Written Exam


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

  • Have completed three years of AOA-recognized subspecialty training in Gastroenterology. You must have completed the training by Aug. 15 of the year you intend to sit for the Written Exam. If training was completed before Sept. 1, 2002, two years of training are required.
  • Adhere to the AOA Code of Ethics.


Requirements 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 verifying clinical competence and the completion date of an AOA-recognized fellowship training program.
  • If you completed your training in an ACGME fellowship program, submit a letter from the AOA stating that the ACGME fellowship 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 July 4 will incur a $240 non-refundable late fee. No applications will be accepted after Aug. 3. 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. Cancellation fees are as follows:

  • Before July 4: $100 cancellation fee
  • Between July 4 and Aug. 3: $400 cancellation fee
  • After Aug. 3: $800 cancellation fee

Exam Dates and Deadlines

The Gastroenterology Written Exam is offered in August. The application period opens in mid-March.

Exam Content Outline

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

Subspecialty Certification
  1. 1. Disorders of the esophagus
  2. 2. Disorders of the stomach
  3. 3. Disorders of the duodenum
  4. 4. GI hemorrhage
  5. 5. Disorders of the small bowel
  6. 6. Disorders of the colon
  7. 7. Disorders of the peritoneum, mesentery and omentum
  8. 8. GI endocrinology
  9. 9. Disorders of the gallbladder/bile ducts
  10. 10. Disorders of the pancreas
  11. 11. Nutrition
  12. 12. Pancreatic endocrine tumors
  13. 13. Functional GI disorders
  14. 14. Liver transplantation
  15. 15. Acute and chronic viral hepatitis
  16. 16. Infections of the liver
  17. 17. Inherited and metabolic disorders of the liver
  18. 18. Cirrhosis/hepatic encephalopathy
  19. 19. Toxic/Drug-induced liver disease
  • 6-10%
  • 3-7%
  • 6-10%
  • 1-4%
  • 1-5%
  • 8-22%
  • 2-6%
  • 1-5%
  • 6-10%
  • 7-11%
  • 3-7%
  • 1-4%
  • 1-5%
  • 1-3%
  • 3-7%
  • 1-5%
  • 1-4%
  • 1-5%
  • 1-5%

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.