How to Prepare for an ABPS Board Certification Exam

How to Prepare for an ABPS Board Certification ExamCandidates for certification by a Member Board of the American Board of Physician Specialties® (ABPS) must pass a computer-based, written examination in order to achieve board certification. Some Member Boards also require an oral exam. For those boards, candidates must first successfully complete the written component before they are permitted to take the oral exam.

The written exam consists of multiple choice questions administered over a four-hour session. It is offered at testing centers throughout the United States and Canada, in May, August, or October of each year, depending on the specialty. Oral exams are offered once a year in Tampa, FL.

Questions for the written exam cover key topics selected by subject matter experts as relevant and indicative of the skills and knowledge of physician specialists. The ABPS recommends that candidates prepare for exams by reviewing the exam description for their chosen specialty.

To find descriptions, visit the ABPS homepage. Under the Board Certifications link at the top of the page, click the link to the specialty of choice. Then, click the Examination Description link on the left. Candidates will find an outline detailing exam subject areas, including the approximate percentage of questions in each area. Candidates should focus their study on the areas listed. Be advised, however, that while the outline can be an effective study guide, it is not a guarantee of success.

As a further aid for candidates who wish to prepare in specific exam areas, the Examination Description page also includes a link to study references.

To learn more about the ABPS exams 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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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