Certification Matters

AOBOG tests potential online replacement for recertification exam

The board is conducting a month-long pilot of online exams meant to replace its six-year re-certification exam.

The American Osteopathic Board of Obstetrics and Gynecology is currently piloting short web-based exams meant to replace its written six-year recertification exam to a group of 140 physicians.

Under the pilot program, diplomates will answer eight questions each week via a website, known as Advanced Real-Time Certification or ARC, which they can access anywhere they have internet access. The diplomates may consult primary reference materials to answer the questions.

Each week of the pilot simulates one quarter of a full year’s assessment. The fourth quarterly assessment of the year is intended to allow participants to re-take any missed questions.

It is the second online assessment pilot for the board, said Daniel G. Williams, DO, vice president of certifying board services. The clinical relevance of the exams is a primary consideration for all certifying boards as they work to remove pain points for board-certified physicians, he added.

Meeting diplomates where they are

“Board certification has to be meaningful and relevant to each physician’s clinical practice, and the technology needs to meet diplomates where they are. We believe the new exam formats address these priorities, especially because they can be customized for each physician,” Dr. Williams added. “This way, diplomates won’t waste time and energy on test questions that don’t apply to what they do every day.”

The AOBOG exam format will allow physicians to select an exam that reflects their clinical practice: obstetrics-only, gynecology-only or a blended exam. Each question asks for physician input on whether the question is relevant to their practice and if they are confident in their answer. Low-confidence questions may be repeated on future exams to confirm an increase in physician knowledge.

Feedback to fuel improvements

Following the month-long pilot, the 140 initial users will offer feedback on the technology and questions, which CBS staff will use to improve the system and build an FAQ for users prior to launch. Diplomates will need to answer at least 85% of the 32 annual questions correctly and will have two opportunities during the year to correctly answer each question.

The American Osteopathic Board of Emergency Medicine is planning a similar pilot.


  1. DO

    This should be extended to the AOBFP.

    8 questions each week, is much less stressful and time consuming

    Lets hope the AOBFP listens

  2. Debbie McGinn

    This would be so helpful as it consumes precious family vacation time, we have pressure to meet RVUs, work way too many hours and it adds undue stress and anxiety as well as financial stress. We work hard to remain up to date, complete CMEs and attend conferences. Overall we could exhale and complete the testing comfortably.

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