A career in surgery in the United Kingdom demands a commitment to a long journey of assessment. The assessment methods used must ensure that the appropriate candidates are selected into a programme of study or a job and must guarantee public safety by regulating the progression of surgical trainees and the certification of trained surgeons. This review attempts to analyse the psychometric properties of various assessment methods used in the selection of candidates to medical school, job selection, progression in training, and certification. Validity is an indicator of how well an assessment measures what it is designed to measure. Reliability informs us whether a test is consistent in its outcome by measuring the reproducibility and discriminating ability of the test. In the long journey of assessment in surgical training, the same assessment formats are frequently being used for selection into a programme of study, job selection, progression, and certification. Although similar assessment methods are being used for different purposes in surgical training, the psychometric properties of these assessment methods have not been examined separately for each purpose. Because of the significance of these assessments for trainees and patients, their reliability and validity should be examined thoroughly in every context where the assessment method is being used.