Stay Certified

Continuous Certification Assessments

All Continuous Certification Assessments focus on the latest and most important developments in practice to assist diplomates in staying up to date. Diplomates demonstrate their surgical knowledge on a continual basis through this assessment process.

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About the Assessment

One assessment required every two years for each certification

A biannual online assessment process has replaced the traditional ten-year recertification exam. Diplomates are not required to take their first Continuous Certification Assessment until the year their certificate expires. Once a diplomate registers for their first assessment, they are enrolled in the Continuous Certification Program.

Diplomates will have up to two weeks to complete the assessment once they begin, with the opportunity to save their progress and continue at a later time during this two-week period.

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Assessment Registration and Completion

Once a diplomate registers for their first assessment, they are enrolled in the Continuous Certification Program

Registration for all Continuous Certification Assessments is available annually during the Continuous Certification Assessment window, from late-summer to mid-fall.

A diplomate’s personal two-week time limit will start the moment they click the “Begin” button within their ABS portal – diplomates should not click this button until they are absolutely sure that they are ready to begin the assessment.

8/26 - 11/4
Continuous Certification Assessment
Location: Virtual
Fee: $285
Registration Start: 8/1/2024 - 11/4/2024

The $285 annual fee covers one assessment every other year, free access to all assessment reference materials, and general Continuous Certification Program participation.

10/15 - 10/28
Continuous Certification Readmission Examination
Location: Pearson VUE testing centers
Fee: $1,700
Registration Start: 8/1/2024 - 10/21/2024

This exam is for surgeons who either: (1) did not successfully complete the lapsed pathway; or (2) are not eligible to enter the lapsed pathway.

Assessment Content and References

Continuous Certification Assessments focus on the latest and most important developments in practice

All assessments are developed using references from an ABS partner journal or open-access articles that are selected by question authors each year. The references reflect that the assessments primarily focus on important evidence-based recent updates to surgical practice. Reference lists are published each year ahead of the assessment administration window. 

Testing Notes and Strategies

Tips for navigating the assessment

Please keep the following in mind during the assessment:

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Diplomates receive a preliminary score report immediately after assessment completion

The preliminary score report that appears in a diplomate’s ABS portal immediately after completing a Continuous Certification Assessment is provided as confirmation of completion until the assessment window closes for all candidates. Once the window closes, ABS psychometricians will review all results and validate all assessments. 

Final score reports with detailed feedback will be provided to diplomates in their portal within four to six weeks after the close of the assessment window. Diplomate certification status, which reflects the final results of the assessment, will be available on the ABS website in January of the following year.

Certification Status
Certification status is contingent on meeting all program requirements

Once participating in the Continuous Certification Program, a diplomate’s certification status will be contingent on passing the assessment every other year, as well as meeting the other program requirements. Failing an assessment in the year it is due will not immediately affect certification status. Diplomates in good standing will be able to retake the assessment the following year if necessary (grace year).

Issuance of Certificates
New certificates do not include an expiration date

Upon passing their first Continuous Certification Assessment, diplomates will be issued a new certificate without an expiration date, typically within three to six months following the close of the assessment window in a given year. A diplomate’s current certification status can be verified at any time using the Check a Certification tool on the ABS website.

Grace Year
Grace years are provided to diplomates who do not pass an assessment when it is due or if they are unsuccessful in their assessment attempt

The ABS encourages diplomates to do their best on all assessment attempts. However, in the event that a diplomate does not pass an assessment in the year that it is due, they may be eligible to receive a grace year:

Additional Information
There are multiple components that make up the Continuous Certification Program

Diplomates must remain up to date with all ongoing requirements of the ABS Continuous Certification Program in order to register for an assessment in a given year. This includes meeting CME requirements, completing practice improvement activities, and timely payment of the annual fee.

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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 Continuous Certification Program manager.

Contact a Coordinator

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