Global Spine Diploma Exam

Certify your knowledge and advance your career.

The AO Spine Global Spine Diploma (GSD) Exam is a formal assessment of competencies required to manage patients with spinal disorders.

It is designed for experienced spine surgeons who want to certify their knowledge and enables candidates to demonstrate that they have attained a level of knowledge expected of a specialist spine surgeon after 5 years of practical experience.

The Global Diploma is valid for 5 years from the date of examination.


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AO Spine Curriculum logo

Exam details

Based on the AO Spine Curriculum

Two-part exam:

  • Part I is based on multiple-choice questions
  • Part II is a case-based online exam

All details here

Note: The exam is not a compulsory or regulatory certificate of competence or excellence. It does not certify technical skills or ability to perform surgical procedures.

AO Spine Global diploma

Exam benefits

  • Accredits theoretical knowledge in spine surgery at an international level
  • Reveals gaps in knowledge
  • Successful candidates profit from AO Spine’s credibility and reputation as the leading global academic community in spine
Fee

Exam fees

  • CHF 100 administrative fee (nonrefundable) is due upon applying for the candidate eligibility verification.
  • CHF 1'000 registration fee (tax free) is split into two: The first payment is due with the registration for exam part I; the second part becomes valid when registering for exam part II.
Global Diploma certified examiners

Eligibility

  • Open to experienced
    spine surgeons who want to
    certify their knowledge
  • Surgeons with at least 5
    years’ experience in spine
    surgery since completing
    orthopedic, neurosurgery, or
    trauma specialty training
  • Open to AO Spine members

Not a member yet? Select your membership package here.

The application for the AO Spine Global Spine Diploma Exam 2022 is closed. Stay tuned for future open calls.

For more information, please contact our AO Spine staff at globalspinediploma@aospine.org.

 

The Global Spine Diploma Mock Exam is accessible all year round. Read more and sign up to test your knowledge here

Class of 2020—36 successful spine surgeons received the AO Spine Global Spine Diploma in this first year of the initiative.

AO Spine Global Spine Diploma Exam—quick links

If you have any questions, please contact us via e-mail at globalspinediploma@aospine.org

GSD Exam Part I (examination)

  • General information
    • The written exam consists of multiple-choice questions (MCQs).
    • The duration of the written exam is about 150 minutes.
    • The AO Spine Global Diploma Exam is offered only in English.
    • The test is conducted under proctored conditions at test centers worldwide.
  • Who can take the Global Spine Diploma Exam
    • AO Spine members
    • Spine surgeons who want to certify their knowledge
    • Surgeons with at least 5 years’ experience in spine surgery since completing orthopedic, neurosurgery or trauma specialty training
    • Important: Members of the AO Spine Faculty Management task force, AO Spine Training Program Committee members, examination committee members, or surgeons who have been involved in the AO Spine GDP Exam Part I and/or AO Spine GDP Exam Part II preparations are not eligible for the GDP.
  • When you should take the exam
    • You are eligible for the exam once you have finalized your training in ortho and neuro-surgery and gained at least 5 years of experience in spine surgery practice. 
  • How to apply
    • Submit your curriculum vitae and evidence of at least 5 years of specialist qualifications in orthopedics or neurosurgery
    • Fill in and sign the application form (Please download and save the Application Form on your device before completing and signing it.)
    • Send all these documents via e-mail to globalspinediploma@aospine.org.
    • Register for the eligibility verification and pay the nonrefundable CHF 100 administrative fee.
  • Application process
    • Applications will be assessed by the examination committee within four weeks of application submission.
    • As part of he application process, candidates need to pay a nonrefundable CHF 100 administrative fee.
    • Eligible candidates will be notified and invited to register and pay the nonrefundable examination fee within 1 week.
    • For the part I exam, places are available on a first-come-first-served basis. If there are more eligible candidates than places available, candidates can add their names to a waiting list.
    • Please contact AO Spine on globalspinediploma@aospine.org if you have any questions.
  • Diploma registration fee
    • The nonrefundable CHF 100 administrative fee is due upon application for the eligibility verification.
    • The AO Spine GDP Exam registration fee is split in two parts, one fee for part I exam and one fee for part II exam. 
  • Passing the exam
    • Candidates who successfully complete the part I exam will be invited to the part II exam.
    • The part II exam takes place online under proctored conditions.
    • Candidates who do not successfully complete the part I exam will not be invited to take the part II exam but may retake the part I exam at the next opportunity by paying the examination fee again.
    • There is no refund of the fee if the candidate fails to pass either of the two exam components.
  • Passing criteria
    • The pass mark for the AO Spine Global Diploma Exam is set by the examination committee using criterion-referenced methods based on the Angoff method.
    • The standard of the examination is the knowledge of a spine surgeon who has been in practice for at least 5 years.
    • Feedback will be provided to participants who do not successfully complete the exam.
  • Further information
    • Candidates taking the examination can expect to be treated with respect and not subjected to bias or discrimination.
    • AO Spine ensures the highest possible transparency and fairness in the evaluation of candidates.
    • If English isn't your first language, it's essential that your English language skills are good enough for you to taken an intensive and challenging exam in English.
    • The AO Spine Global Diploma Exam is not a prerequisite for eligibility to become AO Spine faculty.

GSD Exam Part II (examination)

  • General information
    • The Part II exam is conducted online under proctored conditions.
    • It is a case-based exam in an essay-style format following the AO Spine Curriculum; candidates are expected to answer a number of questions related to the cases provided.
    • The cases are standardized clinical case scenarios in trauma, deformity, tumor, infection, and degeneration, and are basedbased on the AO Spine Curriculum.
    • The duration of the part II exam is 130 minutes.
    • The part II exam is conducted in English. 
  • When you should take the exam
    • AO Spine staff will invite you to register for the part II exam after you have successfully completed the AO Spine Global Diploma Exam Part I.
  • How to apply
    • Eligible candidates will be invited to register for the part II examination after they have successfully completed the AO Spine GDP Part I component.
    • The part II exam takes place online, unless prohibited by local law or other circumstances, in which case it will be conducted in one of the worldwide Pearson VUE exam test centers.
    • If travel to a test center is required, candidates are responsible for their own travel and accommodation arrangements.
    • Please contact AO Spine on globalspinediploma@aospine.org if you have any questions.
  • The exam
    • The part II exam will take place online, using zoom technology
    • Due to possible firewall problems, AO Spine highly recommends testing the tool prior the exam
    • Details will be provided prior the case based interview closer to the exam date by AO Spine staff.
  • Passing the exam
    • The pass mark for the AO Spine Global Diploma Exam is set by the examination committee using criterion-referenced methods based on the Angoff method.
    • Feedback will be provided to participants who do not successfully complete the exam.
    • Candidates who do not successfully complete the part II exam may retake it at the next opportunity by paying an examination fee and without having to retake the part I MCQ exam.
    • For reapplication, please contact globalspinediploma@aospine.org.
  • Conflict of interest
    • The names of the candidates presenting for the Part II component will be made known to the examiners in advance, and vice-versa. Any concern about a potential conflict of interest by a candidate or examiner must be made immediately known to the examination committee in order to allow time for suitable arrangements to be made if necessary.
  • Further information
    • Candidates taking the examination can expect to be treated with respect and not subjected to bias or discrimination.
    • AO Spine ensures the highest possible transparency and fairness in the evaluation of candidates.
    • If English isn't your first language, it's essential that your English language skills are good enough for you to take an intensive and challenging exam in English.
    • The AO Spine Global Diploma Exam is not a prerequisite for eligibility to become AO Spine faculty.
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