CNS Oral Board Exam Preparation Review Course

Costas G. Hadjipanayis Md, PhD

The ABNS Oral Exam is what many neurosurgeons consider the most challenging and daunting exam of their careers. Historically, the exam served as a comprehensive test of a neurosurgeon’s entire training and early work experience, with questions pulled from any subspecialty, even those not practiced by the surgeon. This year, the exam has changed. In an effort to administer an exam that is relevant to the neurosurgeon as well as their patients, the new exam is now more personalized and case-based.

The CNS Oral Board Exam Preparation Review Course adapted to these changes, and is closely aligned to the new format to provide you with the tools you need to pass the test. We will again host the course immediately preceding the CNS Annual Meeting in Boston, Massachusetts, on October 7–8. This allows attendees to tailor their Annual Meeting experience to that of their study needs, with the ability to select luncheons, courses, and presentations that bolster their confidence in the areas they need it most.

As course director, I’m excited to welcome new course faculty with in-depth and great knowledge of all the neurosurgical subspecialties represented during the oral exam. They will lead small-group “hot-seat” drills to prepare physicians for the updated case-based nature of the exam in addition to the successful methods of previous courses, consisting of didactics and interactive discussion.

This year, in recognition of the new exam format, all attendees should be prepared to bring patient cases with complications they have encountered during the course of their practice. We will go over these cases to provide personalized and highly relevant feedback that could directly influence the attendees’ performance on the oral exam.

One of the most challenging aspects of the exam is not necessarily the content itself— although some will find the personalized nature of the redesign may ease subspecialty anxiety— but the fact that an oral exam presents a very different set of demands than a written exam. This course is specifically designed to make sure attendees feel confident in explaining their cases accurately, clearly, and with authority. The timing of the course allows you to not just identify and bolster any knowledge gaps, but then to continue your practice in presenting that knowledge verbally.

The CNS recognizes with the new format of the ABNS Oral Exam, the need to prepare is greater than ever. We have not only created a course to address each need, provide confidence, and help attendees pass the first time, but the course fits within a larger, comprehensive review package. The CNS provides course registrants with a pre-course live webinar to prepare examinees with review topics, and study tips. After the course, you can sign up for a live webinar series that covers seven individual subspecialties that keep confidence levels high and immediately precede the exam itself.

To register and view the agenda for the CNS Oral Board Exam Preparation Review Course, please visit