Although direct exposure to procedures in the operating theater environment, together with practice on laboratory animals, is still seen as the gold standard of teaching in microsurgery, practice on nonliving simulators is currently being validated as an important educational tool. We reviewed the widely used nonliving training models, together with currently accepted innovations, which are parts of curricula of training courses in microsurgery. Using the experience accumulated in training programs at the Centre for Simulation and Training in Surgery, we identified which particular skills can be reliably targeted by each nonliving tissue exercise. We were able to find five groups of nonliving training models: basic manipulation, knot-tying principles, completing the anastomosis, the real tissue experience, and training in virtual reality. The more abstract models might seem quite far from the real life experience, but they each closely address specific skills. It thus becomes convenient for the instructor to train these skills separately. This generates series of consistently favorable results once the skills are integrated into a more complex procedure. Focused exercises, once assembled in continuity, reconstruct the real life scenario. The training program can comprise a series of increasingly difficult exercises, which mirror the real life situations. Performance on nonliving models in each progressively more challenging exercise can be assessed via direct observation, assisted by clear and objective criteria. Finally, focused training will help both the transition to human surgery and replication of the favorable results to large series of subjects.