Written Exam


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

  • Complete two years of training in an AOA-recognized fellowship program in Oncology or Oncology/Hematology. 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.

Note that if you’ve completed at least three years of AOA-recognized training in a Hematology/Oncology program, or a total of at least three years in separate Hematology and Oncology programs, you’re eligible to sit for both subspecialty exams. Of the 36 months of training, at least 12 months must be spent in both Hematology and Oncology.


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

Subspecialty Certification
  1. 1. Pharmacology/cancer biology/cancer genetics
  2. 2. Breast tumors
  3. 3. Gastrointestinal tumors
  4. 4. Genitourinary tumors
  5. 5. Gynecologic tumors
  6. 6. Hematologic malignancies
  7. 7. Thoracic tumors
  8. 8. Skin cancer
  9. 9. Head and neck cancer
  10. 10. Pancreatic/liver cancer
  11. 11. Bone/soft tissue/sarcoma
  12. 12. Paraneoplastic syndromes
  13. 13. Supportive care/palliative/ethics
  14. 14. Chemotherapy toxicity
  15. 15. Prevention/screening
  16. 16. Opportunistic infection
  17. 17. Cancer trials
  • 2-6%
  • 5-9%
  • 6-10%
  • 10-14%
  • 3-7%
  • 15-19%
  • 4-8%
  • 1-5%
  • 1-5%
  • 2-6%
  • 1-5%
  • 4-8%
  • 5-9%
  • 6-10%
  • 2-6%
  • 1-4%
  • 1-3%

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.