Longitudinal assessment for Component 3: LEARN MORE | AOBS General Surgery Spring Oral Exam registration has closed

Once I’m registered, how long do I have to start the longitudinal assessment?

Once you are registered and have access to the CATALYST assessment platform, you may begin the assessment at any time. It is important to know that your start time is not the time of registration; however, it is when you begin the assessment on CATALYST. Once you logon and answer any of the available questions, the assessment must be completed within that quarter of the calendar year.

What are the quarters of the calendar year?

The assessment will be available once each quarter or 4 times a year:


Quarter 1

January – March

Quarter 2

April – June

Quarter 3

July – September

Quarter 4

October – December
How many attempts do I have to pass the assessment?

You have a total of three attempts to pass the assessment. You decide what quarter is best for you on the reattempt(s).

Are the questions timed?

No, the questions are not timed. You will have unlimited time to answer each question, but please plan accordingly as each article may take approximately 5-15 minutes to review in its entirety.

Will the articles be available to read during the assessment?

The AOBS longitudinal assessment is an “open book” assessment.  If an article is free and accessible electronically, you will have the opportunity to read it via the direct links.  In most situations, even if an article is not free, the Diplomate and/or the organization is already a subscriber to the publishing company and will not have any difficulty accessing the content.  For some of the articles, a cited reference reading listing is made available and posted on the AOBS website. It is up to the Diplomate to obtain the articles.  While not mandatory, we do encourage you to read the articles in advance to prepare. Direct links to referenced articles are provided to at the end of this document in addition cited references. Please also visit the AOBS website.

What if I fail my longitudinal assessment?

You receive three attempts on the assessment. Upon completion, and if you fail, you will be given a second (or third) attempt on the full assessment. You will not be able to take the assessment within the same quarter of your last failed attempt. Your certification may be placed in an inactive status should you fail the assessment on the third attempt or fail to complete all three attempts prior to the end of the final year of the OCC cycle. After the third attempt you will not receive any further attempts. The AOBS Board, in collaboration with the AOA Standard Review Committee (SRC) Guidelines, is reviewing the next steps for Diplomates who fail all three attempts of the assessment.

What if I start my assessment in the first quarter of the year, but don’t finish all the questions?

The assessment must be successfully completed by the end of the quarter in which you start. Because the assessment questions are untimed, and once you begin, the assessment questions can be completed during one or multiple sittings throughout the quarter.

Completing the assessment is dependent upon your personal schedule and commitment. The assessment will resume where you previously left off. We recommend that you don’t wait until quarters 3 or 4 within the final year of the OCC cycle as you could potentially forfeit one or more re-attempts if needed.

How is the longitudinal assessment administered?

The AOBS longitudinal assessment for General Surgery and Surgical Critical Care will be administered through the National Board of Osteopathic Medical Examiners’ (NBOME) CATALYST learning assessment platform. In addition to the learning opportunities that the CATALYST platform offers, assessments delivered on CATALYST provide both performance feedback and additional support.

You will have access to CATALYST 24/7 and can be accessed via laptop computer, tablet, smartphone or through the CATALYST app.

What is the fee for the AOBS longitudinal assessment?

The fee for general surgery is $675 total per cycle ($225 per year). The fee for surgical critical care is $375 total per cycle ($125 per year). The assessment fee for the cycle is due at the time of registration.

How do I know when my certification was issued or expires?

Visit the AOA physician portal (login required) to view your certification information and to check the OCC status.

If my recertification is due to expire in 2022, do I have until 2024 to complete the assessment or will my certificate become inactive?

All Diplomates starting with General Surgery and Surgical Critical Care with a time-limited certificate expiring on or after January 1, 2022, will enter the new process in the OCC cycle in which the expiration date of their current time-limited certificate falls (i.e., if your certificate expires in 2026, you will start the longitudinal assessment during the 2025-2027 OCC cycle). If your certificate is set to expire in 2022, you will be required to register for the AOBS longitudinal assessment in 2021 and begin participating in the assessment in the 2022 calendar year.

Once registered and you began participating in the longitudinal assessment in 2022, your certificate will remain active through the end of the OCC cycle (Dec. 31, 2024).

If my certificate is set to expire in 2023 or 2024, when do I start the registration process and assessment?

All Diplomates with certificates who expire in 2022, 2023 or 2024 will have access to the assessment starting Jan. 12, 2022. Because diplomates are given three attempts to pass the assessment, those whose certification expire in 2023 or 2024 have the same amount of time (3 years) as those whose certification expires in 2022. This provides all diplomates equal opportunities during the assessment cycle. While you are encouraged to start the longitudinal assessment early, it is up to the individual diplomate to decide what assessment time frame works for them. If you prefer to wait until the year your certification will expire to begin the longitudinal assessment you will have less time in the cycle to complete retakes if necessary.

What is the registration deadline?

No. Two additional attempts on each question during the assessment are provided to assist you with passing the assessment. No additional out-of-pocket expenses are required. The annual fee paid at the time of registration covers the full cost of the assessment.

Is there a late fee for registration?

Links to all articles are available now for effective preparation for the assessment. You are encouraged to visit the following links (below) at your convenience in addition to downloading and saving any articles you wish to reread in preparation.

What types of questions can be expected on the longitudinal assessment?

The content includes assessing diplomates knowledge and practice of the surgical professional so that continuing education expectations of the osteopathic profession are withheld. A total of 60 questions will be administered for General Surgery and an additional 30 questions for Surgical Critical Care diplomates. After reading the provided article links, you should prepare for the following topic areas:

General Surgery


Number of Items

Cancer/Tumor Biology














Nutrition, Metabolism






Skin/Soft Tissue




Surgical Critical Care




Wounds, Burns



Is there a late fee for registration?

No. At this time a late fee will not be assessed at the of registration.

Who developed the content of the AOBS longitudinal assessment?

The AOBS longitudinal assessment was developed by AOA board certified osteopathic surgeons who represent the AOBS Division of Examiners. These physicians are also known as subject matter experts (SME).

Each SME has a wealth of knowledge in content appropriate for ongoing osteopathic certification. All questions administered during the longitudinal assessment were written with the assistance of medical editors and psychometric staff of the AOA Certifying Board Services department and the NBOME. Questions are submitted and vetted by the AOBS Division of Examiners as appropriate, debated, and voted upon for acceptance.

Is longitudinal assessment available for AOBS subspecialty or conjoint certifications?

Currently, longitudinal assessment is only available for the General Surgery and Surgical Critical Care primary board certification. Information will be provided plans for AOBS subspecialty longitudinal assessments are finalized.

Will I receive CME credits for successfully completing the AOBS longitudinal assessment?

Yes. A total of 3.5 AOA category 1-B credits will be awarded at the end of the calendar year upon successful completion of the assessment. Credits will not be awarded should a diplomate fail the

What is required to pass the assessment?

The passing score has been set at 80% for the assessment.

Should I experience issues accessing the platform, who should I contact?

If you have any questions or concerns regarding features and functionality of the CATALYST platform, contact NBOME Client Services at clientservices@nbome.org or (866) 479-6828. For general questions please email us at AOBS@osteopathic.org.

Are we allowed three tries per question before it is marked incorrect?

You will have three attempts to pass the assessment with an 80% passing rate needed.  In reality, yes, you would then have three attempts at the incorrect questions but not within the same sitting.  Once you select an answer for an individual question and receive an incorrect score, you will not immediately be able to retake that question, it will be on the second attempt of your assessment.  The Catalyst platform allows for Diplomates to review questions scored incorrectly and encourages you to review the article links again.  Any attempt on the incorrectly scored questions will be provided on your following attempt on the assessment, that is of course only if you do not pass on an attempt.