Professionalism & Test Integrity Policy
The purpose of the American Board of Obstetrics and Gynecology's (ABOG) certification examinations is to assess the extent to which new-graduate residents and fellows have the requisite knowledge and skill to begin the practice of obstetrics and gynecology and/or its subspecialties. The purpose of ABOG Maintenance of Certification (MOC) examinations is to assess the extent to which current Diplomates maintain and improve their knowledge and skill to practice obstetrics and gynecology and/or its subspecialties.
ABOG's policy is to maintain a sufficient level of exam security to protect the integrity of its certification decisions, which are based in part on qualifying and certifying examinations. Maintaining security ensures that the examination results always reflect only examinee attainment or maintenance of the standard of knowledge and skill essential to the practice of obstetrics, gynecology, and primary care of women. The results should not reflect unauthorized access to information sources that may lead the examinee to answer questions differently than he/she would have, based solely on his/her own knowledge and skill. Such unauthorized access to sources may include, but is not limited to: (1) giving or receiving confidential examination information at any time prior to, during, or after the administration of the examination and/or (2) possession of study materials in any medium by an examinee during the time period of the examination.
ABOG examinations are confidential, and are protected by federal copyright and trade secret laws. Disclosure or any other unauthorized use of ABOG examination content constitutes professional misconduct and may expose the candidate or Diplomate to criminal as well as civil liability. Such disclosure may also result in ABOG's imposition of penalties against them, including but not limited to, invalidation of examination results, exclusion from future examinations, suspension, revocation of certification and other sanctions.
ABOG is committed to assuring that its qualifying and certifying examinations for specialty and subspecialty certification are of high quality and fundamentally fair for every candidate. ABOG policies ensure that no examinee (or group of examinees) receives an unfair advantage, intentional or inadvertent, on any certification examination. Candidates for certification and MOC will attest to their understanding and compliance with ABOG policies in the application process and during the examinations.
For individuals (before and after an examination):
- It is permissible to discuss topics covered on the examination, the manner of test administration, and test-taking strategy. It is fine to say, "There is a lot of . . . ."; or "I had almost no. . . ." Examinees should realize that each examination is a sample of an overall domain, and the samples included on subsequent examinations will be different.
- The objective is for examinees to study and master the knowledge, skill, and understanding required for practice. It is NOT permissible to memorize specific questions and answers that might be encountered on a future examination.
- It is NOT permissible to give or receive explicit recollection of exact questions, answer choices, and (supposed) correct answers. Both oral and written transmissions are prohibited by the policy.
For residency and fellowship training programs (examination preparation activity):
- Non-commercial examination preparation groups, as well as topical reviews, are permitted and encouraged as means of preparation for examinations. The writing of sample questions and sample examinations, and the simulation of the examination setting, are also permitted and encouraged, as long as the questions used are not recalled questions.
- The objective is for examinees to study and master the knowledge, skill, and understanding required for practice. The program should NOT facilitate or condone the memorization of specific questions and answers that might be encountered on a future examination.
- Collections of recalled test items will not be tolerated in any media format
- Program directors should monitor their programs for evidence of violations in examination security and take necessary steps to prevent and stop this behavior.
Any individual observing a violation of this policy by an examinee or someone associated with a residency or fellowship training program should:
- Exercise the principles of professionalism to maintain the integrity of the examination and of the certifications held by ABOG Diplomates.
- Follow appropriate channels of communication within the residency or fellowship program to ensure that any such activity ceases.
- An individual can receive a letter of warning, have their examination results invalidated, be required to retake an examination, be barred from the examination process for a period of time and/or until a specified milestone has been met, have the incident reported to other parties, be permanently barred from certification, and/or be prosecuted for copyright violation.
- A program can receive a letter of warning, be requested to conduct an investigation and report findings to the ABOG, have the exam results of its candidates invalidated, be required to have its candidates retake an examination, have culpable candidates barred from admission to ABOG examinations for a period of time and/or until a specified milestone has been met, be reported to other parties (such as chair, dean, DIO, accrediting bodies, institutional sponsors, etc.), and/or be prosecuted for copyright violation.
- Program director or faculty penalties may include certificate action based on breach of professionalism.
Examination Orientation and Content Materials Available through ABOG and Third Parties
The American Board of Obstetrics and Gynecology recognizes the importance of providing all examinees the opportunity to learn about the design and content of its examinations and to have some exposure, before examination day, to testing formats and materials. ABOG provides orientation and content information about the qualifying and certifying examinations in Bulletins available at no cost on the ABOG website.
Use Caution in Selecting Review Courses
There are a variety of commercial test preparation materials and courses that claim to prepare examinees for ABOG examinations. Examinees considering using such services should fully understand the nature of these services, the sources of content used, and the basis for any claims made. None of these third-party materials or courses are affiliated with or sanctioned by ABOG.
It is unlawful for any test preparation program or any individual to use, disclose, distribute, or provide access to questions or answers from actual ABOG examinations. An examinee who is involved with any enterprise that disseminates ABOG content should be aware of the consequences, regardless of whether the candidate’s exposure was intentional or inadvertent. The consequences include possible cancellation of ABOG examination registration and/or testing, the withholding or cancellation of scores, and the imposition of additional sanctions.
Policy approved on 1/24/2014
The American Board of Obstetrics and Gynecology (ABOG) recognizes that patients have diverse gender identities and is striving to use gender-inclusive language in its publications, literature, and other printed and digital materials. In some instances, ABOG uses the word “woman” (and the pronouns “she” and “her”) to describe patients or individuals whose sex assigned at birth was female, whether they identify as female, male, or non-binary. As gender language continues to evolve in the scientific and medical communities, ABOG will periodically reassess this usage and will make appropriate adjustments as necessary. When describing or referencing study populations used in research, ABOG will use the gender terminology reported by the study investigators.
Updated June 2021