CE Candidate Feedback
The ABS asks all CE candidates to complete a feedback form after the exam. Below is a general sampling of their advice and comments to provide some insight into the experience.
Advice on Preparing for the Exam
- "Do as many oral cases as possible with faculty, especially in their area of expertise."
- "Prepare early (3-6 months ahead). Practice scenarios often, daily during your last month."
- "I would recommend starting to prepare at least two months ahead."
- "Read broadly. Review practice guidelines at your institution."
- "Don't waste time on obscure diseases/scenarios; focus on broad general surgery topics."
- "Make sure to review the anatomy of operations you haven't done in a while."
- "Don't forget to read about your own specialty!"
- "Don't study minutiae; focus on the big picture."
- "Review bread-and-butter general surgery."
- "Don't study like you did for the QE. Focus on logical and well-organized problem solving."
- "Concentrate more on areas that you have not seen or experienced since residency."
- "Practice giving short, succinct answers; do what you would do in real life!"
- "Practice, practice, practice with colleagues. Even if you know the information, you have to be able to say it."
- "Practice explaining procedures in a quick, efficient manner."
Advice on Taking the Exam
- "Don't overthink things."
- "Know your plan and stick with it. Be confident and don't second-guess yourself."
- "Focus on answering the questions."
- "Stay focused. Be systematic. Don't jump to conclusions."
- "Stay calm. Do not dwell on previous questions/rooms."
- "Stay calmtreat the examiners like colleagues discussing a case."
- "Do what you would do in your everyday practice."
- "Approach cases like real patients."
- "Take it as soon as you can after the written exam."
Comments About Exam
- "Fair questions; scenarios were all problems anyone would have encountered in training."
- "Appropriate for what I am supposed to know."
- "Much more straightforward and reasonable than expected."
- "The exam was much more 'bread and butter' than I expected."
- "Straightforward general surgery cases."
- "Very fair; much less painful than I expected."
- "Fair; cases general surgeons would see in practice."
- "Appreciate examiners trying to keep examinees calm and at ease."
- "Examiners were kind and reasonable, as you said they would be."
- "I found my examiners to be very professional, neutral and pleasant."
- "I thought it was fair, well-conducted. I did not feel intimidated by the examiners."
- "I had a lot of fears but the examiners helped to the best of their ability to make me feel comfortable."
- "The examiners were very appropriate and I felt as comfortable as was possible in this situation."