Common questions about recertification exams
FAQs - Recertification Exams
The ABS no longer requires a separate application process. As long as you are meeting Continuous Certification requirements and have a certificate that will expire in 3 years or less, you may register to take a traditional recertification exam by submitting a 12-month operative log, reference forms, and a registration fee. It is a completely online process no hardcopy paper submissions are required.
The online registration process for traditional recertification exams will be posted under My Records by Aug. 1 for general surgery, and by mid-May for all other specialties. A notice will be posted on the homepage at that time and notifications sent to eligible diplomates. Once logged in, you will be able to access the forms needed to complete your exam registration. For general surgery, we plan to have the reference forms and operative report available before Aug. 1 so you can begin working on them.
On the ABS operative experience report, instead of entering cases, go to the final section of the form to provide an explanation. For the two reference forms, they 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.
Diplomates who are clinically inactive (meaning they no longer see patients in any capacity) should follow similar guidelines. See our Clinically Inactive policy for more details.
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 ABS operative experience report must be submitted online via our website. The report asks only for the number of primary procedures performed in each category during the past calendar year or recent 12-month period at the institution where you perform most of your work. No other information is collected. The ABS seeks a general profile of your practice; there is no required minimum of cases. Diplomates may also transfer case numbers from the ACS Surgeon Specific Registry to the report.
The authorization code is posted under "Operative Experience Report" when you log into the online registration process, available under My Records. At the current time, you must be eligible to take a recertification exam to access this feature.
You will receive an email from the ACS when a transfer has been completed. Please check your email for this message. Cases are transferred immediately; you will see them listed in your operative experience report. If you are having difficulties, please contact our IT department for assistance.
The form(s) should be filled out by a physician of a comparable position at your institution, such as the medical director or chief of staff. The two forms may not be filled out by the same person, or by someone who is a close friend or relative.
Diplomates who register for multiple recertification exams (for example, general surgery and pediatric surgery) within a five-year period only need to submit the reference forms and operative report once. However, the registration fee must be paid for each examination.
The ABS itself does not offer CME credits; however we will waive 60 credits of CME with self-assessment toward the ABS Continuous Certification Program for passing a traditional recertification exam by the ABS or another ABMS board. For the ABS, a waiver will appear automatically in your CME Repository. For another ABMS board, you will need to enter those credits into your CME Repository and provide documentation if requested.
In addition, surgeons who achieve ABS recertification may apply to the AMA to receive 60 AMA PRA Category 1 Credits. Please see the AMA website and the direct CME application (pdf) for details.
We do not endorse or critically evaluate any review courses.