Part I:
Written Exam

The written examination assesses your knowledge of the theory and practice of colon and rectal surgery, including elements of radiology and pathology. The examination is a six-hour test consisting of multiple choice questions that cover the spectrum of colon and rectal surgery and the body of basic science pertinent to it.
To achieve ABCRS certification, you must pass both the written examination (Part I) and the oral examination (Part II). We offer the written examination in the spring of each year. You are required to pass this examination before moving on to the oral examination, which is given in the fall of each year.



All candidates must comply with current ABCRS regulations, regardless of when you file your application. You must also meet both the general and professional qualifications.

General Requirements

  1. A candidate shall appear personally before the Board and submit to the required examinations.
  2. A candidate shall limit the majority of his/her practice to colon and rectal surgery.
  3. A candidate may be required to deliver to the Board sufficient case reports to demonstrate proficiency in colon and rectal surgery.
  4. A candidate shall submit a bibliography of papers and books published by the candidate at the request of the Board.
  5. The moral and ethical fitness of a candidate must be satisfactory to the Board and in conformity with the Statements on Principles of the American College of Surgeons, and the Principles of Medical Ethics of the American Medical Association. Practices not conforming therewith may result in rejection of an application or in deferral of examination until such matters have been resolved.

Professional Qualifications

  1. A candidate must have completed an Accreditation Council for Graduate Medical Education (ACGME) accredited residency program in colon and rectal surgery following completion of an approved ACGME or Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons of Canada (RCPSC) general surgical residency program that ultimately leads to American Board of Surgery certification.
  2. All candidates must have a current valid registered full and unrestricted license to practice medicine, and must continue to be licensed throughout the certification process.
  3. All candidates must successfully complete the Qualifying Examination of the American Board of Surgery before being admitted to The American Board of Colon and Rectal Surgery Written Examination (Part I).
  4. A candidate must achieve certification by the American Board of Surgery before being admitted to The American Board of Colon and Rectal Surgery Oral Examination (Part II).


(ABCRS is no longer able to offer the Written Exam at Pearson Vue Testing Centers in Quebec, Canada)

All candidates must have passed the American Board of Surgery (ABS) Written/Qualifying Examination or be ABS certified before being admitted to the ABCRS Written Examination.

Register for Written Examination

Early Registration

We strongly urge you to pay your examination fee and schedule your appointment with Pearson VUE as soon as possible to secure a spot at the testing center most convenient to you. If you delay, it may be necessary to travel to a more distant location. Under no circumstances will the examination window be extended.

If you plan to take the written exam in March, please pay the written exam fee by January 15, 2024. You must have received a notification that your application has been approved before continuing. For new applicants, see Application & Fees.

The written exam fee is $1,200. If you register late between January 16 and January 19, a $200 late fee will be added on. We will not accept any payments after January 19, 2024.

You can pay the exam fee by check, money order or credit card. Credit card payments can be made within the ABCRS portal. Checks and money orders should be submitted to the board office. Once we receive payment confirmation, you will be registered for the 2024 ABCRS Written Examination.

Note: If your application has been approved but you do not plan to take the 2024 Written Examination, please notify us at

Scheduling Your Written Examination

We will email you instructions on how to print your Examination Admission Authorization letter after processing your online registration form and exam fee. Upon receiving this letter, you must schedule your examination directly with Pearson VUE by calling 1-800-507-7744 (Monday through Friday, 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. Central Time) or by visiting Make sure the name on your authorization letter matches the name on your two forms of required ID. If there is a discrepancy, contact us at (734) 282-9400.

Once you are officially registered with Pearson VUE, they will send you an e-mail confirmation of your schedule including the exam date, time, and location. See for a list of testing center locations, along with directions and parking information.

For More Information

Pearson VUE Professional and Regulatory Candidate Rules Agreement 1.1

Read more on the policy for assessing minimum case numbers

What to Expect​

The written examination is computer-based and held at Pearson VUE Testing Centers (200+ locations in the U.S. and Canada). During registration and test taking at Pearson VUE, expect the following security measures:

  • Presentation of government-issued photo identification such as a driver’s license to verify your identity
  • Digital thumbprint scan during on-site registration and each time you enter the testing room to ensure that the same person completes the entire examination
    Storage of your possessions in a secure locker before entering the testing room
  • Proctor escort into and out of the testing room
  • Testing room videotaping and monitoring

Taking the Written Examiniation

The examination is 6 hours long. Time will be allocated for a 10-minute tutorial, two 10-minute breaks, a 45-minute lunch and a 15-minute survey.

If you must take an unscheduled break during an exam session, please keep in mind that the time you are away will be deducted from your examination time. Unscheduled breaks will automatically trigger an incident report and possible post-exam keystroke review. Any unscheduled break of more than 15 minutes will invalidate the examination.


Registration Open for Oral Examination

Registration is now open for Oral Examination, click here for more information.

ASCRS Annual Scientific Meeting

Join us at the ASCRS 2024 Annual Scientific Meeting in Baltimore, MD, from June 1-4, where professionals in colorectal surgery gather to explore the latest advancements, network, and enhance their skills.

Ethics and Professionalism Policy

Unethical and unprofessional behavior is denoted by any dishonest behavior, including: cheating; lying; falsifying information; misrepresenting one’s educational background, certification status and/or professional experience; and failure to report misconduct. The American Board of Colon and Rectal Surgery has adopted a “zero tolerance” policy toward these behaviors, and individuals caught exhibiting such behaviors risk being permanently barred from certification, reported to state medical boards, and/or legally prosecuted for copyright or other violations.

Unethical behavior is specifically defined by the ABCRS to include the disclosure, publication, reproduction or transmission of ABCRS examinations, in whole or in part, in any form or by any means, verbal or written, electronic or mechanical, for any purposes. This also extends to sharing examination information or discussing an examination while still in progress. Unethical behavior also includes the possession, reproduction or disclosure of materials or information, including examination questions or answers or specific information regarding the content of the examination, before, during or after the examination. This definition specifically includes the recall and reconstruction of examination questions by any means and such efforts may violate federal copyright law. All ABCRS examinations are copyrighted and protected by law; the ABCRS will prosecute violations to the full extent provided by law and seek monetary damages for any loss of examination materials.

Continuing Certification

What does it mean when a physician is required?

Continuing Certification or Maintenance of Certification (MOC) is a process adopted by all 24 ABMS boards that assesses six core physician competencies approved by the ABMS and the ACGME throughout a physician’s career. The six competencies that have been identified as important to deliver quality care are communication skills, professionalism, medical knowledge, patient care, practice-based learning and improvement, which includes the ability to measure, and improve quality of care and system-based practice. All physicians certified after 1990 are required to participate in Continuing Certification.

What does it mean when a physician is required?

Prior to 1990, certification by the American Board of Colon and Rectal Surgery was granted for life. These certified colon and rectal surgeons are not required to recertify or to meet the requirements of Maintenance of Continuing Certification in this area but are strongly encouraged to do so.