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Phase I / Phase II Examination Process

All residents whose training began after August 1, 2013, or who could not submit a Credentials Application for the August 1, 2016, deadline must take the new Phase I and Phase II examinations.  View information on the examination transition, including a schedule of examination dates.

Phase I Surgical Knowledge Examination

Examination Date 

  • April 3, 2017

Eligibility Requirements: Residents must have 50 approved activity weeks, 2 approved seminars, and 2 satisfactory Semi-Annual Reviews in order to take the Phase I Examination. Training must be submitted for review by the Resident Credentialing Committee (RCC) by the August 1 log review deadline immediately preceding the examination date (e.g., August 1, 2016 for the April 2017 Phase I Examination). Residents are encouraged, but not required, to take the Phase I Examination in the second year of the residency.

Eligibility Notification: Residents who are eligible to take the examination will be notified by email no later than November 10. Residents should contact ACVS if they have not received notification by mid-November..

Examination Materials

Examination Format

The 2017 Phase I Surgical Knowledge Examination consists of approximately 125 multiple choice questions with one correct answer.


Residents must register with ACVS (examination contract, fee, and request for accommodations, if applicable). Once registration is accepted, residents will schedule their test appointments at a Pearson VUE test center.

  • Registration opens: November 4, 2016
  • ACVS registration deadline: December 21, 2016, 11:59pm Eastern time

Register online at www.acvs.org/apply.

Examination Fee

The Phase I Examination fee is $400. The fee must be paid online or faxed/mailed to arrive at the ACVS office no later than December 21.

Examination Authorization

Following successful examination registration, residents will receive an Examination Authorization email from ACVS no later than January 20, 2017. The information included in this email is necessary before your examination can be scheduled at a test center.

Test Center Appointment Scheduling

Upon receipt of the authorization email, residents may schedule their examination appointment at a Pearson VUE test center in the U.S. or Canada at www.pearsonvue.com/acvs.

Time Limits

The Phase I Examination must be passed within 6 years of the residency start date. In order to be eligible to take the Phase II Surgical Competency Examination, all residency training requirements must be completed and approved by the RCC; the Phase I Examination must be successfully passed; and a Credentials Application must be approved by the RCC and Board of Regents.

Phase II Surgical Competency Examination

The first Phase II Examination will be held February 4-7, 2018, at the Catamaran Resort Hotel, San Diego, CA. The specific format of the examination is under development, but is anticipated to be multiple sections testing clinical recognition, diagnostic interpretation, application of surgical principles, and case management prior to, during and after surgery. In some sections, candidates will be provided visual images (still and videos), as well as written information. Material may depict anatomic specimens, instruments, surgical diseases, pathologic and histologic specimens, and imaging studies. Upon viewing the material, the candidate will be asked a series of questions pertaining to the images or the topic in general. Some questions will require specific knowledge of current literature from recommended journals. Candidates should be prepared to answer questions covering all areas of surgical practice. A more specific format of the Phase II Examination will be published at least 6 months before the examination is administered.

Failure to successfully complete the Phase II Examination in 3 attempts will require submission of a new Credentials Application to the RCC. Upon acceptance of the recredentialing application, candidates must pass both the Phase I Surgical Knowledge Examination and the Phase II Surgical Competency Examination. Candidates will have 3 attempts to pass both Phase I and Phase II, which may be taken in any order.

Questions? Address questions about the Phase I Examination to Lynne Marshall (lmarshall@acvs.org) or Kimberly Soehnlein (ksoehnlein@acvs.org).

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