ABA APPLIED Exam Resources
Prepare to put your knowledge to the test
With the BASIC
exams behind you, you're ready for the final stage of completing your board certification in anesthesiology, the APPLIED Exam. Dates are assigned on a first-come, first-served basis, so register as soon as you receive your ADVANCED exam results to get an early session and keep up your momentum.
About the APPLIED Exam
This exam has two components—the Standardized Oral Exam (SOE) and Objective Structured Clinical Exam (OSCE).
The SOE is comprised of two 35-minute sessions designed to assess your judgment, adaptability, and organization. The OSCE typically includes seven eight-minute stations, with four minutes provided between each station. Four focus on your ability to communicate professionally and the last three probe technical competency. This may change depending on the test environment (i.e., virtual vs. in-person).
For more about the exam, review these ABA resources:
• Exam news updates
, as well as the latest on all ABA initiatives.
• SOE sample questions
provide a sample patient history and outline the types of questions that might be posed in a single session.
The OSCE content outline
and sample scenarios
give you a sense of the types of discussions you will need to present as well as technical challenges you may encounter.
• Account portal and pricing
, with downloadable sample questions, access to the portal account you created for previous exams, and current fees.
Five smart planning tips
Keep these ideas in mind as you prepare for success on the SOE and OSCE.
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.
Resources: Online Insights
Know what to expect and how to construct thorough, thoughtful responses.
• ABA OSCE exam videos
—See how successful candidate responses are structured and delivered in these sample scenarios. (Scroll to the bottom of the page.)
• ASA Guidelines for the Ethical Practice of Anesthesiology
—Use these to help form your responses throughout the oral examinations and your career.
—Sponsored by the International Anesthesia Research Society (IARS), this site offers a wealth of free resources, including TEE, TTE and ultrasound images and videos to support the technical skills portion of the OSCE.
• Anesthesia and Critical Care Reviews and Commentary (ACCRAC) oral board prep podcasts
—Johns Hopkins residency program director Jed Wolpaw, MD, MEd, shares insights into the oral boards, but you'll also want to tune into other podcasts on keywords and topics of interest.
• The Student Doctor Network
—SDN's anesthesiology resident forums explore strategies in a supportive community.
Review any of the textbooks recommended for the BASIC or ADVANCED exams. You may also want to consider a title specifically tailored to support the SOE and OSCE formats.
• Anesthesiology APPLIED Exam Board Review
—Questions and answers based on ABA-provided grading criteria, with an emphasis on how to break down complex topics and formulate answers.
•Rapid Review Anesthesiology Oral Boards
—Review common topics in a question-and-answer format. This high-yield text demonstrates the language and approaches reviewers seek.
• Yao & Artusio's Anesthesiology: Problem-Oriented Patient Management
—Comprehensive, concise, and problem-based to stimulate critical thinking and well-structured responses.