The NBME® Surgery Shelf is a case-based exam that tests students on their ability to diagnose and manage surgical patients, including determining when surgical management is required. It can cover a broad range of topics, including relevant cases from Ob-Gyn, Medicine, and Pediatrics.
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Not all students have to take the NBME Surgery Shelf Exam, and it’s not obligatory for obtaining a U.S. doctor’s license. However, most medical schools have a required surgery clerkship, and the most popular way to test students is by using the NBME’s official Clinical Science Surgery Subject Examination. Students should note: the exam can only be taken at authorized testing locations, like Prometric test centers or on campus at select medical schools.
The exam is formatted as an online test consisting of 110 multiple choice questions which must be completed in 165 minutes. Luckily for students, it has the same interface as the USMLE Step exams, with each question set up as a vignette. The exam is graded on a national average, though whether or not you pass your surgery clerkship will depend on your individual medical school’s requirements. More specifically, the number of correct answers you get places you in a percentile, which is then measured across national grades.
The Surgery Shelf will test students on how they determine—based on a diagnosis—whether a patient needs surgery, as well as the medical management of surgical patients.
Many conventional sources tend to offer only a meager amount of practice Qbank surgery questions, however, new digital funds of medical knowledge are now available for students to study with.
AMBOSS is an all-in-one resource that serves as both a clinical companion on the wards and a reliable study guide for your NBME® Clinical Surgery Shelf exam. Our medical library features surgery-specific Articles that can be used as a point-of-care reference when you’re with patients or rounding with your team and for in-depth studying with its robust Qbank (even offline—check out our mobile apps for Android and iOS).