American Board of Orthopaedic Surgery

Part II

The Part II Oral Examination is the second of the two parts of the certifying examination for orthopaedic surgeons. The oral examinations are given each summer in Chicago. Approximately 800 candidates take this examination each year. The purpose of the oral examination is to evaluate the candidate’s clinical competence. This is done through a credentialing process and an examination.

The candidate must submit a Case List to the ABOS. Case selectors will choose 12 cases for the candidate to present at the examination and all pertinent materials for those cases must be presented. The examination is divided into four 30-minute periods with two examiners in each period and a 5 minute break between periods. Examiners ask questions pertinent to the cases presented and pertinent to the candidate’s case lists. Specific skills that are evaluated are data gathering, diagnosis and interpretive skills, treatment plan, technical skill, outcomes, and applied knowledge. You can also view the scoring rubric.

A Part II Candidate must have started practice and been granted hospital admitting and surgical privileges on or before November 1 in order to qualify for the Part II examination two calendar years later. A Candidate must be continuously and actively engaged in the practice of operative orthopaedic surgery, other than as a resident or fellow (or equivalent), in one location for at least 17 consecutive full calendar months from the November 1st start date through March 31st of the year of the Examination. It also is a candidate’s obligation to inform the ABOS of any subsequent change in practice location or privileges that occur after submission of the candidate’s application but before the examination date.

It is the responsibility of potential applicants who meet these qualifications to go to the Board website, register, and follow the instructions to apply for Part II. Applications and the case list collection program are available April 1 of each year and are due November 1. The application and case lists must be filled out and submitted online. To access the application, you must click on login and enter your username and password.

The Credentials Committee of the ABOS meets to review information received on applicants and determine admissibility. A decision about each applicant is made either to approve admission to the next examination, to deny admission, or to defer a decision pending further evaluation.

The ABOS has prepared several videos to help you prepare for the examination.

Candidates who pass the examination are certified and are Diplomates of the American Board of Orthopaedic Surgery. They receive a certificate that is valid for 10 years. In addition, Diplomates can use the designation “ABOSD” after their name. For instance, John Doe, MD, ABOSD.


  1. Pass Part I.
  2. Be continuously and actively engaged in orthopaedic surgery in one location for a least 17 consecutive months.
  3. Electronically submit a completed application, application fee, a Scribe case list, and names of your peer reviewers by November 1. (Late deadline is November 15.) Available on website beginning April 1.
  4. Receive letters of notification to examination in April on
  5. Receive examination assignments and admission cards in June. View the orientation videos.
  6. Take Part II examination at Palmer House in Chicago in July.
  7. Examination results are posted online in late August.

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