Initial Certification for Interventional Radiology


Last verified on June 19, 2017

When is the Core Exam administered?

Exams are given twice yearly. The June administrations are offered at the ABR’s Chicago and Tucson exam centers. The fall administration is offered at the Tucson Exam Center only.

Why isn’t the Core Exam offered at a local testing center?

Currently, local testing centers are unable to handle the modular exam content and case structure. In addition, commercial vendors do not calibrate monitors, and the room lighting cannot be controlled. The ABR hopes to have a distributed exam in the future and is currently working on a system to implement this.

What categories are included in the Core Exam?

The 18 categories are breast, cardiac, gastrointestinal, interventional, musculoskeletal, neuroradiology, nuclear, pediatric, reproductive/endocrinology, thoracic, urinary, vascular, computed tomography, magnetic resonance, radiography/fluoroscopy, ultrasound, physics, and safety. In addition, the Radioisotope Safety Exam (RISE), one of the requirements for Authorized User (AU) eligibility status, is included within the Core Exam.

How can I know what to study in order to prepare for this exam?

Several resources can be found here on the ABR website.

How is physics tested on this exam?

No identifiable physics module is included in this exam. Relevant physics questions are embedded in each category, and many are image based. However, physics is scored as a separate category and must be passed in order to pass the exam.

How is the Core Exam scored?

All ABR exam scoring is criterion referenced, meaning that a passing standard is established in advance of the exam. The exam is not graded on a curve, and there is no set percentage of failures. For the Core Exam, the clinical component is scored as “pass/fail,” and the physics component is separately scored as “pass/fail.” If a candidate achieves a score equal to or higher than the passing score, he or she passes. If not, the candidate fails.

How and when will I receive my results?

Results for the Core Exam are posted in your password-protected myABR account approximately 8 to 10 weeks after the exam. You will receive an email when your exam results have been posted.

Why do I have to pass all 18 categories?

The Core Exam is the last comprehensive exam you will take. Therefore, it's important for you to have at least a minimum standard of knowledge in each category.

What happens if a I fail the Core Exam? When can I retake it?

Opportunities to retake the exam are available twice a year.

How long do I have to pass the Core Exam?

You will have six years from the end of your training to successfully complete the initial certification process (pass both the Core and Certifying exams). This is the board eligible period. After that, you must take an additional year of training in a department with ACGME or RCPSC (Canadian) accreditation before re-entering the certification process.

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