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Phase II Examination

2021 Phase II Surgical Competency Examination

February 22, 2021
Pearson VUE test centers

Updated policies

As of January 25, ACVS's intentions for Phase II examination administration remain the same. Pearson VUE test centers are still ACVS’s first choice for candidates to take the examination whenever possible. Candidates with approved contingency plans should contact ACVS if they are unable to take the examination at Pearson VUE and wish to enact their contingency plans.

The ACVS Board of Regents has approved these changes for the 2021 Phase II Surgical Competency Examination:

  • Candidates located outside of the United States and Canada may take the 2021 examination at Pearson VUE test centers in their own countries.
  • Candidates who choose not to take the examination this year will have one year added to the time limit on examination attempts. You must email Kimberly Soehnlein, ksoehnlein@acvs.org, of your intent to defer due to concerns about the pandemic and extend the time limit.
  • Pearson VUE test centers are still ACVS’s first choice for candidates to take the examination whenever possible. However, it is the candidate’s responsibility to monitor the status of the Pearson VUE test center where their appointment is scheduled, as well as federal/state/local policies that may impact test centers and travel.
  • Candidates with approved contingency plans are strongly encouraged to schedule an appointment with Examity as soon as they receive the email from Examity, even if the candidate already has a Pearson VUE appointment.
    • Even with an Examity appointment scheduled, candidates must notify ACVS that they need to enact their contingency plan and confirm that the location and proctor details are unchanged.
    • Candidates who do not need to enact their contingency plan must cancel their Examity appointment more than 24 hours before their scheduled appointment or the candidate will be personally responsible for all fees.
  • Candidates will be informed on January 25 if the ACVS Board of Regents determines that all 2021 Phase II examinations must be administered through Examity. Should this decision be made, ACVS will cancel all Pearson VUE appointments.
  • Candidates may choose to defer the examination and request that one additional year be added to their Phase II examination attempt limit through February 18. Follow these steps to defer:
    • Contact ACVS. Email Kimberly Soehnlein, ksoehnlein@acvs.org, to notify ACVS that you are deferring and wish to receive the additional year.
    • Cancel appointments. All appointments currently scheduled at Pearson VUE or with Examity must be canceled by the candidate more than 24 hours before the scheduled appointment or fees will be assessed.
    • Request a refund. Candidates must request refunds according to ACVS policies in the information pamphlet. Candidates must provide documentation of an extenuating circumstance (illness in the candidate’s household, illness or other emergency reason that the in-person proctor is not available, death in the family, closure of a Pearson VUE center for a candidate without an approved contingency plan, etc.)
  • Candidates who fail to cancel unnecessary Pearson VUE or Examity appointments will be responsible for the cost of the cancellation fees assessed to ACVS. ACVS will invoice candidates for these fees after the examination. The cancellation charge must be paid before any subsequent examination attempts.

Contingency Planning

The ACVS Board of Regents approved a process for candidates to submit a contingency plan.The following documents and forms make up the contingency plan. Please read these documents very carefully as they detail the requirements, forms, and guidelines for the plan. The deadline to submit contigency plans was January 1, 2021.

Examination Materials


The registration deadline for the examination was November 9, 2020.


In the event that a candidate needs to cancel their examination registration, the candidate must contact ACVS. Refer to the information pamphlet for refund policies.


Common questions are answered in the Examination FAQ. Address other questions about the Phase II Examination to Jeff Melia (jmelia@acvs.org, 301-916-0200, x102)

Maintenance of Certification

Individuals who have passed the Phase II examination and are board certified by the American College of Veterinary Surgeons in 2016 or later are subject to time-limited certification and must undergo mandatory maintenance of certification (MOC). Activities acceptable for maintaining certification should result in the acquisition of new knowledge by the Diplomate, such as attending or presenting at continuing education meetings, publishing manuscripts, serving on ACVS committees, and participating in resident training.  View the ACVS Diplomate Maintenance of Certification Policies and Procedures.