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ABS In-Training Examination

Change to ABSITE Order Policy

The ABS has instituted the following policy in order to provide adequate processing time for ABS to modify your program's order and to transmit updated exam information to our exam vendor:

  • A minimum of two business days are required to process a change order.
  • No same day changes will be accepted at any time, including during or immediately prior to the examination window.
  • A $300 change fee will be assessed for each change made once final registration codes have been posted to the testing website.
  • All changes to orders must be submitted via the Change of Order Form. Change requests submitted by email or phone will not be processed.

For additional information about the ABSITE ordering process, please see our FAQs.

Eligibility

  • The ABS offers annually to all ACGME-accredited general surgery residency programs the In-Training Examination (ABSITE®), a multiple-choice exam designed to measure the progress attained by residents in their knowledge of applied science and management of clinical problems related to surgery.
  • The ABSITE is furnished to program directors as a formative evaluation instrument to assess residents' progress. The results are released only to program directors, and should not be shared outside of the department GME division. Scores may be shared with the individual trainee.
  • The ABSITE is open to:
  • Residents in a clinical position
  • Residents currently in research/lab year(s)
  • Residents hosted from another ACGME-accredited program
  • Former preliminary residents who left a general surgery residency program no more than 24 months ago and who are seeking to obtain a preliminary or categorical position in another general surgery program
  • The ABSITE is not open to:
  • Faculty
  • The ABSITE is also available to osteopathic and international programs upon request.
  • The exam is not available to purchase individually and is not required as part of the board certification process.
  • The ABSITE is protected by federal copyright and its contents may not be reproduced or disclosed in any manner, as described in the ABS Ethics and Professionalism Policy. In addition, please see below for our policy regarding ABSITE irregularities. Accommodations for learning disabilities for in-training exams are at the discretion of the program and do not require ABS approval.
    Next Exam: Jan. 26-30, 2024   (International programs: Feb. 1-7, 2024)

Exam Format

  • The ABSITE is a Live, Proctored Exam
  • The ABSITE must be delivered by programs onsite as an in-person, proctored exam.
  • Programs are NOT permitted to administered this exam in an unproctored and/or in a remote/virtual format.
  • The ABSITE cannot be taken at a Pearson VUE testing center.
  • Two 2.5-hour sessions
  • Questions in both sessions will be randomized.
  • Upon completion of the first session, examinees will be restricted from reviewing or changing answers.
  • One break between the 2 sessions
  • All examinees, including lactating mothers or those with other medical conditions, are eligible for a break.
  • Examinees are not required to take a break.
  • Examinees decide the length of their breaks but cannot exceed 45 minutes.

Technical Requirements

  • Internet Testing Systems (ITS) has announced the following update to the minimum systems requirements effective with the 2024 ABSITE:
  • Windows: New minimum is Windows 10 and Microsoft Edge.
  • Mac: New minimum is Mac OS Sierra 10.13 and Safari 12.
  • iPad: New minimum is iOS 14.

Timeline and Important Dates

  • Friday, January 5, 2024: Order deadline (Registration Code will be posted to program portal in 5-10 business days)
  • Friday, January 19, 2024: Last day for changes to Final Registration Codes to be accepted (with a $300 per change fee)
  • Friday, January 26, 2024: First day of 2024 ABSITE administration
  • Tuesday, January 30, 2024: Last day of 2024 ABSITE administration
  • Tuesday, January 30, 2024: Payment and seating chart submission deadline

Cost and Payment Information

  • Cost: $90 per exam per trainee
  • Cost for International Programs: $120 per exam per trainee
Forms of payment
  • Check, limit one per program, payable to the American Board of Surgery
    - Checks must be accompanied by the ABSITE invoice available in your ABS Program portal. Each program must pay with their own separate check. Please do not submit checks covering payment for multiple programs. Failure to follow these instructions may cause a delay with processing payments.
    - All must be remitted to the following address:

    The American Board of Surgery / In-Training Exam
    PO Box 70184
    Philadelphia, PA 19176-0184

  • Credit card
    - Payment is submitted through your program's ABS portal.
    - Multiple credit card transactions are allowed but require ABS assistance.
    - We cannot accept single-use credit cards, ACH, or wire transfers.
    - Your order must be paid in full and your seating chart received before we can release your results.
    Order changes
  • Changes will not be accepted after January 19, 2024.
  • No same-day changes
  • No changes once the examination window opens
  • No changes following the close of the examination window
  • Allow a minimum of 3 business days to process the change.
  • Refunds cannot be issued for decreases in orders after January 19, 2024.
  • Refunds cannot be issued for unused examinations.
  • If you have any questions about the ABSITE ordering process, please email the exam coordinator.

Clinical Levels and Accommodations

  • When administering the ABSITE to your residents and trainees from other programs, your program must:
  • Provide the correct clinical level at which the exam will be scored.
  • Note testing accommodations (ADA) on the order for that examinee.
  • Note the name of the ACGME-accredited program hosting your residents.
  • No percentile report can be provided by the ABS when the resident clinical level field is left blank or is entered incorrectly in the ABSITE order. In those cases, programs are provided with a table that can be used to derive percentiles.

Exam Content

  • As of 2014, the ABSITE is given as a single examination to all residents. The ABSITE consists of approximately 250 multiple-choice questions; examinees will have 5 hours to take the exam.
  • The content of the ABSITE is aligned with the SCORE Curriculum Outline for General Surgery; the topic areas in the ABSITE content outline refer to those categories in the SCORE outline. The SCORE Curriculum Outline is a list of patient care and medical knowledge topics to be covered in a five-year general surgery residency. It is updated annually and is available as a PDF or Excel spreadsheet.

Reporting of Results

  • ABSITE results are made available to program directors in early March. The ABS provides program directors with various reports, including an individual score report for each examinee. Examinees are strongly encouraged to keep copies of their score report for their records, as the ABS does not retain this information.
  • The ABS will not provide examinees with a score report or "transcript." Individuals who request this information will be directed to contact the residency program.
  • The ABSITE is a formative exam, meant to assist program directors in gauging residents' progress. Discretion should be used in the interpretation and use of its scores. The ABS considers it as one factor of many that should be considered when assessing a resident's performance. Exam scores are provided to the program director only, and should not be shared outside of the department GME division. Scores may be shared with the individual trainee.
  • Upon receiving the score report, residents with questions should contact their program director, who can help with the interpretation of the results. The ABS will not discuss exam results with examinees. The ABS also will not regenerate any report as a result of miscoding of information, such as PGY level, program, etc. Any inquiries regarding the ABSITE must come directly from the program.

Exam Irregularities Policy

  • The ABS clarified in October 2014, and further updated in August 2015, how irregularities in the ABSITE administration will be handled. The following will apply when the ABS, at its sole discretion, identifies exam irregularities or other security violations:
  1. The ABS will notify the program director of the individuals involved and request that they investigate the circumstances.
  2. The ABS will also notify the department chair and designated institutional official (DIO).
  3. Exam scores will be considered invalid for all individuals involved in the irregularities and will not be reported to the program.
  4. While the disciplinary consequences of the irregularities will be at the program director's discretion, the ABS will require program directors to provide a written report explaining their findings with regard to the irregularities and their decisions regarding the individuals concerned.
  5. The program will be required to administer the ABSITE to all of their residents on the first two days of the exam window for the next three years.
  6. Following a subsequent offense, the ABS reserves the right to require, at the program's expense, that all residents in the program take future exams at a Pearson VUE testing center or similar facility.

Online ABSITE - Sample Test

  • To familiarize yourself with the computer screens you will see during the ABSITE and the steps necessary to respond to questions and review your answers, an interactive sample test and printed guide are provided below. To access the sample test, you must use either Internet Explorer or Apple Safari. Do not use Firefox.
  • The sample test has ten questions and a sample survey. The number of questions remaining will be indicated on the screen. Once the sample test and survey are completed the window will automatically close—this will also occur at the conclusion of the actual examination. The ABS will not review, score or use any information you provide on either the sample test or survey.
  • Note: On the day of the exam, examinees will access the ABSITE by launching the secure browser previously downloaded onto the testing computers. At that time examinees will be asked to complete a new examinee profile—this feature is not available with the sample test.
  • Option I - Interactive Sample Test
    This interactive online tutorial gives examinees the opportunity to learn how to navigate through the testing format. To access the sample test, go to http://absdemo.startpractice.com.
  • Option II - Printed Guide
    If you prefer, you can learn about what to expect when taking the exam by reviewing this printed guide (pdf).

For specific inquiries, please send an email to the exam coordinator.

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