News from the ABR

Many Factors Go into Rescheduling Exams Impacted by Coronavirus

The novel coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic has impacted everyone’s life. COVID-19 has turned our world upside down, brought our economy to a virtual halt, and overwhelmed medical facilities.

Among the important activities affected by the virus have been our initial certification exams. After much discussion, exam administrations scheduled in the first half of the year were postponed or canceled in early March. By the beginning of April, all those events had been rescheduled.

Here’s how the calendar looks as of April 7:

  • RO Biology and Physics: July 9 (Pearson VUE)
  • RO Clinical: July 24 (Pearson VUE)
  • MP Part 1: August 3 (Pearson VUE)
  • MP Part 2: August 4 (Pearson VUE)
  • DR RISE: October 4 (Chicago and Tucson)
  • DR Subspecialty: October 4 (Chicago and Tucson)
  • DR Certifying: October 5-6 (Chicago and Tucson)
  • RO Oral: October 11-13 (Tucson)
  • IR/DR Certifying: October 18-20 (Tucson)
  • MP Part 3 (Oral): October 24-27 (Tucson)
  • DR, IR/DR Core: November 5-6 and 9-10 (Chicago and Tucson)

Since our schedule doesn’t exist in a vacuum, many hours of consultation with stakeholders went into setting new dates. Candidates have professional duties to fulfill, and association and society meetings to attend. Our exams, while important, must be held in coordination with professional development.

There are other unpredictable factors that went into rescheduling our exams, most notably containment of the virus. Among the fallout is Pearson VUE, the venue for our RO and MP computer-based exams, temporarily closing its centers with no indication when they will reopen. Life remains at a standstill until COVID-19 is under control.

The health and safety of our candidates, examiners, staff, and public are our greatest concerns. When our exams resume, we will redouble our already comprehensive efforts to keep our centers sanitary. It has been our custom to thoroughly clean every station and public area after an exam administration. Those efforts will only increase.

As for the public, our mission is to certify that our diplomates demonstrate the requisite knowledge, skill, and understanding of their disciplines to the benefit of patients. One of the ways we meet that goal is by administering fair and rigorous exams. While that process has been put on pause during the COVID-19 pandemic, it’s vital that it continue once it’s safe to do so.

We pledge to remain flexible and responsive to candidate needs, and we appreciate everyone’s patience as all of us go through this journey together. Our profession is important in this battle, and we must ensure that candidates from our four specialties are prepared to play a role in resolving this issue and others in the future.

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