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.
  • Satisfactorily complete a one-year internship in an AOA approved training program.
  • Be in the second year of a four-year AOA-approved 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 unrestricted license to practice in a state or territory.
  • 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
  • Annual fee
  • Copy of your current state medical license


Exam Fees

An annual fee of $400 is charged each year of the initial certification process. This fee covers all examination fees, including the application fee. It is due December 31 of each year.

Exam Dates and Deadlines

The Diagnostic Radiology Written Exams are offered once each year, generally every June.  A Physics and Diagnostic Imaging retake exam is also held every fall. The application period opens June 1. For a list of currently scheduled exam dates, please visit our Important Dates page.

Exam Content Outline

The Written Exam consists of two parts: Part I-Physics and Part II: Diagnostic Imaging. All parts are taken on a paper Scantron form.

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.


Exam Failure

A candidate who fails either part of the combined Written Exam may retake it in the fall following the June administration.  All requests for reexamination must be submitted in writing to the AOBR.

A candidate has three attempts to take and pass the examination. If a candidate fails to pass a section of the Written Exam (Physics or Diagnostic Imaging) after three consecutive attempts, he or she may reenter the certification process by submitting a new application, fee, and appropriate documentation and will be required to repeat both sections. Failure to accept an appointment, cancellation of an appointment or failure to appear for a scheduled written examination will be regarded as one of the three opportunities.