How to Apply - General Surgery MOC Exam

  • The online application process for the General Surgery MOC (Recertification) Exam is posted each year in early spring. Diplomates are eligible to apply starting 3 years before their certificate's expiration; this includes the final year of certificate validity.
  • Please note the online forms must be used—handwritten or other versions will not be accepted. If you do not complete the application process, any materials or fees submitted cannot be carried over to another year.
  • Clinically inactive: Diplomates who no longer see patients may apply per the Clinically Inactive Policy. Diplomates who no longer operate but still see patients may submit alternative material (see FAQs).
  • Exam accommodations: Accommodations for documented learning disabilities must be requested by the initial application deadline (view policy). Individuals who will need accommodations due to medical-related conditions (injury, breast feeding, etc.) should notify the ABS when applying.
    MOC Compliance
    If you are in the ABS MOC Program, you must be in compliance to apply for this exam (i.e., submitted three-year MOC form when required). If you are due to report on your MOC activities this year, the exam application does not replace submitting the MOC form—both must be submitted.

Items Required

  • When the online application process is available, applicants are required submit the following:
1) Application Form - submitted via the ABS website
  • This form will ask for information about your medical school, residency training, medical license, hospital privileges and CME activities.
  • Before completing the form, you will enter your CME activities into the accompanying CME Repository—60 credits of Category 1 CME are required from the past 2 calendar years or recent 24-month period. Your CME will then be imported into the application form as you complete it. See item #7 below for more details.
    CME Transfer
    Members of the ACS or SAGES may transfer CME data directly to the CME Repository. The link and 13-digit authorization code to perform this transfer are posted next to "1) CME Repository" once you log into the online application process. The transfer should occur within a few minutes.
2) Operative Experience Report - submitted via the ABS website
  • This report will ask for the numbers of all primary procedures performed during the past calendar year (1/15-12/15) or recent 12-month period (e.g., 5/15-5/16) at the 2 institutions you utilize the most. It is not necessary to list secondary procedures. No other information is requested. The ABS seeks a general profile of your current practice; there is no required minimum of cases.
    ACS Case Log Option
    Users of the ACS Surgeon Specific Registry (case log) may transfer cases directly to the ABS operative report. The link and 13-digit authorization code to perform this transfer are posted next to "2) Operative Experience Report" once you log into the online application process. Only the number of cases performed in each category is transmitted. The transfer will occur immediately.
3) Signature Form - signed by you and the authenticating hospital official(s) and mailed to the ABS office
  • The signature form summarizes the information entered on the application form and operative report. The entire form must be printed and mailed with the original signatures (no faxes, scans or photocopies).
  • The form must be signed by the applicant and the listed authenticating official(s) (who must be a physician) of the hospital(s) from which your cases were reported. The authenticating official is the physician you have indicated who can attest to the accuracy of your operative report—this may be the chief of surgery, department head, etc.
  • Note: To avoid a late fee, the signature form must contain all required, original signatures (applicant and authenticating officials) and arrive by the application deadline.
4) Nonrefundable Application Fee - paid by credit card via the ABS website
  • Submit your credit card payment (Visa, Mastercard, American Express, Discover) where indicated—a completed application form must be submitted first. Once your application is approved, a separate exam fee will be required to register for the exam.
  • Note: The total application fee due will be based on when your signature form arrives at the ABS office, not the date you submit the application form or fee.
5) Full & Unrestricted Medical License - photocopy mailed to the ABS office
  • Photocopy of your current medical license registration (U.S. or Canada), with the expiration date visible.
6) Two Reference Forms - to be completed by chief of surgery and chair of credentials and mailed to the ABS office
  • You can print these forms once you log into the online application process. The forms should then be completed by the chief of surgery and the chair of credentials at the hospital where you perform most of your work (Hospital No. 1). Only one set of reference forms is required. The ABS reference forms must be used; we cannot accept letters in their place.
  • If you hold one of these positions or if these positions are held by the same person, have another physician of comparable rank fill out the second form. The two forms cannot be filled out by the same individual. Original signatures are required—no faxes, scans or photocopies.
  • Note: Reference forms may arrive after the application deadline without a late fee being assessed, but they must arrive by the final application deadline. You are responsible for ensuring the forms have been completed and mailed to the ABS office.
7) Documentation of Category 1 CME - photocopies mailed to the ABS office
  • You must provide documentation of 60 credits of Category 1 CME relevant to your practice completed over the past 2 calendar years (1/14-12/15) or recent 24-month period (e.g., 5/14-5/16). Category 1 activities are formal educational programs, such as seminars, grand rounds and skills courses.
  • CME activities completed for MOC Part 2 may be used toward this requirement. While CME containing self-assessment is required for MOC Part 2, it is not specifically required for this application.
  • The 60 credits must be entered into your CME Repository. Photocopies of certificates from each activity sponsor stating the CME is Category 1 and accredited by the ACCME, AMA, RCPSC or EACCME should be mailed to the ABS office. The Physician's Recognition Award itself is not acceptable documentation. If you transferred CME from ACS or SAGES, then documentation must only be submitted for any non-verified CME.

    Daily CME Limit
    The ABS expects that each CME credit corresponds to one hour of time spent on the activity. The ABS will therefore not accept in general more than 12 credits of CME earned in a single day.

    Waiving of CME
    If you achieved certification or recertification in another ABS specialty or by another ABMS board in the past two years/recent 24 months, you may waive the 60 credits of CME. For the ABS, a waiver for 60 credits appears automatically in your CME Repository. For another ABMS board, you will need to enter the 60 credits into your CME Repository and provide a photocopy of your board certificate or similar documentation (e.g., pass letter).

Mailing Your Application Materials

  • The signature form (with all required original signatures), photocopy of medical license and CME documentation should be mailed in one package to the ABS office (1617 JFK Blvd., Ste. 860, Philadelphia, PA 19103).
  • To avoid late fees, these 4 items must be at the ABS office (not postmarked) by end of business day on the application deadline: (1) application form (via website); (2) operative report (via website); (3) entire signature form with all required, original signatures (by mail); and (4) application fee (via website).
  • However your application cannot be approved until ALL required items are present, and all items must arrive by the final application deadline. Please submit your application materials promptly so you may schedule the exam at a testing center of your choosing. The longer you wait to complete the application process, the more likely you will have to travel outside your area to take the exam.
  • To confirm delivery of application materials, please track your package through your delivery service. Allow 3-4 weeks for mailed items to be marked "Received" on your application page. Due to volume, the ABS staff is unable to confirm receipt of materials until they have been processed. Please keep a copy of all submitted items as the ABS will not furnish copies.
  • Tip: If you are sending items overnight, you do not need to purchase "First Overnight" service. Standard overnight is sufficient.

Application Approval

Once all materials are received, your application will be reviewed by ABS staff. You will be notified via email when your application is complete, and again when your application has been approved. Once approved, you will be sent information on how to register for this year's exam and pay the separate exam fee. If there are any problems with your application, you will be notified by ABS staff. Please keep your contact information current - Update Personal Information.

If you have questions, please refer to our FAQs section. For questions not covered in the FAQs, send an email to the exam coordinator.

Bookmark and Share