Learn about the AOBS longitudinal assessment for Component 3: LEARN MORE | The AOBS General Surgery Spring 2022 Oral examination has met capacity and is now closed

Component 3: Cognitive Assessment

Component 3 of Osteopathic Continuous Certification requires provision of one or more psychometrically valid and proctored examinations that assess a physician’s specialty medical knowledge, as well as core competencies in the provision of health care.

Longitudinal Assessment

Beginning in January 2022, the board will begin the transition to a Longitudinal Assessment model that will replace the high-stakes written examination previously required for OCC Component 3. The new approach is designed to afford board-certified physicians with greater flexibility, accessibility and convenience, while facilitating ongoing high-quality assessment and continuous learning.

When the new OCC cycle begins on Jan. 1, 2022, diplomates certified in General Surgery and Surgical Critical Care will begin Longitudinal Assessment.

All other AOBS primary specialties, including General Vascular Surgery, Cardiothoracic Surgery, Neurological Surgery, Plastic & Reconstructive Surgery and Urological Surgery, will transition to longitudinal assessment at a later date. Additional details on the timeline will be forthcoming.

Written Exam

To complete Component 3 requirements for Osteopathic Continuous Certification (OCC) for the board of Surgery, a physician must pass a written examination.

Written Exam Timeline

The OCC Written Exam will be offered once a year in the spring via a remote proctoring platform. Diplomates may begin taking the exam three years prior to the expiration date of their certification.

Written Exam Content

The AOBS Osteopathic Continuous Certification (OCC) exams in Cardiothoracic Surgery, Neurological Surgery, Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery, Urological Surgery, and Vascular Surgery consist of  100 multiple-choice questions that tests the knowledge and understanding of basic science and clinical knowledge, skills and principles critical to each respective specialty. The examinations are subjected to conventional psychometric analysis using accepted modern methods of key validation and item scoring. The total examination time for respective exam is 2 hours and 15 minutes and is administered via a remote proctoring platform.

Applications & Payment

Diplomates must submit an exam application and fees prior to taking the OCC Written Exam.

OCC Primary (Clinical Pathway)
EXAM Type Fee
OCC $2,225

Exam Results

If a diplomate passes the written exam in a year prior to the year in which the certificate expires, the passing grade will be held and reported to the AOA when all OCC requirements have been met, The new certificate will be valid for 10 years from the date of the expiring certificate.

AOA reports certification results using standardized scores. Examination results are reported on a scale of 200 to 800 and an overall scaled score of 500 or greater is required to pass. The passing standard is determined by subject matter expert osteopathic physicians who practice in the field of the specialty. The passing standard is approved by the respective board.

Content area scores are provided as informative feedback when possible. No minimal requirement is set for performance outcomes for the content area scores. Content area scores are not used to compute your total test score or to determine your performance outcome.

Pass and fail decisions are based solely on the content mastery displayed by the diplomate. Results will be reviewed by the AOBS Examination Committee and submitted for final approval. The AOA will notify candidates of exam results within 90 days of the exam.

Exam Policies

Rescoring of Exams

Candidates have the right to request a rescore and audit process of their examination scores. Requests for the rescoring and audit must be submitted to the Board in writing via formal letter or email within one month of the Board’s release of the exam results. The fee for rescoring and audit is $200. The Board will commence the rescoring and audit process following receipt of the candidate’s request and payment. This process is limited to rescoring and audit of the candidate’s exam. Candidates are not allowed to review specific items on the examination. The Board will not reevaluate or reset the “cut” score for passing the exam. The electronic examination data of candidates will be destroyed 24 months after the administration of the examination.

Right to Appeal

If a candidate feels that actions of the AOBS with regard to any part of the certification process constitute unequal application of the Bylaws or Policies and Procedures, unwarranted discrimination, prejudice, unfairness or improper conduct of the examination, he or she has the right to appeal to the board. Appeals to the board can be made by submitting an Appeal Request Form along with any supporting documentary material necessary for proper review of the case. The Appeal Request Form must be submitted within seven days after completion of the exam. The board will not consider appeals based on examination content, sufficiency or accuracy of answers to exam questions, scoring of the exam, and/or determination of the minimum passing score. Candidates will be advised by certified mail within 30 days of final action of the board.

Compliance With Federal Regulations

The AOBS complies with all applicable federal and state regulations, including:

  • Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA): The AOBS complies with requirements prohibiting discrimination and ensuring equal opportunity for persons with disabilities in employment, state and local government services, public accommodations, commercial facilities, and transportation, as well as regulations for Title II and Title III (and all subsequent regulations) as printed in the federal register.
  • Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA): In compliance with the HIPAA Act of 1996 and any subsequent modifications, the AOBS ensures that individuals’ health information is properly protected, while allowing the flow of health information to provide and promote high quality health care. All medical records submitted for review by candidates for AOBS certification will be de-identified by the candidate prior to submission, such that the remaining information cannot be used to identify an individual patient.