Examination Day Overview

Upon Your Arrival

  • If you are not staying at the examination hotel, please check with the concierge regarding your options for parking or transportation.
  • The Board provides light snacks, coffee, and other beverages during your examination breaks, but does not arrange for candidate meals before or after the examinations. Please check with the concierge for restaurant recommendations.

On Your Examination Day

  • Your re-registration envelope contains a yellow sheet with your examination schedule and room assignments. Be sure to arrive at the first room on your yellow schedule at least 15 minutes prior to the start of your examination for a brief orientation provided by an American Board of Ophthalmology Panel Leader.
  • Please wear your name badge at all times (also found in your re-registration envelope). You will not need to present additional identification to be admitted to the examination.
  • Leave all personal belongings in your hotel room or check your bags at the front desk. Phones, smart watches, and other digital devices are not permitted on the examination floor while examinations are in progress.
  • The examination is given on a tablet and uses diagrams, videos, and other visual materials. Everything you need to complete the examination is provided by the Board. Do not bring paper, calculators, or any electronic devices with you.
  • Light snacks, coffee, and other beverages are provided in designated rooms on each examination floor. Restrooms are also located in these rooms. Look for the hallway signs to indicate the location of your nearest break room.
  • When you have completed the entire examination, you should leave the examination area. Thank you.

On-Site Candidate Orientation

Immediately prior to your examination, an American Board of Ophthalmology Panel Leader will provide an orientation covering the following topics:

  • To prevent bias, candidates are not examined by individuals with whom they have trained, worked, or otherwise know on a personal or professional basis. If you find yourself with an Examiner you know, please alert your Panel Leader immediately and an alternate Examiner will be provided. When meeting your Examiners, please do not disclose where, when, or with whom you trained or where you are currently practicing.
  • There may be more than one Examiner in a room and ABO personnel may or may not come into the room during your examinations. This is done for quality control purposes only and does not indicate anything about your performance. Examiners and Panel Leaders will be making notes to track your progress and to provide feedback on the PMPs; we hope that will not be distracting.
  • You will be with each Examiner for 25 minutes with a five-minute break to transition between rooms. You can use the restroom in the examination room (just ask the Examiner at the end of that exam) or there is also a designated restroom in the break room on this floor.
  • In the unlikely event of a technical issue during your examination, you will not be penalized for any missed time. ABO personnel will provide instructions on how to resume the examination.
  • Your Examiners will be guiding you through patient management problems (PMPs) where you will provide your approach to clinical cases, just as you would during a day in the office or the OR. During the discussion, you should address important history and physical findings; the differential diagnosis and the “most likely” diagnosis; management; and any other aspects of patient care pertinent to the PMP presented.
  • The Examiner may ask you to discuss additional possibilities in your differential, move to a different part of the clinical problem, or to a new PMP before you are finished. This does not reflect on your performance, but rather is how the Examiner covers the material needed for the exam.  Do not worry about the number of PMPs you need to complete. Your Examiner will ensure that you complete the necessary material.
  • Important disclaimer:  The ABO provides extensive training to our Examiners about administering an oral examination. Although we strive to standardize examination administration and provide examples of what you can expect, you will experience some variations of techniques from examiner to examiner.
  • As much as the Examiners may wish to provide feedback, there should be no visible reaction from them. Also, your Examiners may or may not make notes. Once again, this does not reflect on how you are performing.
  • It is in your best interest to move along. “Stalling” or delaying works to your disadvantage. If you want to skip a PMP before attempting to answer it, you may; however, you cannot go back to it and it is counted as a failed PMP.
  • Your interaction with the tablet is minimal.  You will sign your name at the start of each examination. Once the Examiner has shared any visual materials with you, you should feel free to use the arrows on the top-right of the screen to navigate back and forth between them as you wish.
  • Finally, there can be no discussion about the examination in the hallways or common areas between examinations or after the examination at any time because a) materials are copyrighted and b) this compromises the outcome of the examination. Reproducing any portion of the examination is a federal offense.