Applying for the QE

How to Apply - CGSO QE

  • The online application process for the Complex General Surgical Oncology Qualifying Exam is posted each year by mid-May. A notice will be posted on the homepage at that time.
  • Applicants are encouraged to begin the application process as early as possible. If you do not complete the application process, any materials or fees submitted cannot be carried over to another year.
  • Exam accommodations: Please notify the ABS office at the time of application to the QE if you will need testing accommodations at the center due to learning disabilities by formerly submitting your request per our Examination of Persons with Disabilities policy.
  • In addition, if you are a nursing mother, or if you have a medical condition such as injury or diabetes, etc., please inform the ABS at the time of application if you will need accommodations, such as additional break time during the exam, by submitting your request per our Examination Accommodations policy. Requests should be submitted no later than 30 days prior to the applicant’s exam date. Pearson VUE has specific designated centers that are able to offer such accommodations, and these locations fill up on a first come, first served basis. ABS will work with Pearson VUE to make appropriate arrangements.

Items Required

  • Once the online application process is available, applicants are required submit the following items. Diplomates must be meeting the requirements of the ABS Continuous Certification Program and hold a current full and unrestricted medical license to apply.
1) Application Form - submitted via the ABS website

This form covers information regarding your undergraduate, graduate and postgraduate medical education.

2) Operative Experience Report

All cases cited must be from your fellowship. Applicants may submit either the ABS operative experience report via the ABS website or mail in a paper copy of their entire ACGME Experience Report by Role. You do not need to submit the ABS operative experience report if you are sending your ACGME report.

Effective for applicants starting fellowship July 1, 2016 and thereafter, the RC-Surgery of the ACGME has implemented new case number requirements (view pdf). These surgeons will be required to have met the new case requirements by the time of their application to the CGSO QE, including the following minimum case numbers:

Oncologic Area Minimum Case Number Multidisciplinary Cases
Gastrointestinal (not HPB)5025
Hepatobiliary/Pancreatic 3525
Melanoma/Soft Tissue Sarcoma 3030
70 additional cases in one or more of these oncologic areas
Total Cases240120
Multidisciplinary Management Experiences120 with subcategorization as shown aboveCan have overlap of surgical cases and cases documenting multidisciplinary management

Please review the CGSO Case Minimum Requirements (pdf) on the ACGME website for full details.

3) Signature Form - signed by you and your program director 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 signature stamps, faxes, scans or photocopies). It must be signed by the applicant and the individual who served as program director during his or her training. Only the program director may sign the form, no other official.
  • Note: To avoid the late fee, the signature form must contain all required, original signatures (applicant and program director) 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. A separate exam fee will also be required once your application is approved.
  • 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.

Mailing Your Application Materials

  • The signature form (with all required original signatures) and operative report (if using ACGME report) should be mailed in one package to the ABS office (1617 JFK Blvd., Ste. 860, Philadelphia, PA 19103).
2020 Application Deadlines & Fees
  • By July 1 (initial deadline) - $500
  • By July 15 (late deadline) - $700
  • No applications will be accepted after July 15. Once your application is approved, a separate exam fee of $1400 will also be required.
  • To avoid the late fee, 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. 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.