American Board of Orthopaedic Surgery


Part I Examination Blueprint

The purpose of the ABOS Part I Examination is to evaluate a candidate’s knowledge of general orthopaedics, the basic science of orthopaedics, and a candidate’s ability to use this information for problem solving in the diagnosis and treatment of patients. To this end, the subject matter of this examination is outlined in the Part I Examination Blueprint. While the Blueprint is not a complete list of all topics that will be included on the examination, it can serve as a guide to the overall outline of the examination and can be used to guide education and preparation. It is this Blueprint that is used in constructing the examination. Candidates should understand that the questions may include interpretation, use of clinical information, laboratory tests, and imaging procedures. Questions about management may require knowledge of specific operative and non-operative treatment modalities including physical therapy and rehabilitation. The number of questions on the examination varies from 320 to 330. More information about how the written examination is developed can be found here.

The ABOS has created two different versions of the ABOS Part I Examination Blueprint. The content of each is the same but how it is organized it is different. The traditional version is organized by General Principles, Adult Spine, Upper Extremities, Lower Extremities, Pediatrics, and Neoplasms. There is also one arranged by Subspecialty and is organized by General Principles, Adult Spine, Shoulder and Elbow, Surgery of the Hand, Orthopaedic Sports Medicine, Adult Reconstruction, Foot and Ankle, Adult Trauma, Pediatrics, and Orthopaedic Oncology. There is a clickable table of contents that takes you that that section of the blueprint and a link at the bottom of each page to take you back to the table of contents.

ABOS Part I Examination Blueprint

ABOS Part I Examination Blueprint–Orthopaedic Subspecialty Version

The score report provided to Examinees includes content area performance profiles based upon these 18 content domains:

  • Adult Trauma
  • Adult Disease
  • Pediatric Trauma
  • Pediatric Disease
  • Sports (Adult/Pediatric)
  • Rehabilitation
  • Diagnosis
  • Operative Management
  • Non-Operative Management
  • Basic Science
  • Neoplasms
  • Spine
  • Upper Extremity (Clavicle, Scapula, Shoulder Joint)
  • Upper Extremity (Humerus, Elbow Joint, Radius/Ulna)
  • Upper Extremity (Wrist Joint, Hand)
  • Lower Extremity (Pelvis, Hip Joint, Femur)
  • Lower Extremity (Knee Joint, Tibia/Fibula)
  • Lower Extremity (Ankle Joint, Foot)

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