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“BoardsVitals is an excellent question bank with many difficult questions that prepared me for the ABEM exam. I passed without any difficulty. Thanks, BoardVitals!”David Whitmer, MD
University of Missouri
Information about the ABEM Qualifying Examination
What is covered on the Qualifying Exam?
According to the ABEM Qualifying Exam Content Specifications, the exam covers the following:
Medical Knowledge, Patient Care, and Procedural Skills
- Signs, Symptoms and Presentations 10%
- Abdominal & Gastrointestinal Disorders 7%
- Cardiovascular Disorders 10%
- Cutaneous Disorders 3%
- Endocrine, Metabolic & Nutritional Disorders 5%
- Environmental Disorders 2%
- Head, Ear, Eye, Nose & Throat Disorders 4%
- Hematologic Disorders 3%
- Immune System Disorders 2%
- Systemic Infectious Disorders 7%
- Musculoskeletal Disorders (Non-traumatic) 3%
- Nervous System Disorders 6%
- Obstetrics and Gynecology 3%
- Psychobehavioral Disorders 2%
- Renal and Urogenital Disorders 3%
- Thoracic-Respiratory Disorders 7%
- Toxicologic Disorders 4%
- Traumatic Disorders 9%
- Appendix I: Procedures & Skills 8%
- Appendix II: Other Components 2%
Questions on the exam are derived from The Model of the Clinical Practice of Emergency Medicine (EM Model).
Please Note: The exam content distributions for the In-Training Exam are the same as the Qualifying Exam.
Emergency Medicine Board Review Topics Covered:
- Infectious Disease
- Immune System
- OB GYN
- Renal and Urogenital
- Thoracic and Respiratory
- Endocrine, Metabolic, Nutritional
- GI and Abdominal
- Head, Ear, Eye, Nose, Throat Disorders
- Signs, Symptoms, and Presentations
- Procedures and Skills
- Other Components
What is the format of the Qualifying Exam and the In-Training Exam?
Qualifying Exam Format
The entire exam takes approximately 8 hours to complete (6 hours, 20 minutes of total testing time) and is divided into two sections, and each lasting 3 hours and 10 minutes.
The ABEM Qualifying Exam is comprised of 305 multiple-choice questions (MCQ) in single-best-answer format.
Some questions will be accompanied by images that refer to stimulus images such as photos of X-rays, ECGs, rhythm strips, pictures, etc. You will also need to interpret ultrasound images for some questions. Familiarize yourself with the Sample Exam Questions provided by the ABEM.
In-Training Exam Format
The In-Training exam is a single-session written exam that consists of 225 MCQs and takes approximately 4.5 hours to complete. It is a comprehensive exam that covers the breadth of Emergency Medicine.
Emergency Medicine Exam Tips and Tricks
For the Emergency Medicine Oral Boards, we recommend a free resource that students have found helpful to get used to the format.
The residents that we interviewed indicated that they spent, on average, 10 weeks preparing for the Emergency Medicine boards (written exam), and 5 weeks preparing for the oral exam. Pass rates were generally in the mid-90% and length of time had no correlation with a higher pass rate.
From the interviews, we also learned that there are a few key areas to focus on: Cardiovascular Disorders, Toxicology, and Traumatic disorders tended to show up more frequently. While there were few Ophthalmologic disorders, those questions tended to be a little more difficult. (However, the test does change, so pay careful attention to the percent distribution that the Board Writers publish)
Also, there will be questions that are not regularly found in day to day Emergency care. Pediatric rashes, recognition of specific stroke presentations, etc. We have specifically selected 35 questions that were voted ‘most relevant’ to the Emergency Medicine Boards for high yield returns.
BoardVitals is accredited by the Accreditation Council for Continuing Medical Education (ACCME) to provide continuing medical education for physicians. BoardVitals designates this Internet Enduring Material for a maximum of 35 AMA PRA Category 1™ Credit(s). Physicians should claim only the credit commensurate with the extent of their participation in the activity. Further Emergency Medicine CME info found here.