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 SpecialtiesĀ® (ABPSĀ®) 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.

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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 provides a guarantee of a high level of competency. Not only has this been good for my professional development but it has assured my patients that the clinicians they see are trained to the highest degree.


Mimi Guarneri, MD, FACC
Integrative Medicine
I value my ABPS certification very highly because it is one-of-a-kind certification in Urgent Care Medicine under the auspices of a larger, reputable organization. I really enjoy the professional and personal relationships I have formed with other individuals in the development of this new board and appreciate the great lengths that ABPS goes to ensure and enhance the recognition of it's component boards.
Joseph D. Toscano, MD
Urgent Care Medicine
ABPS gives its members unique opportunities to learn and develop professionally. I have been practicing Emergency Medicine for over 27 years and have been privileged to be a member of this fabulous organization. Through ABPS I have developed tremendously in my professional career becoming a consummate practitioner of my trade, a physician leader locally at my hospital, in my region , at the state level, and a published clinical researcher.
Leslie Mukau, MD, FAAEP, FACEP
Emergency Medicine