And review books to boot!

Absite topics

Absite topics

Below are some general statements about the topics covered in the ABSITE.

“The ABSITE in-training exam you take yearly during residency contains a fair # of basic-science related to those on the USMLE exams”

– The ABSITE covers gastrointestinal physiology and pathology questions. It also covers topics in endocrinology and respiratory system (ex. respiratory quotient has been quoted as being tested each year. ) 

– Other questions that students have mentioned are: “Where is the SA node?” “How do you revert the protamine induced hypotension?” For that question, one student stated that  Calcium was the closest answer. Another question that students have stated is: “What is the most common side effect of protamine?”

– There are also anesthesia type questions on the exam. One student quotes: “… and then the anesthesia like questions made me want to rather pass ureteric stones. I mean how many malignant hyperthermias have we seen. I havent seen even one.” On this topic, one faculty member wrote:  “Continue to expect those “anesthesia like” questions – you will have them every year.”
– … some of the more esoteric topics (ortho, gyne, etc) that show up on the ABSITE (my chief year ABSITE had like 15 gyn questions, and lo and behold, gyn also showed up on my oral boards!).
– Instead, read the common stuff and know well (Hernias, Choles, Appys, Endocrine). Don’t forget to read and review the Transplant and Oncology as these subjects have loads of Basic Science material to test.


Below is a list of ABSITE review books and resources for surgery residents. Below I’ve included additional ABSITE information. 


The ABSITE Review  by Steven M Fiser
The Practice ABSITE Question Book by Steven M. Fiser
The Comprehensive ABSITE Review (Fiser, Comprehensive ABSITE Review) by  Steven M Fiser
The Senior ABSITE Review by Steven M Fiser
The Johns Hopkins ABSITE Review Manual (American Board of Surgery In-Training Examination)
First Aid for the® ABSITE (FIRST AID Specialty Boards)
General Surgery ABSITE and Board Review, Fourth Edition: Pearls of Wisdom
General Surgery Review (For The Written Boards And Absite) 
Absite Review, Simplified
Review of Surgery: Basic Science and Clinical Topics for ABSITE
Clinical Review of Surgery – ABSITE Edition
Pass the ABSITE!

The official website for the ABSITE is


What is the ABSITE?

“The American Board of Surgery offers annually to general surgery residency programs the In-Training Examination (ABSITE), a written, multiple-choice examination designed to measure the progress attained by residents in their knowledge of basic science and the management of clinical problems related to general surgery. The ABSITE is furnished to program directors as an evaluation instrument to assess residents’ progress. The results are released only to program directors. It is not available to individual residents and is not required as part of the certification process.” –

Examination Questions

“Since 2006 the ABS has offered the ABSITE as a junior level (PG-1 and -2) and senior level (PG-3 to -5) examination. Both the junior- and senior-level versions consist of 225 multiple-choice questions; examinees are given five hours to take the exam. For the junior-level exam, 60% of the examination focuses on basic science, while 40% centers on the management of clinical surgical problems. In the senior-level exam, 20% of the exam focuses on basic science and 80% on clinical management. The relative emphasis on clinical content categories in the two examinations is shown in the following table.” –

Examination Content

Content Category Junior Level Senior Level
Body as a Whole 66.6% 25%
Gastrointestinal Tract 10.0% 25%
CV/Respiratory 7.8% 16.7%
GU, Head and Neck, Skin, Musculoskeletal, CNS 7.8% 16.7%
Endocrine, Spleen, Lymphoma, Breast 7.8% 16.7%


Absite topics


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