ABOS Changing Oral Examination for Certification and Recertification

Douglas W. Lundy, MD, MBA, and J. Lawrence Marsh, MD

The American Board of Orthopaedic Surgery (ABOS) is dedicated to upholding the standards of our profession and ensuring the highest quality of orthopaedic practice possible. The ABOS Oral Examination for certification and recertification is one of the most successful and high-profile examples of practice-based exams in medical certification. During 4 days at the Palmer House in Chicago, nearly 1,000 candidates are questioned on cases selected from their practice.

Although the location hasn’t changed for decades, the exam itself has evolved to remain a relevant, valid assessment of the candidates’ actual practices. Recent changes to the exam process reflect the widespread adoption by hospitals and practices of electronic medical records and images and efforts by the ABOS to improve the reliability of the exam. Maximizing reliability makes the exam as fair as possible for the candidates.

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