Advice from ABA Diplomates
Tips from the ASA Resident Component
Click here for access for top tips on preparing for your exam.
Here, the ASA suggests the 5 following oral board prep strategies:
1. Split your study. The SOE and OSCE aren’t just testing your knowledge, they’re assessing how you convey what you know. It’s time to add materials that will help you organize and prioritize your thoughts, demonstrate your ability to communicate clearly, and apply knowledge to the real world. In addition, you’ll want to be up to speed on emerging knowledge and controversial issues facing the specialty.
2. Read the questions carefully. Get in the habit of reading slowly and rereading, so you don’t miss any nuances or key considerations.
3. Practice out loud. It’s not enough to know what you might say. Tap current or former ABA examiners and anesthesiology colleagues to gain experience answering questions spontaneously. Be sure to also record yourself practicing your answers and listen. Critique yourself—remove any “ums” and lengthy explanations so you can state your answers with clarity and confidence.
4. Minimize travel stress. If you’re traveling for a live exam, reduce potential stressors by arriving a day or two early, carrying on your luggage, and knowing where you’ll need to be and when. Stay away from other examinees who are likely to share their stress with you. Eat and sleep well.
5. Take a break before the exam. You’ve done the hard work. Continuing to study in the days just prior to the exam can undermine your confidence. Read some fiction. Watch a movie. Or go for a walk to burn off nervous energy.
Tips from CSA diplomates
Find personalized tips from the CSA for your exam prep.
Outlining: It’s key to develop a strategy that works for you, for outlining your thought process and work process during the critically important 10-minute period when you are alone with your stem, a pen and a sheet of paper, before you go in the exam room to greet your examiners and begin your 35-minute exam session with them. In this link, Dr. Louise Wen (a Stanford-trained anesthesiologist at Dartmouth-Hitchcock Medical Center) describes in her succinct 7-minute youtube video (with over 16,000 views) her strategy for outlining. While there is no “right” way to outline, Dr. Wen’s comprehensive approach hits upon the highlights of what any outlining strategy needs to achieve. For more tips from the CSA about the outlining process, see our videos and written references on this topic (these videos have not yet been posted).
Key Resources for Board Prep
Content to come
Join a study group, or find a 1:1 study partner
Form Study Groups
Share your contact information (on this google doc) and let colleagues know if you are looking to join or form a study group to do practice oral exams together in the near future. You could indicate your level of preparation/PGY-year and when you are planning to take the exam, to find colleagues whose goals and experience is most closely aligned with your own. Expand your network of colleagues!