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Phase II Examination

2021 Phase II Surgical Competency Examination

February 22, 2021
Pearson VUE test centers

Updated policies

The ACVS Board of Regents has approved these two 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.

Contingency Planning

The ACVS Board of Regents has approved 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 information to create your plan is available now, use the link below. The proctor-related forms will be available by November 23.

Contingency plan basics

  • Pearson VUE is still the preferred location for taking the Phase II examination.
  • If a candidate cannot find a Pearson seat within 4 hours of travel/200 miles/current travel restrictions, the candidate qualifies for the contingency plan.
  • For the contingency plan, candidates will need to have the following:
    • In-person proctor
    • Laptop or desktop with high-speed internet connection
    • Webcam and microphone
    • Appropriate location
  • Contingency plans must be submitted for approval by January 1, 2021. All candidates are encouraged to submit a plan even if they currently have a Pearson seat in case of COVID-19 related changes to Pearson availability or the implementation of new travel restrictions. Contingency plans submitted after January 1, 2021, will not be approved.
    • Candidates with approved contingency plans should notify ACVS as soon as possible if they wish to activate their contingency plan.
  • Candidates are NOT required to submit a contingency plan but are strongly encouraged to do so. If the candidate's Pearson appointment is cancelled for COVID-19 related reasons, they may defer for a year.
  • Any candidate may choose to defer the 2021 Phase II examination, even if a Pearson seat has been reserved or a contingency plan has been activated, up to 24 hours before the test. ACVS must be notified immediately and an additional year will be added to the ACVS maximum timeline for that candidate. Pearson must also be notified of the cancellation at least 24 hours in advance of the scheduled test appointment (if applicable). Refunds will be given according to established ACVS policies.
  • The ACVS Board of Regents will evaluate the status of Pearson testing centers and make a determination on January 25 to implement contingency plans for all candidates with approved plans.
  • In case of a nation-wide shutdown, the ACVS Board of Regents reserves the right to cancel the examination until the date of the examination, February 22, 2021. While we hope that this does not happen, we cannot predict the course the pandemic will take over the next few months.

Submitting your plan

ACVS is updating the registration application system to allow candidates to submit their contingency plan or to notify ACVS that they waive their right to submit a contingency plan. The changes to the application system, along with the required proctor reports, will be available by November 23. Log in to www.acvs.org/apply and click on the orange "Add Contingency Plan/Waiver" button to begin. The deadline to submit the contigency plan or waiver is 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.