Written Exam


The following training requirements must be completed before a candidate may sit for the Written (Part I) Exam for primary certification in Emergency Medicine:

  • Have completed an AOA-accredited/ACGME approved emergency medicine residency program, or be in the final year of residency training.
  • Continue the practice of emergency medicine, or continue completing the final year of emergency medicine residency, while completing the certification exam process.
  • Adhere to the AOA Code of Ethics.
  • Demonstrate eligibility for examination in any other manner required by the board.


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

  • A completed application.
  • Required fees.
  • A copy of active licensure for any states in which you hold a medical license.
  • Senior residents are required to download and sign the resident waiver after they apply to take the exam, in addition to providing a good-standing letter from their residency program director.

Exam Dates and Deadlines

The Emergency Medicine Written (Part I) Exam is offered every spring. Registration opens approximately six months prior to the exam administration.  The final registration deadline is approximately 30 days prior to the exam administration.

Exam Content Outline

The Emergency Medicine Written Exam tests the knowledge and understanding of basic science and clinical knowledge, skills and principles critical to the practice of Emergency Medicine. The exam is offered through a remote proctored platform. This online platform allows each candidate to take the exam online from the convenience of your home or office with a remote proctor. The exam is in a multiple-choice format, with most questions directing diplomates to choose the one best answer among five possible answers. The exam consists of 300 questions, broken into six sections of 50 items. Candidates will have 60 minutes to complete each section. There is an optional, 10-minute break after each section and one optional, 40-minute lunch break after section 3. Once you choose to move away from the section, your answers to the questions will become permanent and you will not be allowed to go back to the section.

  • During breaks: Candidates may not access electronics or study materials.

Exam topics include:

Primary Certification
  1. 1. Abdominal and gastrointestinal disorders
  2. 2. Cardiovascular disorders
  3. 3. Cutaneous disorders
  4. 4. Endocrine, metabolic and nutritional disorders
  5. 5. Environmental disorders
  6. 6. Head, ear, eye, nose and throat disorders
  7. 7. Hematologic and immune system disorders
  8. 8. Systemic infectious disorders
  9. 9. Musculoskeletal disorders (nontraumatic)
  10. 10. Nervous system disorders
  11. 11. Obstetrics and gynecology disorders
  12. 12. Psychobehavioral disorders
  13. 13. Renal and urogenital disorders
  14. 14. Thoracic respiratory disorders
  15. 15. Toxicological disorders/Clinical pharmacy
  16. 16. Traumatic disorders and disaster medicine
  17. 17. Administrative aspects of emergency medicine/EMS
  18. 18. Procedures/skills
    • 7-9%
    • 8-10%
    • 2-4%
    • 4-6%
    • 2-4%
    • 4-6%
    • 3-5%
    • 5-7%
    • 4-6%
    • 4-6%
    • 1-4%
    • 3-5%
    • 4-6%
    • 7-9%
    • 2-4%
    • 10-12%
    • 2-4%
    • 7-9%

Exam Scoring

Scoring Criteria

AOA reports candidates’ certification results using standardized scaled scores. Scaled scores are more valid and reliable compared to raw scores and make scores comparable across different forms of the exam. The AOA reports scores on a 200 to 800-point scale with a scaled score of 500 or higher required to pass.

  • A scaled score of 500 represents the minimum level of knowledge and skill necessary to pass the exam as established by AOA Certifying Boards.
  • The highest possible scaled score is 800.
  • The lowest possible scaled score is 200.
  • Overall scores are based on the total number of items answered correctly, regardless of content area.

Results by Content Area

  • When possible, a breakdown of exam scores by content area is provided to help you identify your areas of strength and areas that may need more development.
  • The number of items for each content area indicates the relative amount of test questions on the exam for that content area.
  • Content area scores are not weighted to calculate your overall score; each content area is scored separately after the overall analysis is complete.

Exam Failure

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