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ABR Exams of the Future. Examination Details Impact on Training. Core Exam in Diagnostic Radiology. Will be given September 30-October 4, 2013 Subsequent years will be offered in late June Last full Oral exam in June, 2013 Covers all of diagnostic radiology Comprehensive, categorical exam

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abr exams of the future

ABR Exams of the Future

Examination Details

Impact on Training

core exam in diagnostic radiology
Core Exam in Diagnostic Radiology

Will be given September 30-October 4, 2013

Subsequent years will be offered in late June

Last full Oral exam in June, 2013

Covers all of diagnostic radiology

Comprehensive, categorical exam

Candidates must pass all categories

exam goals core
Exam Goals: Core

Overarching goal: to protect the public by determining that individual candidates have attained competence in basic diagnostic radiology

Specific goal: to create examinations that are relevant to current radiologic practice

Specific goal: to make a reliable pass/fail decision about candidate performance in each category

For this high-stakes exam, reliability requires ~60 questions/category

Emphasis on unique importance of Physics content = 110 questions

core exam content
Core Exam: Content

Image-rich (unlike current written)

~40% fact recall (like current written)

~60% higher level (like current oral)

Differential diagnosis


Mostly MCQs, may include new question types

example extended matching
Example: Extended Matching

For each patient whose clinical and imaging information is shown, select the most appropriate diagnosis from the list below. Each option may be used once, more than once, or not at all.


1: 35 year old woman who underwent sonographic evaluation for mild abdominal discomfort. She was referred for MR imaging to characterize a solitary liver mass seen on that ultrasound. Images are obtained 30 seconds (A), 70 seconds (B) and 1 hour (C) after administration of gadobenate intravenously.




Key = A


2. 60 year old man with abdominal pain. Imaging performed elsewhere showed

a liver mass, and he is referred for CT imaging to characterize it. Images are

obtained before (A), 20 seconds after (B), 50 seconds after (C), and 5 minutes

after (D) intravenous administration of iodinated contrast material.

Key = L










  • A coronal CT image obtained in a patient with ascites is shown.
  • Label the following structures:
  • Left subphrenic space
  • Lesser sac, inferior recess
  • Lesser sac, superior recess
  • Transverse mesocolon
  • Gastrohepatic ligament
  • Morison’s pouch
  • Left paracolic gutter
  • Root of intestinal mesentery

core exam 2013 nuts and bolts
Core Exam 2013+Nuts and Bolts

~630 items

Two 1.5 day sessions during a single week

Examination center(s)

Almost certainly one large Chicago center

Possibly another in Los Angeles

ABR commitment: distributed exam by 2018

Condition exams June/October

core examination impact on training
Core Examination:Impact on Training

Candidates must be exposed to all basic diagnostic radiology by end of third year

“Core anxiety” and review sessions will occur early in third year

Content of review sessions will change

core exam review sessions
Core Exam: Review Sessions

Physics content

Should focus on practical applications

New resource: rsna.org/education/physics.cfm

Diagnostic content

40% fact recall—even though image-rich, reasonable to study topics prevalent on previous written exam

60% resembles oral boards—standard board review

New resource: Core study guide on theABR.org

certifying exam in diagnostic radiology
Certifying Exam in Diagnostic Radiology

Will be first administered in October, 2015

Contains five parts (but questions will appear in random order)

clinical practice areas cpa
Clinical Practice Areas (CPA)

Thirteen categories

Organ system: MSK, Cardiac, Thoracic, GI, Urinary, Repro/Endo, Neuro, Peds, Breast

Technology: US, VIR, Nuclear Radiology


Candidates can choose any combination of CPAs

Items will vary in both difficulty and scope

Level 1: basic

Level 2: advanced

Candidates selecting a CPA more than once will receive a higher proportion of level 2 items

certifying exam content cpa
Certifying Exam: Content (CPA)

Emulates clinical practice

Will include normals and variants

Will include important findings outside chosen area

Appropriateness, clinical vignettes, management decisions

Item types

Familiar: MCQs, extended matching

Unfamiliar*: Structured reporting, script concordance testing

*Examples posted on ABR Website >1 year before use

certifying exam goals
Certifying Exam: Goals

To confirm candidate has acquired and maintained necessary skills to practice independently

Dual role

Final ABR Certification Exam

First exam of practice-based learning (like MOC)

certifying exam nuts and bolts
Certifying Exam: Nuts and Bolts

~300 items

5-hour exam (one half-day)

September/October time frame

Exam center(s): Chicago, possibly LA

Exams offered October/February

certifying exam impact on training
Certifying Exam:Impact on Training

After Core passed, some candidates may begin self-directed specialty training

Some part of 4th year available

Extent depends on program needs

Supplement, but will not replace Fellowship

May impact first 3 months of practice

certifying exam resources
Certifying Exam: Resources

Non-interpretive skills and Essentials

Study guides to be posted on theABR.org

Clinical practice modules

Study guides at theABR.org


Practice-based learning

Society-produced educational modules