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In-Person Certifying Exam FAQs

ABOG is committed to transparency in our communication with our stakeholders. These FAQs have been updated for the 2023 Specialty Certifying Exam.


Questions? Please contact the Exams Department at exams@abog.org.


The American Board of Medical Specialties (ABMS) granted remote examination exceptions in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. With the wide use of vaccinations and any additional safety precautions individuals deem necessary, the decision to return to in-person examinations was made based on the following factors: 

  • ABOG is committed to administering fair examinations. Virtual examinations introduce additional elements of bias, inequities, and examination content security concerns.  
  • ABOG is committed to administering examinations which measure the depth and breadth of OB GYN Specialists’ knowledge, judgment, and skills. While examinations were administered virtually during the COVID-19 pandemic, limitations in the remote examination delivery system would not allow for crucial elements such as sonography, fetal heartrate tracing, and high-quality images and videos to be included to the degree appropriate for the Certifying Examination.  
  • The ABOG Technology Department is highly skilled and capable, however, limited support can be provided during a virtual examination even with required “tech checks” for candidates before their examination day. ABOG’s Technology Department cannot address bandwidth and other digital inequities.  

Any candidate taking a Certifying Exam, whether it be virtual or physically in Texas, should not be at legal risk. SB8 only applies to abortions performed in Texas. More importantly, SB8 text specifically references and pertains to the performance or induction of an abortion: “… a physician may not knowingly perform or induce an abortion on a pregnant woman” beyond the point in time when a fetal heartbeat is detected. Additionally, civil liability for aiding and abetting applies only to abortions performed in Texas. This should mean that the action for which a plaintiff is filing a lawsuit must be proven to be tied to a specific abortion performed. Care of patients on a case list and ensuing discussion with examiners during the Certifying Exam are not subject to SB8. 

While each candidate is free to do so, it is ABOG’s opinion that candidates do not need to obtain legal advice prior to traveling to Texas to sit for the oral Certifying Exam. ABOG is not aware of any OB GYN exam candidates that have sought legal guidance about their Certifying Exams.

The application and personal practice case list data that ABOG collects as part of the certification process are confidential. ABOG takes all necessary precautions and security measures to protect personally identifiable information and applications materials. For example, all case list information is de-identified and encrypted, and no patient information is stored at ABOG. 

The current Texas SB8 legislation applies to clinical care. It does not apply to or have any impact on the Certifying Exam administration. Knowing this may help candidates reduce anxiety related specifically to the SB8 law as pertains to the Certifying Exam.  

ABOG does offer accommodations of various types, depending on the candidate’s need. Medical documentation is required, and requests should be submitted early in the application process. Candidates may contact us to learn more about the types of accommodations that ABOG offers to candidates taking Certifying Examinations. Further information about accommodations is available on the ABOG website. Please email exams@abog.org with specific questions about accommodations for the Certifying Exam.

As a 501(c)(3) organization, ABOG is limited in its participation in activities that advocate for or against any federal, state, or local legislation. Some other types of OB GYN membership organizations can participate in advocacy and lobbying, and they can take partisan positions. ABOG has an obligation to maintain impartiality and neutrality to minimize potential biases throughout certification processes. All candidates for certification should expect evidence-based standards and fair examinations regardless of social or political stances on any given issue.  

While ABOG is not and cannot act as an advocacy or activist organization, we are working to support the public, OB GYN candidates, and our diplomates in regard to comprehensive reproductive health care and within our role as a certifying organization. To that end, ABOG expanded certification into a new subspecialty, Complex Family Planning (CFP), with the first exam given in July 2022. ABOG has been actively communicating with and responding to concerns of the CFP community of practitioners in the aftermath of legislative actions that have unfolded in Texas. In meeting certification standards, ABOG follows the science and evidence to set its standards for certification, including standards that fully support comprehensive reproductive health care.

ABOG has a partnership with UT Southwestern to provide medical care in unanticipated, urgent, or emergency situations for examination candidates, examiners, or staff. UTSW is in close proximity to the ABOG offices and offers high standards of obstetrical care in medical emergencies.  

ABOG has a partnership with a dental provider to address any unanticipated, urgent, or emergency dental situations for examination candidates, examiners, or staff. 

ABOG always has security measures in place both during examination weeks as well as during off-examination timeframes. While we do not want to publicize every security measure taken, below are some of the security features you can expect during the Certifying Examination: 

  • No ABOG site (hotel meeting room for registration, building where the examinations are held, exam floors, etc.) is designated to the public as ABOG spaces by signage.  
  • ABOG staff is trained in security/emergency protocols including but not limited to fire evacuation, CPR and first aid, and active shooter response. 
  • The elevators in the ABOG building are badge access only. Only ABOG staff members can move freely about the building.  
  • The stairwells in the ABOG building are locked and can only be accessed with a code which is changed frequently.  
  • Additional security personnel are on-site during exam weeks in a number of high-traffic locations. 
  • Security cameras are live throughout the ABOG building.