Surgical Critical Care MOC Exam

  • The Surgical Critical Care MOC (Recertification) Examination is offered annually over a 2-week window. It consists of approximately 200 multiple-choice questions designed to assess a surgeon's cognitive knowledge and clinical judgment in surgical critical care. See also the exam's content outline (pdf).
  • The exam lasts about 5 hours and is held at computer-testing facilities across the U.S. The exam is administered in three 90-minute sessions, with optional 10-minute breaks between sessions. Once a session has concluded, you will not be able to revisit those questions.
  • Results are posted approximately 4 to 8 weeks after the exam; you will be notified by email when they are available. The exam's contents are copyrighted and may not be reproduced or disclosed in any manner.
    Next Exam: Sept. 11-23, 2017
    Registration Deadlines: July 17 (initial deadline) and Aug. 15 (late deadline)

When to Take Exam

  • ABS certificates expire on Dec. 31. Diplomates are eligible to take an MOC exam starting 3 years before their certificate's expiration; this includes the final year of certificate validity. Eligible diplomates will be contacted by mail and email when they are able to register for an MOC exam.
  • Surgeons with lapsed certificates should refer to our Lapsed Certificate Policy. Surgeons on active military duty who may encounter difficulty taking the exam should notify the ABS as soon as possible.

General Requirements

To be eligible for this exam, diplomates must:

  • Certification/MOC: Be certified by the ABS in surgical critical care and meeting the requirements of the ABS MOC Program. Certification may not be revoked. Current certification in general surgery is not required. Diplomates not meeting MOC requirements cannot apply for the exam until MOC re-entry requirements are met.
  • Professional Activity: Be in the active practice and/or teaching and/or research and/or administrative activities relevant to surgical critical care. If diplomates are providing care to hospitalized patients, they must hold practice privileges at an accredited health care institution. If diplomates no longer hold privileges, they must provide an explanation when updating their practice information.
  • Case Log: Submit a report of critical care experience that documents management of 25 consecutive patients just prior to the time of application. Note: Diplomates who no longer operate will provide instead information about their current activities.
  • Professional References: Receive satisfactory references from the chair of surgery and chair of credentials at the institution where the majority of work is performed. If necessary, another physician of comparable rank may be used.
  • Medical License: Have a currently registered full and unrestricted license to practice medicine in the U.S. or Canada. Diplomates are required to immediately inform the ABS of any conditions or restrictions in force on any active medical license they hold.
  • Adhere to the ABS Ethics and Professionalism Policy.

Registration Process

  • As of 2017, the ABS no longer requires a separate application process. As long as you are meeting MOC requirements and have a certificate that will expire in 3 years or less, you may register to take the exam. The online registration process is posted each year in spring — please see How to Register.
  • Diplomates who wish to take two MOC exams in the same year do not need to submit most registration materials twice; however registration fees must be submitted for each exam.

Maintenance of Certification (MOC)

  • Upon passing the exam, you will be mailed a new certificate in 3 to 6 months. The certificate will have an expiration date 10 years from the expiration date of your previous certificate. The ABS will also waive 60 credits of CME with self-assessment toward MOC for this recertification; the waiver will appear automatically in your CME Repository.
  • Surgeons who achieve ABS recertification may also 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.

For specific inquiries, please send an email to the exam coordinator.

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