Written (Cognitive) Exam


The following requirements are in effect for exam eligibility:

  • Candidate completed an AOA-approved family medicine residency within the past six years OR the candidate may apply for examination during their final year of an AOA or ACGME approved training and sit for the examination up to six (6) months prior to completion of their residency training program.
  • Candidate must adhere to the AOA Code of Ethics.
  • Candidate must demonstrate eligibility for examination in any other manner required by the Board.


Once eligibility requirements are met, applicant must submit the following:

  • A completed application.
  • Required fees.
  • Copy of residency certificate if training completed or Verification of Residency training form listing start and completion dates or copy of residency certificate if program is complete.
  • Signed and dated Statement of Understanding for Issuance of Certification.

Note that although documentation of an active unrestricted state medical license is not a requirement for eligibility to sit for the certification exam, a copy of your state medical license showing an expiration date will be required to obtain certification.

Exam Fees

An exam fee of $500 must be submitted with your completed application. No application will be considered complete until all fees have been paid. Non-refundable late fees must be submitted with application based on published submission deadlines.

Cancellations must be submitted in writing and a cancellation processing fee will be assessed.

Exam Dates and Deadlines

The Family Medicine Cognitive Exam is offered twice yearly at PearsonVUE approved testing centers around the country. The application period opens 6-8 months prior to the exam administration date. A letter confirming eligibility, the exam schedule with further deadlines (test site selection, cancellation, other requests) with instructions on selecting a regional test site with PearsonVUE is provided to the applicant via US mail upon full processing of the application within four weeks. Applicants with deficient applications are notified of deficiencies.

Exam Content Outline

There are 400 single-answer, multiple-choice questions on the Family Medicine Cognitive Exam. This is a 7.5 hour exam with one scheduled, 30 minute break. Candidates are permitted to leave the building during scheduled breaks. During scheduled breaks, candidates can access personal items except for mobile phones, exam notes, and study guides.

Primary Certification: Family Medicine
Addiction Medicine 3%
Adolescent Medicine 4%
Preventive Medicine 5%
Psychiatry 4%
Medical Jurisprudence 3%
Allergy/Immunology including Rheumatology 5%
Cardiology 5%
Dermatology 5%
Endocrinology 5%
Gastroenterology 5%
Hematology 4%
Nephrology/Urology 4%
Neurology 5%
Osteopathic principles and practice 12%
Pulmonology 5%
Geriatrics 5%
General surgery 3%
Orthopedics 5%
Obstetrics and gynecology 4%
Pediatrics 4%
Sports medicine 3%
Women’s issues 4%

The above percentages are offered as a guideline only and may change with each exam administration.

Exam Scoring

The AOBFP sets passing standards for the Cognitive 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.

All examination results will be reviewed by the board. Candidates are informed of results by email within 8-12 weeks. Candidates who do not pass the exam will receive notification via regular mail as well as email.

Exam Failure

Candidates who do not pass the certification examination may apply for reexamination at the next administration unless additional requirements apply. The reexamination fee is $500 and requires the submission of an online application.