January 22, 2021

Pilot Success Paves the Way for ABA’s 2021 Virtual Exams

ABA Media Contact
Michelle Taylor
Director of Marketing and Communications

Pilot Success Paves the Way for ABA’s 2021 Virtual Exams

The American Board of Anesthesiology (ABA) successfully examined 88 candidates for board certification as part of a virtual APPLIED Examination pilot last month, paving the way for anesthesiologists to take their oral boards virtually in 2021. The Dec. 17-18, 2020 pilot was a critical test of the ABA’s deliberate transition from in-person to virtual exams for candidates whose 2020 exams were cancelled due to COVID-19. 

ABA Secretary David O. Warner, M.D., shared the news of a successful pilot administration this week with candidates who are scheduled to take board certification exams virtually beginning Feb. 1. In a recent virtual town hall discussion, Warner thanked the 2020 candidates for their patience as the ABA worked to transition the APPLIED exam while also managing difficult and unpredictable caseloads.

As practicing anesthesiologists, Warner said the Board knew well the challenges of practice during these difficult times, but pointed out, “none of us had to worry about preparing for boards during a pandemic.”

“We can assure you that we’ve taken great care to provide you with an exam that not only works technically and stands up professionally, but also delivers an experience that’s worthy of your commitment to our specialty,” Warner said.    

Ultimately, the success of the ABA’s first-ever virtual exams will be measured by the experience of the candidates and their confidence in the assessment, according to ABA Director Mark Keegan, M.B., B.Ch., chair of the Assessments and Nonstandard Exams Committees. Keegan said the Board is encouraged by pilot candidates’ positive commentary about the experience in a follow-up survey. 

“A great majority of the candidates in the pilot walked away feeling confident about their virtual exam and the ABA’s administration of it,” Keegan said. 

The ABA will administer the APPLIED Exam virtually over nine weeks this spring. The Board intends to return to the AIME Center in Raleigh to administer face-to-face exams once it is safe to do so. 

About the American Board of Anesthesiology

Our mission is to advance the highest standards of the practice of anesthesiology. As the certifying body for anesthesiologists since 1938, we work with physicians to elevate practice standards and foster exceptional patient care. We administer initial and subspecialty certification exams as well as the Maintenance of Certification in Anesthesiology® (MOCA®) program, which is designed to promote lifelong learning, a commitment to quality clinical outcomes and patient safety. Based in Raleigh, N.C., we are a nonprofit organization and a Member Board of the American Board of Medical Specialties (ABMS).