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

    • 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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