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Invited Critique
September 2010

To Fail or Not to Fail: That Is the Question: Comment on “Predicting Performance on the American Board of Surgery Qualifying and Certifying Examinations”

Author Affiliations

Author Affiliation: Department of Surgery, University of Washington, Seattle.

Arch Surg. 2010;145(9):857. doi:10.1001/archsurg.2010.181.2

While there are many objective elements and subtle nuances that define a “successful” surgical resident, most agree that first-time pass rates on the ABS qualifying and certifying examinations constitute an important objective measure of this ultimate success. The goal of a first-time pass on the qualifying and certifying examinations is a dual responsibility. The program creates the educational environment, and the resident is responsible for a disciplined study program. As a professional, possessing the quality of lifelong learning is part of the responsibility of surgeons to themselves, to their patients, to our profession, and to society. The importance of lifelong learning is embedded in the 6 ACGME competencies and is recognized by the American Board of Medical Specialties and the ABS in the development of new standards for the Maintenance of Certification program.

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