OSTEOPATHIC BOARD CERTIFICATION

The ARC platform

What is ARC?

You told us you wanted a flexible and more meaningful OCC process. Advanced Real-time Certification (ARC) is the AOBOG’s new online exam process for OCC Component 3 (recertification). ARC delivers innovation by replacing the in-person exam required every six years with an online longitudinal assessment program.

What is longitudinal assessment?

Longitudinal assessment combines adult learning principles with modern technology, and involves administering shorter assessments while controlling the frequency of delivery over time to support learning and retention.

For primary OB/GYN certification, you will answer 24 assessment items annually (eight per quarter for the first three quarters of each year). In the fourth quarter, you will have an opportunity to revisit any of the 24 items answered incorrectly to facilitate the learning and remediation process. Items answered correctly in this second-chance round will replace the incorrectly answered items from the previous quarters and will be counted toward your final performance outcome (score).

For subspecialty certification, you will answer 10 assessment items over a period of 9 months (three quarters). In the fourth quarter, you will also have an opportunity to revisit any items answered incorrectly to facilitate the learning and remediation process.

How much does ARC cost?

The cost to participate in ARC is included in the new annual OCC fee: $300 for one certification and $150 for each additional certification.

The fee structure has been updated in response to diplomate feedback requesting a lower, more affordable yearly fee.

The annual OCC fee is paid each calendar year and is due at the time of registration.

How do I register for ARC?

Register for ARC online through our online application system.

At the time of registration, you will select your scope of practice:

  • OB/GYN
  • Obstetrics only
  • Gynecology only

You should select “Obstetrics only” or “Gynecology only” if you practice solely in that area. If you do even a little of both, you should select OB/GYN as your scope of practice.

When do I need to register?

Registration will open each Fall for the following year. If you intend to designate a limited scope of practice (“Obstetrics only” or “Gynecology only”), you must register and opt into the special tracks by December 1 of the year preceding. For example, if you want to participate in the Obstetrics only track in 2021, you must register and opt in by December 1, 2020.

What do I need to “pass” ARC?

You are required to achieve an overall score of 85% correct (21/24) to pass. In the fourth quarter, you will have an opportunity to revisit any of the 24 items answered incorrectly to facilitate the learning and remediation. Items answered correctly in this second-chance round will replace the incorrectly answered items from the previous quarters.

What happens if I don’t pass?

If you do not achieve 85% correct by the end of the remediation period, your certificate will be inactivated on January 1, following its current expiration date.

In order to reactivate your certification, you must pass the traditional OCC written exam (100 question multiple-choice exam for primary OB/GYN or oral exam for a subspecialty).

Upon passing the exam and completing any other outstanding OCC requirements, will have your credentials submitted for reactivation of your certification.

You will only re-enter the longitudinal assessment (ARC) after certification has been reactivated. AOBOG will continue to offer the traditional OCC exam twice per year (spring and fall) for inactive/expired certifications only.

Do I have to take the OCC exam plus ARC?

No. ARC replaces the traditional written OCC exam required every six years.

Will I need to read any articles to answer the questions?

The assessment items on the ARC platform use ACOG Practice Bulletins as their primary reference sources. The Practice Bulletins are helpful, but not essential to answer the questions.

The automated emails generated to from the ARC platform to registrants will tell you which Practice Bulletins are most relevant to the questions for that quarter and your track. This information will also be available in the “Resources” section on the ARC platform.

How do I access the ACOG Practice Bulletins?

Due to copyright restrictions, AOBOG cannot provide access to the Practice Bulletins.  However they are available to all active ACOG members and can be purchased online through the ACOG bookstore, or through membership with ACOOG (as part of the ACOG Compendium).

Your certification

Will I still remain certified for 6 years?

The intent of OCC has always been continuous certification. You have requirements that need to be maintained throughout your certification to maintain active status. Expiration dates have been removed from all hard copy certificates to reflect the continuous nature of OCC.

What do I need to do if I'm a certified subspecialist?

If you are a subspecialist who also holds active, time-limited certification in OB/GYN, you are required to complete ARC for OB/GYN and for your subspecialty. You may choose the “OB/GYN,” “Obstetrics only,” or “Gynecology only” track as appropriate for that area.

For subspecialty certification, you will receive 10 assessment items annually (beginning Jan. 5 and through Sept. 30), and again have a built-in opportunity to revisit any incorrectly answered items in the Oct. 1– Dec. 15 remediation period. Items answered correctly in this second-chance round will replace the incorrectly answered items from the previous quarters.

As a reminder, AOA and AOBOG do not require certified subspecialists to maintain primary Ob/GYN certification; however, we strongly advise that you consult with all employers, hospitals, payers, insurance companies, etc. to confirm their requirements and ensure there will be no adverse effects, before choosing to drop primary OB/GYN certification.

Can I opt not to participate in ARC?

If you hold a time-limited certification through AOBOG, participation in ARC is mandatory to meet your requirements for OCC Component 3 (Cognitive Assessment), as it replaces the traditional once-per-six-year exam. All AOBOG certificates issued after July 1, 2002 are time-limited.

If you hold a non-time-limited certification through AOBOG, participation in ARC and OCC is voluntary but highly encouraged.

What if I have an inactive/expired certificate?

Physicians who hold inactive or expired certificates must pass the traditional OCC exam (100 question multiple-choice exam for primary OB/GYN or oral exam for the subspecialties). Upon passing the exam and completing any other outstanding OCC requirements, credentials will be submitted for reactivation of their certification.

Diplomates will only enter the longitudinal assessment (ARC) after certification has been reactivated. AOBOG will continue to offer the traditional OCC exam twice per year (Spring and Fall) for inactive/expired certifications only.

Technical requirements

What device should I use?

The platform is optimized for PC and Mac computers. While it can work on tablets and smartphones, for the best performance, we recommend using a desktop or laptop computer.

What browser should I use?

More information will be posted soon.

What type of Internet connection should I have?

More information will be posted soon.

Can workplace security settings impact my assessment?

More information will be posted soon.

How do I get support?

You can request support by clicking “Support” on the login page or within the platform to submit a ticket or emailing aobog-support@arc.osteopathic.org. You may also call the AOBOG office at (312) 202-8271.

How do I receive program related emails?

To ensure that you receive the AOBOG ARC emails, please add the following address to your spam or quarantine safe sender lists: aobog-support@arc.osteopathic.org.

Getting started

What is my username and password?

Your username is the email address you registered with (and where messages from the ARC platform will be sent). A one-time password will be provided to you at the beginning of the assessment year. You will be prompted to change the password when you log in for the first time. If you forget your password, you can request a password reset from the log in screen. You may also email aobog-support@osteopathic.org for help resetting your password.

What's on my dashboard?

Your dashboard contains three core areas:

Community Comparison: This shows how well others have done on the questions you have answered. Because other diplomates answer questions at different times, you may see these numbers fluctuate.

Your Performance: This will show your overall percentage correct, the total number of questions you have answered, how many questions you have remaining, and how many questions you have answered correctly/incorrectly.

Progress: This will show you your progress within the assessment – e.g. 40% complete. It will also tell you what date you must finish your available questions by.

What type of assessment questions will be in ARC?

All questions are single-best answer multiple-choice questions.

For primary certification, the default will be a combination of Obstetrics and Gynecology questions. Diplomates whose scope of practice is restricted (e.g. OB hospitalists who do not practice gynecology or diplomates whose sole practice is office gynecology) will be able to identify these key areas of practice and experience clinical scenarios and assessment questions more relevant to their practice.

For subspecialty certification, there is one track of questions for each subspecialty.

How often will I need to answer questions?

2021 Primary certification schedule:

  • Quarter 1: Jan. 19 – March 31
  • Quarter 2: April 1 – June 30
  • Quarter 3: July 1 – Sept. 30
  • Quarter 4 (remediation): Oct. 1 – Dec. 15

2021 Subspecialty certification schedule:

  • Segment 1: April 1 – Sept. 30
  • Segment 2 (remediation): Oct. 1 – Dec. 15
Why does the last quarter end on Dec. 15 instead of Dec. 31?

The last quarter ends Dec. 15 instead of Dec. 31 to prevent a possible lapse in your certification. The Dec. 15 deadline gives the AOBOG office time to submit your credentials to the AOA for activation of your new certification before the old one expires. The earlier you complete ARC for the year, the earlier your new certification can be activated.Why does the last quarter end on Dec. 15 instead of Dec. 31?

Answering questions

Are the questions timed?

You will have unlimited time to answer your questions (within the quarter/segment timeframe). You do not have to complete all the questions in the segment at the same time. If you leave the platform mid-question, you will pick up where you left off the next time you log in. You may log into ARC at a future time, prior to the quarter end deadline to complete any remaining assessment items.

Can I use references when answering ARC questions?

Absolutely. At the beginning of each segment, you will receive an automated email inviting you to begin your questions. The email will include which references are most relevant to that segment and your track. This information is also available in the “Resources” section on the ARC platform.

Information regarding references is intended to assist you. It is helpful, but not essential to answer the questions. Due to copyright restrictions, AOBOG cannot provide the reference materials.

How do I review questions after answering them?

You can review all questions you have answered in the past by using the “Question History” tab when logged in to the platform. This area will allow you to review all questions previously answered, including how you answered them, and what the reference(s) and rationale are for that question.

What happens if I don't complete the assessment items within the quarter/segment?

Any items left unanswered at the end of a quarter/segment will be marked as incorrect/unanswered. You will be able to revisit these questions and any other incorrect questions in the fourth quarter. Items answered correctly in this second-chance round will replace the incorrectly answered items from the previous quarters.