Sorry folks, not much to report. All of the residents are carrying the little ABSITE review book around constantly, and even managing a few minutes to look at the inside rather than the cover every now and then. We’re also spending some time analyzing our choices over the past year (whether to dedicate more time to patient care, or perhaps to worrying about patient care, or to studying for the ABSITE), and wondering whether those choices will in the end have any impact on our scores.

It’s hard to express how stressful this test is. For one thing, program directors and fellowship directors make it clear that the scores matter tremendously. (Partly because they’re supposed to predict how well you will do on the boards, and partly because the scores are a matter of prestige or chagrin to the programs.)

Surgery residents tend to be people who did fairly well with tests in medical school; this is a somewhat competitive specialty. But this is a test that we’re all scared of; and it’s a test that half of us are going to do below average on. I’ve only taken one of it so far, and it was worse than any test in college, the MCAT, any test in medical school (including the end-of-year comprehensive final), or any of the USMLEs.

So I’m not looking forward to Saturday.

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