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ABS Issuing Refunds, Launching Security Investigation for Virtual 2020 General Surgery QE

Jul. 17, 2020 Media Contact: Alyson Maloney, 215-568-4000

The attempted administration of the virtual 2020 American Board of Surgery General Surgery Qualifying Exam was a failure. There is no way to sugarcoat it, and there is nothing that we, as an organization, can say right now to make those who were affected feel any better. We acknowledge that our failed attempt to deliver this exam has resulted in an incredible amount of stress for candidates. You are frustrated, angry and disappointed, and you have every reason to feel so. We failed to deliver the exam in a way that meets the standards to which we hold ourselves.

While we cannot give you back the time that you spent studying, away from your family, in the midst of the worst public health crisis that we have seen in a century, we can and will refund exam fees starting immediately. You should see the charges refunded to your credit card within two weeks. You do not need to submit a request for the refund; they are being issued automatically.

The only way to move past this is to look to the future. We have received many suggested solutions from affected candidates, and will review and consider every single one of them. We are looking at all available options to move forward and provide an examination that is safe, fair and reliable. We need to balance this with the need to avoid hasty action. The profession and the public rely on a valid exam. You deserve a fair delivery. At this moment we do not have an organized structure or vehicle to provide those things, but we will have one and we will provide you the safe, fair, valid experience you expect of us. The exam will NOT take place in July 2020.

We are launching an investigation into the security concerns, beginning by immediately demanding that Verificient delete all personal information and provide evidence that they have done so. This is just the beginning, but we want to assure you we are doing all in our power to both investigate and mitigate against harm. If you have experienced a security concern or data breach resulting from this exam, please contact our office via email as soon as possible so that we can track issues and look into your individual situation.

We are living in an unprecedented time. With the move from a physical testing center to a virtual setting for this exam, we tried to provide a solution that would be safer and more convenient for the candidates who have been dealt a less than desirable hand for 2020. Our intention with this exam was to minimize public exposure during this pandemic. In attempting to protect our candidates and the public, we created a bigger problem. Our best intentions turned into a terrible nightmare for many, and we cannot stress enough how deeply apologetic we are. It will take us some time to resolve, but please know that we are sparing no effort in doing so. We will communicate with candidates directly and post updated information on our website as it becomes available.