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

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

2) Operative Experience Report

All cases cited must be from your fellowship. Upload a PDF of your entire ACGME Experience Report by Role.

Effective for applicants starting fellowship July 1, 2016 and thereafter, New case number requirements (view pdf) were implemented for surgeons who began CGSO fellowship training on or after July 1, 2016. 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) for full details.

3) Signature Form - signed by electronically by you
  • Review, sign and date the attestation online. Approval of your application is contingent upon approval from your program director, who will be contacted separately.
  • Note: To avoid the late fee, the signature form must be submitted 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.
2021 Application Deadlines & Fees
  • By July 1 (initial deadline) - $525
  • By July 15 (late deadline) - $725
  • To avoid the late fee, these 4 items must be submitted online by end of business day on the application deadline: (1) application form; (2) operative report; (3) signature form; and (4) application fee.
  • 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.

Application Approval

Once all materials are received, your application will be reviewed by ABS staff. You will be notified via email 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. All applicants are responsible for their own applications and will not be notified if items are missing or incorrect. Please check the status of your application in the ABS portal periodically, and please keep your contact information current.

If you have questions, please refer to our FAQs section. For questions not covered in the FAQs, send an email to the exam coordinator.