Oral Boards

Discussion in 'Anesthesiology' started by CrazyJake, Aug 20, 2014.

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  1. CrazyJake

    CrazyJake ASA Member 5+ Year Member

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    Received my test date for October...guess its 'go-time.'

    I've read thru a lot of older posts and know how wonderful Ho, Jensen, Gallagher, Etc are.
    If you're a 1st time post'r please refrain as I already have Ho and Jensen.

    Friend of mine had 1 of the 6 Ultimate Board Prep books on PDF and I was flipping thru it, looked good.
    Has anyone used these before for oral boards?

    Thanks in advance,
    CrazyJake
     
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  3. kazuma

    kazuma ASA Member 5+ Year Member

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    FWIW, one of my attendings did Ho and UBP and she swears by UBP and says she would not have done Ho if she could do it all over again. N=1 but she's the only person I personally know that has used UBP.
     
  4. shift_roro

    shift_roro 10+ Year Member

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    Live course or practice sets?
     
  5. G0S2

    G0S2 SDN Angel 10+ Year Member

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    I'm using UBP at home now. Bought books 1-6 and purchased Skype oral exams. Books are good with complex cases and solid discussion. Like what I see thus far.
     
  6. Mr FancyPants

    Mr FancyPants 7+ Year Member

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    Slightly off topic, but now that the oral board dates are more frequently offered, when are those of you who took the written a few weeks ago planning on tackling the orals (that is, assuming you passed, which I am not so confident I did)? Thanks,
     
  7. G0S2

    G0S2 SDN Angel 10+ Year Member

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    Off topic. Oct boards please.
     
  8. CrazyJake

    CrazyJake ASA Member 5+ Year Member

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    Oral boards are offered in April and October yr following passing writtens. U can request April but may receive Oct.

    Back to post - the book 1 I had looked awesome. I think I'll pull the trigger. I've heard great stuff about Ho too and especially his courses. May UBP and Ho 4 day course right before exam...maybe.
     
  9. gbleeker

    gbleeker Creighton, 2010 7+ Year Member

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    No longer. Oral boards are now offered on 9 dates from end of Feb until Oct.
     
  10. DreamLover

    DreamLover Bored Certified 10+ Year Member

    The scheduling and format will be changing with the end of a spring and fall exam when they all move to The ABA Headquarters in North Carolina where they'll offer multiple dates.

    No more hotel room exams. Plus, eventually the oral boards will also have a "practical" almost standardized patient portion of the exam.
     
  11. Triple AAA

    Triple AAA 2+ Year Member

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    For what it's worth, I did not take any of these classes. I did buy the Big Red (?Jensen) materials online, which were somewhat useful.

    The best possible studying/practice you can do, bar none, is mock orals with colleagues. I gathered together a bunch of my co-fellows and we would practice weekly. I also did mock exams with several attendings at my institution at the time, including a former oral board examiner, for free. This is a MUCH better deal than any of the classes mentioned earlier.
     
  12. nycitygas

    nycitygas ASA Member 5+ Year Member

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    I read HO's book twice. It was very helpful (although very expensive). UBP stems are great practice with coworkers.

    You do not need a course to pass this exam unless you have some anxiety or knowledge issues. Absolute waste of money.
     
  13. ether123

    ether123 Banned Banned 2+ Year Member

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    that is ABSOLUTELY not true! A lot of people who have great knowledge and no anxiety issues fail the test. It's not about what u know, but rather whether u know the answer to what they will ask u. You can be a pro at cardiac, but if they ask u about peds, which might be a weak subject, then u r screwed. you should DEFINATELY take a course.

    Now, on the courses: i don't like michael ho www.anconsultants.com bec he has an outdated textbook (3rd edition) which he has been selling for the last 7 years and a lot has changed since (i.e. ACC/AHA guidelienes, beta blocker therapy, etc). The book has never been updated. On his course...mkainly lecture based, u don't get enough practice, which i think is key to passing.

    Jensen has his own rules, "talks about a red line" which u cannot cross. This has been debunked by many other courses and I think overall jensen doesnt grasp the orals the way he grasps the written

    ultimate board prep books are good, but very pricey ($800) and the questions are quite basic.

    Just oral Boards, www.justoralboards.com, looks like this course has become the gold standard for repeaters bec it really get u practicing. I tell my residents to take this one bec y take a "cheaper" course and take a chance at failing? Just pay the amount the first time, pass the test, and move on with your life! That being said, the course coordinator, Joe Tran, isnt usually giving the skype exams, but rather other faculty are. Some faculty are good but some are kind of weak. Overall, i think this is the best buy.

    BTW, i have worked with michael ho in the past as one of his examiners, so just a disclaimer there. I think everyone needs to decide for themselves what they need.
     
  14. Gimlet

    Gimlet Cardiac Anesthesiologist 10+ Year Member

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    A couple of buddies and I picked up one each of the UBP practice sets and used them to give each other practice exams in the months leading up to last spring's exam. I thought the cases and questions were good, although the answers written out in the "UBP answer" sections were way more extensive and detailed than you will be able to get through during the actual exam...you would be interrupted 30 times if you tried to answer a real board question in the style they have written out in the practice sets.

    It was nice to be able to go through some cases in weaker areas for me, though, like open cerebral aneurysm clippings (did only neurointerventional coilings for intracranial aneurysms at my training institution) and I even wound up having an open aneurysm as one of my stems on the real exam! Overall the books are probably more expensive than they're worth and unless you can split the cost with someone I would only pick up one or two. On their website you can look at the content covered in each of the practice sets, and I wound up using those content outlines to guide my self-directed studying on topics that I felt weaker on.

    Honestly, of all the prep stuff I did for oral boards, the only thing that probably REALLY helped was sitting down with the REAL oral board examiners from my residency program and having them take me through multiple exams with them. Hopefully your home program has one or two board examiners on staff...it is worth a trip back to do as many practice sessions with them as you can. None of the board prep services have a very good idea of how a real exam is conducted because real ABA examiners have agreed not to sell their services to these companies. Go for the real thing.
     
  15. ether123

    ether123 Banned Banned 2+ Year Member

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    i agree with gimlett that ultimate board prep books are way too long and detailed. i tried using the "released" exams from the ABA but they dont have answers so we spent hours figuring out the answers (my buddies and I). i think self study and the study-buddy system has a place, but its very limited. instead of books that have "preset questions" u need an actual examiner who will take u in different directions based on ur responses. If u can purchase additional exams from the folks who wrote the UBP books thats fine, but i think a service like www.justoralboards.com where there is no registration, just practice exams and pay-as-you-go should be attempted by everyone BEFORE they go for the REAL exam. if for no other reason, then to gauge where they are see what they need to do so they don't BOMB the real thing. take it from someone who has bombed it, you DONT want to take this test again!
     
  16. ether123

    ether123 Banned Banned 2+ Year Member

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    BTW, my cost for repeating this test was $3K!!!

    $500 hotel
    $350 flight
    $2100 registration fee
     
  17. okayplayer

    okayplayer Senior Member 10+ Year Member

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    Amazing how much passion this topic brings out for certain board prep companies.
    o_O
     
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  18. ether123

    ether123 Banned Banned 2+ Year Member

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    yes, but the standardized patient will likely not be used to pass or fail u. they will do a pilot for several years and see where they can "test" you. So, i think anyone taking the "applied" exam before 2020 can rest assured their focus will be just the current orals.
     
  19. CrazyJake

    CrazyJake ASA Member 5+ Year Member

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    I bought UBP 6 books and Kazuma after exam you'll have N = 2. I'll let u know.

    I looked at just oral boards and looked good too. Agree that individual mock exams are probably better than watching/observing. Their testimonials are glowing and seems like a lot of people use this source after failing a time or 2.

    CJ
     
  20. FFP

    FFP Grunt/cog/body Gold Donor 7+ Year Member

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    There are two keys to the oral boards:

    1. Know the material. (This is why most people actually fail, not anxiety, and this is why a course is not enough.)
    2. Do as many mock orals as you can, some with real board examiners. (This is what most people concentrate on, while never wondering why the heck they scored low on the ITEs in the first place.)

    Ignore either at your peril.

    Oral boards prep is a 3 year-activity also known as anesthesia residency. There isn't much more to it, except wrapping one's brain around the exam format and practicing. A course might make a difference for a weak candidate, or one without access to even one real board examiner, but for most it's useless.

    If you are looking at the oral boards like at a check box, a piece of paper, a passing rite, you are approaching them the wrong way. It's not about the paper, but the process; it made me a distinctly better anesthesiologist, and that's what one should aim for.
     
    Last edited: Aug 23, 2014
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  21. ether123

    ether123 Banned Banned 2+ Year Member

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    I guess u had a pretty descent residency experience, where faculty who were senior examiners took time out of their schedule to do mock exams at no additional charge at my residency, we had ONE real board examiner and he did a 1 hr "prep" once a month on a wed morning and it was so incoherent and so rushed that i got nothing out of it. i remember going to the Ho course and realizing how badly i was prepared as a resident to talk intelligently about anesthesia. I didn't like that for $1500 plus room and travel all i got was 3 mock exams from him, so i went ahead and did the tests from www.justoralboards.com, which were very expensive, but u know got me through the orals.

    As a resident, i was just shoved into a room from morning till evening and yelled at if my ITE scores were low. No one goes over with you why you do certain things and that is a reflection of how our residency prgrams are weak in this country. The result is the resident has to purchase courses to get the teaching a true residency should give.

    For whatever its worth, I agree with you FFP, but if u go to a ****ty residency like i did (and i feel most do) then unfortunately u have to pay someone to teach u and prepare you.
     
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  22. pgg

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

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    Ho drove this point home repeatedly at his course. Watching students do public mock orals in front of the group, it was clear most had big knowledge gaps. Though I realize that it's a pool of people that is skewed toward prior exam failures, and being in front of a group is very artificial and super stress inducing, still the I-don't-knows and kill errors were surprising. Shocking even. Like, "that guy must be a bad anesthesiologist who maims and kills patients" kind of shocking.

    Even if you don't have access to a real examiner, just having another person read a stem and questions to you is useful. I practiced with my wife (who's not in healthcare) and it took practice before answers I already knew cold came out in a fluid and coherent way.

    But you have to talk. Not read and mentally think about what you'd do. Speak, even if it's at a wall by yourself.
     
  23. Mac4

    Mac4 ASA Member 7+ Year Member

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    The most important five minutes in the exam are the five minutes between stems. I really believe it is the trap where people fail. You are tired and the stem is short. The five minutes will go fast if you do not pay attention. Now, you walk in to the room again unprepared/unfocused and try to answer pre-op questions which can be tricky/weird/not-related to the stem. It has the potential to go down hill fairly quickly.
     
  24. Gimlet

    Gimlet Cardiac Anesthesiologist 10+ Year Member

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    Along these lines...don't accidentally leave your pen in the first room like I did! Wasted precious seconds flagging down an ABA staffer from down the hallway to get another one.
     
  25. ether123

    ether123 Banned Banned 2+ Year Member

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    Yes but if the person testing u doesnt know anesthesia then they cannot stear the exam based on your response. For example, if u say u will use propofol for induction, the examiner may ask u side effects of propofol or mechanism, something that isn't written in the book. Thus, I stress again, do mock exams with people who are in the business of oral board prep. Ho has 3 mock exams he allows for a course that costs $1200. Thats almost $400 per exam. There are cheaper sources out there now. I used justoralboards.com but there may be others even cheaper. Its worth looking into.
     
  26. narcusprince

    narcusprince Rough Rider 10+ Year Member

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    The gamma quadrant
    Maybe and oversimplification but their are two types of grads taking the oral boards. The first group are those that cannot answer the examiners questions with a 50% success rate. These folks benefit from Ho and board review courses. Then those that take an mock oral board and find themselves with not enough time at the end of the exam. These are folks who need to get with partners in groups and fellow co-residents and get more precise with their answers. The second group in my opinion is probably the easier group to pass their boards. You can learn to be more efficient with your time, knowledge gaps are much harder to fix.
     
  27. ether123

    ether123 Banned Banned 2+ Year Member

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    I beleive this is an oversimplification. Basically for this exam you need an interactive course that allows u to practice. any course that does not give u practice and is very lecture based (Ho/Jensen) is not helpful.
     
  28. pjl

    pjl ASA Member 10+ Year Member

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    Best knowledge prep for weak areas for me was Yao and artesio. I got the cheap sampler book from ultimate board prep, which I thought was really good to get used to questions. I would not get more though, no need for most people.

    Best overall prep was having 4 real examiners go over retired stems. Two in person, 2 on the phone. Highly motivating, if nothing else. "Honestly, I dont know how well you are going to do, it is obvious that you know the answers when I prompt you a bit, but it feels like I am pulling teeth to get it. I hate pulling teeth, and you dont want to make your examiner do something they hate" That bit right there motivated me through the last month of studying.

    I made my own list of case stems and went through each and possible complications/ reasons to choose between options. This for me was valuable.
    I practiced going over these stems repeatedly, not for knowledge, but to make my answers flow.

    Actual boards had 0 questions I had not gone over the day/night before off these stems.
     
    Last edited: Aug 25, 2014
  29. pgg

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

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    I hear you on unqualified people being unable to improvise followup questions, steer the exam, or hand rope before hanging you.

    I still think the key is time spent talking. In the months I spent practicing and preparing before the oral exam, I didn't greatly expand my knowledge or turn bad judgement into good judgement, but I got much much better at articulating what I knew and what course of action I took. Early on, I wasn't saying WRONG things but my verbal differentials were haphazard and disorganized. Later on, after I'd vocalized my approach to (for example) high airway pressure / obstruction a dozen times, my answers were fluid. It was nothing I didn't know as a CA1 ... I just had to speak it. Spoken communication is different than written. Prior to the oral exam 95% of our studying is silently reading and doing multiple choice questions. That has to change for the oral.
     
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  30. ether123

    ether123 Banned Banned 2+ Year Member

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    If u don't mind me asking, did you use www.justoralboards.com for the 4 examiners? just curious.
     
  31. Gimlet

    Gimlet Cardiac Anesthesiologist 10+ Year Member

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    Ether, are you trying to see how many times you can spam this thread with a link to that website before getting called out on it? If you have a financial stake with that service you should just disclose it. Otherwise, we get it.
     
  32. pjl

    pjl ASA Member 10+ Year Member

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    Ether, no, I used guys from my residency institution who were nice enough to volunteer their time for me.
     
  33. ether123

    ether123 Banned Banned 2+ Year Member

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    no, im associated with www.anconsultants.com ;). sorry for the url.

    on a serious note, i think ho is a great guy but i dont think he has the right technique. just my 2 cents
     
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  34. Ezekiel2517

    Ezekiel2517 Anesthesiologist 10+ Year Member

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    Read what the examiners read- Yao and artusio. It's the go to book for many examiners. Remember that they are busy too and need a good source to brush up on their knowledge. If u can't read the whole thing, at least cover the cardiac, peds, ob, and pain chpt and anything else u may be weak in. It'll only take a few days. Also get ur hands on the old ABA oral exams and use them to practice. Most of the stems for the justoralboards skype thing are simply the old ABA exams with slight modifications. If u can't find someone to practice with , use a mirror. UBP is good as well. For god sakes please don't take a course.
     
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  35. ryanjmy

    ryanjmy 7+ Year Member

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    How many you think brush up after they get the questions the night before?
     
  36. FFP

    FFP Grunt/cog/body Gold Donor 7+ Year Member

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    I am sorry I can like this post only once.
     
  37. LightFaber

    LightFaber

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    Please PM me if looking for review materials.
     
  38. ether123

    ether123 Banned Banned 2+ Year Member

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    I don't mean to sound rude but how do u know that the examiners read Yao? Has the ABA released information attesting to this? Just because some board examiners may read a certain book doesn't mean that is what most examiners use. Would it be accurate for me to say that the examiners use "board stiff" just because someone i know who is an examiner uses it? And if Yao was the gold standard, how do you
    explain how Yao is frequently quoting studies and the ABA discourages highly that the candidates for the orals quote studies when backing up their answers? Yao has goes on for pages with an answer; do u think any examiner will let u go on and on during the exam?

    Also, if practicing in the mirror is a good study method, then how do you "grade" yourself during your soliloquy? Do u tape your mirror sessions and listen to it later or have someone else listen to it? You all know my preference for a course, I won't repeat it here, but regardless of what u use - Ho, Jensen, just oral boards, UBP, keep in mind these courses exist for a reason - they help! Can people pass without them - sure. However, I remember people during med school barely studying and getting the best grades. I knew I wasn't wired that way so I took a $3K kaplan for USMLE and still did average. Since then, I always take a course because its not worth the headache of repeating and the blemish that u failed the first time.

    One last thing on old ABA exams - please do not over state their value. They simply have the questions, not the answers. You will spend hours figuring out the answers and if u r studying in "front of a mirror" u won't know if u are even answers questions correctly.
     
  39. FFP

    FFP Grunt/cog/body Gold Donor 7+ Year Member

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    It's not the style of Yao he was talking about, it's the contents. He is probably not the only one who's heard that.

    You would sound more convincing, ether123, if you didn't post ONLY about oral boards on this forum. ;)

    Than YOU are average, not the courses, and you shouldn't really give advice about learning techniques. First you wasted $3K on a course that could have been had for $500 or less for just the books, and then you didn't even learn those books inside out (they were that good). Heck, I am an IMG anesthesiologist mostly because I put in my time with the Kaplan books and got extremely attractive USMLE scores.
    Either those grades were worthless, or they studied much more than you'd think. Anyway, no good doctor studies just for the grades, so you should pity those who get high grades with no coverage in real knowledge, because sooner or later they will be discovered for the frauds they are.
     
    Last edited: Sep 2, 2014
  40. ether123

    ether123 Banned Banned 2+ Year Member

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    Get your facts straight, FFP, before u make allegations. Just a few days ago I posted about anesthesia jobs and when to start looking and have posted on all sorts of topics since joining over a year ago
     
  41. FFP

    FFP Grunt/cog/body Gold Donor 7+ Year Member

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    I apologize ether123, you are right. I went by gut feeling, without checking the facts.

    Every time you post about oral boards or CME, you recommend exactly one company: Just Oral Boards/Just Medical. You may be just very fond of them. It's just that your overzealous recommendations create the impression that you post just about them. So the effect, for me, is to avoid JOB at all costs in the future.

    The board prep courses are so overrated on this forum, there is so much (more or less) stealth advertising going on, that I personally wouldn't ever pay for any of them. Just my 2 cents.
     
    Last edited: Sep 2, 2014
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  42. ether123

    ether123 Banned Banned 2+ Year Member

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    FFP, since u have taken it upon yourself to analyze and research my posts, which company did I recommend when I told residents to start searching jobs in the beginning of their CA3 career? Which company did I recommend when I told people they should do academics and not private practice? Which book did I recommend when someone asked about neuroanesthesia texts?

    Thanks for your 2 cents, FFP. It's easy to talk about how board courses are useless if u have already passed everything. As for advertising, there are posts, some of which u couldn't stop "liking" that praised Yao as the gold standard. Should I assume u or the person who posted it has a stake in Yao? Some folks here have praised UBP others Ho, are they also affiliated? And please keep in mind someone else started this thread and I am simply responding.

    I am passionate about multiple things, not JUST courses. I feel folks now should do academics where there is a career ladder and not PP where u r just a worker with no growth; that u should look for jobs starting CA2 but not interview until CA3 bec. u dont want to seem uninformed; that the best prep for residency is not barash or miller but instead small pocket books. I post a lot on these topics when the issue arises. Since you are very interested in my prior posts, please look at ALL of them and not JUST the ones that strengthen your opinion.
     
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  43. FFP

    FFP Grunt/cog/body Gold Donor 7+ Year Member

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    Because I agree 100%, because reading in residency is the best board prep, and because one of my favorite handbooks is now available, from a third party, for the price of 2 coffees, I am posting a link: Oxford American Handbook of Anesthesiology.

    Especially for residents: do yourself a favor and buy it. It's from 2008 but still very relevant. It's like a little Jaffe in your drawer. Best $9 I have spent.

    Also for residents:
    One can get many penultimate editions of medical books for peanuts, from third parties (the updates are not really worth the price delta, most of the time, as long as one knows which guidelines have been updated recently). For example. Yao can be had for $24 shipped new or $14 used like new, Jaffe for $44 used like new, Clinical Anesthesiology for $20 new, Barash for $11 used good, Miller for $146 used like new (and it will drop more after the new edition is released in October). Unless you have a big educational account, don't waste your money on the latest editions of big textbooks. Complement these with the latest edition of a good handbook, such as the anesthesia guide, and you will be all set for a couple hundred bucks. Medicine doesn't evolve as fast as academic CVs need padding.

    Many times, your online medical library will have the latest editions of these textbooks. Even then, I find it much easier to first read from the printed old edition, and then compare it with a second read from the online latest one.
     
    Last edited: Sep 2, 2014
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  44. CrazyJake

    CrazyJake ASA Member 5+ Year Member

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    All I really wanted (OP)was a recommendation from anyone who had used UBP :)
     
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  45. pgg

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

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    Thats a very long post to state an opinion that's no more valid than any posted by anyone else who's been through the process.

    I couldn't possibly disagree more.

    If you don't know if your answers are right or wrong, you're taking the wrong test.

    If you can't look up the correct answer to a question, you're in the wrong profession.

    If you passed the written, you probably know enough to pass the oral. If you barely passed the written, the oral may well trip you up on a question of fact - so if your knowledge is weak (and you know if you are) then some fact learning and review should be part of your oral prep. A lot of repeat oral exam takers fall in this group, I think.

    But mostly the oral is a test of communicating what you know and safely do every day. And for that, talking to a wall or a non-doctor is still useful.

    If you can't tell if your answer is fluid and correct, you're boned no matter who you pay to practice with you.
     
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  46. Ezekiel2517

    Ezekiel2517 Anesthesiologist 10+ Year Member

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    I know a couple examiners, who [gasp], know and talk to other examiners. You notice how they're all having a good time at the hotel while the rest of us are sh*tting bricks the night before the test? That's not the first time they met. I was also fortunate enough to train at programs that had many examiners and obviously we would pick their brains. Practicing with someone not in medicine or by yourself works b/c you should already have the knowledge from your reading and training. The examiners simply want to know your thought process. To convey that while sounding like a consultant takes practice.
     
  47. ether123

    ether123 Banned Banned 2+ Year Member

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    .

    If you don't know if your answers are right or wrong, you're taking the wrong test.

    If you can't look up the correct answer to a question, you're in the wrong profession.

    [/QUOTE]

    Pgg, i respect your opinion but i couldn't disagree more. If the question is "How are you going to induce a patient with severe aortic stenosis?" most people would say "etomidate" or "propofol." however, the proper WAY to phrase, which may be intuitive to some but not others would be, "After adequate prexoygenation, assuming a normal airway, I will do a slow controlled induction with fentanyl, lidocaine, etomidate (depending on ur preference) and after ensuring I can ventilate, rocuronium."

    This is what courses and working with others who know the exam accomplishes. You are mistaken if u think the orals are about good and bad doctors, or if u dont know an answer u are in the "wrong profession.". I know plenty of phenomenal docs who have failed the orals and plenty of crappy docs who have passed. This exam, like any other exam, doesnt decide who is a good doctor. You get docked points for not presenting your answer well. The aforementioned answer conveys that u understand preoxygenation, u assessed the airway, you checked if you could ventilate and that is how u induce. the former does not accomplish this and examiners dock points.
     
  48. Brave Sir Robi

    Brave Sir Robi 7+ Year Member

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    For the sake of full disclosure, I am affiliated with an oral board prep company. So, i have enjoyed the proceeding discussion. For my 2 cents, i have had the opportunity to examine well over a 1,000 physicians preparing for their oral boards. So just some of my thoughts...

    There are obviously a large number of people who pass this exam without attending a course or paying for help of any kind. But, many people who pass do so because their examiner was more forgiving and patient. Would these same people pass when facing an aggressive examiner? Or when dealing with a very complicated stem?

    I have known many very intelligent physicians from strong residency programs who have failed this exam and then sought help on their second attempt.

    Many people who fail this exam have plenty of knowledge, but are unable to access and communicate that knowledge effectively in the exam environment. I examine many people who are unable to convey their knowledge without targeted prompting on my part. These people are at risk of failing if their examiner is unable or unwilling to ask good follow-up questions.

    Many people struggle with the speed of the exam. Most examiners allow you only a very limited amount of time to think before you must start talking (a few seconds at most), often placing you in the position of starting an answer with little time to weigh risks and benefits and organize your thoughts. Practice improves your ability to quickly weigh risks and benefits and efficiently communicate your thought process to the examiner. For some, guided practice is essential. For others, it just improves your learning curve.

    For many, courses and guided practice are not necessary to achieve a 75-85% chance of passing the exam (remember the national first time pass rate, which has been in the mid-80's, includes all those people who attended courses and sought guided practice). But the consequences of being one of the 15-25% who fail the exam are significant.

    I believe attending a course that teaches you to more effectively weigh risks and benefits serves to improve your chances of passing the oral boards and, at the very least (but maybe most importantly), it improves your skills in the OR.
     
    Last edited: Sep 3, 2014
  49. FFP

    FFP Grunt/cog/body Gold Donor 7+ Year Member

    4,734
    3,482
    Oct 17, 2007
    I appreciate your disclosure, and I just love your scare tactics, Brave Sir Robi. :corny:

    Everybody, please note how frequently he uses the word "many" to describe doctors with problems. After reading his post, I am downright shocked that "many" (up to 88%) of us pass the oral boards the first time. It must be those "many" nice ABA examiners (most of them are nice, and the rest are either replaced or have their scores "risk-adjusted"). Oh, no, I am so wrong! It must be the "many" courses the 88% take, that's it! (Actually, the latter might somewhat be true - a lot of us borrow good board-prep books from friends.)

    Not only that, but if we go back 5 years, we see that of the 2008 candidates, while 85% passed on the first try, ~5% were still not certified in 2013, despite all the courses. If these courses are so fantastic, how come 30-50% (depending on the generation) of the "many" people who fail the first time are still unable to pass after 5 years, and God knows how much money spent on board prep? (Cause those guys really don't stop at anything, after failing their boards the first time, and then the second time...) It must be because those 5% didn't do the right courses, they just did "many" of them; am I right?

    I would venture that usually the answer is lack of knowledge, not lack of exercise, except maybe for the 10% who tend to pass on their second try, or later during the first 5 years after residency. Those 10% might actually benefit from a good specialized course (or good books plus good mock orals). I would skip any course that's hyped online, and choose one taken by a friend who first failed and then passed his oral boards.

    Oh, and it must be just a pure coincidence that the previous poster seems to be affiliated with Ultimate Board Prep. Do you have (m)any coupons for us, Sir?
     
    Last edited: Sep 4, 2014
  50. pgg

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

    10,256
    3,939
    Dec 14, 2005
    Not Home
    I took an oral board prep course. I didn't have to pay for it. I found it useful, but probably not worth the $3K or whatever it cost. Part of the course was doing practice oral exams with other candidates, and watching them get public exams. I've posted about my experience at the course before, but the short version is that even accounting for stage fright, as a whole that was one dodgy group of anesthesiologists.


    I have to wonder if part of the reason Brave Sir Robi and ether123 (and other course-affiliated people who pop in from time to time) seem to feel so strongly that prep courses are so important is because they spend all their time tutoring a group of people that has a high % of past failures and/or has self-selected themselves for extra help. You spend all your time in the shallow end of the pool, I suppose it's natural to think everyone needs remedial swimming lessons.
     
  51. ether123

    ether123 Banned Banned 2+ Year Member

    97
    8
    Jan 12, 2013
    I really am sickened to my stomach with the amount of arrogance I have seen by a few on this thread. folks who rely on courses have been called "being in the wrong profession" or , in the case of pgg, "from the shallow end of the pool." Like I said before, it must be nice talking about how courses are a waste of money once you yourself have passed all the exams.

    I remember taking jensen for the written, and there must have been folks there from almost every residency program in ny. I met people from high powered programs like columbia, MGH, cornell and I said to myself, this course is really popular. I never thought I, along with these fine folks, were somehow in the "wrong profession" just because they sought some assistance with an exam.

    However much you may want to defend the orals, I'll say it again, it's one big game. Those who play it well will pass, and those who dont will fail. It is not a distinction of good vs. bad, because i know plenty of good docs who failed and bad docs who passed. The courses teach you how to prepare and pass, which is what is most importnat. I didn't learn anything new that I used in the ORs during this whole process; I just learned how to speak better about anesthesia. Again, if the world was filled with FFP and PGG, these courses themselves would've gone extinct. No one has money to burn on something that isn't useful. Courses that exist do so because they help!

    PS: For FFP and PGG, not everyone that scores higher than u is a better doc and not everyone that scores lower is a worse doc. Just like these tests can't determine who is better or worse based on a grade, passing and failing doesn't imply competence vs. incompetence.
     

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