Examinations primarily test the ability to reason and the factual knowledge acquired by the resident. The limitations of examinations alone to assess clinical competence are well recognized, and an important part of the responsibility for determining clinical competence rests upon the program director of our thoracic surgery residency program. It is for this reason that only applicants who complete an accredited thoracic surgery residency program will be considered for examination. It is during the period of residency that the trainee's ethical and moral character, judgment, technical skills, and abilities to cope with a wide variety of clinical problems can be assessed most accurately.
Following the completion of residency in our accredited program, written and oral examinations are given to assess the trainee's capabilities. These examinations are constructed and given annually by the ABTS. Consultation and assistance in developing the examinations and analyzing the results are obtained from psychometricians and other experts. The validity and reliability of the examination process are scrutinized continually. To enter the examination process, candidates must submit to the ABTS office an application form that includes the specifics of their thoracic surgical operative experience in residency and the signature of the program director indicating satisfactory completion of the residency program. A passing score on the examination acknowledges that the candidate possesses certain qualities that are necessary to be clinically competent in thoracic surgery.