The Complex General Surgical Oncology Qualifying Examination (CGSO QE) is offered annually as the first of two exams required for board certification in complex general surgical oncology (CGSO). The exam consists of about 200 multiple-choice questions, lasting approximately five hours, designed to assess a surgeon’s cognitive knowledge of CGSO.
The exam is administered in three 90-minute sessions, with optional breaks after sessions one and two. Once a session has concluded, candidates are not able to revisit those questions.
Results are posted approximately four to eight weeks after the exam; candidates 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.
The admissibility period for the CGSO QE begins immediately upon completion of training. Candidates are strongly encouraged not to delay in applying for and taking the CGSO QE for the first time as delays may adversely affect performance.
This exam is offered only once per academic year. During the exam admissibility period, individuals who postponed or were unsuccessful will be contacted each year regarding the next exam; a new application is not necessary.
The above limits are absolute. Individuals who exceed any of the above restrictions will lose their admissibility and must contact the ABS regarding the readmissibility requirements in effect at that time.
Registration available following the release of 2024 CGSO QE results.
To be eligible for this exam, applicants must have satisfactorily completed a CGSO training program accredited by the ACGME or a general surgical oncology training program accredited by the RCPSC. During training, candidates must have obtained increasing levels of responsibility to become fully prepared for independent practice.
In addition, candidates must be actively engaged in the practice of CGSO as indicated by holding full surgical privileges in this discipline at an accredited health care institution or be currently engaged in pursuing additional graduate education in another recognized surgical specialty. The only exception to this requirement is active military duty.
Candidates for certification in complex general surgical oncology must possess a full and unrestricted license to practice medicine in the U.S. or Canada. Applicants are required to immediately inform the ABS of any conditions or restrictions in force on any active medical license they hold. Temporary, limited, educational or institutional licenses will not be accepted, even if the candidate is currently in a fellowship.
The application process for the CGSO QE is posted each year in the spring. Applicants are encouraged to begin the application process as soon as possible.
Once the online application process is available, applicants are required to submit the following items:
This form covers information regarding the applicant’s undergraduate, graduate and postgraduate medical education.
Operative logs uploaded prior to meeting the required cases numbers will be deleted and a note regarding its deficiencies will be posted to the applicant’s portal. Applicants are responsible for monitoring their portal and uploading the case log meeting all case requirements.
All cases cited must be from the complex general surgical oncology fellowship.
Trainees in U.S. programs: Upload a PDF of your entire ACGME Defined Category and Minimum Report (preferred) or the ACGME Experience Report by Role.
New case number requirements were implemented by the ACGME for surgeons who began complex general surgical oncology fellowship training on or after July 1, 2016. These surgeons will be required to have met the new case requirements by the time of their application to the CGSO QE, including the following minimum case numbers:
|Minimum Case Number
|Gastrointestinal (not HPB)
|Melanoma/Soft Tissue Sarcoma
|70 additional cases in one or more of these oncologic areas
|Multidisciplinary Management Experiences
|120 with subcategorization as shown above
|Can have overlap of surgical cases and cases documenting multidisciplinary management
Review, sign and date the attestation online. Approval of the application is contingent upon approval by the applicant’s program director, who will be contacted separately.
Note: To avoid the late fee, the signature form must be submitted by 4:30 p.m. ET on the deadline date.
Submit the nonrefundable credit card payment (Visa, Mastercard, American Express, Discover) where indicated; a completed application form must be submitted first. A separate exam fee will also be required once the application is approved.
Note: The total application fee due will be based on when the application fee is paid. To avoid the late fee, payment of the application bee must be submitted by 4:30 p.m. ET on the deadline date.
Once all items are submitted, applicants will be able to complete the second step and register for the exam while their application is undergoing review.
After registering, an Exam Admission/Authorization Letter will be posted to the applicant’s ABS portal within 2-5 business days. The Exam Admission/Authorization letter will not be mailed or emailed. Once posted, applicants will need to log on to their portal to access the Exam Admission/Authorization letter in order to schedule a test center with Pearson VUE immediately.
The ABS provides Pearson VUE with the applicant’s mailing address that is on file at the time of registration. If this information is not updated, an incorrect mailing address will be transmitted to Pearson VUE. To facilitate the best exam center scheduling experience with Pearson VUE, applicants should ensure that the ABS has a current mailing address at the time of registration.
If requesting accommodations, applicants must have submitted the appropriate forms and documentation and have obtained ABS approval prior to registering for the examination. Registering and scheduling an exam center without prior ABS approval will result in an examination appointment without accommodations.
Be advised that testing centers have limited capacity and may fill up well before the exam date, particularly in urban areas. Applicants should contact Pearson VUE as soon as the admission letter is posted to their ABS portal to reserve space at a local testing center. If applicants delay, they will likely have to travel outside of the local geographical area in order to schedule the exam.
If the application process is not complete, materials or fees submitted cannot be carried over to another year.
Most questions can be answered with the information available on our website. For specific inquiries, please contact the complex general surgical oncology exam manager.
Please use the form below to contact the appropriate exam coordinator. They will respond as soon as possible.