Notification of Examination Results

ABEM sends physician's the results of their examination in writing within 90 days of the date of the exam. Results are also posted on the physician's ABEM Portal. ABEM cannot release your scores over the phone or email. Maintaining up-to-date contact information through your ABEM Initial Certification Page will ensure you receive the results as soon as possible.

Passing Criterion and Scoring

The Qualifying Exam is criterion referenced. A criterion-referenced exam uses a predetermined passing score, which is adopted by the Board as reflecting its performance standards (EM Model and KSAs). All candidates meeting the standard will pass the exam. Quotas or required percentages of candidates passing are not used to determine the passing score.

Best practice in testing suggests that a passing score for an examination should be reviewed about every five to seven years.

For security purposes the Qualifying Examination is administered using multiple versions. Any given candidate is unlikely to receive the same version of the examination as another candidate. To ensure a fair examination result for all candidates a statistical process called equating is applied following the examination. This ensure that the Board’s passing score remains the same for all candidates. The score resulting from equating is not a percent correct, rather, it is a scaled score that ranges from 0 to 100 and does not include field test items. In addition to the field-testing process, each question receives a thorough review before it is used in scoring the examination. Questions that do not meet ABEM quality standards are not used in determining candidates’ final scores. The entire scoring process is fully and independently replicated. As such, ABEM does not provide a hand score or rescore service for a fee since, in the interests of fairness to all test takers, it has already been performed.

Determining a Passing Score

Best practice in testing suggests that the passing score for an examination be substantially connected to the content and performance standards defined by the EM Model and KSAs.

In order to maintain this connection, the passing score is typically reviewed every five to seven years, or when the format or content of the exam changes significantly (such as when the EM Model or KSAs are revised). The process involves a representative panel of clinically active, ABEM-certified emergency physicians who are trained in a process called “standard setting.” This process requires the participating physicians to thoroughly understand ABEM’s EM Model and KSAs. The panelists then evaluate each test question and assess how a candidate who meets the ABEM standard would perform. The panel then recommends a passing standard (score) to the Board. The Board weighs this recommendation and uses it to determine a final passing score. The passing score for the Qualifying Exam was last examined in 2019 and was determined to be a score of 77 out of 100.

2023 Qualifying Exam Scoring FAQs

Understanding Standard Setting

Statement on Research

ABEM reserves the right to conduct and report research studies of its examinations and its examination data to benefit the specialty and for purposes of quality control and examination development. Individually identifiable candidate information will never be reported as part of the research. Your right to confidentiality will be strictly upheld.

ABEM also reserves the right to include, in any examination, certain questions or cases for the purposes of research and validation. These items will not be used in scoring for certification.