General Surgery Recertification Exam

New Assessment: A new assessment process is being introduced in 2018 for general surgery.
While the traditional General Surgery Recertification Exam will be offered in 2018, diplomates who pass the 2018 exam will still be required to begin the new assessment process by 2020.
  • The General Surgery Recertification Examination is offered annually over a 2-week window. It consists of approximately 200 multiple-choice questions designed to assess a surgeon's cognitive knowledge and clinical judgment in general surgery. See also the exam's content outline (pdf).
  • The exam lasts about 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 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.
    Next Exam: Nov. 26 - Dec. 10, 2018
    Registration Window: Aug. 1 - Oct. 15, 2018

When to Take Exam

  • Diplomates are eligible to take a recertification exam starting 3 years before their certificate's expiration; this includes the final year of certificate validity. Surgeons who no longer operate may still register for the exam. Surgeons with lapsed certificates should refer to our Lapsed Certificate Policy. Surgeons on active military duty who may encounter difficulty taking the exam should notify the ABS as soon as possible.

General Requirements

To be eligible for this exam, diplomates must:

  • Certification Status: Be certified by the ABS in general surgery and meeting the requirements of Continuous Certification. Certification may not be revoked. Diplomates not meeting requirements cannot register for the exam until re-entry requirements are met.
  • Professional Activity: Be in the active practice and/or teaching and/or research and/or administrative activities relevant to general surgery. If diplomates are providing care to hospitalized patients, they must hold practice privileges at an accredited health care institution. If diplomates no longer hold privileges, they must provide an explanation when updating their practice information.
  • Operative Log: Submit an operative experience report every 10 years (in any ABS specialty). The report will cover the most recent calendar year or a more recent 12-month period, reflecting experience at the institution where the majority of work is performed. Note: Diplomates who no longer operate will provide instead information about their current activities.
  • Professional References: Receive satisfactory references every five years from the chair of surgery and chair of credentials at the institution where the majority of work is performed. If necessary, another physician of comparable rank may be used.
  • Medical License: Have a currently registered full and unrestricted license to practice medicine in the U.S. or Canada. Diplomates are required to immediately inform the ABS of any conditions or restrictions in force on any active medical license they hold.
  • Adhere to the ABS Ethics and Professionalism Policy.

Registration Process

  • The online registration process will be available as of Aug. 1; however most of the items required for registration will be available by later this spring on your Continuous Certification status page. Please see How to Register for more on what's required, deadlines and fees, and exam accommodations.
  • Once your registration has been approved, an exam admission authorization letter will be posted on your exam registration page within 24-48 hours. The letter will contain instructions on reserving a place at a computer-testing center. You must have this letter to reserve a testing center spot.
  • Diplomates who register for multiple recertification exams within a five-year period do not need to submit most materials more than once; however fees must be submitted for each exam.

CME Waiver/Credit

  • Upon passing the exam, the ABS will waive 60 credits of CME with self-assessment toward Continuous Certification; the waiver will appear automatically in your CME Repository.
  • Surgeons who achieve ABS recertification may also apply to the AMA to receive 60 AMA PRA Category 1 Credits™. Please see the AMA website and the direct CME application (pdf) for details.

For specific inquiries, please send an email to the exam coordinator.

 

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