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 Specialties® (ABPS®) 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.

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.

On October 18, 2007, President George W. Bush released Homeland Security Presidential Directive 21 (HSPD-21), calling on our nation, among other initiatives, to “collectively support and facilitate the establishment of a discipline of disaster health”. It is a great testament to the wisdom and foresight of the American Board of Physician Specialties that it immediately set to work and created, within the short span of only one year, an educational blueprint and set of certification examinations, both written and oral, for a new subspecialty of disaster medicine—and it is why I chose to be part this vital initiative and this wonderful organization. This is but one of the many innovative programs initiated by the American Board of Physician Specialties over the years, and why I am proud to support its work on behalf of our nation’s public health.

Art Cooper, MD
Disaster Medicine
When the American Board of Physician Specialties offered to host the American Board of Integrative Medicine, ABPS became a landmark organization working to move medicine into the twenty first century. Certifying physicians who have completed rigorous academic training in Integrative Medicine ensures that the field of Integrative Medicine will continue to develop academically, clinically, and professionally. The leadership of ABPS continues to impress me - they are diligent in constantly innovating to provide certifications for physicians who want to advance their careers and their areas of expertise. I am honored to be a part of this organization.

Ann Marie Chiasson, MD
Integrative Medicine
There are many ways board certification advances a physician career. ABPS Board examination verifies your accuracy, precision, and reflects your mastery of your residency training verifying your expertise. ABPS Board certification demonstrates your level of expertise beyond your practice experience, primary education degrees, and training which are necessary for insurance reimbursement and practice privilege requirements. Attaining your ABPS Board Certification will clarify your purpose, secure your practice growth, and expand into leadership positions. Board certification can serve as an indication of a physician’s commitment to medicine, beyond the minimal standards and competency of training, their measurement to quality of care, and attaining an award for excellence.

Chris Kunis MD
Internal Medicine
When I think historically, advancement in medicine and patient safety and care has been driven by the diversity of people and scientific thought. That’s what I found at the ABPS and more. For over 60 years that is just who we are. I found a physician certifying body that provides a choice and voice to all physicians ensuring that patients are always placed first.

Jerry Allison, MD
Emergency Medicine
When I decided to pursue a full time role as a physician executive it was important to me to obtain additional professional training, education and work experience. Board certification through the ABPS in Administrative Medicine is validation of my efforts and a demonstration of dedication to professional development. We need more physicians to become full time health care executives, knowing there is a board certification option in Administrative Medicine encourages physicians to take the leap from full time clinical practice to healthcare organizational leadership.

Richard Paula, MD
Administrative Medicine
The American Board of Physician Specialties has provided me with the opportunity to demonstrate mastery of internal medicine through board certification. As a hospitalist, board certification is an expected credential, and hospitals recognize the American Board of Physician Specialties (ABPS) as one of the three standard credentialling bodies for Internal Medicine. Additionally, the ABPS has helped me develop leadership skills as a Board member and Committee Chairperson. ABPS has also helped me sharpen critical thinking skills as a test question developer and reviewer. The Allopathic (MD) and Osteopathic (DO) physicians in the ABPS are lifelong learners and frequently pursue multiple board certifications. I enjoy the camaraderie of my peers in ABPS.

Loren Jay Chassels, DO
Internal Medicine