All anesthesiology clinical exams have been postponed until Sept. 1, 2020.

Oral Exam


In order to take the AOBA Oral Exam for primary certification in Anesthesiology, the physician candidate must:

  • Successfully pass the Written Exam for primary certification in Anesthesiology.
  • Complete year three of residency.

Please note: A physician will not be allowed to sit for the Oral Exam prior to successful completion of their third year of residency. Successful completion requires that all documentation for years one, two and three are received and approved by the AOA Council on Osteopathic Postdoctoral Training (COPT). The AOBA must receive notification from COPT that the candidate has been approved at least 30 days prior to the date of the exam.


The following steps must be completed in order to sit for the Oral Exam:

  • Submit a completed application, required documentation and application fee prior to the application deadline for the exam.
  • Submit a letter of recommendation from your program director or trainers who can attest to your residency training in Anesthesiology and verify that three years of formal training have been or will be completed on or before the scheduled date of the exam.
  • Demonstrate eligibility for examination in any other manner required by the board.

Exam Fees

An exam fee of $1,000 must be submitted with your completed application. No application will be considered complete until all fees have been paid.

After the published registration deadline, a late fee of $500 will be applied.

Exam candidates may elect to cancel their exam up to 30 days prior to the date of the exam. If cancelling, a reason for cancellation must be provided to aoba@osteopathic.org. If the request is approved, all exam fees will be refunded less a $100 cancellation fee. The AOBA will evaluate cancellation requests on a case-by-case basis.

Exam Dates and Deadlines

The Oral Exam for primary certification in Anesthesiology is offered each September.

Exam Content

The Oral Exam tests candidates’ mastery of up to 10 areas of knowledge critical to the practice of Anesthesiology. Topics may include, but are not limited to the following:

  • Differential diagnosis
  • Signs and symptoms
  • Anesthetic management
  • Preoperative considerations
  • Postoperative considerations

Exam Scoring

  • Determination of a passing score on the Oral Exam is based on a criterion reference standard setting model. AOBA physician experts determine the minimal passing standard of competency required for AOBA certification.
  • A scaled score of at least 70 is considered passing for the Oral Exam. The scaled score is a transformation of the total points awarded by the physician examiners during the scoring process.
  • Two examiners score each candidate.
  • Candidates are examined on five cases, which may address a variety of topics relating to anesthesiology. Within each case, additional topics will be addressed and presented to the examinee.
  • Each of the five cases will be timed at 12 minutes for questions and responses. Candidates are allotted three minutes to transition to their next assigned examination station.
  • A candidate must pass all five cases presented with a minimal scaled score of 70 overall.
  • Failure to pass all five cases, even with an overall score of 70 or greater, will result in failure of the Oral Exam. (For example, someone who passes on four out of five cases and a total scaled score of 70 or greater will result in a fail.)
  • Results will be reviewed by the AOBA Examination Committee. AOA Certifying Board Services will notify all candidates of their results within 90 days of the exam.

Exam Failure

Candidates who started the AOBA certification process after July 1, 2009, must successfully pass all certification exams (written, oral and clinical) within six years of completing an AOA-approved residency program. Physicians who are unable to complete the process within this time must petition the AOBA for reinstatement into the process.

The following rules apply for those who entered the certification process prior to July 1, 2009:

  • Following an initial or second failure of the Oral Exam, the candidate may apply for re-examination and pay the required fees.
  • The candidate must re-take the exam within a two-year period following the initial or second failure.
  • Following a third failure of the Oral Exam, a remediation board review course will be recommended with 50 hours of CME in the areas of weakness/deficiency. After successful completion of the course and CME, the physician may re-enter the certification process.