This morning I completed the National Board of Echocardiography (NBE) – Advanced Perioperative Transesophageal Echocardiography examination (PTEeXAM). To achieve Advanced PTE board certification, one must pass the PTEeXAM, have an unrestricted physician license to practice medicine, and must either have come from a fellowship pathway (in my case, adult cardiothoracic anesthesiology) or practice experience pathway. The exam itself costs $1,000 and is offered only once a year… so no pressure to pass! 😉
The exam itself has 200 multiple choice questions divided into five, 40 question blocks with 54 minutes allotted for each section. There’s also a 15 minute tutorial and 15 minute break. Add that all together, and that’s potentially five hours of testing. This is similar to the critical care ultrasound examination I took earlier this year.
Although I can’t talk about specific exam material, I can say that I felt very prepared for this exam after my fellowship training, reviewing PTEMasters and keeping up with reading from echocardiography textbooks like Mathew’s or Perrino’s throughout the year. I finished each section in 25-30 minutes and, as per my usual test taking strategy, just “powered through” the exam without taking a break.
As far as test-taking strategies, it’s important to always look at the omniplane angle to understand anatomy, relationships, and potential pathologies. This strategy saved me countless times during the exam when I was unclear what structure was in the view. Furthermore, if there’s no omniplane angle, consider that the imaging modality may NOT be TEE (ie, epiaortic imaging).
It’ll be 10 weeks till I receive the results. Bleh. Oh well, if you have any questions, please feel free to drop me a comment below! 🙂