Study habits of surgery residents and performance on American Board of Surgery In-Training examinations

Anna M. Derossis*, Debra Da Rosa, Alan Schwartz, Linnea S. Hauge, Georges Bordage

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

36 Scopus citations


Background The purpose of this study was to evaluate the study habits (SHs) of surgery residents preparing for the annual American Board of Surgery In-Training Examination (ABSITE). Methods A validated instrument developed to assess SHs in college students, the Survey of Study Habits and Attitudes (SSHA), was modified slightly for use with residents. The modified SSHA contains 2 subscale scores, work methods and delay avoidance, and a combined overall study habit score. A total of 59 residents from 2 academic general surgical residency programs were administered the modified SSHA. The SSHA scores were correlated to performance on the in-training examination. Results There was a small but significant correlation between scores on the modified SSHA instrument and performance on the ABSITE overall (r = 0.29; P <.05; r2 = 0.0841). Linear-regression analysis showed that the clinical component and overall performance on the ABSITE were significantly predicted by the total SH scores. Overall total ABSITE percent correct scores were significantly predicted by residency levels of training and the overall SSHA scales (delay avoidance and work methods). Together they predicted 63% of the total variance in the overall performance scores. Residency level was the strongest predictor. SH performance accounted for 5.9% of the total variance beyond that contributed by residency level of training. Conclusions The correlations of surgical resident ABSITE performance with SSHA scores were on the same order of magnitude as those of college students and academic performance with the original SSHA. Although SH in this study accounted for a measurable yet small contribution to ABSITE performance, this contribution was not enough to consider using the SSHA instrument in its current modified form as a diagnostic and counseling tool. Published instruments not specifically designed for residents may not be tailored enough to measure residents' unique SH.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)230-236
Number of pages7
JournalAmerican journal of surgery
Issue number3
StatePublished - Sep 2004


  • American Board of Surgery In-Training examination
  • Study habits
  • Surgery residents

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Surgery

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