Home » Best Resources for ABSITE Studying and How to Use Them

Best Resources for ABSITE Studying and How to Use Them

15 min


A group of surgery residents preparing for surgery.


Unlike other standardized tests, it can be difficult to find comprehensive resources for ABSITE studying. Surgery requires a lot of knowledge, and doing only one question bank may limit you when it comes to scoring a higher percentile. Unfortunately, none of the resources for ABSITE are fully comprehensive. So it is best to rely on a few key resources when you are studying. With that said, we will take a close look at the best resources for ABSITE and provide guidance on how to use them.



TrueLearn Question Bank as an ABSITE Resource


TrueLearn’s Question Bank stands out as a top-notch ABSITE study resource. Often likened to the UWorld of ABSITE, it boasts a collection of approximately 1200 practice questions, consistently updated with the latest information. The questions closely mirror those encountered on the actual exam, and the software interface mirrors the test environment, providing familiarity that will highly benefit test-takers.


One of TrueLearn’s strengths lies in its comprehensive answer explanations. Approach TrueLearn much like you would with UWorld for USMLE studies. Whether you nail a question or miss the mark, make it a practice to thoroughly read through the explanations during your initial pass. Often, these explanations offer additional insights you might not have encountered otherwise. If flashcards are an effective learning tool for you, create them for questions you answered incorrectly. Alternatively, compile a document for notes during your review of the answers.


Structuring Your Study Plan with TrueLearn


To stay on track, establish a reasonable weekly goal for the number of questions you aim to complete. Recognize that there may be days, due to being on call or extended work hours, where completing questions might be challenging. On lighter workdays or days off, aim to tackle a greater number of questions. Consistency is key, so establish a daily question goal and utilize your days off to catch up on any missed questions, if needed.


As the ABSITE draws nearer (within 3-4 weeks of the exam), shift into timed and non-tutor mode to simulate the actual exam conditions. TrueLearn also provides an assessment option, which can be purchased separately from the question bank. Allocate time for this assessment about 1-2 weeks prior to the test date. It serves as a valuable tool to identify your weakest areas, affording you the opportunity to focus your study efforts strategically.


Some residency programs may mandate periodic assessments throughout your preparation. Leverage these assessments to gauge your areas of vulnerability and fine-tune your study schedule accordingly. While TrueLearn’s Question Bank is robust, it’s worth noting that it may not cover every concept that appears on the ABSITE. For this reason, it’s essential to complement your study plan with additional ABSITE resources.



SCORE Question Bank


The SCORE Question Bank is another valuable resource commonly employed for ABSITE preparation. With diligent planning, it’s entirely feasible to work through both the SCORE and TrueLearn question banks, an ideal scenario for comprehensive preparation. Boasting a substantial collection of over 2000 questions, SCORE provides an extensive array of practice material. However, it’s crucial to exercise caution when generating SCORE quizzes – be sure to select “Your Specialty” to filter out fellowship-level and other surgical subspecialty questions that aren’t pertinent to ABSITE.


If you’re aiming to tackle both question banks, beginning with SCORE can be a strategic approach. Then, integrate TrueLearn into your study regimen, perhaps with a mix of TrueLearn questions each week. Unlike TrueLearn, SCORE tends to offer more concise answer explanations. Occasionally, supplementing with additional resources or articles might be necessary to gain a comprehensive understanding of the information. On the plus side, the brevity of the questions and explanations enables a quicker completion pace.


In addition to its question bank, SCORE also offers modules for in-depth reading on specific topics. This feature proves particularly useful when you encounter a concept in a SCORE question that requires further exploration. Moreover, SCORE provides weekly assigned readings and quizzes, providing a structured framework for your study plan. If you find it challenging to adhere to your schedule, consider aligning your topic reviews with SCORE’s weekly assignments for added guidance. This can help maintain a steady pace and ensure you cover all necessary material.


By incorporating the SCORE Question Bank into your ABSITE preparation, you’re accessing a robust set of questions tailored to your specialty. Remember to balance its brevity with additional resources for comprehensive understanding, and leverage its supplementary modules for targeted topic exploration. With focused dedication, you can make the most of this resource to bolster your ABSITE readiness.



Behind the Knife Surgery Podcast


The Behind the Knife Surgery Podcast offers a treasure trove of ABSITE-dedicated episodes, updated on an annual basis. While some of the older podcasts are recycled, the content remains invaluable. With roughly 30 episodes, totaling approximately 20 hours of review material, they are thoughtfully categorized by topic and range from 30 minutes to an hour in duration. The beauty of these podcasts lies in their flexibility; they can be seamlessly integrated into your daily routine, whether you’re commuting, cleaning, or multitasking.


Utilizing Behind the Knife as an ABSITE Resource


For optimal retention, it’s recommended to embark on your initial pass when you can devote undivided attention to listening and note-taking. Additionally, a companion book, available for purchase on Amazon, complements the podcasts by providing concise notes. If time allows, consider creating your own notes as you listen. Alternatively, utilize the companion to follow along, or use it as a supplementary resource to consolidate your notes from other study materials. These notes become a valuable resource for future ABSITE preparations, spanning at least five years from the start of your intern year.


Feel free to start incorporating the podcast into your study routine as early as you see fit, even if you are not a resident yet. Much of the content is relevant not only to ABSITE but also to your clinical rotations. Presented in a question-and-answer format, the podcasts are led by experienced surgery residents who have excelled in their own ABSITE exams. While there may be occasional minor inaccuracies or outdated information, the overall quality of the resource remains exceptional.


Beyond ABSITE-focused content, Behind the Knife offers a diverse array of educational podcasts that are well worth exploring. Additionally, be sure not to overlook their videos on ABSITE mnemonics and high-yield images, accessible on YouTube. These supplementary visual aids can enhance your understanding and retention of crucial concepts.


Remember, when using resources in podcast and video form, that passive learning can be a helpful addition to your study schedule. However, it is never a replacement for active learning techniques. Be sure to use BTK in addition to at least one QBank.



The ABSITE Review by Dr. Steven Fiser


The ABSITE Review by Dr. Steven Fiser offers a concise, bullet-point format for reviewing ABSITE topics. While it provides a wealth of high-yield information, it lacks detailed explanations. Consider it a valuable reference and a quick overview, but refrain from relying solely on it for ABSITE preparation. For comprehensive studying, it’s advisable to complement it with a robust question bank (or two).


The book’s organization is commendable, making it easy to locate specific topics and navigate through them. However, be aware that there are occasional minor errors scattered throughout its pages. If you’re embarking on your first pass through a question bank, consider perusing the corresponding chapter in Fiser’s book before tackling the questions. This strategy reinforces your understanding by reviewing the material multiple times, thus fortifying your grasp on the subject matter.



Anki as an ABSITE Resource


Anki, as an ABSITE resource, offers a powerful tool for active learning. While pre-made decks for the ABSITE are available, we strongly advocate for creating your own flashcards. While this may initially seem time-intensive, it’s a worthwhile investment, underscoring the importance of commencing your studies well in advance. Craft Anki cards for questions you miss and for those elusive facts that tend to slip from memory over time. Utilize idle moments at work or before bedtime to review your cards.


If you’re apprehensive about dedicating time to flashcard creation, you can opt for a pre-made deck. Begin your Anki journey by focusing on your weakest areas.


While there are numerous resources available for ABSITE preparation, the combination of the aforementioned tools can lead to a successful outcome. Regardless of the resources you choose, early initiation of your study regimen is paramount. Consider starting a light review and engaging with some questions at the commencement of the academic year, typically in July.


Alongside the array of resources mentioned, Elite Medical Prep offers an exceptional 1-on-1 ABSITE tutoring service. Our experienced tutors are committed to providing personalized strategies for your best performance. To discover how this tutoring service can optimize your ABSITE readiness, schedule a free consultation with our expert medical education consultants today. This is your chance to elevate your preparation and establish a solid foundation for your surgical career. Wishing you every success in your studies!

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