Surgery Recertification for Attendings

Surgery Board Review Questions and Practice Tests

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gold key Key Board Review Features


Surgery Board Review Topics Covered:

  • Breast
  • Transplantation
  • Thoracic Surgery
  • Skin and Soft Tissue
  • Vascular
  • Trauma
  • Endocrine
  • Pediatric Surgery
  • Abdomen
  • Miscellaneous Topics
  • Alimentary Tract
  • Surgical Critical Care
  • Applied Science
  • Surgical Specialties
  • Endoscopy

About the ABS General Surgery Qualifying Exam (QE)

The QE is the first of two exams required for board certification in general surgery. It is designed to evaluate a surgeon's knowledge of general surgical principles and applied science.

What is covered on the Qualifying Exam?

According to the General Surgery: Content Outline For the Qualifying Examination, the following topics are covered:

Patient Care 80%

  • Abdomen 12%
  • Alimentary Tract 15%
  • Endoscopy 2%
  • Breast 7%
  • Endocrine 5%
  • Skin and Soft Tissue 2%
  • Surgical Critical Care 10%
  • Trauma 8%
  • Vascular 7%
  • Transplantation 2%
  • Thoracic Surgery 2%
  • Pediatric Surgery 2%
  • Head and Neck 2%
  • Surgical Specialties 4%
  • Surgical/Medical Knowledge 20%

Applied Science 13%

  • Preoperative Evaluation and Perioperative Care 2%
  • Miscellaneous Topics 5%

How long is the Qualifying Exam?

The QE is a one day exam that lasts approximately 8 hours. The exam is made up of 200 multiple choice questions (MCQ) administered in five 90-minute sessions.

The 2016 pass rate for the QE was 80%.

Tips and Tricks for the Surgery Boards:

What is the best way to prepare for the general surgery board exam?

You are going to be tested on organ system-based categories and you will need to have an understanding of surgical principles. You will need to find textbooks whose styles you find easy to read. This increases the likelihood that you will not only read it once, but repetitively. When you complete a section of a book, think about what you just read, ask yourself practical questions and see if you know the answers.

Answering Multiple-Choice Questions

Your exam will be comprised of single-best-answer multiple choice questions. Even if more than one answer is correct, you only want to choose the best choice, so carefully read each question and all of the response options before you select your answer. Try to answer questions without reading the responses as if it is a fill-in-the-blank format. If your answer is among the choices, you have probably read the question properly. If it is not present, reread the question and look for details you may have missed. If you are still not sure, eliminate the incorrect choices and increase your odds of guessing the correct answer.

Be aware of your time management

If you are not sure of an answer to a particular question, mark it and review it after you have completed the remainder of the questions. Also, make sure you get plenty of rest before you take your exam so you may perform your best. Hopefully these tips help you toward your goal of becoming a certified surgeon.

The University of Nebraska Medical Center, Center for Continuing Education is accredited by the Accreditation Council for Continuing Medical Education to provide continuing medical education for physicians.

The University of Nebraska Medical Center, Center for Continuing Education designates this Internet Enduring Material for a maximum of 60 AMA PRA Category 1 Credits™. Physicians should claim only the credit commensurate with the extent of their participation in the activity. Further Surgery CME info found here.