Anesthesiology Board Review, ABA BASIC Exam Practice Questions

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“The knowledge acquired from working through allows the resident to prepare for the Anesthesiology exam on a firm footing.”

Basavana Goudra, MD, FRCA, FCARCSI
Anesthesiology and Critical Care Medicine, Perelman School of Medicine, University of Pennsylvania

gold key Key Board Review Features


ABA BASIC Board Review Topics Covered:

  • Pharmacology
  • Central and Peripheral Nervous Systems
  • Respiratory System
  • Cardiovascular System
  • Anatomy
  • Physics, Monitoring, and Anesthesia Delivery Devices
  • Mathematics
  • Evaluation of the Patient and Preoperative Preparation
  • Regional Anesthesia
  • General Anesthesia
  • Monitored Anesthesia Care and Sedation
  • Intravenous Fluid Therapy During Anesthesia
  • Complications (Etiology, Prevention, Treatment)
  • Postoperative Period
  • Gastrointestinal / Hepatic Systems
  • Renal and Urinary Systems/ Electrolyte Balance
  • Hematologic System
  • Endocrine and Metabolic Systems
  • Neuromuscular Diseases and Disorders
  • Physician Impairment or Disability: Substance Abuse, Fatigue, Aging, Visual and Auditory Impairment, American Disabilities Act
  • Ethics, Practice Management, and Medicolegal Issues

Information about the American Board of Anesthesiology (ABA) BASIC Examination:

What is covered on the ABA BASIC Exam?

According to the ABA BASIC Examination Blueprint, the exam covers the following topics:

  • Basic Sciences 24%
  • Clinical Sciences 36%
  • Organ-Based Basic & Clinical Sciences 37%
  • Special Problems or Issues in Anesthesiology 3%

The BoardVitals ABA BASIC question bank follows the content outlined in the ABA BASIC Examination Blueprint.

What is the format of the ABA BASIC Exam?

The BASIC Examination consists of 200 A-type questions and examinees have 4 hours to complete the examination. A-type questions are single-best-answer multiple-choice questions that require the application of knowledge rather than simple recall of factual information.

The ABA anesthesia exam pass rate as of November 2015 was 93%.

In addition to the BoardVitals ABA BASIC Question Bank, be sure to review the Sample BASIC Exam Questions provided by the ABA.


Students who’ve taken the ABA BASIC exam mentioned that it’s similar to the USMLE Step 1; factual recall is significant and there are complaints that the details in the exam are not clinically relevant and too focused on minutiae so don’t let this throw you off. Examinees recommend dedicating more time to studying anatomy and statistics, also, focusing on the organ-based systems/clinical assessment will be helpful. Students were surprised to find a lot of questions focused on physician impairment as well. Lastly, do not overlook the Mapleson and Bain circuits as there is great potential for these to be be on the exam.

Examinees state that dedicating 2 hours a day, 5 days a week, is an adequate amount of time to prepare for the exam; pairing our Anesthesiology BASIC Examination question bank with relevant texts will ensure success. Good luck!