Member Board of the American Board of Medical Specialties

Neuroanatomy Exam

Detailed knowledge of neuroanatomy is a requirement for becoming an excellent neurosurgeon. The neuroanatomy exam is different from the ABNS Primary Exam; the neuroanatomy exam will supplement the ABNS Primary Exam which is generally taken later on in residency. The test can only be failed if it is not completed. The test will consist of 100 “mostly fill in the blank” neuroanatomy questions. The resident will learn which questions they answered incorrectly. After a “lock out” period of 72 hours to allow for study of the questions missed, the resident will log back into the exam at a time of their choosing and answer questions similar to, but not identical, to the questions they got wrong the first time. After the second test, the resident will again be informed which questions they answered incorrectly, be locked out for 72 hours, and then be expected to log back in to answer the incorrect questions again. The resident will have up to a total of 4 attempts to get every question correct.

The Program Director will be notified of completion but not how many attempts the resident required for completion.

The curriculum for the PGY2 Neuroanatomy Exam consists of the following four sources:

1. The Rhoton Top 100 Surgical Anatomy Images. or

  • This site is free and provided by the AANS.

To view the site and the Rhoton top 100 images, the resident must create a LOGIN.

Once logged in, click on “The top 100 anatomy images” in The Rhoton Top 100.

Then click through the various images of the spine or Rhoton surgical anatomy dissection images. Any word or anatomic phrase in green to the right of the image is fair game for the exam.

Residents are expected to master every one of the top 100 images in the Rhoton Collection.

A smart phone webpage link has been created:

  • Once logged into this site, use the up arrow at the bottom of your smart phone screen to “add to your home screen”.
  • Once the Rhoton icon is on your phone, click the link.
  • Then hit the “Featured” tab and look through the collection.
  • Click on the “…” at the top right and you can quickly see all the images in the collection and scroll through them.

2. Neuroanatomy Text and Atlas. John H. Martin 4th Edition. McGraw Hill. The 5th Edition is also available; both editions are identical and can be used as study resources.

3. Aids to the Examination of the Peripheral Nervous System 5th Edition.

4. The Primary Exam Resource, available through a user's myABNS account. This tool can be filtered to show only neuroanatomy questions.

The PGY2 Neuroanatomy Exam will consist of 100 questions and the source material for each question is as follows:

1) 60 of the 100 questions are from the Rhoton top 100 website. The examinee will be asked to identify an anatomic structure using a fill in the blank format.
2) 32 of the questions are from J Martin Neuroanatomy Text. 4th edition 2012. There will be 2, single best answer, questions from each of the 16 chapters.
3) Five (5) questions will be from J Martin Neuroanatomy Atlas. 4th edition 2012. The examinee will be asked to identify brain or brainstem structures using a fill in the blank format.

Atlas I: Images 1 through 7 (gyri, sulci, cranial nerves)
Atlas II: Images 1 through 14, and images 20, 23, 26, and 28 (cross sections of spinal cord and brain)

4) 3 questions come from the Aid to the Examination of the Peripheral Nervous System 5th Ed.
One question from each of the following:
Figure 3: Brachial Plexus
Figure 56: Lumbar Plexus
The chart on the last page entitled: “Commonly Tested Movements” will be a single best answer question.