Written Exam


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

  • Have completed two years of training in an AOA-recognized fellowship program in Nephrology. You must have completed the required training by Aug. 15 of the year you plan to sit the exam.
  • 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 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 June 1 will incur a non-refundable $200 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 Nephrology Written Exam is offered in August. The application period opens the previous year, starting in December.

Exam Content Outline

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

Subspecialty Certification
  1. 1. Fluid, acid-base, electrolyte phyisology/renal function testing
  2. 2. Mineral metabolism/disorders (PO4, Ca, Mg)
  3. 3. Hypo/Hypernatremia
  4. 4. Hypo/Hyperkalemia
  5. 5. Acid-base disorders/Renal tubular disorders
  6. 6. Acute kidney injury
  7. 7. Pregnancy and the kidney
  8. 8. Overdose/Toxic nephropathy/Intoxication
  9. 9. Primary glomerular disease
  10. 10. Secondary glomerular disease
  11. 11. Diabetic nephropathy
  12. 12. Hypertension
  13. 13. Chronic kidney disease
  14. 14. Peritoneal dialysis
  15. 15. Hemodialysis
  16. 16. Renal transplantation
  17. 17. Vasculitis/Vascular disorders of kidney
  18. 18. Tubulointerstitial disease
  19. 19. Urolithiasis
  20. 20. Obstructive uropathy
  21. 21. Urinary tract infections/Pyelonephritis
  22. 22. Cystic disease/UT Anomalies
  23. 23. Familial disorders of kidney
  • 2-6%
  • 2-6%
  • 2-6%
  • 1-5%
  • 8-12%
  • 7-11%
  • 1-3%
  • 1-5%
  • 5-9%
  • 4-8%
  • 2-6%
  • 3-7%
  • 3-7%
  • 3-7%
  • 6-10%
  • 3-7%
  • 1-5%
  • 1-5%
  • 1-3%
  • 1-3%
  • 1-4%
  • 2-6%
  • 1-5%

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.