Modifications to the EM MCQ Examination Blueprint

Jul 17, 2019

The examination blueprint provides the structure for constructing all of ABEM’s EM MCQ examinations. It defines the content and number of items on examinations based on their relative importance to practice. Content areas that are more important to practice, based on either their frequency, or the clinical significance, receive more weight, meaning there are more items on those topics on the examination. The current examination blueprint was approved in 2013 and has been used for exam development since fall 2014.

Modifications to the blueprint are the result of a job analysis which was conducted in the fall of 2018, to ensure that ABEM’s examination content is up-to-date and reflects current EM practice. To have some level of independence, participants who have not previously been associated with ABEM in any volunteer capacity were selected to participate on this advisory panel. In addition, volunteers were selected to be reflective of the field in terms of demographics and practice type. The group made recommendations for changes to the content categories based on their own practice as well as their awareness of changes in the field at large.

The panel’s recommended changes to the blueprint were approved by the Board of Directors at its winter 2019 meeting. The proposed revision to the blueprint is shown below and will be used to construct new EM MCQ examinations beginning in the fall of 2020.

ABEM Examination Blueprint Changes

 EM Model Category




 Signs, Symptoms, and Presentations  10%  9%  1%
 Abdominal & Gastrointestinal Disorders  7%  8%  -1%
 Cardiovascular Disorders  10% 10%  0%
 Cutaneous Disorders  3% 1% 2% 
 Endocrine, Metabolic, & Nutritional Disorders  5% 2%  3% 
 Environmental Disorders  2% 3%  -1% 
 Head, Ear, Eye, Nose, & Throat Disorders  4% 5%  -1% 
 Hematologic Disorders  3% 2% 1% 
 Immune System Disorders  2% 2%  0% 
 Systemic Infectious Disorders 7%  5%  2% 
 Musculoskeletal Disorders (Nontraumatic)  3% 3% 0% 
 Nervous System Disorders  6% 5% 1% 
 Obstetrics and Gynecology 3%  4%  -1% 
 Psychobehavioral Disorders 2%  4%  -2% 
 Renal and Urogenital Disorders 3%  3%  0% 
 Thoracic-Respiratory Disorders 7%  8%  -1% 
 Toxicologic Disorders 4%  5%  -1% 
 Traumatic Disorders 9%  10%  -1% 
 Procedures & Skills Integral to the Practice of EM 8%  8%  0% 
 Other Core Competencies of the Practice of EM 2%  3%  -1% 

  • Stay Certified
  • Become Certified
  • Program Directors
  • About ABEM