Component 3: Cognitive Assessment


New AOBA requirements for OCC will take effect on June 1, 2019. Under the new format, diplomates will complete an online, open-book cognitive assessment every three years rather than the 10-year OCC examination.

AOBA diplomates whose certification expires between 2019-2021 will be the first to take the new cognitive assessment, which will be offered on a semi-annual basis. This year, the assessment will be offered March 1-31, 2020, June 1–30, 2020 and Nov. 1–30, 2020.

The application period is currently open for the March 1-31, 2020 assessment.

Assessment format

The cognitive assessment for board-certified physicians includes 50 multiple-choice questions that must be completed within a 30-day timeframe.


An adjusted grade of 70% or greater must be achieved in order to pass the assessment.

Diplomates have a maximum of three attempts to pass the assessment. If unsuccessful after the third attempt, an exam consisting of 100-120 multiple-choice questions must be completed within a 2 hour and 45-minute time limit. This exam will be closed book and offered either at a Pearson VUE location throughout the U.S. or via paper-based testing at a location determined by the AOBA. An adjusted grade of 70% or greater must be achieved in order to pass the exam.

Subspecialty assessment

Diplomates completing OCC requirements for a subspecialty must pass an additional examination related specifically to the subspecialty practice area. The exam may be taken within three years of the expiration date on your subspecialty certificate. The exam is offered twice per year, once in March and once in August.

Exams are auto scored at the completion of the examination. Auto-scoring allows the candidate to receive a preliminary pass or fail result from the examination. Once the preliminary scores are validated, the official results will follow to candidates within 90-days from the close of the testing period/window. Please note that the close of the testing window may be up to four weeks after an individual’s testing date.