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About the BCEM Exam for Board Certification

Emergency MedicineThe exam for the Board of Certification in Emergency Medicine (BCEM) consists of written questions and oral case studies. Candidates must pass both the computer-based written portion and the oral examination to achieve certification. The written portion (two four-hour sessions taken the same day) is offered twice a year at testing centers throughout the United States, Canada, and Puerto Rico. The oral portion is administered by the American Board of Physician Specialties® (ABPS®) once a year in Tampa, Florida.

The written portion consists of approximately 350 multiple choice questions. The questions are broken down by category. Here are the categories a test taker might see covered on the written exam:

  • Administrative and legal aspects
  • Cardiovascular disorders
  • Dermatologic disorders
  • Ear, nose, throat
  • Endocrine, metabolic, nutritional disorders
  • Gastro and abdominal disorders
  • Hematologic, oncologic, immunologic disorders
  • Infectious diseases
  • Nephrologic disorders
  • Neurologic disorders
  • Obstetrics and gynecology
  • Ophthalmologic disorders
  • Orthopedic disorders
  • Pediatric disorders
  • Pharmacology
  • Procedures and skills
  • Pulmonary and respiratory disorders
  • Psychiatric and behavioral disorders
  • Toxicology and environmental disorders
  • Traumatic disorders
  • Urogenital disorders

The oral portion of the BCEM exam consists of five case studies. These are broken down into two single-patient encounters and one triple-patient encounter, during which the test taker is required to manage three patients simultaneously. These case studies will require the candidate to explain methods for determining patient history and physical examination, as well as the labs and tests, patient management, and diagnosis. The disposition and pathophysiology of the patients also must be explained. In order to pass this portion, all five patient simulations must be managed successfully.

To learn more about the BCEM exam or eligibility requirements, contact the ABPS. The ABPS is the official multi-specialty board certifying body of the American Association of Physician Specialists, Inc.