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The Certification Examination

Click here for information on the Clinical Informatics examination.

The certification examinations are intended to confirm the determination by the Board that the candidate is qualified by training and experience to claim competence in the respective specialty area. Accordingly, the examinations cover both Preventive Medicine core and the more focused content of specialty practice. The core examination emphasizes the approach of the physician to the prevention and control of disease in populations and the promotion of health. Fundamental are biostatistical and epidemiologic skills; an understanding of the organizational and administrative factors related to regulations, multi-disciplinary agencies, and the legal system; and basic comprehensive Preventive Medicine knowledge, including basic Aerospace Medicine, Occupational Medicine, and Public Health and General Preventive Medicine.

The specialty area examinations are intended to assess whether candidates claiming to have the knowledge, skills, and experience associated with comprehensive specialty practice is qualified to do so.

There are no trick questions on the examinations, and it would be unusual for a question to reflect very recent events or issues (i.e., new "hot" topics) because of the lead time necessary to develop the full examination. The general purpose is to ascertain whether there is a sound base of specialty-relevant knowledge and skills and the ability to exercise discernment and judgment.

There are 150 questions on both the core and specialty area examinations. Candidates are given three hours to complete each section. All questions are weighted equally. Candidates will find it of advantage to answer all questions, and there is no penalty for an incorrect answer, i.e., wrong answers are not subtracted from right answers and there is no advantage in leaving a question unanswered. Thus, the candidate who has no idea as to the correct answer and responds at random will have a 25% chance of selecting it since there are four choices for each questions. In most cases, even when the correct answer is not known with confidence, the candidate will have sufficient knowledge to exclude 2 or 3 of the choices as improbable. Guessing on the remaining possibilities offers better odds than 25% and reflects the fact that the candidate should earn partial advantage from knowing what is not right.

Board examination questions are all multiple choice, best single answer with four possible responses. The question may contain a clinical vignette, an experimental or epidemiological observation, a definition or classification, an administrative problem, an application of a principle or regulation, or any situation which might be faced by a specialist in practice.

Examination Fee and Deadline

The specialty examination fee is $1,950. This fee is separate from, and in addition to, the application fee. For those who only have to retake one portion of the examination (Core or Specialty), the examination fee is $1,560. The retake examination fee must be received at the Board office no later than September 21, 2016. Exceptions to this deadline cannot be made.

Examination Registration

Preliminary examination registration with ABPM: Preliminary examination registration occurs when the registration information has been completed online and the examination fee is paid. The examination fee can be paid by credit card (online) or by check or money order made payable to American Board of Preventive Medicine. All fees need to be submitted in U.S. funds. No foreign currencies will be accepted. The payment deadline is September 21, 2016.

Upon receipt of the above, ABPM will send you a receipt/confirmation letter via e-mail.

Examination registration with Pearson VUE

Candidates may schedule an examination at a specific center by phone once they have received their e-mailed receipt letter from ABPM which will include the candidate id number that is needed to register with Pearson VUE. The emailed confirmation will be received approximately two weeks after payment.

Registration using the Toll-Free Number 877-392-3926:

When candidates call in they will hear "Welcome to the MRA Specialty Board Exams." From there a script will direct them through the process.

On the day of the examination, candidates go to the Pearson VUE Professional Center they selected when they registered. Two forms of identification with signatures are required, one of which must be government issued and include a photo. The Pearson VUE confirmation letter must also be presented on the day of the exam.


The examination fee is non-refundable if registration for the examination is canceled on or after September 21, 2016. A $50 administrative fee will be deducted from refunds or fees applied to a future examination for cancellations made after June 1, 2016 but prior to September 21, 2016.

Cancellations received on or after September 21, 2016 will not be eligible for refunds or application toward a future examination. PLEASE NOTE: Cancellations must be done through ABPM in accordance with the above deadline to receive a refund or application of fee toward a future examination. Examinations need to be cancelled with both the ABPM and Pearson VUE. Cancelling only at the Pearson VUE Center does not meet the ABPM policy on cancellations or refunds.

Candidates may cancel an examination appointment with Pearson VUE over the phone using the Toll Free Number 877-392-3926.

Late Arrival Procedure

If a candidate does not arrive within 15 minutes of the scheduled exam starting time, he or she has technically forfeited his or her assigned seat. If the candidate arrives late, it is at the discretion of the testing center as to whether or not the candidate may still take the exam. The test administrator will make every effort to accommodate a late arriving candidate, however, the administrator must ensure that subsequent candidates are not affected.

Cheating Policy

Candidates will be required to sign their Examination Registration Forms acknowledging that they have read the ABPM Cheating Policy.

Review and Study

The ABPM "Study Guide Materials - Exam Content Outlines" is available at the ABPM web site from the publications page. Copies are also available upon request from the board office 312-939-ABPM [2276].

The Board neither gives examination review courses nor endorses any such courses given by various groups. Contact the Director of Education, American College of Preventive Medicine, 202-466-2044 (Washington, DC) for information on general review courses or the Director of Education at the American College of Occupational and Environmental Medicine 847-818-1800 (Elk Grove Village, IL) for information on Occupational Medicine review courses.


A tutorial which shows candidates how to navigate through the computer-based examination and allows them to take a demonstration examination is available by clicking here Computer Based Testing Tutorial.

The tutorial will demonstrate the basics of entering responses and reviewing items on the computer based examination. It will also allow the candidate to get the exact feel of taking an exam on the computer with a demonstration test. In this demonstration test are examples of multiple choice items, items with text and visuals, and items with visuals on separate screens.

Candidates will be able to practice with the demonstration examination as much as they chose.

Special Accommodations

Applicants requiring special accommodations due to a disability should contact the Board office for assistance IMMEDIATELY. Requests must be complete; requests received less than 30 days prior to the examination cannot be accommodated. It is very likely that examinees with special accommodations will be tested at the Board office in Chicago and may require an overnight stay in Chicago. The Application for Special Accommodations may be downloaded from the Board website.

Copyright Notice

The examination contains test materials that are owned and copyrighted by the American Board of Preventive Medicine. Any reproduction of these materials or any part of them, through any means, including, but not limited to, reconstruction through memorization, and/or dictation, and/or dissemination of these materials or any part of them is strictly prohibited.

Contact Information

Mailing address
American Board of Preventive Medicine, Inc.
111 West Jackson Blvd, Suite 1340
Chicago, Illinois  60604 Phone 312-939-ABPM[2276]
Fax 312-939-2218

Pearson VUE

Examination registration phone number: 877-392-3926