Written Exam


The following requirements must be completed before a candidate may sit for the Written Exam for subspecialty board certification in Sports Medicine:

  • Hold primary certification from one of the specialty boards represented on the Sports Medicine conjoint committee:
    • American Osteopathic Board of Emergency Medicine
    • American Osteopathic Board of Family Physicians
    • American Osteopathic Board of Internal Medicine
    • American Osteopathic Board of Neuromuscuoloskeletal Medicine
    • American Osteopathic Board of Pediatrics
    • American Osteopathic Board of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation
  • Hold an active license to practice medicine in one of the 50 states. Applicants who don’t have an active license at the time of application will not be admitted to the exam.
  • Conform to the ethical and moral standards of the AOA Code of Ethics.
  • Satisfactorily complete a one-year AOA- or ACGME-approved fellowship in Sports Medicine as shown by a copy of a sports medicine certificate and letter of recommendation from the program director. After you complete fellowship training, you have a six-year eligibility window to take the Sports Medicine certification exam.
    • Note: Sports medicine fellows can take the exam once they’ve completed at least nine months of their fellowship program if their program director writes a letter of recommendation saying they’re prepared. Sometimes exceptions are made for fellows who’ve completed seven or eight months if the exam is being offered early.
    • Current fellows who take the exam will sign a waiver stating that exam scores won’t be released until the applicant has submitted all training documentation, successfully completed the fellowship program and gained approval from all involved agencies.


Once training and eligibility requirements are met, candidates must submit a completed application, fees and the following documents:

  • Copy of current state medical license with expiration date
  • Copy of Sports Medicine program certification

Applicant files will be reviewed by the Conjoint Examination Committee after the close of the registration period. Candidates will be notified in writing of their eligibility.

Exam Fees

To sit for the Sports Medicine exam, you must submit an application and supporting documentation to the AOCSMEC. The Sports Medicine certification exam fee is $800 through May 20, 2023. A $260 late fee will be required for applications submitted after May 21, 2023. Application materials will not be accepted after June 20, 2023. All fees must be paid before the exam. If you need to cancel your exam, you must do so in writing. Cancellations received by June 20, 2023, will be refunded less a $100 administrative fee. No refunds will be issued for cancellations received within three weeks of the exam date. Fees are only accepted online.

Exam Dates and Deadlines

The Initial Certification and OCC Exam for subspecialty certification in Sports Medicine will be held  on July 7-8, 2023, by Monitor Edu Online testing. The first application deadline is May 21, 2023, and the final deadline is June 20, 2023. The Sports Medicine written exam is given once each year and contains 200 questions.

Exam Content Outline

The Sports Medicine subspecialty/CAQ written exam will be a proctored half-day examination made up of 200 multiple-choice questions that ask candidates to choose the one best answer. It evaluates candidates’ understanding of the scientific basis of the problems involved in sports medicine; familiarity with current advances in sports medicine; and possession of sound judgement and a high degree and skill in the diagnostic and therapeutic procedures involved in the practice of sports medicine. Written exam questions will cover five major categories:

Subspecialty Certification
  1. I. Basic Science
    1. A. Anatomy
    2. B. Physiology
    3. C. Pharmacology
    4. D. Nutrition
  • 13-17%
  1. II. Diagnostics
    1. A. History
    2. B. X-ray and lab
    3. C. Performance
    4. D. Consultation
  • 28-32%
  1. III. Injury Management/Prevention
    1. A. Onsite immediate acute care
    2. B. Post-event care
    3. C. Sports knowledge, sports rules
    4. D. Protective equipment
    5. E. Osteopathic principles and practice
  • 18-22%
  1. IV. Treatment
    1. A. Pharmacological
    2. B. OMT
    3. C. Rehab modalities (acute and re-injury prevention)
    4. D. Psychological
  • 23-27%
  1. V. Medical Issues
    1. A. Management of medical issues
    2. B. Chronic diseases
    3. C. Special-needs athletes
  • 8-12%

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

If you don’t pass your exam, you may apply for reexamination on the next available exam date. You’ll need to complete another application and submit the $800 exam fee. You will also need to submit CME hours based on the application guidelines in place at the time of your application.