FAQs - MOC Exams & Applications

The online application process for MOC exams is posted each year in early spring under My Records and also under each exam's section of the website. A notice will be posted on the homepage at that time and letters sent to eligible diplomates. Once logged in, you will see your Status of Application page where you will access all of the application forms, including reference forms, and check the status of your application.
In lieu of the operative experience report, please submit a cover letter with your application that provides full details about your current clinical activities. The cover letter should describe your patient contact and any clinical procedures you perform. The two reference forms may be completed by supervisors or peers who are familiar with your clinical activities and can provide knowledgeable attestation to your ethical and professional status.
You may use whichever time period works best for you—either a full calendar year or one year back from when you are applying.
The signature form only needs to be signed by the authenticating official of the hospital(s) from which your cases were reported. If you did not report cases from a hospital, you do not need to obtain a signature.
The ABS operative experience report must be completed via the ABS website or transmitted electronically from the ACS case log. The report asks only for the numbers of primary procedures performed during the past calendar year or recent 12-month period at the two institutions you utilize the most. No other information is collected. The data from it appears on your signature form, which then must be authenticated by the physician you indicated can attest to its accuracy—this may be the chief of surgery, department head, etc.
The authorization codes are listed on the Status of Application page (log in to My Records, click on "Online Applications" and then your exam). Scroll down to either 1A) CME Repository or 2) Operative Experience Report. The authorization number will be listed in those areas. The links to perform the respective transfers are posted there as well.
When you use the transfer option, you will receive an email from the ACS or SAGES once the transfer has been completed. Please check your email for this message. Cases from the ACS case log are transferred immediately - you will see them listed in your operative experience report. CME is transferred within one hour - once the transfer has occurred, you will see the CME listed in your CME Repository. If you are having difficulties, please contact our IT department for assistance.
Acceptable documentation of Category 1 CME would be photocopies of certificates from the primary sponsor of the educational activity clearly stating that it is Category 1 and accredited by the ACCME, AMA, RCPSC or EACCME.
Documentation of Category 1 CME activities should be sent at the same time as the other application materials; the activities must also be listed on the online application form. While sending it later will not incur a late fee, it will delay the review of your application. Applications will not be considered for approval until all required items are at the ABS office.
Either the two prior calendar years OR the two-year period (24 months) prior to applying.
You may use all of the Category 1 credit that you obtained toward the PRA, but not the award itself.
The ABS itself does not offer CME credits; however we will allow you to waive up to 60 Category 1 CME and self-assessment credits toward MOC Part 2, or toward another MOC exam if taken in the next two years/recent 24-month period. The American Medical Association will also issue AMA PRA Category 1 Credit for certification or recertification by the ABS or any ABMS board—see the AMA website and direct CME application (pdf).
The form(s) should be filled out by a physician of a comparable position at that institution, such as the chief of staff or medical director, with a note of explanation attached to either the reference form or application. Note that the two forms may not be filled out by the same person.
Yes. They may be sent by the diplomate or by the person completing the form. Either way, the diplomate is responsible for ensuring they have been mailed to the ABS (original signatures required—no faxes, scans or photocopies). While no late fee is assessed if they arrive after the application deadline, the longer they take to arrive, the more you delay the review of your application. Note that the information contained in the reference forms is considered confidential and cannot be discussed with the applicant.
No. If you are applying for two MOC exams (e.g., general surgery and pediatric surgery), you only need to submit the application materials once. However, the application fee and exam fee must be paid for each exam.
Once an application is approved, a diplomate receives five opportunities in five years to pass the exam (three in five for surgery of the hand); MOC examinations are offered once annually. If you fail or postpone during the five-year period, you will subsequently be contacted with registration information for the next exam. A new application is not necessary until the five-year period is exhausted.
We do not endorse or critically evaluate any review courses.
To order SESAP, call the American College of Surgeons at 800-621-4111 or see the SESAP page of their website. VESAP is provided by the Society for Vascular Surgery; call 800-258-7188 or see its website's VESAP page for more information.
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