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Candidate Email 05-08-20

Dear Candidates,

This week, I’m pleased to bring you some thoughtful advice from a few of our expert Oral Exam Item Writers and Examiners who are eager to share their experiences and insights with you. In this fourth video of our weekly series, you’ll also meet some of the ABO staff members working behind the scenes on your examination experience.


A special thank you to Drs. John Chen, Tamara Fountain, Francesca Giliberti, Kelly Green, and Brian Welcome for their participation in this video.

What’s New

By the time this email reaches your inbox, we will have completed staff testing on our Virtual Oral Exam 2020 (VOE20) prototype. Completing this step successfully will enable us to advance as planned next week to testing our online exam delivery system with a small group of diplomate volunteers who will be asked to provide feedback on our exam security measures, content delivery procedures, and the overall test-taker experience.

What’s Stayed the Same

As we’ve noted previously, you won’t need to repeat the registration process. And if you’re unable to take the examination this year, we’ll extend your seven-year board eligibility period by an additional year. We have also committed to retaining the case-based structure of the examination.

What to Expect Next

Next week, I’ll share some details about my own exam prototype testing experience with you to give you a better sense of what you can expect down the road. Some of you have asked for information about specifics, like the timing of exam sessions and the tools we’ll use to display the videos and photographs associated with certain questions. Please know that we are not withholding this information from you for no reason. Rather, we are working to confirm that our plans, including the timing and delivery methods we’ve selected, work as intended in simulated testing scenarios and meet the approval of your peers in the ophthalmic community before we finalize them. More soon and thank you.


George B. Bartley, MD
Chief Executive Officer