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Phase I Examination

2021 Phase I Surgical Knowledge Examination

April 12, 2021
Pearson VUE Test Centers (U.S. and Canada)

Examination Materials

Full materials will be available and registration will open by October 2, 2020.

  • 2021 Phase I Surgical Knowledge Examination Information Pamphlet (available September 25)
  • Reading Lists:
    • Large Animal 2021 list
      • Equine Fracture Repair has been updated to the latest version (Nixon, 2nd Ed, 2020)        
    • Small Animal 2021 list
      • Textbook of Medical Physiology has been updated to the 12th edition only (Guyton, Hall, 12th Ed, 2011).
      • Miller's Anatomy of the Dog has been updated to the latest version (Hermanson, Evans, LaHunta, 5th Ed, 2019).
  • Sample Questions
  • Tips for Taking the ACVS Examinations


2020 Phase I Surgical Knowledge Examination

Important dates


Examination materials

Minimum system requirements

ACVS has rescheduled the Phase I Surgical Knowledge Examination for May 29, 2020.

After reviewing multiple options, we invite candidates who were registered for the Phase I examination on April 6, 2020, to take the examination on May 29, using ExamSoft’s Examplify application.

Candidates who choose not to take this opportunity will receive a one-calendar-year extension on the time limitation for passing this examination (e.g., if a candidate’s final opportunity to pass Phase I was 2023, it will be extended to 2024). Please refer to the ACVS Phase I Surgical Knowledge Examination Information Pamphlet for limitation policies. 

Because your health is our primary concern, we are not requesting any travel to a testing site. Candidates will take the Phase I examination on May 29 on a personal computer. Examinee identification and remote proctoring of the examination require computer video and audio recordings of the candidates throughout the entirety of the examination. Therefore, to successfully take the examination in this format, the computer employed must be capable of video and audio recordings with the minimum system requirements shown below. Examplify is the software application used by ExamSoft to administer the examination. We highly encourage you to start making preparations to meet the minimum system requirements.

The content and format of the Phase I examination are unchanged (125 multiple choice questions with one correct answer). For candidates without accommodations, the examination is still divided into two equal parts of three hours each with a break in between. Candidates who have approved accommodations will be notified separately of any required adjustments. Candidates must register and submit payment to ACVS again. Several weeks before the examination date, candidates will take a mandatory mock exam. The mock exam allows you to become familiar with the software and to verify computer specifications. ExamSoft will provide technical assistance to candidates during this process and on the day of the examination.

Important Dates

Examination registration open: April 21, 2020
Examination registration deadline: April 29, 2020
ACVS will send an email to all eligible candidates when registration opens.

Phase I Examination Date: May 29, 2020
Location: Personal computers (Windows or Mac only) using ExamSoft/Examplify

Eligibility: Candidates who were registered with ACVS for the Phase I examination on April 6, 2020, are eligible to register for the examination on May 29, 2020


Registering for the examination consists of submitting the online application and paying the examination fee.

  •    Deadline: April 29, 2020
    • Submit your application and online examination fee payment no later than 11:59pm EST, April 29, 2020. Mailed examination fee payments must be postmarked no later than April 29, 2020.
  •    Submit the Online Registration Application at www.acvs.org/apply
    • Online registration opens September 21 for eligible candidates. The applicaiton includes identification, requests for accommodations, if applicable, and signing the Phase I contract.
  •    Pay the Examination Fee: $490. ACVS issued refunds as of March 17 for the fees for the April examination. A new payment is required for the May examination.
    •    Pay the fee online with Visa or MasterCard
    •    Submit the Phase I Payment Authorization Form to ACVS. The payment form includes form fields and should be downloaded and opened with Adobe Reader or Adobe Acrobat.
    •    The examination fee is refundable only due to extenuating circumstances as detailed in the information pamphlet.

Examination Materials

Examplify Minimum System Requirements

Examplify requirements image


Common questions are answered in the Examination FAQ. Address other questions about the Phase I Examination to Jeff Melia (ksoehnlein@acvs.org, 301-916-0200, x104)