Anesthesiology Oral Examination

The Anesthesiology Oral Certification Examination consists of four cases. The cases presented will be based upon real or hypothetical patients. Cases presented reflect typical cases seen by Anesthesiologists and are developed using the same reference materials and content domains as the written examination. Candidates are allowed two hours for the examination.

To begin the oral examination, candidates are presented a brief introductory statement regarding a patient’s general condition. The candidate is then asked how he or she would like to proceed. It is important to remember that the oral examination is designed to be a dialogue between the candidate and the presenter. Each case typically requires candidates to address details in each of the following categories:

  • History – The candidate should request information regarding any patient medical history relevant to the case, including (but not limited to) onset, location, allergies, medications, past medical history, and surgical history.
  • Physical Examination – The candidate should request information regarding the patient’s airway, neck, chest, heart, back, neurological, musculoskeletal, and any other areas applicable to the case.
  • Data – The candidate should order appropriate laboratory tests and diagnostic examinations; the Presenter will provide the candidate with the results.
  • Management – The candidate should indicate recommended treatment, including non-operative, operative, and post-operative management. The candidate may be asked to provide a rationale.
  • Disposition/Pathophysiology—The candidate may be presented with follow-up conditions of the patient, including complications—to which the candidate will be asked to recommend appropriate actions; or the candidate may be asked to describe possible complications/outcomes and appropriate corrective actions. Additionally, other related questions regarding the patient’s condition may be asked.

The cases presented will address a variety of situations. No case will address exactly the same topic. Topics presented to the candidate may include, but not limited to:

  • General Anesthetic Management
  • Obstetric Anesthesia
  • Cardiac Anesthesia
  • Pediatric Anesthesia
  • Orthopedics/Trauma
  • Neuro Anesthesia
  • Regional Anesthesia
  • MAC/Anesthesia Management Outside of Operating Room

A candidate’s score on any one case is completely independent of his or her score on any other case. To pass, the candidate must, at a minimum, obtain a total score that equals or exceeds the sum of the threshold scores for the studies. Therefore, it is possible that a candidate may score less than the threshold score for one case, but still pass the examination, provided he or she scores well enough on the remainder of the cases to offset the lower score. Each case contains approximately the same number of possible points. Therefore, the cases are approximately equally weighted in the overall calculation of candidate’s total score.

While there are no scorable actions that, if not performed, are an automatic “not pass” – there are potential dangerous Actions. These are actions or inactions that endanger the patient and may result in a deduction of points from the final score.

All ABPS examinations are administered only in English. Responses from candidates to examination questions must be in English for the candidate to be eligible to receive credit toward his or her examination score.

The results are mailed within 45 days of the examination. A careful review of the scoring and analyses of the results is conducted after the examination and before issuing reports, to verify the accuracy and validity of the results.

Retaking Oral Examinations

A candidate may take the oral examination as many as three times in order to pass. Candidates who are not successful in passing both the written and oral examinations within the number of allowable attempts may reapply for certification by completing a new application and meeting all the eligibility requirements in effect at the time the new application is submitted.

Accommodations for Religious Reasons and Disabilities

Click here to see the complete policy for accommodations.


Save the Date
House of Delegates & Annual Scientific Meeting
Innovation & Overcoming Challenges
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