Complex General Surgical Oncology Qualifying Exam
- The CGSO Qualifying Examination is offered once annually as the first of two exams required for board certification in complex general surgical oncology. It contains about 200 multiple-choice questions designed to assess a surgeon's cognitive knowledge of CGSO. See also the exam's content outline (pdf).
- It is a one-day exam lasting approximately 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.
- Individuals who complete a surgical oncology fellowship in the 2018-2019 academic year or thereafter will have no more than 7 academic years immediately following training to become certified (i.e., pass both the QE and CE). See Exam Opportunities below for details.
To be eligible for this exam, applicants must:
- Individuals who meet ABS requirements may apply for the exam through the online application process, which is posted in early spring (see How to Apply). After your application is approved, you will be sent instructions on how to register for this year's exam.
- Once you complete registration and submit the examination fee, it will take up to five business days to process. Following processing, an Exam Admission Card/Authorization Letter with instructions on how to schedule your exam center directly with Pearson VUE will then be posted on your Exam Records and Results page.
- Active duty military personnel who may encounter difficulty taking the exam due to their service should contact the ABS as soon as possible. Please see How to Apply for information about other exam accommodations.
- Individuals who complete a surgical oncology fellowship in the 2018-2019 academic year or thereafter will have no more than 7 academic years following training to complete the certification process (i.e., pass both the QE and CE). The 7-year period begins immediately upon completion of fellowship training.
- Upon application approval, applicants will be granted up to 4 opportunities within a 4-year period to pass the QE, providing they applied immediately after training. Individuals who delay in applying will lose opportunities to take and pass the QE.
- If the applicant decides not to take the exam in a given year, it is a lost opportunity. See our exam admissibility policy for further details.
- Primary certification in Surgery is a requirement for certification in Complex General Surgical Oncology, and is part of the application process. Delays in completing initial certification in surgery will delay the CGSO application, and therefore diminish the number of available attempts to take the CGSO exam. It is highly recommended that you attain certification in Surgery BEFORE the end of your CGSO fellowship.
- Individuals who completed training prior to July 1, 2018, were granted up to 5 opportunities within a 5-year period.
- During the four-year period, During the five-year period, examinees who postponed or were unsuccessful will be able to register for the next exam without completing a new application; the original application will suffice.
- The above limits are absolute. Individuals who exhaust their four-year admissibility period should contact the ABS regarding the readmissibility requirements in effect at that time.
CGSO Certifying Exam
- Upon successful completion of the CGSO Qualifying Exam, you will be admissible to the CGSO Certifying Exam, an oral exam, and will be contacted with registration information for the next exam.
For specific inquiries, please send an email to the exam coordinator.