OBJECTIVE: To Study the Outcomes of the First Virtual General Surgery Certifying Exam of the American Board of Surgery. SUMMARY OF BACKGROUND DATA: The ABS General Surgery CE is normally an in-person oral examination. Due to the COVID-19 outbreak, the ABS was required to reschedule these. After 2 small pilots, the CE's October administration represented the first large-scale remote virtual exam. The purpose of this report is to compare the outcomes of this virtual and the previous in-person CEs. METHODS: CE candidates were asked to provide feedback on their experience via a survey. The passing rate was compared to the 1025 candidates who took the 2019-2020 in-person CEs. RESULTS: Of the 308 candidates who registered for the virtual CE, 306 completed the exam (99.4%) and 188 completed the survey (61.4%). The majority had a very positive experience. They rated the virtual CE as very good/excellent in security (90%), ease of exam platform (77%), audio quality (71%), video quality (69%), and overall satisfaction (86%). Notably, when asked their preference, 78% preferred the virtual exam. There were no differences in the passing rates between the virtual or in-person exams. CONCLUSIONS: The first virtual CE by the ABS was completed using available internet technology. There was high satisfaction, with the majority preferring the virtual platform. Compared to past in-person CEs, there was no difference in outcomes as measured by passing rates. These data suggest that expansion of the virtual CE may be desirable.
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