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2021 Subspecialty Certifying Exam FAQs

Posted on April 30, 2020


Many of you are planning to take the 2021 Subspecialty Certifying Examination (CE). You are preparing your case lists and thesis while dealing with the COVID-19 pandemic. To help you through this challenging time, we have modified application deadlines and fees for next year's Subspecialty CEs. The following information addresses the modifications made due to COVID-19. Please contact us at exams@abog.org with questions not addressed below or for any assistance you may need.


Please know that we will not administer an in-person examination if doing so will endanger candidates, volunteers, or staff. The health and well-being of you and those with whom we work is paramount and will always be our priority.


Yes. The 2021 cycle of the Subspecialty CEs is scheduled for April 12-16, 2021. This scheduling presumes that the COVID-19 pandemic has resolved and that it is safe to administer and take an oral certification examination.

ABOG is closely monitoring the epidemiology and trends regarding the COVID-19 pandemic. We will only administer the 2021 CEs if it is safe for candidates like you, our examiners, and ABOG staff. In addition, we will only administer the examinations if it is safe to travel to and visit Dallas in April. We will implement CDC guidelines and local orders for businesses to operate safely to prevent exposure to and transmission of SARS-CoV-2 during the examinations.

Yes. The deadline for applying for the Subspecialty CE is being extended from June 30 to July 31, 2020. This will allow you to submit the application, the Verification of Hospital Privileges Form(s), and the application fee by July 31, 2020. In addition, ABOG is eliminating all late fees for 2021 Subspecialty CEs.

Yes. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, ABOG is increasing the allowed weeks of leave during the case collection year from 12 to 24 weeks. Leave includes medical leave, maternity leave, caregiver leave, vacation, furloughs, and other situations. Educational conferences do not count toward the 24 weeks of leave. If you need to take more than 24 weeks of leave associated with COVID-19, contact us at exams@abog.org.

Yes. You should have an independent practice and unrestricted privileges in your subspecialty by January 1, 2020. We are changing the requirement to be in practice from January 1, 2020 through December 31, 2020. Due to COVID-19, ABOG will allow up to 24 weeks (six months) of leave or clinical inactivity.

You may list COVID-19 patients if you were primarily responsible for their inpatient or outpatient care. You may list them in appropriate case list categories. You do not need to list any COVID-19 patients in whose care you participated but did not primarily manage. You do not need to list cases involved care provided to men. Please contact us at exams@abog.org if you have additional questions concerning this topic.

Candidates may use an 18-month or two-year case list for their case list submission in 2021. If a candidates is unable to meet the minimum number of cases using an 18-month or two-year case list, they should contact us at exams@abog.org for assistance.

Please submit your case list by the February 1, 2021 deadline. We understand that there may be challenges to getting complete details for some of your patients. For the 2021 CE, candidates will be allowed to edit the cases after submission and before their CE. Please notify ABOG at exams@abog.org that you need to make edits to your 2021 case list, and we will reopen your case list entry access to allow you to make edits. It may take up to two business days for your case list to be unlocked for edits.

If you are unable to have your Verification of Hospital Privileges Form(s) or Case List Affidavit completed and signed by the deadline, we will work with you. Please contact ABOG at exams@abog.org.

We understand that you may apply for this examination and later choose not to take the CE this cycle. If you are unable to take the 2021 Subspecialty CE due to the COVID-19 pandemic, you should email a brief summary of your situation to exams@abog.org. If you make the decision after you pay for the examination, your fees can either be refunded or applied to 2022. Additionally, your subspecialty certification eligibility period will be extended an additional year.