News from the ABR

COVID Could Have Played Role in Lower IR/DR Oral Exam Pass Rate

The American Board of Radiology completed its second fully remote oral exam in Interventional Radiology/Diagnostic Radiology (IR/DR) on October 20, 2021, and announced the results to candidates today.


Overall, the exam was very successful. Although there were a few instances of technical difficulties, primarily related to candidate internet connections, nearly all candidates completed the exam without incident. ABR examiners were comfortable with the interface, and they are confident of the robustness and validity of the exam in the remote format.


The pass rate for first-time takers was 86%, which is on the low end of the range of pass rates since the oral exam’s inception. The weighted average first-time passing rate over the past five years is 90%.


The slightly lower pass rate suggests candidates may have been less prepared than usual for the exam, which may reflect the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on their education and experience. This exam tested the first large cohort of interventional radiology residents who graduated just three months prior to the exam; this group bore the brunt of pandemic-related diminished clinical activity and opportunities for learning.

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