The Part I written examination is the first of two parts of the certifying examination for orthopaedic surgeons. This examination may be taken after satisfactory completion of an ACGME accredited orthopaedic residency, while in an approved residency slot. Senior residents may apply for the examination after satisfactory completion of 51 of the required 60 months of training. Canadian trained applicants may apply after they have passed the qualifying examination of the Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons.
The Part I examination is designed to evaluate a candidate’s knowledge of general orthopaedics, the basic science of orthopaedics and his or her ability to use this information for problem solving in the diagnosis and treatment of patients. The total time allotted for the examination is 9 hours, which includes 8 hours of testing time, 40 minutes of break time, and 20 minutes for a tutorial.
The examination is administered at Prometric Testing Centers throughout the United States one day each year during the summer to approximately 850 candidates.
Candidates who pass Part I then become board eligible for five years. Time spent in fellowships is not counted as part of the five year time limit. Candidates who do not take and pass Part II within those five years are no longer board eligible, and must reapply for Part I.
For more information, you may view the Blueprint, Rules and Procedures, or the Certifying Examination Tutorial.
Examinees are provided with 40 total minutes of break time which can be used between any examination sections. The tutorial can be completed at home prior to the examination resulting in extra break time. Candidates WILL NOT be penalized for any break taken outside of the normal scheduled breaks EXCEPT that unscheduled breaks will reduce the time a Candidate has on his/her examination. The testing center staff will take note of unscheduled breaks for security reasons.
Osteopathic Residency Education Programs
As stated in the Rules and Procedures, candidates for Board Certification by the American Board of Orthopaedic Surgery (ABOS) are required to complete an orthopaedic residency education program that is accredited by the Accreditation Council for Graduate Medical Education (ACGME). Every year of individual’s residency must be in a program that is fully accredited by the ACGME at the time the resident is at the institution. The ACGME, the American Osteopathic Association (AOA), and the American Association of Colleges of Osteopathic Medicine (AACOM) have created a single accreditation system for both allopathic and osteopathic residency educational programs and many osteopathic programs are working towards attaining ACGME accreditation. However, to begin the Board Certification process through the ABOS, an osteopathic resident physician will be required to be in a residency educational program that is ACGME accredited at the time that they begin the program and that accreditation must stay active throughout the resident’s education. Accreditation of a program is considered to begin when the program achieves a status of “Initial Accreditation” from the ACGME. This begins the time which can be considered counting toward the ABOS five-year requirement. A program with a status of “Pre-Accreditation” is not considered accredited and the time spent in a program with this status does not count toward the five-year requirement to be eligible for the ABOS certification process. This principle applies to allopathic resident physicians as well.
- Be in the fifth year of your residency program (first-time takers).
- Submit an online application by December 15.
- Receive scheduling permits from ABOS in April.
- Take examination at Prometric Testing Centers on July 14.
- Receive examination results on abos.org in mid-September.