Dec 30, 2019
Medical Student
Hi, I am a medical resident in Australia and am hoping to pursue a career in general surgery. I would like to ask for any advice with regards to studying for the Primary Surgical exam (GSSE) which now appears to be a pre-requisite before applying to a RACS training program.
I have found a great online resource for the anatomy component,, and am currently working my way through their questions bank and mock exams along with Last’s Anatomy. However, I have no idea how to approach the pathology and physiology component of the exam… The recommended texts are large and laborious. Does anyone who is sitting or has passed the GSSE have any advice on how to prepare for the exam and useful resources? Is it true that the Anatomy component is worth 50% of the overall mark?


Family Physician / Hospitalist
5+ Year Member
May 25, 2015
Sydney, NSW, Australia
Attending Physician
I'm not a Surgeon nor do I have much experience in it... Keeping that in mind... A few of my mates who are Surgical Registrars and Consultants tell me that Anatomy (50%), Physiology (25%) and Pathology (25%) are part of the GSSE. The core texts are an essential reading apparently, but easier readings to study from that they have recommended are 'Instant Anatomy' (Instant Anatomy - Learn human anatomy online), and 'Ganong's Review of Medical Physiology' (Ganong's Review of Medical Physiology, 26e | AccessMedicine | McGraw-Hill Medical) and 'Robbin's Basic Pathology' (Robbins Basic Pathology - 10th Edition). Apparenetly having a study group as well in the later stages of prepation for the exam also helps. Good luck! It's not easy to get onto the SET program.
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