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ABS Update Regarding the July 16-17 General Surgery Qualifying Exam

Jul. 16, 2020 Media Contact: Alyson Maloney, 215-568-4000

Update July 17, 6:00 a.m.

During ongoing extensive testing of the revised model of the exam with remote proctoring, we found that the delivery of exam items continued to be both inconsistent and unreliable. We have reluctantly concluded that we have run out of time to fix the process and that we cannot deliver a valid exam on Friday, July 17, 2020. The long delays in communication were a result of our ongoing efforts to ensure the functional delivery that our candidates, the public and the profession deserve.

We will regroup and develop a new process that is consistent with the high standards of surgeons. We deeply regret, and most sincerely apologize for this stressful and unsuccessful event.

Please continue to check the website and keep your emails up to date as you start fellowships and new positions. We will contact you as soon as we have information to share.

Update July 16, 9:30 p.m.

Emails are forthcoming very shortly, but we understand that candidates need to know what to expect for exam administration on Friday, July 17. Here are some details:

  • Full day exams can start in the morning. The exam window will open at 7 a.m. ET and close at 8 p.m. ET. You do NOT need to use your scheduled start time, but can start part one any time between 7 a.m. ET and noon, and part two anytime between noon and 4 p.m. ET. There will be five-minute breaks between sections. You control the break time between parts one and two.
  • Candidates who completed their exam today (July 16) should use their existing scheduled start time tomorrow (July 17).
  • Examinees who were paused part way through a section will not see the same questions again.
  • We will look at all options for a second delivery of the exam. In full transparency, it is logistically impossible to do this for at least several months.
  • Anyone who was contacted by a proctor after the exam should contact the ABS IMMEDIATELY by email or phone.
  • Mass emails take over an hour to roll out from hitting "send" which is why we are also using social media for faster updates.

Original post:


We deeply regret that we cannot start new exams today, July 16. Anyone who completed the exam today should plan to resume tomorrow as scheduled. Anyone who was not able to take the first half of the exam today has the option of taking the full day exam tomorrow.

As frustrated and angry as you all are, we feel the same. Having already committed so much of your time to preparing for this exam, we want to give you every opportunity to complete this step of the certification process now. Our vendors have been working with us all day to resolve the technical issues that arose for many of you, and we will offer the full examination tomorrow, July 17, 2020.

If this timing and schedule is not possible or acceptable for you, we absolutely understand and will work with you on refunding and rolling over your fees to next year.

We cannot state enough how apologetic we are for this exam experience. We appreciate your hard work, and will continue to post updates on our website home page and on Twitter through tomorrow. Please continue to check your email for additional updates as well.