     
  16. pgg

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

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    No, unless it was a clean kill error (which, thinking back on my grab bag questions, would've been hard to do because they generally weren't that kind of qeustion), you're surely fine.

    For a while after my exam, I obsessed over a TPN 'additional topic' question I missed. The more I thought about the test, the more things I wished I had said a little differently.

    I'm not an examiner, just a guy who took it and got a passing grade after weeks of obsessing over every little thing I didn't do perfectly. From the time I left the hotel, to when I got to the airport, to the waiting period before scores were released, I went from feeling pretty good to OK to lousy to 'they failed me'. But looking back, from a distance, I know everything I told them I would do was safe and reasonable, and I think that's what they're most interested in. I don't think it's possible to fail by answering a single knowledge-type question wrong.


    It's an impersonal and sterile experience, but I don't think it's really arbitrary, and I think the examiners do their best to draw the line between safe and not-safe. So try not to sweat the knowledge gaps they exposed.
     
  17. lilycat

    lilycat Moderator Emeritus 10+ Year Member

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    I know the first two sessions on Monday had the same stems, so I'm betting that you had the same ones that I did. If so, your description sums it up well. And supposedly several people felt bad about the first stem (I know I did). I definitely think that I pulled it together for the second stem, but I'm not sure how much that first stem hurt me. I'm pretty sure that I didn't make any hugely unsafe decisions, but there were definitely some knowledge deficiencies there, and things that I could have been much more smooth on. Never got a look at my score sheet, which might be a good thing.

    Ugh, this will be the longest 4-6 weeks of my life. I can't even imagine taking this again. Awful, awful, awful.
     
  18. MD Dreams

    MD Dreams Senior Member 10+ Year Member

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    What side of the sheet was the correct side, the left or the right? I too was exhausted near the end and got killed on the first exam and it was very difficult to concentrate.
     
  19. Yo GabbaPentin

    Yo GabbaPentin 5+ Year Member

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    From what I could tell it was the left side of the sheet. Not positive though. I was doing well at that point.
     
  20. MD Dreams

    MD Dreams Senior Member 10+ Year Member

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    Yes!!! Lets hope your correct :). I appreciate it.
     
  21. Mac4

    Mac4 ASA Member 7+ Year Member

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    I took it yesterday and felt OK walking out the exam rooms. However, the more I think about it afterwards, the more I realize I messed up. I felt I could have explained things a little better especially when defending my proposed actions. It just did not seem there was enough time to do so though. My answers were cut short constantly and it seemed that three of us (me and two examiners) were all racing to fnish the whole thing before the knock on the door.
     
  22. ecCA1

    ecCA1 Member 10+ Year Member

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    moved
     
  23. Yo GabbaPentin

    Yo GabbaPentin 5+ Year Member

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    Feeling worse than yesterday. I feel pretty certain I failed at this point. Hopefully I'm wrong. Common feeling or not?
     
  24. Jalopycat

    Jalopycat 10+ Year Member

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    yeah I'm feeling the same way. I didn't kill anyone but my first session I'm just really stressing out about. I never saw the score sheets. I didn't look either though. I would not have known what to look for anyway. I just don't think I can study for that exam again. I'm worn out.
     
  25. pgg

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

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    Common.

    I could've written this myself after my exam, in fact I did, somewhere back in the archives of SDN a skilled searcher could probably find my post where I mentioned feeling good about my first session, seeing a nice line of good marks on the upside-down score sheet, then worrying about some so-so answers on the second session.


    Definite pass on the first stem + somewhere in the middle on the second = pass (barring any outright egregious kill errors)


    Go read some of the old oral board threads to amuse yourself. Start with this one. :D


    Consider starting yourself on a beta blocker. The waiting won't get easier, but odds are you passed.
     
  26. periopdoc

    periopdoc Cardiac Anesthesiologist Lifetime Donor Classifieds Approved 7+ Year Member

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    Some other quotes from PGG on the test



    - pod
     
  27. Arch Guillotti

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

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    Very common.
     
  28. doctadre

    doctadre 2+ Year Member

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    so annoyed with myself. the test is very passable but i made some DUMB mistakes. pretty sure i even made a kill error so it looks like i'll have to do this again. such a waste of time and money.
     
  29. MD Dreams

    MD Dreams Senior Member 10+ Year Member

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    I feel your pain and frustration with respect to a waste of time and money (and energy).
     
  30. Yo GabbaPentin

    Yo GabbaPentin 5+ Year Member

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    Are there really only a few of us from this fall exam that feel so lousy? Did everyone else feel more confident? Now THAT is making me uneasy too. Damn I need some Xanax. I'm also about to go on a weekend long bender. Thanks ABA.

    I wish I could post some of the questions I was asked. They were truly unbelievable...
     
  31. lilycat

    lilycat Moderator Emeritus 10+ Year Member

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    I ran into a friend from residency in the airport who was the session right after me and he had trouble with the same stem and a lot of the same questions that I had trouble with. My study partner took it Thursday and doesn't feel good about how she did (her stems were much harder than mine!) and some of the questions she was asked were definitely challenging. And her coworker took it Monday afternoon and apparently doesn't feel good either. I haven't talked to too many people, but the people I've talked to, or heard about, are all feeling crummy, just different levels of crummy.

    I think the exam is probably fair, but there is a certain amount of luck - I'm sure some people get stems that they are incredibly comfortable with, moreso than others, have gentle examiners, etc., that can make the process more manageable. Sigh.
     
  32. IlDestriero

    IlDestriero Ether Man 7+ Year Member

    Take a look at the linked PDF from the ABA. Pay particular attention to the last section, "Problems exhibited by candidates..." Evaluate your performance by how many of these failing errors you routinely exhibited. It's ok not to know everything, it's ok to mix trivial supplemental questions up, it's a problem when you're missing critical info, not recognizing critical info, getting lost in the weeds even when redirected, etc.
    http://www.theaba.org/pdf/oral-overview.pdf
    The oral board exam is challenging, the stems are challenging, the patients are the worst of the worst train wrecks AND they all go to Shi'ite. There's no avoiding it. That's the test. A marginally acceptable plan well defended or a rock solid plan, doesn't matter, the patient will still stroke out, aspirate, have an MI, etc. If you feel bad about being challenged, don't. That's the exam. Some coddle, some are more aggressive, but that's the exam. You have to make clinical decisions, reveal some of the thinking that went into them, defend the choices, and deal with the aftermath. It helps tremendously if you are logical and linear in your presentation.
    It's important to remember that it's not just what you say, but how you communicate it. You don't want to leave them wondering if you really understand what it is that you're saying vs. spouting out some memorized bullet points. That's how probable pass drifts into probable fail territory. Are you a little too deliberate and thorough? They'll move you along and interrupt you frequently. They got the gist and need to move on, you got it covered. That's quite different than chaotic rambling of ddx zebras and missing the top two likely causes of arrest in your particular stem patient. If they are interrupting you frequently to move on, you're likely good. If they're interrupting you frequently and asking you the same questions again or in a different way, you're going to be coming back for another round with Tyson.
    You also have to actually answer the questions posed. It's not the presidential debate where you can spin it around and dazzle the examiner with your answer to a peripherally related question. "How do you want to induce?" means... How do you want to induce. Not 22 reasons why you don't want to induce, what you want the see on an unavailable echo report, why you still don't agree that it's an emergency, etc etc. That will also earn you a tip back for more good times.
     
    Last edited: Oct 5, 2012
  33. Dmb11

    Dmb11

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    I just took the oral board yesterday and feel I really bombed. I don't think I can wait 6 weeks for the results. I am a wreck! Any advice? Does it really take 6 weeks to get the scores back? Reading through the posts here I learned about the scoring sheet and I saw that more scores were all over ( no nice straight line in the left hand column). How many points do each of those boxes represent? Did anyone else take the exam in Friday and feel this miserable?
     
  34. Yo GabbaPentin

    Yo GabbaPentin 5+ Year Member

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    Welcome to the club!! :) Hopefully we are not just the lower 20% while the rest of test takers are confident in their performance!

    IlDestriero, thanks for the post. At this point, I think we have a handle on what we SHOULD have done. The main problem lies in what we ACTUALLY did. There is a difference in what we should have said, what we FEEL like we said and what we ACTUALLY said.

    For example, the examiner may ask for the differential diagnosis for delayed awakening. Ideally, we would come up with a Michael Ho type response about residual medications, hypothermia, hypotension, etc. What we FEEL like we say is "uuhhhh... deeerrrrr ... mmm... ddduuuuuhhhh.... CT scan??" What we ACTUALLY say is hopefully closer to the well laid out answer. However we have 6 weeks to play the exam over in our head and think about the well laid out answer we could have said much better.

    My problem with the second stem was that we could not get into a flow. I did multiple practice exams with actual examiners. All of them easily passed, however there was a flow and I could understand where they were going with the questions. I still have NO clue where my examiners were going! They gave me a reasonable case and I had a reasonable plan laid out on my sheet prior to entering the room. First question was off the wall. Followed by a few more of the same with frowns on their face. Then they circled around and acted like I should have spouted off my original plan by now. Then more trivia and at no time could I get out my main concerns or my plan. And yes, that lead to more stumbles on my part which I believe I should have handled better.

    Here is a THEORETICAL interaction between myself and the examiners. This was NOT an actual interaction. Just example of the flight of idea that occurred.

    examiner - "the patient has a UO of 30 ml/hr, what would you do?"
    me - "I would check the foley for kinks/obstructions. I would then administer a fluid bol..." examiner - "HOW MUCH FLUID? (in aggressive tone)
    me - "500 ml of crystallo...."
    examiner - "The patients CVP is normal. Is that an accurate assessment of fluid status?"
    me - "I prefer to follow trends in the CVP..."
    examiner - "would the CVP be accurate if the patient were 10 feet below sea level while standing on their head?"
    me - "I DON'T KNOW"
    (thinking to myself) - DAMMIT. WTF happened to the prerenal, renal, postrenal discussion? Why was I not asked about FeNa+? I was ready to go!

    Alright, it's 5 o clock somewhere. I hope the ABA picks up the tab for my rehab.
     
  35. proman

    proman Member Moderator Emeritus 10+ Year Member

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    I think exam results have been back around 10 business days after the last test. It was very fast turnaround.
     
  36. Dmb11

    Dmb11

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    You are hilarious! That sounds like how mine went! Thanks for making me smile for the first time. I'm just glad I'm not the only one that feels terrible! :)
     
  37. hoyden

    hoyden 10+ Year Member

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    I am sure you've passed. The above scenario was about the same with me. 2 years ago.
    I passed.

    Do not think about it
     
  38. dhb

    dhb Member Lifetime Donor Classifieds Approved 10+ Year Member

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    2 outta 4 you'll pass probably
     
  39. Trisomy13

    Trisomy13 ultra 10+ Year Member

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    I took it in April and was one of the few people I know who can say I walked out knowing I nailed it. Not boasting, and I give acknowledgement to some lucky scenarios, but I was smiling the whole way to the airport. The best advice I followed, and will pass on to other is PRACTICE. A lot. Find a friend or colleague capable of being an obnoxious hostile prick, and practice under those conditions. As many stems as possible. I'm no academic rockstar but after three or four months of constant studying and repeated mock exams, I showed up and slayed it. I did use a paid "skype exams" type service as well as some colleagues, and that was a big help. Expensive, and frustrating at times, but a huge payoff on exam day. The exam is not all knowledge, and knowing what type of environment to expect was critical.

    /end rant.
     
  40. nap$ter

    nap$ter ASA Member 7+ Year Member

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    i felt this way coming out of round 1, and then got DESTROYED in round 2. missed some key basic points, mumbled and stumbled, goat rodeo.

    i'm just praying my round 1 was strong enough to pull me through, but i doubt it.

    do the stats really take 6 weeks to run?
     
  41. Trisomy13

    Trisomy13 ultra 10+ Year Member

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    Round 2 was slightly worse for me as well, but my confidence from round 1 was so high that I didn't let any faltering derail me entirely. The stats did not take 6 weeks this time. My exam was April 26th, and results were May 16th. The conventional wisdom above that most people feel like they failed seemed to hold true among my colleagues as well.
     
  42. MD Dreams

    MD Dreams Senior Member 10+ Year Member

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    For the folks who took the test in April, did you get an email notification that the results were ready? How did they contact you? Thanks.
     
  43. CambieMD

    CambieMD cambiemd 10+ Year Member

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    You will first get an e-mail stating that the results are out. This e-mail will guide you to the ABA portal where you can check your results. the results will be out sooner than most of you think.

    Cambie
     
    Last edited: Oct 16, 2012
  44. Yo GabbaPentin

    Yo GabbaPentin 5+ Year Member

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    I'm in the same boat as you, but here is how I expected it to go down...

    Over the next several weeks, I suspect that someone who knows someone important will have heard that the results might be out this Thursday. This will happen all the way through Nov 17th when they told us the results will be ready. I view it as part of the process and I'm relatively certain that the ABA starts these rumors. Then they laugh about it all weekend while swimming in a pool of money from the examination fees.

    On the day of the expected release of the results, I believe there will be a knock on my door. Both examiners from my second stem will be standing in front of me. The senior examiner will kick me in the junk while the junior examiner takes my wallet. While I am on the ground, I will be amazed at how much better this feels than the actual exam. They will leave the result letter in the mailbox with a huge bill and dates for next years exam in Phoenix.
     
  45. leviathan

    leviathan Drinking from the hydrant Moderator Emeritus 10+ Year Member

    :laugh: You should post more.
     
  46. Gern Blansten

    Gern Blansten Account on Hold 10+ Year Member

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    Two of the best posts on SDN in a while. I like your style.
     
  47. Gern Blansten

    Gern Blansten Account on Hold 10+ Year Member

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  48. MDandBeyond

    MDandBeyond

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    examiner - "The patients CVP is normal. Is that an accurate assessment of fluid status?"
    me - "I prefer to follow trends in the CVP..." Wrong

    DHB has a subtle yet great point.

    Question: CVP ... Is that an accurate assessment of fluid status?
    Answer: is either yes or no and your reasoning.

    Sucks missing points simply because you do not answer the questions that is asked!
    Need to listen to the question carefully then respond. Last thing you want to do is annoy a board examiner!


    [link removed]
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Oct 20, 2012
  49. Gern Blansten

    Gern Blansten Account on Hold 10+ Year Member

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    Oh good. Somebody else is here to pimp their review course. The generally accepted style is to post under multiple different names to say how great your course is. Trying to beat up on someone who is waiting for their exam results is not an accepted method. Marketing is not your strong suit.
     
  50. dhb

    dhb Member Lifetime Donor Classifieds Approved 10+ Year Member

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    Well you have misinterpreted my point which was just that CVP has been repeatedly proven to be useless to assess fluid status/responsiveness
     
  51. MD Dreams

    MD Dreams Senior Member 10+ Year Member

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    Who cares what the CVP was. We're all gonna fail :)
     

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