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 Aug. 1 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 1 will incur a $200 non-refundable late fee. No applications will be accepted after July 1. 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. Otherwise, candidates’ fees are credited toward the next year’s examination, less the applicable cancellation fee, and will remain board eligible until June 1 of the following year. Cancellation fees are as follows:

  • Before June 1: $100 cancellation fee
  • Between June 1 and July 1: $400 cancellation fee
  • After July 1: $800 cancellation fee

Exam Dates and Deadlines

The Cardiology Written Exam is offered in August. The application period opens the previous year, starting in December.

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
  18. 18. Miscellaneous
  • 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%
  • 1-4%

Exam Scoring

The AOBIM sets passing standards for the Written 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. Results will be released electronically through the AOBIM’s application portal. Candidates must be program-complete and maintain AOA membership in order to access electronic results.