About The Qualifying Exam

The qualifying exam (formerly known as the written certification examination) is one of the 3 steps necessary in order to become a certified diplomat of the American Board of Emergency Medicine (or board certified in emergency medicine). The exam covers the scope of emergency medicine. The qualifying examination is a criterion-referenced examination.

Exam Stats:

  • 8 hours long appointment (6.5 hours devoted to exam time)
  • 2 portions: morning and afternoon
  • 305 single best answer multiple choice questions.
  • 10-15% of test has pictorial stimulus (separate book with photographs, x-rays, etc, will be provided)
  • Test schedules allow adequate time to complete each portion of the examination, but each session has a time limit.
  • Test administered at one of 200 computer-based testing centers
  • Test takes place in late October or early November

Passing = 75% correct The qualifying exam is based on ABEMís Model of the Clinical Practice of Emergency Medicine The following table, from ABEMís website, outlines the relative weight given to the different components of the EM Model for the qualifying exam.

Listing of Conditions & Components  
1.0

Signs, Symptoms and Presentations

9%

 
2.0

Abdominal & Gastrointestinal Disorders

9%

 
3.0 Cardiovascular Disorders

10%

 
4.0 Cutaneous Disorders

2%

 
5.0 Endocrine, Metabolic & Nutritional Disorders

3%

 
6.0 Environmental Disorders

3%

 
7.0 Head, Ear, Eye, Nose & Throat Disorders

5%

 
8.0 Hematologic Disorders

2%

 
9.0 Immune System Disorders

2%

 
10.0 Systemic Infectious Disorders

5%

 
11.0 Musculoskeletal Disorders (Non-traumatic)

3%

 
12.0 Nervous System Disorders

5%

 
13.0 Obstetrics and Gynecology

4%

 
14.0 Psychobehavioral Disorders

3%

 
15.0 Renal and Urogenital Disorders

3%

 
16.0 Thoracic-Respiratory Disorders

8%

 
17.0 Toxicologic Disorders

4%

 
18.0 Traumatic Disorders

11%

 
  Appendix I: Procedures & Skills

6%

 
  Appendix II: Other Components

3%

 
  Total

100%

 



Acuity Frames Target (Ī 5%)  
Critical

27%

 
Online Emergent

37%

 
Lower Acuity 27%  
None 9%  

The Board has assigned the following specific percentage weights to the Modifying Factor of age:

  • Pediatrics: 8% minimum
  • Geriatrics: 4% minimum

This is not meant to be an inclusive guideline regarding the qualifying exam, please refer to the ABEM Website for specific information on applying, credentialing and scheduling for the qualifying examination as well as details regarding test and its procedures.



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