Stay a Cut Above the Rest on the Surgery Shelf

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The surgery clerkship often feels more like a lifestyle than a course of study. With its demanding (and totally random) hours and ‘round the clock calls, you’re constantly on the move and getting very personal, very fast, with very sick patients. It’s not unheard of to start keeping medipore tape, 4×4 gauze, scissors, and suture removal tape on hand  just in case your resident needs them.

Unsurprisingly, surgery sets itself apart from the other Shelf exams. Instead of determining the medical management of a patient, you’ll be required first and foremost to determine whether she or he should be operated on. And though it’s widely considered one of the less challenging Shelfs, don't let an opportunity to ace it slip (or snip!) by.

We’ve covered some tips on how to succeed on the Surgery Shelf exam in the past (like how you should focus on high-yield topics like Gas Gangrene, Oral Cavity Cancer, and Meckel Diverticulum and why you should try to take your Medicine Shelf beforehand), but where you’ll learn the most is directly on the wards. Apply yourself as much as possible as you move through the OR: Be proactive, introduce yourself, offer to help and ask to try things out yourself.

And for those tricky moments at the point-of-care or anytime you’re cramming in extra study sessions, AMBOSS will be there with 701+ surgery-specific Qbank questions and 251 surgery-based Learning Cards. It’s a singular resource that offers you multiple options: turn on Highlighter Mode or the Attending Tip to reveal high-yield information immediately in any question stem, and sift through images like overlays, charts and illustrations in order to better diagnose conditions.

Want to try out AMBOSS for yourself? Take our Surgery sampler for a spin—do well and you could get free access to the platform for two weeks!