Oral Examination Content Outline

The American Board of Ophthalmology has developed a content outline for the Oral Examination. The purpose of the content outline is to outline the list of examination topic areas that will be covered on the Oral Examination. Pursuant to exam development best practices, the content outline is reviewed every 3-5 years to ensure it stays relevant to current practice. 

About the Oral Examination Content Outline

Development of the content outline adhered to psychometric guidelines for exam development and relied primarily on existing evidence-based literature and expert consensus. In 2016, the ABO conducted a practice analysis survey of diplomates with diversity in gender, age, practice type, and geography. The purpose of the survey was to gather feedback on the relative importance of each of the examination topic areas. This information was aggregated and used to calculate the relative weight assigned to each of the topic areas.

Update December 2020: In 2020, the Oral Examination changed from delivery of up to 10 Patient Management Problems (PMPs) to 7 PMPs per subject. As a result, a group of Optics and Refractive subject matter experts condensed the topics areas from seven into three in order to build appropriate parallel test forms for 2021. A group of diplomates were surveyed to provide their feedback on the relative importance of the three subdomains which was used to calculate the assigned weight to each.

Using this Document

The Board recommends that candidates look to this outline as a starting point for building a personalized program of review; however, this document is not intended to serve as a comprehensive study guide. As an independent standard-setting and assessment organization, the ABO neither requires nor endorses the purchase of particular study guides, tools, or texts. (Additional information about the source material for this exam can be found in the Examination Topics section of the Candidate Manual.)

For further assistance locating preparation materials, the ABO suggests talking to peers and colleagues about what resources they have used and found most helpful or contacting a professional society such as the American Academy of Ophthalmology or a subspecialty organization for advice, recommendations, and information about their educational materials.

The Oral Examination Content Outline is available as a PDF

Providing Feedback

The American Board of Ophthalmology is committed to the continuous improvement of its assessment tools and processes for certification. Suggested updates for the next version of the Oral Examination Content Outline may be sent to ContentOutline@abop.org. Comments must reference the specific section of the outline to which you are referring and provide a source/documentation for the content you are recommending. All comments will be directed to the appropriate review committee. General questions about the certification process and examinations should be sent to info@abop.org.