Commonly Asked Questions About The Radiology Certifying Exam

Radiology Board Exam FAQ

Have questions about the Radiology Certifying Exam? We have the answers.

Defining the Certifying Examination
Fifteen months after completing diagnostic residency training, candidates must take the Certifying Radiology Examination to become board certified.

Composition
Five modules make up the computer-based exam where three modules include clinical practice areas that correspond to the examinee’s field of study and account for 60 percent of the assessment.

The other 40 percent is comprised of two testing areas where every radiologist must be well versed: Essentials of Diagnostic Radiology module and Noninterpretive Skills module.

Changes in the Timeline

Radiology Exam Timeline

Fall 2015 will mark the first Diagnostic Radiology Certifying Examination since new exams were developed for those who entered radiology residency training after July 2010. The new certifying exam follows the original Core Examination taken in October 2013, which is now given two times a year at ABR’s Chicago and Tucson Exam Centers.

What Happens If I Don’t Pass?

To become board certified, candidates must have passed the oral examination by November 2014 or will have to take and pass the Core Examination and Diagnostic Radiology Certifying Examination.
Requirements involve taking clinical modules in failed categories on the Certifying Examination, as well as the essentials and non-interpretive skills modules should the Core Examination and Certifying Examination become necessary for board certification.

What is the timeframe in which to pass the examination?

Candidates must pass the Core Examination and Diagnostic Radiology Certifying Examination within six years from the end of their training to become board qualified. Another year of training in a department with ACGME or, if in Canada, RCPSC accreditation is mandatory before candidates can re-register for and re-enter the certification procedure.
Why is there a change in residency preparation for the oral board examination?
These new training and certification processes should foster more understanding in an individual’s field of interest and practice, which will enhance the quality of patient care. However, the overall duration of training to meet the new exam qualifications has not changed.

How to Select Content for the Certifying Examination

Selection of three clinical practice modules should be based on the details of the examinee’s area of experience, interest and practice. Topics to choose from include: breast, cardiac, gastrointestinal, musculoskeletal, neuroradiology, nuclear, pediatric, thoracic, ultrasound, genitourinary, vascular/interventional, and general radiology. If two or three modules are selected in a single category, the candidate will have questions that will require more comprehension to answer.

How Is The Radiology Exam Scored?

A grade of pass or fail is given on the Certifying Exam. The examinee must receive a passing score on all three modules of the exam in order to pass the Diagnostic Radiology Certifying Exam. The whole exam must be retaken if any one of these three parts is failed.

Defining Noninterpretive Skills

The area of non-interpretive skills refers to the following radiology topics, including, but not restricted to: radiation safety, recognition and management of contrast reactions, error prevention, communication skills, professionalism, and quality principles.

Is AU-eligibility still indicated on the ABR Diagnostic Radiology Certificate?

The ABR Diagnostic Radiology Certificate bestows AU-eligibility to anyone who fulfills all requirements to become an authorized user. These requirements include acceptable documentation of the training and experience obligations, as well as the passing of the RISE items in both the Core Examination and the Diagnostic Radiology Certifying Examination as explained above. If all these requirements are met, the certificate will indicate that the individual is AU-eligible.

Confirmation of Nuclear Medicine and Breast Imaging Rotation

Last but not least, the rotation requirements for nuclear medicine and breast imaging to be completed by all residents are mandated by federal agencies and legislation and remain unchanged. The program director, chair, and faculty of these agencies are accountable for assuring that individuals are in compliance with these requirements and must confirm their completion of these requirements.

When Are CME Hours Required? 

75 AMA Category 1 CME credits must be completed every three years. A minimum of these hours must be in diagnostic radiology or related areas with the last 30% coming from clinical topics.

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