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FAQs - 2020 General Surgery Qualifying Exam Solution

ABS is ultimately fully responsible for this decision. Extensive input was gained from candidates, the Association of Program Directors in Surgery (APDS), Resident Advisory Society of the American College of Surgeons (RAS-ACS), General Surgery Board of the ABS (GSB), and Assessment Committee of the ABS Council, outside stakeholders including the American Board of Medical Specialties (ABMS), our exam delivery partners, and our exam development, psychometric, and exam logistics staff.
We considered all suggested options, including eliminating the QE entirely and going straight to the CE, allowing candidates with high ABSITE scores to progress, examining candidates with local proctors similar to the ABSITE delivery, an at-home examination similar to the Continuous Certification delivery, and even ballroom-style examinations using old fashioned bubble sheets. The production of alternate exam delivery methods was prohibitively difficult on such a short timeline, and therefore risky in terms of success. Eliminating the QE or using alternate methods such as retroactively applying ABSITE scores does not meet the standards of high stakes secure examinations.
Candidates who are unable to take the exam in April may take it in July 2021, or in a future year.
The failed July 2020 exam will not count against your eligibility. If you choose to take the exam in April, that will count as an attempt for this academic year (2020-21). If you choose to wait and take the exam in July or later, you will be extended an additional year of eligibility for QE completion.
Yes, candidates will be able to take the oral examination prior to passing the written examination in this academic year only. Candidates who choose this path will still need to pass both examinations in order to be certified by the American Board of Surgery.
The requirement for candidates to hold a full and unrestricted state medical license to register for the CE will be waived for those who choose to take the CE first. A full and unrestricted state medical license will be required before a candidate will be considered certified by the ABS.
Candidates may take either the QE or CE examinations without FLS and/or FES. Both FLS and FES will be required before a candidate will be considered certified by the ABS.
ABS is providing SCORE subscriptions free of charge for one year. If you have already purchased a SCORE subscription, you will be reimbursed. We are not offering any other study materials.
ABS has prepared a letter verifying board eligibility prepared for candidates who need it. To request a personalized letter to give to your employer, please complete this request form.
In recognition of the extreme difficulties that this year’s QE candidates have endured, both at the end of their training and in the preparation and failed delivery of this exam, the ABS is providing a significantly discounted rate from the usual rate. This is for candidates who were registered for the July 2020 QE, and can be applied to either the April or July 2021 written exams only.
April 15, 2021 is the first date that is available through an exam delivery vendor. At this time, exam centers are functioning at half capacity to provide adequate physical distancing and comply with CDC standards. In addition, they are rescheduling scores of cancelled examinations across the spectrum of high stakes, secure exams both in medicine and outside.
Pearson complies with both CDC and WHO guidelines for safety. We hope that by April both our understanding of the virus as well as our ability to contain it will be improved. If you cannot take the exam in April for any reason, you can register for the exam in July or at a future date. Candidates who were registered for the July 2020 exam and do not take the exam this year will have an extra year of eligibility.
If COVID causes local, regional, or broader shut downs, the administration of this exam may be delayed. We do not anticipate any additional disruptions, but given the nature of this virus, it is not something that we can guarantee. If this is the case, we will postpone the exam for a future date.
If you are a nursing mother who did or did not previously submit a request for an accommodation for the July exam and will need an accommodation for the April exam, you must submit the Lactating Mothers Accommodations Request form at the time of registration for the rescheduled QE, but no later than 30 days prior to the April exam, per our Accommodations for Lactating Mothers policy. Private space is provided on a first come, first served basis and subject to test center availability.
Candidates who were approved for an ADA accommodation for the July exam will have the same accommodation for the April exam. You do not need to submit any additional documentation. Candidates who did not request an ADA accommodation for the July 2020 QE will have the opportunity to submit the request for the April 2021 exam. All new requests for ADA accommodations must be received by December 1, 2020. Please review our Examination of Persons with Disabilities policy prior to submitting the request form.

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