23F Oral Examination Report

American Board of Ophthalmology Announces October 2023 Oral Exam Results, Welcomes 237 New Diplomates

November 29, 2023

The American Board of Ophthalmology announced today that scoring has been completed for the Fall 2023 Oral Examination which was administered online to 297 candidates over 3 days in 6 sessions. All candidates completed the examination. There were no breaches of exam security.


  • 237 of 297 candidates passed for an overall pass rate of 79.8%.
  • 216 candidates took the exam for the first time; 180 passed (83.3%).
  • 81 candidates repeated the exam; 57 passed (70.4%).

About Scoring & Results

Scoring for the Oral Examination is based on a candidate’s ability to appropriately diagnose and manage the patients described in the 42 clinical scenarios presented, all of which are equally weighted. Results are based on whether each candidate meets the overall passing standard. Scores are not adjusted in relation to how well other candidates perform, and though statistically unlikely, this method makes it possible for all candidates to pass the exam provided they meet the standard.

The current passing standard was set in 2021 and will be maintained until the next passing standard study, which occurs approximately every five years. The standard is set by a group of practicing, board-certified ophthalmologists selected to represent diversity in gender, practice area, time since initial certification, practice environment, and geographical location. The process is overseen by a psychometrician who is trained in defensible standard-setting practices supported by research. The passing standard is not released.

Between passing standard studies, the passing standard is maintained through a psychometrically validated equating process. This process accounts for the 4-6-week interval between an exam administration and the release of results.

As a final quality assurance measure before scores are finalized, a key validation process is performed. This process considers the performance of all test items (PMPs), flags any potentially underperforming items, and sends them for re-review by subject matter experts to confirm correctness and fairness. If an item is determined to be flawed, it is removed from scoring.

Next Steps

Candidates seeking to re-take the Oral Examination in the spring may register online until December 15, 2023. Requests for rescoring, which is limited to re-confirming that no errors have been made in the calculation of candidate scores, must be submitted in writing to the Board Office.

The ABO congratulates the 237 ophthalmologists who are now Diplomates of the American Board of Ophthalmology with a 10-year, time-limited certificate expiring 12/31/2033.