Examination Day Overview


  • If you are not staying at the examination hotel, please check with the concierge regarding your options for parking or transportation.
  • The Board provides snacks and beverages including coffee during your examination window, but does not arrange pre- or post-examination meals for candidates. Please check with the concierge for restaurant recommendations.
  • Make the necessary arrangements to arrive promptly to your scheduled re-registration appointment to retrieve important information and scheduling information from Board Staff about your examination.

On 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 schedule15 minutes prior to the start of your examination for a brief orientation provided by an American Board of Ophthalmology Director.
  • 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.
  • Coffee, light snacks, 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 will be asked to leave the examination floor immediately. 

On-Site Candidate Orientation

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

  • To prevent bias, please do not disclose to your Examiners where, when or with whom you trained or where you are currently practicing.
  • There may be more than one Examiner in a room and the Board Director 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.
  • 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 the designated restroom in the coffee break room on this floor.
  • In the unlikely event of a technical issue during your examination, there are ABO troubleshooters available; you will not be penalized for any missed time.
  • Your Examiners will guide 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; differentials and the most likely diagnosis; management; and any other aspects of patient care pertinent to the PMP presented. The Examiner may 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. It is how the Examiner covers the material needed for the exam. Do not worry about the number of cases you need to complete. Your Examiner will ensure that you complete the necessary material so that you do your best.
  • As much as the Examiners would like to provide positive feedback, there should be no visible reaction from your Examiners. Also, your Examiners may or may not make notes, and 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 can, but you cannot go back to it and it is counted as a failed PMP. Remember, you may not finish all the PMPs.
  • Your interaction with the tablet is minimal.  You will sign your name at the start of each exam and 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.
  • Lastly, there can be no discussion about the exam in the hallways or common areas between examinations because a) materials are copyrighted and b) this compromises the outcome of the exam. Reproducing any portion of exam is a federal offense