ABR moves to virtual Core Exam

Announcement delivered by the American Board of Radiology today includes radiology, radiation oncology, and medical physics

The new virtual format is a welcome relief for residents, although VR goggles may not be involved.

June 22, 2020

Tucson — The American Board of Radiology (ABR) announced earlier today in an email to candidates and program directors that its board examinations will move to a virtual online format beginning in 2021. This represents a major shift for the organization from just weeks ago when the ABR leadership expressed reservations on moving to a virtual format. The news comes as a major victory for resident physicians and fellows in radiology and radiation oncology, including the newly formed Multispecialty Early Radiologic Career Coalition (MERCC). The full text of this announcement is included below.

— Orbit Staff

DATE: June 22, 2020

TO: ABR Candidates, Program Chairs, Program Directors, ABR Volunteers, ABR Advisory Committees and Candidate Stakeholder Groups

FROM: American Board of Radiology Board of Governors

RE: ABR Moving to Virtual Exams

We appreciate the constructive feedback regarding our 2020 exam schedule and recognize the significant impact that test postponements have had on our candidates, their loved ones and families, and their training programs. We have seen and heard legitimate concerns from candidates, program directors, department chairs, and other stakeholders, and have considered many options to safely administer our exams in the least disruptive fashion while preserving their integrity. Our deliberations and decisions were largely based on our obligation to accommodate those most affected by the pandemic. The health of candidates, volunteers, staff, and the public is our highest priority. In consideration of these concerns, the ABR is moving all currently unscheduled and future oral and computer-based exams to virtual platforms beginning in the first half of 2021, which is the earliest we can confidently deliver these exams without potential delays.

Diagnostic Radiology (DR)

For DR, the Core Exam will be administered remotely in February 2021 for the candidates who would have taken the 2020 exams and in June 2021 for the rising R3 candidates as originally planned. We will also use a virtual platform for the DR Certifying Exam, which will be administered twice in 2021. In addition, we will deliver the RISE and Subspecialty exams virtually in 2021. We will engage our various stakeholder groups to provide input on the final dates and details for these exams.

Interventional Radiology/Diagnostic Radiology (IR/DR)

For IR/DR, the Core Exam will be administered remotely in February 2021 for the candidates who would have taken the 2020 exams and in June 2021 for the rising R3 candidates as originally planned. We will also use a virtual platform for both the written and oral portions of the IR/DR Certifying Exam, which will be administered twice in 2021. We will engage our various stakeholder groups to provide input on the final dates and details for these exams.

Medical Physics (MP)

For MP, the Part 1 and Part 2 exams are still scheduled for Pearson VUE centers on December 7–8, 2020, with the expectation that Pearson VUE centers will be open at that time. However, we are watching the situation closely. In 2021, all MP Part 1 and Part 2 exams will be given virtually rather than at Pearson VUE centers. We will be administering all MP Part 3 exams as virtual oral exams, starting in the first half of 2021. We will engage our various stakeholder groups to provide input on the final dates and details for these exams.

Radiation Oncology (RO)

For RO, the radiation biology and physics and clinical exams are still scheduled for Pearson VUE centers on December 7–8, 2020, with the expectation that Pearson VUE centers will be open at that time. However, we are watching the situation closely. In 2021, all RO qualifying exams will be given virtually rather than at Pearson VUE centers. We will be administering all RO oral certifying exams as virtual oral exams, starting in the first half of 2021. We will engage our various stakeholder groups to provide input on the final dates and details for these exams.

We apologize for the disruption caused by these exam postponements. After further conversations with stakeholders, we will share final dates and virtual delivery methods for exams in the first half of 2021 by August 1, 2020, or sooner. We are committed to this new paradigm for future exams and look forward to working with our stakeholders on implementation. We thank you for your patience as we work together through this unprecedented public health challenge.

Anyone with questions may contact an ABR certification manager at information@theabr.org or (520) 790–2900.

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