The first recertification process of the American Board of Surgery was completed in 1980. The process consisted of a review of diplomates' credentials, peer review, a requirement for continuing education in surgery, submission of an operative experience list, and a multiple-choice examination. Of the 478 diplomates who completed the process, 471 were recertified. The mean score for participants in the examination was 82.8% correct. The passing score was 67.2% correct. An analysis of examination scores, correlated with biographic and demographic data, showed that the highest scores were achieved by the younger diplomates and those who indicated that their practice was full-time academic.