Emergency Medicine Oral Examination

During the Emergency Medicine Oral Examination, each candidate will be presented with a total of five patient cases; two single-patient encounters and one triple-patient encounter. The single-patient encounters require the candidate to manage one patient case at a time, while the triple-patient encounter requires the candidate to manage three patient cases at once. Candidates are allowed 20 minutes for each single-patient encounter and 40 minutes for the triple-patient encounter.

The patient cases presented are based on real-world scenarios and are intended to reflect typical circumstances encountered in an emergency medicine setting. It is important to remember that the Emergency Medicine Oral examination is designed to be a dialogue between the candidate and the presenter. It is NOT a simulation or reenactment exercise

All patient cases have points assigned to “scorable actions” across the categories of:

  • History – The candidate should request information regarding any patient medical history relevant to the case, including (but not limited to) onset, course, location, associated symptoms, allergies, and medications.
  • 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.
  • Diagnosis/Disposition – The candidate may be presented with follow-up patient conditions, including complications.

All domains of the examination blueprint are eligible to be topics of the patient cases, including but not limited to:

  • Orthopedics
  • Pediatrics
  • Cardiovascular
  • Trauma
  • OB/Gyn
  • Infectious Disease
  • Toxicology and Environmental
  • Neurology

The total number of points for each category will vary from patient case to patient case. It is important to understand that you can make a correct diagnosis and still not earn enough points to pass that case, as scores depend on the step-by-step process of how each case is managed.

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.

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.

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