5 of the Most Overlooked Topics on the Radiology Core Exam

topics radiology core

Gearing up for the Radiology Core exam? While knowing specific diagnoses is helpful, the exam requires you to build upon these diagnoses. By taking the time to study some often overlooked topics, you will be ready to do your best come test day.

What topics are on the Radiology Core Exam?

The Radiology Qualifying (Core) Exam is designed to evaluate a candidate’s core fund of knowledge and clinical judgment across practice domains of diagnostic radiology and integrated interventional radiology/diagnostic radiology. According to the ABR Core Exam Blueprints, the following categories are covered:

  • Breast Imaging
  • Cardiac
  • Gastrointestinal (GI)
  • Interventional Radiology (IR)
  • Musculoskeletal (MSK)
  • Neuroradiology
  • Nuclear Radiology
  • Pediatric Radiology
  • Physics
  • Reproductive/Endocrinology
  • Thoracic
  • Ultrasound
  • Urinary
  • Computed Tomography
  • Magnetic Resonance
  • Radiography/Fluoroscopy
  • Vascular
  • Noninterpretive Skills

What are some overlooked topics on the Radiology Core Exam?

Expect to know more than just specific diagnoses on the Core exam. As you study, don’t forget these 5 often overlooked topics:


Most of the questions on the radiology board exam contain images that must be interpreted in order to answer the question. Many of those questions pertain to epidemiology such as “what percentage of pancreatic neoplasms are non-mucinous”.


Expect to see questions about imaging manifestations or cancers associated with common gene mutations, especially genes with autosomal dominant inheritance. You likely won’t see questions about specific mutations, but rather about disease progressions that result from the gene mutation. For example, a question may ask about tumors that can result from a VHL mutation.

2 and 3-step questions

These have become more popular and must be mastered in order to pass the radiology boards. In these types of questions you may see a diagnosis in an image or case but then rather than them asking for the diagnosis they will ask what a side effect of the treatment for it might be (3-step), or what the treatment is (2-step).

Noninterpretive skills

From radiation safety to ethics and professionalism, expect to see questions on a range of noninterpretive skills. Many of these come down to simple memorization. Memorize these, they are highly likely to show up.


Our advice for the Radiology boards is to know the daily, weekly, yearly etc. basis for quality control of the various nuclear medicine agents.

The BoardVitals Radiology Core Exam Question Bank has more than 1,300 practice questions to help you prepare for the test. Sign up for a free trial today to face your exam with confidence.

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