What's the story on in service exams?

Discussion in 'Clinical Rotations' started by Future Surgeon, Mar 19, 2001.

  1. Future Surgeon

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    As if I weren't under enough stress thinking about residency ....

    It occurs to me that I have a hazy idea that soon I will be starting to have to worry about in service exams and I don't know a thing about them. When do we take them? How do we study? Are the grades used by fellowship programs? Are they nationally standardized?

    Does anyone have any clues about this? Write back if you do ...

    Thanks.
     
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  3. They are nationally standardized. Every resident in each specialty takes them at the same time.

    In family medicine, ours is in November.

    Fellowships might look at them, but the main purpose is for internal use to determine a residents progress and as a guage of the overall strength of the program.

    Sometimes if a resident does worse from year to year the program will require that resident to do some intensive reading projects.
     
  4. Z

    Z

    The General Surgery In-service exam is given the 3rd Saturday in Jan. All surgical residents in the country take the exam. It consists of both basic science and clinical questions. There are several sections: Body as a Whole; Cardiovascular; GI; Endocrine; Skin, Skeletal, and GU. You are graded against those residents that are your PG year. For example, all first year residents are graded against each other. You are given a raw score and a percentile rank. The percentile rank is most important. If you get above the 50th percentile, the chances of you passing the American Board of Surgery Written Exam are high. Most programs want you to at least do this well. The overall importance of the exam with regard to your chances of obtaining a fellowship position is dependent upon which fellowship you are talking about and who you talk to.

    With regard to studying for the exam... You should start early!!! You will have very little time to cram. You can study for this test and you can do well if you do. Several study guides are out there. I like the first several chapters in the Surgery text by Greenfield and a book called Basic Science for the General Surgeon by O'Leary. The key, however, is to find a review book that essentially looks at the questions from the exam the year before. Michigan State University and a couple of other places publish manuals like this. Many of the same topics are covered over and over again on the test, so, it would be beneficial to have this information.

    Hope this helps.
     
  5. Future Surgeon

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    Wow -- thanks for all of that information!!! What a relief to not have it such a black box anymore.

    A couple of follow up questions ... does everyone study a lot? How far in advance is far enough? Do you know where I can buy those guides you wrote about? And lastly, all I could find on online medical bookstores by O'Leary was something called Physiologic Basis of Surgery -- is this the same book?

    Gratefully yours,

    FS

    [This message has been edited by Future Surgeon (edited March 21, 2001).]
     
  6. Z

    Z

    Not everyone studies, however, this is not an effective strategy to do well on the exam. Having said that, in the first two years categorical residents will be graded along with preliminary residents. This makes the exam a little easier to do well on because some of the prelims don't care about general surgery and will not study. For you this is good. However, as you get up in years in residency, the prelim people are gone so the pool tightens to those who are really interested in general surgery. This makes doing well harder because there is more competition and fewer people.
    About the O'Leary book...I had forgotten the exact name....you found the correct book. Sorry about the misunderstanding. Feel free to email me with any specific questions about this or other gen surg topics. [email protected]
     
  7. Future Surgeon

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    Glad to know I found the right book -- it is already ordered and on its way to me from Medsite.com ...

    While I have got your attention, three more questions:

    1. I didn't have any luck trying to find that Michigan State book -- is there some special way to find this/the others like it that you mentioned?

    2. How early would you say to start preparing?

    3. Any experience with this SESAP package from the American College of Surgeons? (http://www.facs.org/fellows_info/sesap/sesap.html) From the online sample, it seemed like it would be pretty helpful.

    Thanks again,

    FS


    [This message has been edited by Future Surgeon (edited March 22, 2001).]
     

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