Examination

The ABSA Certification Examination for Surgical Assistants is comprised of three (3) sections; 170 multiple-choice questions, covering all surgical disciplines and all areas of perioperative medicine, including instrumentation and a manual / practical skills evaluation. The examination evaluates candidate knowledge of surgical anatomy, procedures and techniques, diagnostic studies, emergency situations, OSHA regulations and general patient safety.

The ABSA Certification Examination is weighted in approximately the following breakdown:

  • General Surgery - 24%
  • Orthopaedics - 15%
  • Gynecological - 14%
  • Varied other Surgical Specialties - 10%
  • General Operative Knowledge - 21%
  • Anatomy & Medical Terminology - 16%

To successfully pass the examination, the candidate must score a minimum of 70% on the General Knowledge Section and 75% on the Specialty and Practical Skills Sections.


General Knowledge Examination Section
The general knowledge section of the examination is comprised of 150 multiple-choice type questions, covering all areas of perioperative medicine and all surgical disciplines.

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Specialty Examination Section
The specialty section of the examination further evaluates advanced knowledge of surgical practice and assisting, by requiring completion of 20 very detailed multiple-choice type questions, with respect to surgical instrumentation, identification and usage.

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Practical Examination Section
The practical examination section examines manual skills and permits the ABSA to evaluate the candidate, in areas that do not readily lend themselves to written examination.

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