When to Expect Your Scores

Results are mailed and posted online within 90 days, but typically arrive within 45-60 days of the last scheduled Oral Exam.  ABEM will send an email to candidates notifying them when scores are available. ABEM cannot release your scores over the phone. 

Physicians who pass are recognized as ABEM-certified Emergency Physicians, and begin participating in the ABEM continuing certification process. ABEM certificates are valid for ten years from the day Oral Certification results are recorded. 

Candidates who do not pass the Oral Exam have delayed a step in the certification process. Additional requirements must be met before they can register for the exam again.


Only the examiner assigned to your case will be scoring your exam. Some ratings are governed by predetermined behaviors called “critical actions.” Each of these actions is associated with a performance rating scale. The list of critical actions does not include all the behaviors expected of candidates, but rather, guides examiners’ scoring by pointing out actions that best distinguish acceptable or unacceptable performance. If you perform a critical action, the examiner must score with at least a score of 5 on the associated rating scale. If you do not perform a critical action, the examiner must score you with a 4 or lower on the associated rating scale.

score sheet and rating scales example

How ABEM Determines a Passing Score

ABEM does not use quotas or passing percentages to determine a passing score. Following the exam, a cross sample of examiners recommend the passing score for each case. This recommendation is formed by comparing candidate performance with KSA standards.

As eOral cases are added to the exam the passing score will be determined after each Oral Exam for the next three to five years.

Performance Criteria

Your examiners will score you on eight performance scales with scores ranging from 1 to 8.

  • Data Acquisition: Collecting critical patient information.
  • Problem Solving: Using critical information to manage patients.
  • Patient Management: Making appropriate treatment decisions.
  • Resource Utilization: Using the resources at your disposal to care for patients.
  • Health Care Provided (Outcome): The actual outcome of the patient's health after receiving your care.
  • Interpersonal Relations and Communication Skills: Clearly communicating with your patient, family, and medical staff.
  • Comprehension of Pathophysiology: Understanding the case from a medical science standpoint, rather than memorized routine.
  • Clinical Competence (Overall): How well you handled the types of conditions or problems presented in the case.
Detailed Performance Criteria

Rating Scale

  • Very Acceptable (7,8): The candidate confidently and correctly collected data and gave a diagnosis, managed patients with current and accepted techniques, and showed anticipation of and concern for the psychological, sociological, and economic patient needs.
  • Acceptable (5,6): Several minor inefficiencies or errors in the case management. Candidate shows an underlying working knowledge for safe medical practice. The patient had adequate care without significant, unnecessary pain, or life-threatening procedures or medications.
  • Unacceptable (3,4): One or more critical actions are not taken, or dangerous actions are taken. Health care may be incomplete, unorganized, or generally unsatisfactory. Partially inadequate knowledge of the pathophysiology of the problem.
  • Very Unacceptable (1,2): Candidate is unable to proceed beyond routine acquisition and management because they lack knowledge of the presented pathology. Gross negligence or gross mismanagement observed, and the candidate is without self-awareness of his or her own inadequacies.

Discussing the Case with Other Medical Professionals

Part of your score is based on your interactions with nurses, consultants, and other medical professionals. When the examiner plays the part of the nurse or consultant, remember to use medical language.

Informing the Patient and Family

Part of your score is based on your interactions with the patient and their loved ones. The examiner can only score you on verbal interactions. If you would discuss the patient’s condition with the patient, family, or others in your hospital, you should do so during the exam. Remember to explain information in a way that your patient will understand.