Written Exam


To be eligible for the Part 1 (Written) exam for initial certification in physical medicine and rehabilitation, candidates must meet the criteria below:

  • Be a graduate of a COCA-accredited college of osteopathic medicine.
  • Satisfactorily complete a one-year internship (if applicable) in an AOA approved training program.
  • Have graduated from an AOA-approved or ACGME accredited residency in physical medicine and rehabilitation or is within 3 months of residency completion by the time the examination is administered. (Residency status must be verified).
    • DOs who completed an ACGME residency may pursue AOBPMR certification if their training has received AOA approval.
  • Adhere to the AOA Code of Ethics.


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

  • Completed, signed online application.
  • All required fees and documentation.
  • Program Director Report to confirm residency.
    • Third-year AOBPMR residents may be eligible to take the board examination prior to the full completion of their residency training. To be eligible, the resident must be within three (3) months of program completion by the time the examination is administered.

Exam Fees

An application fee of $750 must be submitted with your completed application. A late fee of $225 will be added if received after the initial application deadline. No application will be accepted after the final application deadline.

Exam Cancellation Policy

Cancellations must be submitted to aobpmr@osteopathic.org. Refunds are issued based on the date the written cancellation is received.

Cancellation Policy
time before exam percent refundable
Up to 31 days before the start of the testing window 50%
0-30 days before the start of the testing window No refunds will be issued

Exam Accommodations

  • All candidates must submit request for exam accommodations at the time of application and this must be prior to 45 days from the exam administration date (prior to first application deadline).

Exam Dates and Deadlines

The Physical Medicine & Rehabilitation Written Exam is offered once a year, generally in the fall. The final application deadline for the written exams will be four weeks prior to the first day of the exam administration.

Exam Content Outline

The initial AOBPMR certification exam consists of 100 multiple-choice questions. Candidates have four hours to complete the exam.

Primary Certification
Rehabilitation of Brain, Spinal Cord/Muscle, and Connective Tissue Disorders 27% – 31%
Interventional Therapeutics: Spine and Osteopathic Manipulative Treatment and Pain 25% – 29%
Prosthetics, Orthotics, Sports Medicine, Orthopedic disorders, MSK disorders, Occupational-Industrial, Return to Work and Assistive Devices 24% – 28%
Special Populations 16% – 20%

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.