2015 ABA Basic Exam

Now that the American Board of Anesthesiology’s Basic Exam is over for CA-1s, I wanted to write about my experiences from the exam on Friday, June 12th.

I woke up around 5 AM, showered, and immediately started watching highlights from the previous night’s NBA Finals game (I fell asleep at halftime). After some programming, I crammed some important equations for the exam and decided to eat my “breakfast”… consisting of cookies and a protein shake. Just… don’t ask. 😀

Breakfast of 5 year olds

I arrived 45 minutes early to the test center, and they let me get situated in the exam room a little earlier than the scheduled start time of 12:30 PM. My timing was broken down as follows:

  • Tutorial (10 minutes – skipped that)
  • 125 multiple choice questions (2 hours 20 minutes permitted, took a little more than an hour)
  • Break (20 minutes – skipped that)
  • 125 multiple choice questions (2 hours 20 minutes permitted, used half the time)

This was easily the shortest exam I took at Prometric, but nevertheless, it was GREAT to be done!

Overall, the exam was very manageable and really made me realize how much I learned in the last year of clinical anesthesiology. I felt very well prepared with the question banks I used and our didactic curriculum. Hopefully this serves as a rite-of-passage for my upcoming CA-2 year which is definitely going to bring its own challenges.

Unfortunately, now I’m working every day for the rest of the month and starting a stint of q2 call this week. Can’t win ’em all!

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2 Comments
  1. James says

    Could you review again how you prepared for the exam? Book used, which qbank, what would you do differently or the same?

    1. Rishi says

      Hey James!

      In addition to our didactic curriculum, I approached this exam by going through Freeman’s Anesthesiology Core Review several times in addition to doing hundreds of questions (ACE, Hall, and M5 Review). I felt thoroughly prepared for the exam and drew on material from all of the aforementioned sources to answer some of the more difficult questions.

      I can’t stress enough how BASIC this exam is. I feel like a lot of CA-1s (myself included) were stressed from the very beginning of the year. In reality, reading a little each day, paying attention to the nuances of anesthesia from case-to-case, and doing tons of practice questions will serve you well. Thanks for the question! 🙂

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