Anesthesia Board BooksTop Books for Each of the ABA Exams

You will be taking multiple exams as you work towards your Board Certification in Anesthesiology during residency.  You know how to get ready for the USMLE / COMLEX Step 3, your first Anesthesiology In Training Exam (ITE), and how the Board Certification Process works.  Now you are looking for some great resources to help you do well on the exams.

There are so many good books out there to help you with your anesthesia knowledge, where do you start?

Below you will find the top books to help you prepare for the ITE, Basic, Advanced, and Applied Exams.

(I am going to assume that you already have one of the basic anesthesia books you can find here.)

Question Books

These books will help you throughout your training and to prepare for the ITE, Basic, and Advanced Exams

Anesthesia: A Comprehensive Review, commonly called “The Hall Question Book” is one of the question books I used to prepare for my boards.  With 1000 practice questions, it gives you a big bang for your buck.  If you have to get just one question book, get this one.  Not only does it give you the questions and answers, it also gives you a thorough explanation as to why the answer is correct and why the others are not.  This really helps to reinforce your reading.  Anesthesia: A Comprehensive Review comes as paperback and on Kindle.



Anesthesiology: A Comprehensive Board Review for Primary and Maintenance of Certification by Matthes is another option for an anesthesia question book.  I don’t have as much experience with this book, but it does seem to get good reviews on Amazon.  The Matthes question book  provides a detailed explanation of the correct answer.  It also gives you a bullet-point key facts and a high-yield synopsis of the topic being tested.  I wish this book had been around during my board review.  The Matthes question book is available as a paperback and  as an e-textbook.

ITE Specific Resources

Anesthesiology Keywords Review is truly the review book for the ITE.  After you take the Anesthesiology ITE, you will be given a list of personal Keywords that correlate to questions you missed.  You can then use these Keywords to study up on topics you have not mastered.  Keyword Review is the only book of its kind that gives you the Keyword, Key Points, and a Discussion.  When you are trying to brush up on topics for the next ITE, or for taking the Basic or Advanced Exam, this is a key resource.  This books comes in a paperback version only.


Basic Exam (Written Part 1) Specific Resources

51flhc3prl-_sx384_bo1204203200_Anesthesia Core Review Part One: Basic Exam is the only Basic Exam books of which I am aware.  You want to pass the Basic Exam the first time you take it.   Why take the time to hunt it down  information on the Basic Exam that you can find in this book?   Your time is precious.   This reasonably priced book is more than worth the time it will save you.  It is a well organized Basic Exam review.  It also has MRI, CT, and ultrasound pictures which is vital to help you prepare for the exam.  I know program directs who give this book to residents who have trouble with the Basic Exam.  This should be your “go to” book to help you prepare for the Basic Exam.  Anesthesia Core Review is available as a paperback or in the Kindle format.


Stoelting’s Pharmacology and Physiology in Anesthesia Practice is a classic Basic Exam book that was around before there was the Basic Exam.  If an anesthesiologist ran your pharmacology and physiology class in medical school, this would be the book.  It drills down to the basic sciences of anesthesiology and gives you an in depth discussion of them.  This would be a great supplement to Anesthesia Core Review.  Pharmacology and Physiology is available as a hardcover book or in the Kindle format.



Advanced Exam (Written Part 2) Specific Resources

Anesthesia Core Review – Part Two: Advanced Exam is the book to help you prepare for the Advanced Exam.  There are many books out there to help you for prepare for your written exams.  This one is a solid book for your Advanced Exam review.  I would suggest that when you pass your Basic Exam exam, you should buy this book and use it to study during residency along with your Basic Anesthesia books.

Anesthesia Core Review – Part Two: Advanced Exam is available as a paperback or in the Kindle format.


Applied Exams (Oral Exam) Specific Resources

It is difficult to narrow it down books specifically for the Applied Exam.  Here are some unique books that you will find helpful.  The Applied Exam is different than your other exams so these books are likewise different than your other books.  Take a look through these and pick one or two to supplement your studying.

Crisis Management in AnesthesiologyCrisis Management in Anesthesiology is a quick reading book that is high yield when it comes to managing crisis in anesthesiology.  It starts off with the basic principles of crisis management, then dives into all the different types of bad stuff that can happen.  Each crisis is defined (like “acute hemorrhage”) then it talks about the typical situations, prevention, manifestations, management and complications.  Complications are predictable.   Reading through this book will help you better predict the complications.

Crisis Management in Anesthesiology is available as a paperback or in the Kindle format.


Yao & Artusio’s Anesthesiology: Problem-Oriented Patient Management is like Anesthesia Secretes on steroids. It gives you a patient stem question that looks like one you would encounter at the Applied Exam.   The stem is followed by four broad categories: 1) Medical Disease and Differential Diagnosis, 2) Preoperative Evaluation and Preparation, 3) Intraoperative Management, and 4) Postoperative Management.  This book will give you talking points so that your answers during the Applied Exam will flow a little smoother.  Yao & Artusio’s Anesthesiology: comes in hardcover and in the Kindle format.  


Anesthesia Oral Board Review: Knocking Out the Boards starts off with a quick guide to the oral boards.  Which gives you some brief hints and tricks.  Each topic has a sample case, then a section of clinical issues, and finishes with a “Knock Out Treatment Plan”.  This style of review reminds me of a USMLE review book.  If you are looking for a good review for Anesthesia Knowledge, this would be a helpful resource for you.  Anesthesia Oral Board Review is available as a paperback, printed access code, and e-textbook.


Anesthesiology Oral Board Flash Cards is a flash card style review book for the Applied Exam.  It reminds me of the Faust’s Anesthesiology  Review, only tailored for the Applied Exam.  If you are looking for a break from the standard Applied Exam book, check this one out.  You can use this book as a “night cap” as I discussed in my article about Studying on the Move. Oral Board Flash Cards is available as a paperback and in the Kindle format.



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