When and How Specialty Examinations are Offered by the ABPS

When Specialty Exams OfferedWritten medical specialty examinations are offered by the American Board of Physician Specialties (APBS) in November and May of each year in a computer-based, multiple choice format at test centers throughout the United States, Puerto Rico and Canada. Oral examinations and simulations are offered in March, April, or October, depending on the specialty, and take place in Tampa, Florida.

The window for written specialty examinations is typically four weeks long. The examinee is allowed to schedule the exam for any day and time that the nearest test center is open. Registration for specific test dates is opened 1 month before the start of the testing window.  All registered and paid candidates are sent a password and link to register online for their specific date and time.

Please keep in mind that there is typically a five-month lead time between the application deadline and the date of testing. For example, to sit for an examination in November, the completed application must be received by the ABPS by May of that year. And to sit for a test in May, the application must be received by December of the previous year.

Oral specialty examinations do not require a separate application, but all examinees must pass the written examination before sitting for the oral exam.  The fee must also be paid at the time of registration. Oral examinations are administered on a Saturday, with Sunday being available for those needing religious accommodations or with emergency scheduling issues that prevent them from testing on Saturday.

These medical specialties require written and oral examinations:

  • Diagnostic Radiology
  • Obstetrics and Gynecology
  • Radiation Oncology
  • Disaster Medicine
  • Surgery
  • Emergency Medicine
  • Orthopedics
  • Anesthesiology
  • Family Medicine Obstetrics
  • Psychiatry

These medical specialties require only written specialty examinations:

  • Geriatric Medicine
  • Ophthalmology
  • Hospital Medicine
  • Urgent Care
  • Integrative Medicine
  • Dermatology
  • Family Practice
  • Internal Medicine

For more information about the timing, eligibility requirements, and methodology of the specialty examinations offered by the ABPS, contact us today. The ABPS is the official 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 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
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