Oral Exam


The following training requirements must be completed before a candidate may sit for the Oral Exam for primary certification in Emergency Medicine:

  • Be residency complete at the time of the examination.
  • Adhere to the AOA Code of Ethics.
  • Demonstrate eligibility for examination in any other manner required by the board. Please note, the written and oral examination may be taken in any order.


Once training requirements for eligibility are met, candidates must submit the following:

  • A completed application.
  • Required fees.
  • Copy of your active primary state license with expiration date.
  • Letter of verification stating that you are currently practicing emergency medicine, which should be written by your hospital administrator on official stationery.

Exam Dates and Deadlines

The Emergency Medicine Oral Exam is offered every fall, via a remote platform, over two to four days. Approved candidates will be assigned one half-day session and are able to indicate their preferred testing date on the application. Registration opens approximately six months prior to the exam administration. The final registration deadline is approximately 3 months prior to the exam administration.

Exam Content

The Emergency Medicine Oral Exam evaluates candidates’ clinical ability and skill in diagnosing and treating emergency medicine cases. Candidates taking the oral examination in Emergency Medicine will be tested on their ability to:

  • Take a medical history
  • Perform a physical examination
  • Order necessary diagnostic studies
  • Interpret diagnostic studies
  • Develop a differential diagnosis
  • Arrive at a final diagnosis
  • Determine the need for consultations
  • Treat emergency conditions
  • Make dispositions
  • Communicate effectively and appropriately
  • Proceed in an organized fashion

The format of the Emergency Medicine Oral Exam is clinical presentations that involve either specific data or simulated patient encounters. The exam consists of four stations, as follows:

    • Stations 1, 2, 3 and 4: Simulated emergency cases using standardized patients. At each station, you’ll treat 2 cases and will be graded on your ability to take an appropriate history, formulate a differential diagnosis, order and interpret appropriate lab tests, and formulate a therapeutic plan for each presented. A total of 30 minutes will be allotted for each station.

Exam Scoring

The AOBEM sets passing standards for the oral exam using a measurement model known as “criterion-referenced standard setting.” Using this model, the board specifies the particular content and level of content difficulty necessary to be considered a passing candidate.

Below are criteria for failure of the oral examination.

  • Final score below minimum as established by the board
  • Failure of 2 of the 8 clinical cases regardless of final score
  • Either omission or commission of an error of significant magnitude resulting either in the mortality of a patient or high probability of causation of morbidity or mortality regardless of the final score
  • Violation of AOA code of conduct

All examination results will be reviewed by the board. Candidates will receive an email notifying them of their results within 8 weeks.

Exam Failure

Candidates who do not pass any certifying examination may apply for reexamination.