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.

I feel truly blessed and grateful to be an internal medicine board-certified diplomate with the American Board of Physician Specialties. Their ongoing, steadfast commitment to physician board(s) enhancement, forward focused vision, and tenacity is second to none. ABPS has become a recognized choice in Physician Board Certification.

Adam Rench, MD
Internal Medicine
To be the best, you must measure yourself against the best. Achieving Board Certification in Emergency Medicine by the ABPS gave me the opportunity to demonstrate mastery of the art of EM in an objective way. The high bar that ABPS sets for candidates to be allowed to take both the written and oral exam is a testament to ABPS's rigorous vetting of one's ability to practice Emergency Medicine at a high level. By maintaining these credentials, I've been able to instill confidence in my abilities at the department/employer level and ultimately with the patients that choose to seek emergency care at the facilities at which I practice.

Royce Mathew Joseph, MD
Emergency Medicine
The American Board of Physician Specialties has supported the entire field of Integrative Medicine in sponsoring our board. It has been so validating of the importance of prevention-oriented and holistic approaches to care while emphasizing the scientific basis of this specialty to have it recognized by ABPS. I am proud to have been one of the first groups to be board certified by ABPS in Integrative Medicine, leading the way for others committed to training in this specialty.

Myles Spar, MD
Integrative Medicine