Written Exam


To be eligible for certification in Psychiatry, candidates must meet the criteria below:

  • You must be a graduate of a COCA-accredited college of osteopathic medicine and have completed an AOA or ACGME-accredited training program OR be a graduate of a LCME-accredited medical school and have completed an ACGME-accredited training program.
  • Satisfactorily complete a one-year internship in an AOA approved training program.
  • Satisfactorily complete three years of AOA-approved training in Psychiatry, Child Psychiatry, or a combination of the two.
  • You must hold a valid, active license to practice medicine in a U.S. state, commonwealth, District of Columbia, or U.S. territory.
  • Adhere to the AOA Code of Ethics.
  • Practice in the specialty should be a minimum of 75% of your clinical time.


At the time of application, you must submit the following to the AOBNP:

  • Completed application.
  • If residency training is not yet completed, a letter from Residency Director certifying that you are within six months of completing training.
  • You must hold a valid, active license to practice medicine in a U.S. state, commonwealth, District of Columbia, or U.S. territory.

Exam Fees

An application fee of $1,650 must be submitted with your completed application. This covers the $350 application fee and $1,300 initial examination fee. No application will be considered complete until all fees have been paid.

If an applicant fails the exam, the fee for reexamination is $1,200.

Exam Cancellation Fees

  • 0 – 30 days before the exam: no refund
  • 31 days or more prior to the exam date: 50% refund
  • No refunds of late fees
  • Rejected Applications: 75% refund

Note: Prior to submitting your application, please be certain that you meet the criteria to apply.

Exam Dates and Deadlines

The Psychiatry Written Exam is offered annually via a remote proctored exam format. The application period opens six months prior to the exam. Upon successful completion of the application process, the AOBNP will advise applicants via email of acceptance to take the exam.

The first application deadline will be 60 days prior to the first date of the exam administration window. The final deadline will be 30 days prior to the exam administration window.

All candidates requesting exam accommodations must submit their requests at the time of application and by the final application deadline (30 days prior to the exam).

Exam Content Outline

The written exam consists of 300 multiple-choice, single-answer questions in a pass/fail format. All questions are evenly weighted and the examination is subjected to conventional psychometric analysis using accepted modern methods of key validation and item scoring. The total examination time is six hours with three scheduled 10-minute breaks. Please note the exam clock will resume after the scheduled break even if you have not returned. The examination is remotely proctored, and no questions pertaining to exam content are allowed during the examination.

AOBNP – Psychiatry Table of Specifications
Primary Certification
Content area CONTENT area PERCENT
Neurology for Psychiatrists 8%
Assessment 10%
Psychiatric Disorders 13%
Interventional Psychiatry 5%
Psychotherapies 8%
Pharmacological Agents 12%
Life Cycle/Development 5%
Psychosomatic Medicine 10%
Emergency Psychiatry 8%
Complementary/Alternative Treatment 5%
Ethics 10%
Forensics 6%


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.