Common questions about the QE

FAQs - General Surgery Qualifying Exam

Yes, a D.O. can apply for certification by the ABS if they have completed a general surgery training program accredited by the ACGME or the RCPSC. The same is true for all other ABS specialties.
Yes. A full and unrestricted license is not required for the QE. However, once you have passed the QE, you must have a full and unrestricted license to take the Certifying Examination regardless of when it is taken. Temporary, limited, educational or institutional medical licenses will not be accepted.
No. The individual who was your program director during your residency must sign your signature form, even if he or she no longer holds that position.
The ABS' minimum requirements are 750 procedures in five years and 150 in the chief year, with an overall balanced distribution of cases. Residents may count up to 50 cases as teaching assistant (TA) toward the 750 total; however these cases may not count toward the 150 chief year cases.

Applicants must also list at least 25 cases in surgical critical care, with a minimum of one in each category, and at least 25 TA cases. Cases must also be reported for nonoperative trauma.
You or your program director can write a letter documenting your surgical critical care and/or nonoperative trauma experience during your residency. This information must be provided for your application to be approved.
No; as long as you have remaining exam opportunities, you will automatically be sent registration information for the next examination. To confirm your participation in that year's QE, you must complete the online registration form and make payment of the exam fee.
Residents' performance on ABS examinations is one factor evaluated by the ACGME when reviewing a residency program's accreditation. Your program thus needs to continuously monitor the examination performance of its residents.
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