Anesthesiology ITE Study Guide
Prepare for the annual In-Training Exam (ITE) for residents, fellows, and interns.
Every February, from your internship through the end of your residency or fellowship, the ITE will be a part of your anesthesiology education. While preparing for it may seem like just one more thing to add to your list, the ITE can be a great way to practice for your upcoming staged exams and monitor your own progress toward your goals.
About the ITE
Unlike your scores from the three staged exams required for certification, your ITE results won't impact your ability to move forward in your career. Your residency program may feel differently, though, as the test provides a good indication of whether you're on track.
Because the exam is taken online, you'll have a week-long window each February in which to complete the ITE. Residents have four hours to complete 200 single-best-answer multiple-choice questions, while fellows have 150 questions over three hours. The exam is scored on a 50-point scale, and you'll receive a percentile ranking for your training level.
All residents take the same exam, regardless of year. The goal is to ensure that you know the fundamentals of basic sciences, clinical sciences, organ-based sciences, and special issues related to anesthesiology.
For more about the ITE, review these ABA resources:
• Staged exam timeline outlining where in-training and staged exams fall during and after your residency.
• ITE blueprint, with an in-depth breakdown of topics covered and additional specifications.
• Exam content outline detailing the subject matter that will be covered on this and future exams.
• Gaps in knowledge reports covering the topics residents had the most difficulty with on the past four years' exams.
Five smart study tips
Incorporate these evidence-based and common-sense learning techniques into your study.
1. Take the test seriously. Even though the ABA won't count your score, your ITE performance is a good indication of whether you'll be ready to pass your upcoming BASIC or ADVANCED Exam. You'll also find out where you need to further concentrate your efforts. What's more, you can get accustomed to the format and content in a lower-stakes setting.
2. Learn from your attendings and peers. Ask clinical questions as you go—find out why and how attendings do things a certain way. Ask people in your program for scheduling or content tips. After all, they know your program schedule, when you'll have free time, and what resources will help fill any gaps you might have.
3. Add variety and repetition to your study. Even if you have a preferred study method, proven learning strategies can help you master concepts more efficiently. Try mixing up learning modes—read, listen to podcasts, take quizzes, use flashcards, write down what you can recall, etc. And once you've studied a topic, change subjects then revisit after some time away to better embed ideas in your memory.
4. Do what works for you. This may seem to contradict point number three, but stay with us. The truth is, there is no one right or best way to prepare for exams. One review of study habits found that resident performance was consistent whether they took notes by hand or on a laptop, read textbooks or used question banks, or studied alone or in groups. Don't feel pressured to adopt someone else's style.
5. Go easy on yourself. If you have a bad day or need a break, take what you need. Clear your head. Do something that makes you laugh or relax. Try again tomorrow.
Resources: Question banks and keywords
This is not an exhaustive list, but a great starting point for preparing for your first few ITEs and even the BASIC Exam.
• OpenAnesthesia—The International Anesthesia Research Society (IARS) offers this free, comprehensive resource that you're likely to use throughout your residency (and career). Browse by keyword, subspecialty, or area of expertise to dig deep into any topic.
• SelfStudyPLUS—Many residents use subscription question banks, as they mirror the content and format of the exams. This one, by IARS and ASA, includes ACE questions and Summaries of Emerging Evidence (SEE) content—two highly regarded study resources in their own rights.
• University of Kentucky Department of Anesthesiology videos—Watch detailed keyword review videos to vary the way you digest and retain content.
• Anesthesia: A Comprehensive Review (aka The Hall Question Book or Hall's)—While this could be listed with the textbooks below, it's written in a 1,000-question-bank format to mirror your exams' approach to content.
Chances are, your residency program uses one or more of these texts. If you'd like to expand your study, these are some of the more popular options available. Just choose the format and writing style that works for you.
• Miller's Basics of Anesthesia (aka Baby Miller)—This classic text is user friendly and easy to follow, and can be accessed on paper or digitally. Baby Miller is often regarded as the leading text in basic and clinical science.
• Morgan and Mikhail's Clinical Anesthesiology (aka M&M)—Always a front-runner for ITE and BASIC Exam prep, M&M is closely aligned to the fundamental anesthesiology content on your exams.
• Faust's Anesthesiology Review—Recommended by many residents, Faust makes it easy to understand fundamental anesthesiology concepts.
• Clinical Anesthesia Fundamentals (aka Baby Barash)—Recommended for CA-1 to CA-3, Baby Barash is recognized for clear, simple explanations of anesthesiology concepts.
•Stanford University's CA-1 Tutorial Textbook—This PDF walks through everything necessary for the BASIC Exam and calls out specific ITE tips as you work though the content.