The vascular surgery in-training examination predicts performance on qualifying examination

J Vasc Surg. 2022 Dec;76(6):1721-1727. doi: 10.1016/j.jvs.2022.07.014. Epub 2022 Jul 19.


Objective: Vascular surgery trainees participate in the vascular surgery in-training examination (VSITE) during each year of their training. Although the VSITE was developed as a low-stakes, formative examination, performance on that examination might correlate with the pass rates for the Vascular Surgery Board written qualifying examination (VQE) and oral certifying examination (VCE) and might, therefore, guide both trainees and program directors. The present study was designed to examine the ability of the VSITE to predict trainees' performance on the VQE and VCE.

Methods: All first-time candidates of the Vascular Surgery Board VQE and VCE were analyzed from 2016 to 2020, including those from both the integrated and independent training pathways. VSITE scores from the final year of training were associated with the VQE scores and the probability of passing the VQE and VCE both. Linear and logistic regression models were used to determine the ability of VSITE results to predict the VQE scores and the probability of passing each board examination.

Results: VSITE scores available for the 559 candidates (69.3% male; 30.7% female) who had completed the VQE and 369 candidates (66.7% male; 33.3% female) who had completed both the VQE and the VCE. The linear regression model results for the final year of training showed that the VSITE scores explained 34% of the variance in the VQE scores (29% for the integrated and 37% for the independent trainees). Logistic regression demonstrated that the final year VSITE scores were a significant predictor of passing the VQE for both integrated and independent trainees (P < .001). A VSITE score of 500 during the final year of training predicted a VQE passing probability of >90% for each group of candidates. The probability of passing the VQE decreased to 73% for candidates from integrated programs, 61% for candidates from independent programs, and 64% for the whole cohort when the score was 400. The VSITE scores were a significant predictor of passing the VCE only for the candidates from independent programs (odds ratio, 1.01; 95% confidence interval, 1.00-1.02; P < .01), for whom a VSITE score of 400 correlated with an 82% probability of passing the VCE.

Conclusions: VSITE performance is predictive of passing the VQE for trainees from both integrated and independent training paradigms. Vascular surgery trainees and training programs should optimize their preparation and educational efforts to maximize performance on the VSITE during their final year of training to improve the likelihood of passing the VQE. Further analysis of the predictive value of VSITE scores during the earlier years of training might allow the board certification examinations to be administered earlier in the final year of training.

Keywords: VSITE; Vascular surgery certifying examination; Vascular surgery in-training examination; Vascular surgery qualifying examination.

MeSH terms

  • Certification
  • Clinical Competence
  • Educational Measurement / methods
  • Female
  • General Surgery* / education
  • Humans
  • Internship and Residency*
  • Male
  • United States
  • Vascular Surgical Procedures / education