Initial Certification > Diagnostic
The Exam of the Future
The ABR’s new “Exam of the Future” is almost here! The first administration of the Core Exam—for residents who began their training in 2010—will be offered in Chicago and Tucson on September 30-October 1, 2013, and again on October 2-3, 2013. The first week of October was chosen to avoid administration in close proximity to the June 2013 oral examination. Subsequent Core examinations will be given in June of each year.
Further information is available here:
Studying for the Core Exam
A Core Pilot Exam for this class of residents will be offered in June 2013, also in Chicago and Tucson. For more information on the Core Pilot, click here.
A comprehensive Core Exam Study Guide with sample questions is available here.
In addition, a 100-item Core Practice Exam, with examples of content from all areas and all item types, is available here.
The Core Examination Blueprints below provide an estimated breakdown of the content from each category that will be included on each administration of the examination, which may be useful when preparing to take the Core Examination. While the study guides provide a more detailed listing of the domain of knowledge being examined, the blueprints provide the relative percent distribution of content that will be tested across the domain. Candidates should remember that no two examination forms are the same, as they represent a sampling of knowledge from within the larger domain, with forms statistically equated for difficulty when determining cut scores for passing.
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The Core Exam
The Core Exam, which replaces the current “written” (computerized) exam, will be taken 36 months after the beginning of radiology residency training. It will be an image-rich, computer-based exam administered in two ABR exam centers: the Chicago Exam Center near O’Hare Airport (5440 N. Cumberland) and the Tucson Exam Center at the board office.
The examination schedule will involve morning registration, Session 1 in the afternoon of the same day, and Session 2 in the morning of the next day. The exam will take 5.25 hours each day. The exam will test knowledge and comprehension of anatomy, pathophysiology, all aspects of diagnostic radiology, and physics concepts important for diagnostic radiology.
Eighteen categories are included on the examination. The categories are as follows: breast, cardiac, gastrointestinal, interventional, musculoskeletal, neuroradiology, nuclear, pediatric, reproductive/endocrinology, thoracic, genitourinary, vascular, computed tomography, magnetic resonance, radiography/fluoroscopy, ultrasound, physics, and safety.
In addition, a portion of the RadioIsotope Safety Exam (RISE), one of the requirements for Authorized User Eligibility Status, is included within the Core Exam. Physics questions will be integrated into each category. No separate physics examination will be administered. However, performance on the entire set of physics items will be evaluated as a component in scoring the examination.
If a candidate fails one to five categories, he/she will have conditioned the examination and must take a repeat examination in the categories that were failed. If a candidate fails more than five categories, the entire examination must be repeated. The exam will be offered twice yearly.
The Certifying Exam
The Certifying Exam, which replaces the current oral exam, will be taken 15 months after completion of diagnostic radiology residency. The Core Exam must be passed before a candidate is eligible to take the Certifying Exam.
The Certifying Exam will be an image-rich, computer-based exam administered in two ABR exam centers: Chicago near O’Hare Airport (5440 N. Cumberland) and at the Tucson board office. The first Certifying Exam will be offered in October 2015.
The examination will emphasize synthesis of information, differential diagnosis, and patient management. Aspects of basic sciences that are important in imaging will be included on the examination. The examination will take five hours and will be offered twice yearly. It consists of five modules.
Two modules are required:
- Noninterpretive Skills: general topics of importance to the practice of radiology, such as radiation safety, recognition and management of contrast reactions, error prevention, communication skills, professionalism, ethics, and other aspects of practice. For 2013, physics as it relates to the day-to-day practice of radiology is also included.
A new syllabus, Noninterpretive Skills Domain Specification and Resource Guide, is now available. This syllabus differs from past ABR study guides because it provides detailed content that the examinees are expected to know to pass the Noninterpretive Skills Module. Because the noninterpretive skills content area is so new to most physicians, the Board decided to make a departure from its longstanding practice of not prescribing study materials for examinations.
Please note that since this is a new and evolving area, the content of the Noninterpretive Skills Module may change in the future. If changes are made to this exam module, the syllabus will be updated accordingly. To download the syllabus, please click here.
Essentials of Diagnostic Radiology: basic knowledge that every radiologist should know, such as recognizing child abuse, pneumothorax, shock bowel, and subdural hematoma.
The exam will also include three modules in clinical practice areas selected by the individual, based on training, experience, and practice emphasis (one, two, or three different practice areas may be selected). The clinical practice areas are: general radiology, breast, cardiac, gastrointestinal, musculoskeletal, neuroradiology, nuclear, pediatric, thoracic, ultrasound, genitourinary, and vascular and interventional radiology. Each of the clinical practice areas will include some items relevant to pediatric radiology and physics. The second portion of the RadioIsotope Safety Exam (RISE) examination is integrated into the Certifying exam.
The exam will be scored as pass or fail, and feedback will be provided to examinees. The two required modules must each be passed individually, and the elective modules must be passed as a group. If any of these three decisions is “fail,” the entire exam must be retaken. The RISE examination will be scored based on the RISE content taken in the Core and Certifying exams. This result will not impact the pass/fail result for the Certifying examination.