Integrative Medicine Examination Description

Updated July 2021

The Integrative Medicine written exam is designed to assess the medical knowledge and cognitive skills required for practice in the field of integrative medicine. Mastery of the knowledge areas and concepts depicted below ensures that patients of certified integrative medicine specialists are cared for by knowledgeable, up-to-date physicians. The exam assesses the testable knowledge components necessary for practice, primarily focusing on practical, clinical, evidence-based knowledge, but also includes foundational knowledge pertaining to the philosophy and systems of integrative knowledge, allowing certified physicians to be stewards of the field.

The Written Examination

Physicians certified in Integrative Medicine must successfully complete a computer-based (written) examination. Physicians recertifying in Integrative Medicine are required to successfully complete a computer-based (written) examination.

The written certification examination consists of 200 multiple-choice items and is administered over a four-hour session. The written recertification examination consists of 100 multiple-choice items and is administered over a 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 integrative 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 Exam
1 Nutrition
Macronutrients
Micronutrients
Nutrient imbalances
Therapeutic Diets
Preventive Diets
Elimination Diets
Functional Foods
Food Quality
15%
2 Dietary Supplements, Botanicals and other Natural Products
Adverse Effects/Drug Interactions
Quality Control and Regulation
Evidence for Safety/Effectiveness
13%
3 Mind-Body Medicine 
Mental and Emotional Influences on Health
Physical Influences on Mental/Emotional Health
Self-Regulation Therapies
Placebo/Nocebo
15%
4 Spirituality, Religion, and Meaning
Spiritual Assessment
Community and Connection
Evidence for the Impact of Spirituality on Health Outcomes
Spiritual Suffering and Alienation
3%
5 Complementary Modalities
Manual Therapies
Biofield Therapies
Acupuncture
Movement Therapies
Expressive Arts
9%
6 Whole Medical Systems
Traditional Chinese Medicine
Ayurveda
Indigenous Medical Systems
Homeopathic Medicine
Naturopathic Medicine
Osteopathic Medicine
Chiropractic
Functional Medicine
9%
7 Lifestyle, Prevention and Health Promotion
Social Determinants of Health
Motivational Interviewing
Physical Activity and Exercise
Environmental Factors
Risk Reduction
Self-care and Well-being
Sleep
Behaviors Influencing Health
12%
8 Integrative Approaches
Women’s Health
Men’s Health
Pediatrics
Geriatrics
Cardiology
Gastroenterology
Hematology/Oncology
Psychiatry
Pulmonary and Critical Care
Dermatology
Neurology
Pain Management
Rheumatology
Endocrinology and Metabolism
Infectious Disease
Allergy and Immunology
Hospice and Palliative Care
18%
9 Foundations of Integrative Medicine
Philosophy
History
Person-centered Care
3%
10 Professional Practice of Integrative Medicine
Evidence-based Principles and Practice
Systems-based Practice
Medical/Legal/Ethics
3%

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 examination is then certified and attains 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.

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.

Personal challenge and motivation compelled me to pass my ABPS board exam. Measurement and confirmation of my own knowledge base reinforced my self-confidence. The ABPS, with its history of inclusivity, has allowed me to have a voice in the organization, while permitting me to impact overall national patient safety and care through certification. Participation in exam development afforded me the opportunity to witness the rigorousness of the exam process and psychometrically sound product, while developing meaningful collegiality, professional life enrichment, and warding off burn out.

Elizabeth Maxwell-Schmidt MD, FAAEP, FACEP
Emergency Medicine
Board certification through the American Board of Physician Specialties has served to substantiate my interest and additional training in several fields of medicine including Internal Medicine, Disaster Medicine, and Administrative Medicine. As a result, I have been able to serve my community in clinical, disaster response, and administrative medicine roles. Through the ABPS, I have become recognized as a leader in my various fields of interest.

Spencer Price MD, MPH, MBA
Internal Medicine, Disaster Medicine, Administrative Medicine
BCEM certification through ABPS has provided me with many opportunities. It has helped me demonstrate that I have special experience and expertise in Emergency Medicine beyond that obtained through my family medicine training. BCEM certification firmly established me as an emergency medicine specialist once I started working in emergency medicine full time. ABPS has also helped me network with other family physicians with a passion for improving rural and underserved emergency medicine practice.

Alex Beuning, MD, FAAEP
Emergency Medicine