General Surgery Board Review: 4 Best Resources for the Qualifying Exam

  • /Reviewed by: Amy Rontal, MD
  • The general surgery boards are comprised of two parts: a qualifying exam (written general surgery board exam) and a certifying exam (oral general surgery board exam). When it comes to preparing for board exams, regardless of specialty, there are many resources available. We must identify and select a few of the top resources to ensure consistency and to prevent becoming overwhelmed.

    In this post, we outline some of the top resources for general surgery boards written exam prep.

    Best Study Resources for the General Surgery Qualifying Exam (QE)

    Resource: SCORE 

    SCORE portal is an innovative initiative to provide residents and residency programs with high-quality educational material and a structured program for self-learning.

    It has more than 800 module topics covering the 6 competencies of ACGME (Accreditation Council for Graduate Medical Education): patient care; medical knowledge; professionalism; interpersonal and communication skills; practice-based learning and improvement; and finally, system-based practice.

    The SCORE portal has 2300+ multiple choice questions, which serve as a good preparation for both in-service training examination and the boards.

    How to use SCORE: This resource is most helpful throughout the years of residency. The portal allows access to This Week in SCORE (TWIS) — a sequence of suggested topics over a two-year cycle. Each week a new topic is featured, along with the related modules and a new 10-question quiz.

    Keeping up with these modules and the multiple-choice questions on a weekly basis is a key to success and adequate preparation for the general surgery boards.


    Resource: TrueLearn

    TrueLearn is a good supplemental question bank for general surgery board exam preparation. This q-bank contains more than 1500 questions, and you’ll receive a percentile based on the number of questions answered correctly, which helps you to compare your performance to others.

    TrueLearn also offers a separate question bank that helps with preparation for the American Board of Surgery In-Service Training Examination (ABSITE).

    How to use it: The TrueLearn question bank is a good way to test your knowledge—either through the five years of training or while providing a reinforcement to the SCORE Portal.


    Resource: SESAP  

    SESAP is a learning platform designed by the American College of Surgeons (ACS) Division of Education, which provides the users with over 1400 items along with critiques and references. Available both online and in textbook form, these questions (along with the accompanying critiques) have proven to be very helpful in general surgery board preparation.

    How to use it: SESAP provides access to the main 13 categories such as alimentary tract, breast, endocrine, head and neck, oncology, perioperative care, etc. Ideally, pick a category and work through the questions part of that category to reinforce the medical knowledge while being able to keep up with the current trends in surgical practice and surgical management.


    Resource: PASS Machine 

    The PASS Machine provides a comprehensive preparation for the surgery boards by providing access to more than 1300 questions while allowing access to a large number of high yield lectures for the board preparation.

    How to use it: Questions in this comprehensive review are again a good resource, while the high-yield lectures prove to be an adjunct to your last few months of board prep.