The Steps to Developing an American Board of Physician Specialties® Examination

ABPS Examination A central component to becoming board certified by the American Board of Physician Specialties® (ABPS) is the successful completion of a standardized, written examination. This exam is designed to be rigorous but fair, singling out the most competent, highly trained and knowledgeable physicians in their specialty area. As a result, credentialing organizations, physician peers and the public can be confident that a physician certified through the ABPS is a specialty-area expert in the field of medicine that he or she practices.

ABPS examinations are based on meetings with subject matter experts who help identify the key skills, abilities, and technical knowledge that a board-certified physician should possess. Once this practice analysis is completed, the exams are thoroughly vetted by a representative sample of professionals in the medical community, which usually comprises physicians who are board certified by the ABPS, the American Board of Medical Specialties (ABMS) or the American Osteopathic Association (AOA).

From there, medical professionals, along with psychometric experts, collaborate to develop a central blueprint for the examination, which includes recommended weighting for each section of the exam. This blueprint also roughly outlines the approximate length of the exam, including the number of topics to be covered and the number of questions that should be included in each section. Once this blueprint process is complete, a team of subject matter experts develop the questions themselves.

After the exam is thoroughly edited for grammar, readability, and potential biases, it is submitted to a committee of ABPS Diplomates for final editing and approval. From there, ABPS staff adjust the exam for length and to ensure that there are the appropriate number of questions in each section. A final edit is also completed to make sure instructions are clear, redundancies are eliminated and that questions don’t unintentionally provide answers to other exam questions.

While this process is exhaustive and requires significant collaboration, it is absolutely integral to ensure that our standardized examinations are reliable, fair and accurately measure the physician candidates’ qualifications.

To learn more about the ABPS, our board certification process, and our upcoming exam schedule, contact us today. The ABPS is the official certifying organization of the American Association of Physician Specialists®.

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House of Delegates & Annual Scientific Meeting
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June 10-15, 2022
Patient Care Is Our Priority

Medical organizations throughout North America understand that our rigorous certification standards prove that ABPS Diplomates are capable of delivering the best patient care possible.

ABPS is a leading advocate for its Diplomates, their patients, and the public at large by promoting high-quality evidence-based patient care. ABPS certifies physicians through industry-leading rigorous examinations in various boards and offers continuous recertification making sure that these physicians are qualified to practice safe state of the art medicine.

Leslie Mukau, MD, FAAEP, FACEP
Emergency Medicine
In this time of uncertainty, Disaster Medicine Certification has helped tremendously to demonstrate to hospital leadership my commitment to disaster preparedness and knowledge of planning, response, and mitigation. ABODM certification focuses on the knowledge and skills a physician needs to become a recognized leader in the four stages of disaster preparation and management: planning, coordination, execution, and debriefing.

Lewis W, Marshall, MD, JD, FAAEP, FAADM
Disaster Medicine | Emergency Medicine
ABPS board certification validates a physician's competence in their medical specialty. This is important to a patient seeking medical care. Physician recertification through ABPS assures that we maintain knowledge and expertise throughout our career. The ABPS is a collegial and committed organization of physicians and administrative staff. The organization has given me the opportunity to become involved in all facets of the board certification process and physician governance.

Lawrence Stein, MD, FAASOS
Orthopedic Surgery