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Subspecialty Qualifying Exam


Application Process

The Subspecialty Qualifying Exam is the first examination step toward earning your board certification in any ABOG subspecialty. 

June 26, 2020 Subspecialty Qualifying Exam

  1. Applications will be accepted online at ABOG.org beginning Sept. 17, 2019. Late fees apply for applications received after 5 pm CDT Oct. 18, 2019. The final day applications will be accepted is Dec. 18, 2019.
  2. The total fee (application + examination) must be paid by credit card through the ABOG website at the time of application. If you're found to be ineligible to take the exam, the examination portion of the fee will be refunded. The application portion of the fee is not refundable nor will it be credited toward a subsequent application.
  3. Please supply ABOG with an email address as part of the application process and notify ABOG of any change in your email address.
  4. Following submission of the online application form and payment of the appropriate fee, your application will be considered in accordance with the requirements in effect for that year. You'll be notified of admissibility to the Qualifying Examination.
  5. After you receive an email from ABOG notifying you of application approval, you'll need to contact Pearson VUE to obtain a seat for the exam. You're urged to secure a seat as soon as possible after notification of eligibility to avoid long distance travel to a site with an available seat.
    • On March 30, 2020, the ABOG reserve on seats at the Pearson VUE centers will be released. After that date, it will be more difficult to reserve a seat at your preferred site.
    • Seats in individual cities are limited and are assigned on a first-come, first-served basis. ABOG will not refund any portion of the test fee if you're not able to reserve a seat at your preferred testing center.
  6. If accommodations are needed for a disability, ABOG must receive those requests no later than March 23, 2020, 5 pm CDT. See more information about accommodations for disabilities.
  7. If you're lactating, you can request a 30-minute break and extension of your exam if you notify the ABOG office no later than March 23, 2020, and schedule at a Pearson VUE test center by the same date.
    • After March 23, ABOG can't guarantee that it will be possible to schedule an extended test.
    • Most Pearson VUE test centers have only one room that is available for breast pumping, so you are encouraged to make your reservations as soon as you receive approval for the test, as these rooms will be assigned on a first-come, first-served basis.


Exam Conduct

 Length of Exam

The Qualifying Examination is scheduled to last approximately 3 hours and 45 minutes. You may leave early if you finish before the full time has elapsed, but if you do so, you may not return. You will receive information after registering on the Pearson VUE website concerning the location of your examination, as well as the time you must arrive.


You must present 2 forms of identification to be admitted to the examination.

  • One document must include both your photograph and your signature.
  • The second document must include your signature.
  • If you have had a name change between application and the day of the test, you must bring a copy of an official document that verifies the name change. Examples could include, but are not limited to, a marriage certificate, divorce decree, or a court-ordered name change.

Screening Process

You must submit to a screening process that may include any or all of the following:

  • fingerprinting
  • palm vein scanning
  • wanding
  • walkthrough scanning for metallic objects
  • any other screening that may be in place at the Pearson VUE center

If you refuse to submit to any screening procedure, you will not be allowed to sit for the examination, and no portion of the fee will be refunded.

Electronic Devices

You may not take any electronic devices into the examination area.

  • You are not allowed to access recording devices, cellular phones, paging devices, smart watches, other electronic communication and/or recording devices, and writing instruments during the Qualifying Exam.
  • If such a device is discovered on your person at any time during the examination, or if you access any such device for any reason, you will not receive a grade for any portion of the examination, and all fees will be forfeit.


There is no scheduled break during the exam.

  • You may take unscheduled breaks to use the restroom facilities. Unscheduled breaks should not exceed 10 minutes in length.
  • During such breaks, you may not talk with any other individual or access any electronic device. You are not allowed to leave the testing center for any reason before completing the test.
  • If you violate any of these regulations, you will not receive a grade for any portion of the examination, and all fees will be forfeit.


If you have a documented disability, review the information and requirements for requesting accommodations. Or if you need to request a 30-minute break for lactating purposes, review the information on Lactation and please call the ABOG Exam Department (214.721.7520) before making a reservation at Pearson VUE for information about how to schedule a test site.


Test Integrity & Eligibility Limits

Test Integrity

At the time of application for the exam, and again at the time the test is taken, you'll be required to agree to the following. You cannot sit for the Qualifying Exam unless you agree to these terms:

  1. I understand that all ABOG test materials are copyrighted, and that it is illegal to disclose the content of the examination in whole or in part to any individual, organization, or business. Furthermore, I understand that if I provide the information to any such entity I may be prosecuted under the US Copyright laws.
  2. I understand that if I divulge the content of the Qualifying Examination in whole or in part to any individual, organization, or business, my test result, if any, will be negated and I will not be allowed to re-apply for the examination for a minimum of 3 years. Furthermore, if I had been awarded Diplomate status, such status will be withdrawn.
  3. I understand that I may not record any portion of the Qualifying Examination by any means in whole or in part, and a violation will be treated as outlined in numbers 1 and 2 above.
  4. I understand that I may not memorize or attempt to memorize any portion of the Qualifying Examination for the purpose of transmitting such material to any individual, organization, or business.     

Additional information about test security can be found on the ABOG website under “Policies.”

Eligibility Limits

Beginning in calendar year 2020, all physicians who have completed an ABOG- or ACGME-accredited fellowship in one of the four subspecialties must achieve ABOG subspecialty certification within 8 years of completion of their training.

  • If certification is not achieved within 8 years, you're no longer eligible to apply for either the qualifying or certifying subspecialty exams unless an additional 6 months of supervised practice is completed. 
  • This means that if you completed subspecialty training in calendar year 2012 or earlier, you must be subspecialty certified by 2020.
  • If you don't achieve subspecialty certification within 8 years of completion of an accredited subspecialty fellowship program and successfully complete 6 months of supervised practice, you must achieve subspecialty certification within 4 years of the completion of the supervised practice.

For complete details about about eligibility limits, read the Regaining Eligibility policy. 



Re-Application & Results


If you postpone or fail the Qualifying Exam, you'll have to complete a new online application to be considered for the next scheduled exam. Each new application requires a new application fee be paid.


Important: A passing grade on the Qualifying Examination does not ensure your admissibility to the Certifying Examination.

Results of the June 2019 Qualifying Exam will be reported online to each candidate by September 14, 2019.

  • As part of the application process, you'll be required to irrevocably agree that the results of the exam may be made available to the Program Director of any fellowship program in which you participated or in which the you are currently involved, and/or the Accreditation Council of Graduate Medical Education (ACGME) for any and all purposes. 
  • Furthermore, you'll be required to release and agree to indemnify and hold the ABOG and its officers, directors, and employees harmless of and from any and all claims you may have with regard to the effect or impact upon you  based on the release of your exam results to your Program Director or the ACGME and waive any rights you may have, if any, to have the exam results maintained in confidence.