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SOM Peer to Peer Resources

AOA Guidance

This is an exam regarding the medical management of the surgical patient. There will be no questions about actual surgeries or surgical techniques, but rather what to do with your post-op patient who is now spiking a fever. For example, you will not have a question asking you how to do a cholecystectomy, but you may have a question with a patient that presents with signs, symptoms and lab data pointing to cholecystitis, and the question will ask “what is the next step.” Don’t be caught off guard if you get questions about antibiotics, acid/base or other things people consider to be “medicine” and not “surgery.” The recurring theme of all NBME exams is that they are heavily medicine based. Most people will have surgery before IM and the following resources can prepare you well. Your hours are arguably the longest here, so study a little bit every day as soon as you start.
Advice from the Class of 2021:
  • Surgical Recall to prep for OR cases, not for actual studying. I didn't touch DeVirgilio because I don't like books and still did fine! If books are not your thing, you can still survive/thrive in third year by doing lots of questions/videos.
  • Pick one book and stick with it. I found Pestana's not detailed enough; although DeVirgilio is long, it went quickly and covered all of the high yield information.
  • Surgical Recall for cases. TouchSurgery app to visualize surgery. UWorld and others for NBME. This shelf is medicine questions mixed with the basics of surgery. 
  • Emma Holliday surgery video is extremely high yield and I got a few questions right directly from her video.
  • DeVirgilio is a great book and you will get through it easily if you read 1-2 cases a day. Pestana's has a free audiobook on Audible that you should use if you have long commutes.



AOA - "Surgery section obviously, but the Medicine Renal, Endocrine, Pulm sections are highly recommended. Review electrolytes, GI, and hepatobilliary subsections in the medicine section as well. It also makes life easier once you are on medicine and have less questions to get through."

Surgery: A Case Based Clinical Review

Call Number: Main Collection WO500 S961 2015. Print and online available. 
AOA - "Excellent textbook written in a question-answer format. Very long, but those who read the entire book had very positive things to say about it. If it’s too long, you can just review the small bowel, large bowel, hepatobiliary, and breast sections. The questions at the end of the book are also excellent."

Practice NBMEs

AOA - "Good resource for practice questions that simulate the real thing."

Dr. Pestana's Surgery Notes

Call Number: 3-Day Reserve WO18.2 P476d 2013. Print ONLY.
AOA - "Short, but packed with high yield information. This will give you a pass on the surgery shelf, but not honors. The questions at the end of the book as also worth it if you have time. Online Med Ed surgery is very much a video version of this book." 

OnlineMedEd Surgery Videos

AOA - "If videos are the way you learn best, this resource is definitely for you."

Emma Holliday - Surgery Video

AOA - "High yield video to review at the end of your rotation a day or two before the shelf."

Surgical Recall

Call Number: 3-Day Reserve WO18.2 S961 2015. Print ONLY.
AOA - "This is a great book to read before scrubbing into cases as a lot of the questions the attendings like to ask come from this book. This is NOT a good resource to use to study for the shelf; remember this shelf is not about how to do surgery."

NMS Surgery Casebook

Call Number: 2-Hour Reserve WO18.2 N738 2016. Print ONLY.
AOA - "Very good resource for both the floors and the shelf. Many people used this as their textbook."

Case Files Surgery

Experience with clinical cases is key to mastering the art and science of medicine and ultimately to providing patients with competent clinical care.Case Files®: Surgery provides 60 true-to-life cases that illustrate essential concepts in surgery. Each case includes an easy-to-understand discussion correlated to key concepts, definitions of key terms, clinical pearls, and USMLE®-style review questions to reinforce your learning. With Case Files®, you''ll learn instead of memorize. Learn from 60 high-yield cases, each with board-style questions.nMaster key concepts with clinical pearls. Cement your knowledge with 25 new integrated challenge questions. Polish your approach to clinical problem solving and to patient care.

ACS/ASE Medical Student Core Curriculum for Surgery

The American College of Surgeons Division of Education and the Association for Surgical Education have collaborated to develop an online resource for medical students, medical school faculty, and clinical faculty. This curriculum addresses the competency-based surgical cognitive skills needed by all medical students, not just those pursuing surgery, prior to graduation. These essential surgery topics were identified through an extensive needs assessment and reflect the input of surgical and nonsurgical faculty, deans, and medical students across the country. 

National Tutorial Seminars for Medical Students

The American College of Surgeons Division of Education has launched a series of online seminars called the National Tutorial Seminars for Medical Students. These online tutorial seminars are based on the content of the ACS/ASE Medical Student Core Curriculum and conducted by expert faculty in various surgical specialties. They highlight the foundational principles of surgery and are targeted for students in their core surgical clerkships. Registration is required for each topic and available at no charge.