Written Exam


The following training requirements must be completed before a candidate may sit for the Written Exam for subspecialty certification in Cardiology:

  • Have completed three years of AOA-recognized subspecialty training in cardiology. You must have completed the training by Aug. 15 of the year you intend to sit for the Written Exam. Two years of cardiology subspecialty training is acceptable if completed before Sept. 1, 1993.
  • Adhere to the AOA Code of Ethics.


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

  • A completed application.
  • Required fees.
  • Proof of an active medical license.
  • Initial applicants and applicants who have not completed their training must submit a Program Director Report by July 18 verifying clinical competence and the expected completion date in the AOA-recognized fellowship training program.
  • If you completed your training at an ACGME fellowship program, submit a letter from the AOA stating that the ACGME residency training has been AOA-recognized.

Exam Fees

An exam fee of $800 must be submitted with your completed application. No application will be considered complete until all fees have been paid. Exam applications submitted after June 16 will incur a $240 non-refundable late fee. No applications will be accepted after July 16. All cancellations must be made in writing. No exam fees are refunded unless the candidate withdraws from the examination process, which will result in a loss of board eligibility. Refunds will be administered as follows:

  • On or before July 16: 50% refund
  • After July 16: No refund

Exam Dates and Deadlines

The Cardiology Written Exam is offered in August. The application period opens Feb. 16, 2024, and closes end of day July 16, 2024.

Exam Content Outline

The Cardiology Written Exam tests the knowledge and understanding of basic science and clinical knowledge, skills and principles critical to the practice of Cardiology. The seven-hour exam consists of 300 multiple choice areas in the following areas:

Subspecialty Certification
  1. 1. Basic cardiovascular principles (anatomy, genetics)
  2. 2. Cardiovascular physiology/dynamics
  3. 3. Myocardial infarction
  4. 4. Ischemic heart disease
  5. 5. Heart failure
  6. 6. Cardiomyopathy
  7. 7. Valvular disease
  8. 8. Pulmonary hypertension
  9. 9. Congenital heart disease
  10. 10. Arrhythmias and cardiac rhythm management devices
  11. 11. Aortic/Peripheral vascular disease
  12. 12. Pericardial disease
  13. 13. Endocarditis/rheumatic fever
  14. 14. Tumors of the heart
  15. 15. Cardiac drug pharmacology
  16. 16. Lipid disorders
  17. 17. Hypertension
  • 1-4%
  • 1-5%
  • 4-8%
  • 5-9%
  • 5-9%
  • 9-13%
  • 12-16%
  • 3-7%
  • 2-6%
  • 13-17%
  • 6-10%
  • 1-5%
  • 1-4%
  • 1-4%
  • 4-8%
  • 1-5%
  • 1-4%

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.