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Emergency Medicine Examination Description

Physicians certified in Emergency Medicine must successfully complete a Computer-Based (Written) and Oral Examination. The oral component is taken after the candidate has passed the written examination. Physicians recertifying in Emergency Medicine are only required to successfully complete a Computer-Based (Written) Examination.

The Written Examination

The written certification examination consists of 325 multiple-choice items, and is administered in two sections for a total duration of 6.5 hours during one day of testing. The two sections consist of 175 and 150 items each, with time limits of 3.5 and 3 hours respectively, and a 45-minute scheduled break in between. The written recertification examination consists of 100 multiple-choice items and is administered over a single two-hour session. Each question has four potential responses, but only one correct answer. Each response to a question is scored as correct or not correct.

The outline below provides details of the subject areas (domains) covered on the examinations and the approximate number of items from each area. This domain listing is provided to help candidates prepare for the examination and is based on a comprehensive practice analysis of the key topics and knowledge in the specialty, as identified by practitioners, instructors, and other leaders in emergency medicine. Candidates should review this outline carefully and focus study on the areas listed. Each item on the examination is linked to a specific domain. The information in the outline is meant to serve as a study aid only and not as a guarantee of success in taking the examination.

  Domain Approximate Percentage of Questions on Certification Exam  Approximate Percentage of Questions on Recertification Exam
1 Administrative and Legal Aspects, Disaster Medicine, and Emergency Medical Services 3% 3%
2 Cardiovascular Disorders 11% 11%
3 Dermatologic Disorders 3% 3%
4 Ear, Nose & Throat 5% 5%
5 Endocrine, Metabolic, & Nutritional Disorders 2% 3%
6 Gastrointestinal and Abdominal Disorders 7% 7%
7 Hematologic, Oncologic, and Immunologic Disorders 2% 2%
8 Infectious Diseases 4% 4%
9 Nephrologic Disorders 3% 3%
10 Neurologic Disorders 6% 6%
11 Obstetrics and Gynecology 5% 6%
12 Ophthalmologic Disorders 3% 3%
13 Orthopedic Disorders 7% 6%
14 Pediatric Disorders 6% 5%
15 Pharmacology 2% 2%
16 Procedures & Skills 3% 2%
17 Pulmonary & Respiratory Disorders 6% 6%
18 Psychiatric and Behavioral Disorders 3% 3%
19 Toxicology and Environmental Disorders 5% 6%
20 Traumatic Disorders 11% 11%
21 Urogenital Disorders 3% 3%

Study References

A candidate should focus their examination preparation on the content provided in the examination blueprint. The reference list is not meant to be a list of comprehensive study materials but rather to aid candidates who may wish to prepare more in a specific area of the examination blueprint that they may not be as familiar with. You may wish to use the study materials to prepare for the written certification examination. All items appearing on examinations have been written based on the material presented in these study references.

Click here to download Study References

Examination Administration

Click here for ABPS Examination Schedule Information

Examination Results

Candidates will receive score reports indicating their pass/fail status on the written examination. Candidates who fail are provided a breakdown of their performance by subject content domains. ABPS sends examination results to candidates within 60 days of the last day of the administration window. Each examination is scored against predetermined standards of acceptable performance, utilizing modified Angoff procedures for establishing the minimum acceptable scores. A candidate who is successful in passing the written certification examination is then approved to take the oral examination at the next administration.  A candidate who is successful in passing the written recertification examination is then recertified and retains Diplomate status within ABPS and AAPS.

Retaking Examinations

A candidate may take the written examination as many as three times to attain a passing score. Candidates who are not successful in passing the examination 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.

Oral Examination

Click here for further details regarding the Emergency Medicine Oral Examination.

Accommodations for Religious Reasons and Disabilities

Click here to see the complete policy for accommodations.