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Written Exam


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

  • Be a graduate of a COCA-accredited college of osteopathic medicine or an LCME accredited medical school in the U.S. or Canada.
    • Physicians who graduated from a medical school outside of the U.S. or Canada are also eligible if they hold a valid certificate, without expired examination dates, from the ECFMG.
  • Satisfactorily complete a one-year internship in an AOA-approved or ACGME-accredited training program.
  • Be in the second year of a four-year AOA-approved or ACGME-accredited training program in Diagnostic Radiology, which includes 700 hours of nuclear medicine training. Training should be completed in a single program; if the candidate transfers from one program to another, this must be approved by the AOBR.
  • Have AOA approval of all completed training.
  • Hold an active license to practice in a U.S. state or territory or Canada.
  • Adhere to the AOA Code of Ethics.

Candidates are eligible to take the Combined Physics and Diagnostic Imaging written exam in their third year of training or at any exam administration after.

Candidates who have passed the written examinations are eligible to take the oral examinations during their fourth year of training, or at any examination following training as long as they are still board eligible.


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

  • A completed application
  • Examination fee

Exam Fees

The fee for the Diagnostic Radiology Written Examination is $800.

*Physicians who began residency between July 1, 2015, and July 1, 2020, may have begun paying an annual fee for each year of residency (i.e., $400 per year for years one, two, three, and four). Physicians who began in this process just need to have submitted the first $800 by the time of the Diagnostic Radiology Written Examination application, and the other $800 by the time of the Diagnostic Radiology Oral Examination application.

Exam Dates and Deadlines

The Diagnostic Radiology Written Exam is offered once per year, generally every June. For a list of currently scheduled exam dates, please visit our Important Dates page.

For more information on what to expect on exam day, please visit our Remote Proctored Examination information page.

Exam Content Outline

The Written Exam consists of two parts: Part I-Physics and Part II: Diagnostic Imaging.

The Physics Section of the written examination consists of approximately 50 multiple-choice questions on the physics of medical imaging, including these topics:

  • Biological effects and safety
  • Radiological Physics (radiation production and interaction with matter)
  • Radiation Biology (health effects)
  • Radiation Safety and Protection
  • Radiological Imaging (radiography, fluoroscopy, CT, mammography)
  • Ultrasound
  • MRI
  • Nuclear Medicine

The Diagnostic Imaging Section of the written examination consists of approximately 250 multiple-choice questions on diagnostic imaging, including these topics:

  • Neuroradiology
  • Vascular/Interventional Radiology
  • Cardiopulmonary
  • Genitourinary Tract
  • Ultrasound
  • Breast Radiology
  • Gastrointestinal Tract
  • Musculoskeletal
  • Pediatric Radiology
  • Nuclear Medicine

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.

Every effort will be made to release results within eight weeks of the exam window. Results are posted to the secure portal used to apply for the exam. Candidates will be notified by email of the results posting.

Exam Failure

A candidate has three consecutive attempts to take and pass the examination. Failure to accept an appointment, cancellation of an appointment or failure to appear for a scheduled written examination will be regarded as forfeiture of one of the three opportunities.