What is the best way to study for the Anesthesia Oral Boards?

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10+ Year Member
May 15, 2011
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Practice, Practice, Practice.
Though cliche, I found this to be essential. Ultimately, you must have a strong knowledge foundation. Even though the oral exam in a test of how you would apply your knowledge in a given situation, without proficiency, you will quickly fall apart.

Some practical tips:
1. Find a reliable study partner to practice with regularly.
2. Give yourself at least 2 months of dedicated practice.
3. Review your written board material
4. Repetition and Immersion are key

I took a review course before the exam (Michael Ho's Essential Oral Board Review). I have nothing to disclose. The course was excellent. His focus was not on the boards per se but truly becoming a proficient consultant. His approach for case dissection applies not only to the oral board environment but for the real world. He has a very unique approach of dissecting stem questions that I have now applied in my day-to-day practice. Overall, this course will not only prepare you for the Oral Exams but will arm you with essential knowledge that will help you become a consultant anesthesiologist.

I think the most valuable component is learning how to identify clinical catastrophes before they happen.

The exam itself is a very high pace and cookie cutter answers will not fly. In fact, they will hurt you. There is very little time to think through something you have not thought through before. Your goal throughout your studies is to try to expose yourself to as many challenging clinical situations as you can and have a Plan A, B, and C ready for each situation.

I fortunately passed. I read Ho's book 3 times, practiced with a friend for 2 months 3x/week, and attended his 4 day course the week before my actual oral exam.

If it helps, there is a Facebook page dedicated to those taking the oral exams. The purpose is to help people find others to practice with online or in-person.

It is a great relief to finish this chapter of my life. Study hard, practice often, and soon this exam will be a capstone to all your prior exams on your journey to become a board certified anesthesiologist. (SAT, ACT, MCAT, USMLE Step 1, USMLE Step 2, USMLE Step 3, ABA ITE, ABA Written.....ABA Oral). Good luck!


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