ABSITE & ABS

ABSITE & ABS Tutoring

The American Board of Surgery (ABS) is an organization that certifies physicians in general surgery, as well as in a number of surgical subspecialties such as vascular surgery, pediatric surgery, surgical critical care, complex general surgical oncology, hand surgery, and hospice and palliative medicine. The ABS In-Training Exam (ABSITE) is offered every year to current surgical residents. Although the ABSITE is a ‘formative evaluation instrument to assess residents’ progress… [and] the results are released only to program directors’, the ABSITE has a major impact on resident promotion.

After completing residency training, a surgeon must pass the ABS Qualifying Exam in order to obtain initial certification, and the Certifying Exam to complete the board certification process. Once a surgeon is considered admissible for the board certification exams, the applicant will be granted a maximum of four opportunities within a four-year period to pass the Qualifying Exam and 7 years total to complete the Qualifying and Certifying Exams.

After completing residency training, a surgeon must pass the ABS Qualifying Exam in order to obtain initial certification, and the Certifying Exam to complete the board certification process. Once a surgeon is considered admissible for the board certification exams, the applicant will be granted a maximum of four opportunities within a four-year period to pass the Qualifying Exam and 7 years total to complete the Qualifying and Certifying Exams. As a prerequisite for privileges at most hospitals and for credentialing by many insurers, the importance of successfully passing the ABS can not be understated.

The ABSITE is designed to evaluate a surgical resident’s knowledge, diagnostic reasoning, and clinical judgment skills. The primary focus of the ABSITE is on Clinical Management. Questions are drawn from a number of surgical content categories, divided into Abdominal, Alimentary Tract, and Vascular surgery.  There is also a general medical knowledge category.

ABS Qualifying Exam is administered pass-fail. Overall examination performance is reported on a standardized score scale with a range of 100 to 900, with a consistent passing scaled score of 400 for all exams. Scaled scores can be interpreted as standard deviation units from the passing score. For example, an examinee with a score of 500 scored one standard deviation above the passing score, giving further insight into an individual’s exam performance. ABS Certifying Exam is also administered pass-fail.

The ABSITE consists of approximately 250 multiple-choice questions; examinees will have 5 hours to take the exam. An absolute percentage score and a percentile score are recorded and results are sent only to the surgical trainee’s residency program.

ABS Qualifying Exam is a one-day exam lasting approximately 8 hours and is held at computer-testing facilities across the U.S. There are four 115-minute sessions, with optional 10-minute breaks after sessions one and three, and a 40-minute break offered between the second and third session. Once a session has concluded, questions cannot be revisited.

ABS Certifying Exam is an oral exam consisting of 3 consecutive 30-minute sessions, each conducted by a team of two examiners.

Who Needs An ABSITE/ ABS Tutor?


At Elite Medical Prep we acknowledge that not every medical student needs a ABSITE/ ABS tutor. However, we strongly urge students to read through the following  situations in which tutoring is recommended. If you identify with one or more of these situations, we highly advise you to contact us as soon as possible for support.


-Students who know or have been told that they are poor standardized test takers should strongly consider an ABSITE or ABS tutor.

⁃Anyone who has previously performed below the 30th percentile on the ABSITE or failed the ABS Qualifying Exam should strongly consider tutoring.

⁃Physicians who have been out of training for several years or who are currently training in a sub-specialty area that doesn’t require the daily practice of some areas of general surgery should consider an ABSITE or ABS tutor.

⁃Residents who struggle on the ABSITE should strongly consider ABSITE or ABS tutoring.

⁃Physicians who have struggled or failed previous standardized medical exams, such as the USMLE Step 1, Step 2 CK, or USMLE Step 3 should strongly consider an ABSITE or ABS tutor.

⁃Students who have a general feeling of unpreparedness and/or high anxiety regarding their test date should strongly consider an ABSITE or ABS tutor.

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ABSITE & ABS

The American Board of Surgery (ABS) is an organization that certifies physicians in general surgery, as well as in a number of surgical subspecialties such as vascular surgery, pediatric surgery, surgical critical care, complex general surgical oncology, hand surgery, and hospice and palliative medicine. The ABS In-Training Exam (ABSITE) is offered every year to current surgical residents. Although the ABSITE is a ‘formative evaluation instrument to assess residents’ progress… [and] the results are released only to program directors’, the ABSITE has a major impact on resident promotion.

After completing residency training, a surgeon must pass the ABS Qualifying Exam in order to obtain initial certification, and the Certifying Exam to complete the board certification process. Once a surgeon is considered admissible for the board certification exams, the applicant will be granted a maximum of four opportunities within a four-year period to pass the Qualifying Exam and 7 years total to complete the Qualifying and Certifying Exams.

After completing residency training, a surgeon must pass the ABS Qualifying Exam in order to obtain initial certification, and the Certifying Exam to complete the board certification process. Once a surgeon is considered admissible for the board certification exams, the applicant will be granted a maximum of four opportunities within a four-year period to pass the Qualifying Exam and 7 years total to complete the Qualifying and Certifying Exams. As a prerequisite for privileges at most hospitals and for credentialing by many insurers, the importance of successfully passing the ABS can not be understated.

The ABSITE is designed to evaluate a surgical resident’s knowledge, diagnostic reasoning, and clinical judgment skills. The primary focus of the ABSITE is on Clinical Management. Questions are drawn from a number of surgical content categories, divided into Abdominal, Alimentary Tract, and Vascular surgery.  There is also a general medical knowledge category.

ABS Qualifying Exam is administered pass-fail. Overall examination performance is reported on a standardized score scale with a range of 100 to 900, with a consistent passing scaled score of 400 for all exams. Scaled scores can be interpreted as standard deviation units from the passing score. For example, an examinee with a score of 500 scored one standard deviation above the passing score, giving further insight into an individual’s exam performance. ABS Certifying Exam is also administered pass-fail.

The ABSITE consists of approximately 250 multiple-choice questions; examinees will have 5 hours to take the exam. An absolute percentage score and a percentile score are recorded and results are sent only to the surgical trainee’s residency program.

ABS Qualifying Exam is a one-day exam lasting approximately 8 hours and is held at computer-testing facilities across the U.S. There are four 115-minute sessions, with optional 10-minute breaks after sessions one and three, and a 40-minute break offered between the second and third session. Once a session has concluded, questions cannot be revisited.

ABS Certifying Exam is an oral exam consisting of 3 consecutive 30-minute sessions, each conducted by a team of two examiners.

At Elite Medical Prep we acknowledge that not every medical student needs a ABSITE or ABS tutor. However, we strongly urge students to read through the following situations in which tutoring is recommended. If you identify with one or more of these situations, we highly advise you to contact us as soon as possible for support.


⁃Students who know or have been told that they are poor standardized test takers should strongly consider an ABSITE or ABS tutor.

⁃Anyone who has previously performed below the 30th percentile on the ABSITE or failed the ABS Qualifying Exam should strongly consider tutoring.

⁃Physicians who have been out of training for several years or who are currently training in a sub-specialty area that doesn’t require the daily practice of some areas of general surgery should consider an ABSITE or ABS tutor.

⁃Residents who struggle on the ABSITE should strongly consider ABSITE or ABS tutoring.

⁃Physicians who have struggled or failed previous standardized medical exams, such as the USMLE Step 1, Step 2 CK, or USMLE Step 3 should strongly consider an ABSITE or ABS tutor.

⁃Students who have a general feeling of unpreparedness and/or high anxiety regarding their test date should strongly consider an ABSITE or ABS tutor.