American Board of Orthopaedic Surgery

Part I

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 Pearson Professional Centers throughout the United States one day each year during the summer to approximately 900 candidates.

An orthopaedic surgeon who has passed the ABOS Part I Examination but has not yet passed ABOS Part II Oral Examination is deemed Board Eligible. The limit of Board Eligibility is five years; surgeons who have not passed Part II within 5 years of taking Part I are no longer Board Eligible, and must re-take Part I before moving on to Part II. Time spent in fellowship education after passing the ABOS Part I Examination will not count as a part of the five-year time limit. Fellowships must last a minimum of six months each.

For more information, you may view the BlueprintRules and Procedures, or the Certifying Examination Tutorial.

Examination Overview

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.

Checklist for 2024 Examination

  1. Be in the fifth year of your residency program (first-time takers).
  2. Submit an online application by October 1, 2023.
  3. Schedule examination starting April 12, 2024.
  4. Take examination at Pearson VUE Test Center on July 11, 2024.
  5. Receive examination results on Dashboard on September 6, 2024.

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