Written Exam


To be eligible for certification in the subspeciality of Orthopedic Sports Medicine, candidates must:

  • Have attained certification in Orthopedic Surgery through AOBOS.
  • Have completed a minimum one-year fellowship in an AOA-, AANA-, RCPSC- or ACGME-accredited sports medicine program.
  • Have been in the active practice of Orthopedic Sports Medicine for at least two years.
  • Hold full operating privileges in a hospital or surgery center.
  • Hold an unrestricted license to practice in a state or territory.
  • Adhere to the AOA Code of Ethics.


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

  • surgical log of all sports medicine operative and non-operative procedures performed during a consecutive 12-month period that falls within the two years. The log must include a minimum of 115 operative casts, at least 75 which must include a component of Arthroscopy. Ten additional cases should involve patients who were treated non-operatively.
  • Verification of fellowship program status as program complete.

Exam Fees

An exam fee of $3,000 must accompany your completed application. No application will be considered complete until all fees have been paid. Additional fees may apply for applications received after the first application deadline.

Exam Dates and Deadlines

The Orthopedic Sports Medicine Subspecialty Certification Written Exam is offered once per year, generally in the fall. The application period opens in April/May, and applications are due in August.

Exam Content Outline

The written exam consists of 200 multiple-choice questions with topics taken from all areas of Orthopedic Sports Medicine. It is given in two sections with one optional 10-minute break between. The total time including the break is 4 hours and 10 minutes. It is important to note that the exam clock will resume after 10 minutes even if you have not returned. The source material for the examination questions is not limited to any particular text or journal.

Subspecialty Certification
Lower Extremity: Hip 10-14%
Lower Extremity: Knee 15-21%
Lower Extremity: Foot and Ankle 11-17%
Upper Extremity: Shoulder 12-18%
Upper Extremity: Elbow 10-16%
Upper Extremity: Wrist and Hand 12-14%
Non-Operative 11-17%

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.