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General Surgery


Successful completion of both the General Surgery Qualifying and Certifying Exams is required for board certification in general surgery.


Two exams are required for initial certification in general surgery

Successful completion of both the General Surgery Qualifying Exam (GSQE) and General Surgery Certifying Exam (GSCE) is required for board certification in general surgery. The GSQE is an eight-hour, multiple-choice exam held once per year on a single day at computer-testing centers across the U.S. The GSCE is an oral exam consisting of three consecutive 30-minute sessions, and is held twice per year.

The ABSITE is a multiple-choice exam taken by surgeons while in residency and is NOT required as part of the board certification process.

When Can I Take My Exams?

Seven-year limit to certification

Upon completion of general surgery residency training, a surgeon will have no more than seven academic years following graduation to achieve certification in general surgery, i.e., pass both the GSQE and GSCE.

The seven-year period starts immediately upon completion of training. Only one exam opportunity will be offered in each year of the seven-year period. Candidates must apply immediately after training to receive the full number of exam opportunities.

General Surgery Qualifying Examination
Location: Pearson VUE testing centers
Fee: $1,525
Application Deadline: 5/13/2024
Fee: $550
11/13 - 11/15
General Surgery Certifying Examination #1
Location: Virtual
Fee: $1,500
Registration Deadline: 9/1/2024

Registration available following the release of 2024 GSQE results.

Exam 1: Qualifying Exam

The first step in the general surgery initial certification process

The General Surgery Qualifying Examination (GSQE) is offered annually as the first of two exams required for board certification in general surgery. The exam consists of about 300 multiple-choice questions, lasting approximately eight hours, designed to evaluate a surgeon’s knowledge of general surgical principles and applied science.

Exam 2: Certifying Exam

Available after successful completion of the General Surgery QE

The General Surgery Certifying Examination (GSCE) is the last step toward board certification in general surgery. The GSCE’s purpose is to evaluate a candidate’s clinical skills in organizing the diagnostic evaluation of common surgical problems and determining appropriate therapy. Emphasis is placed on candidates’ ability to use their knowledge and training to safely, effectively, and promptly manage a broad range of clinical problems.


Offered annually to programs

The ABS In-Training Examination (ABSITE) is offered annually to general surgery residency programs as a formative evaluation instrument to assess residents’ progress.

Next Steps
Individuals who meet ABS requirements may apply for the GSQE through the online application process, which is posted each year in early spring.