Get Certified

Pediatric Surgery

Qualifying Examination

The Pediatric Surgery Qualifying Examination (PSQE) is offered annually as the first of two exams required for board certification in pediatric surgery.


About the Pediatric Surgery Qualifying Exam

The Pediatric Surgery Qualifying Examination (PSQE) is offered annually as the first of two exams required for board certification in pediatric surgery. The exam consists of about 200 multiple-choice questions, lasting approximately five hours, and is designed to assess a surgeon’s cognitive knowledge of pediatric surgery.

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 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.

When Can I Take My Exams?

Seven-year limit to certification, four-year limit to the QE

The admissibility period for the PSQE begins immediately upon completion of training. Candidates are strongly encouraged not to delay in applying for and taking the PSQE for the first time as delays may adversely affect performance.

  • Candidates will have no more than seven academic years following completion of their pediatric surgery fellowship to complete the certification process (i.e., pass both the PSQE and PSCE).
  • The seven-year period begins immediately upon completion of residency.
  • Upon application approval, applicants will be granted up to four opportunities within four years to pass the PSQE.
  • If a candidate delays in applying for the PSQE after training, or does not take the PSQE when offered, they will lose exam opportunities.

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.

9/3 - 9/17
Pediatric Surgery Qualifying Examination
Location: Pearson VUE testing centers
Fee: $1,575
Application Deadline: 7/15/2024
Fee: $550
2/25 - 2/27
Pediatric Surgery Certifying Examination
Location: Virtual
Fee: $1,700

Registration available following the release of 2024 PSQE results.

Exam Requirements

Candidates must be meeting all requirements at the time of application to the PSQE

To be eligible for this exam, applicants must have satisfactorily completed a training program in pediatric surgery accredited by the ACGME or 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 pediatric surgery 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 a component of pediatric surgery or other recognized surgical specialty. The only exception to this requirement is active military duty.

Medical License Requirement

Candidates for certification in pediatric surgery 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.

Applying for the Qualifying Exam

Applicants are encouraged to begin the application process as soon as possible

The application process for the PSQE is posted each year in the spring. Applicants are encouraged to begin the application process as soon as possible.

Candidates who need testing accommodations at the center must submit a request at the time of application, per our Examination Accommodations and Examination of Persons with Disabilities policies.

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.

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.

Upload a copy of the completion card showing that the PALS course was successfully completed by the applicant. The course must have been completed within three (3) years of the PSQE date.

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 pediatric surgery fellowship. 

Residents in U.S. programs: Upload a PDF of your ACGME Pediatric Surgery Defined Category and Minimum Report (preferred) or the ACGME Experience Report by Role Report via the ABS website.


  • Abdominal – 120
  • Thoracic – 50
  • Trauma Critical Care – 20 operative, 90 non-operative
  • Oncology – 25
  • Head and Neck/Endocrine/GU/Anorectal – 50
  • Endoscopy – 30
  • TA – 50 minimum (common cases); maximum 100 cases

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.

Application Approval

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 the 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.

Exam Irregularities, Results, and Next Steps

Results are typically available four weeks after the exam

If a candidate experiences an irregularity during their examination, they must notify the exam manager IMMEDIATELY BUT NO LATER THAN ONE (1) BUSINESS DAY following the exam. Requests received after that time will not be considered.

Results are posted approximately four weeks after the exam; candidates will be notified by email when they are available. Exam results will not be reported over the telephone.

Upon successful completion of the PSQE, candidates will be admissible to the Pediatric Surgery Certifying Examination (PSCE) and may register for the next exam.

Individuals who were unsuccessful on the exam and have opportunities remaining will be contacted the following year when registration is available for the next exam.


Our exam managers are here to help.

Most questions can be answered with the information available on our website. For specific inquiries, please contact the pediatric surgery exam manager.

Next Steps

Upon successful completion of the QE, candidates will be admissible to the Pediatric Surgery Certifying Examination.

Contact a Coordinator

Please use the form below to contact the appropriate exam coordinator. They will respond as soon as possible.