The Cognitive Examination

 Adobe Spark (37)

Examination Overview

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Diplomates must successfully pass the Demonstration of Ophthalmic Cognitive Knowledge (DOCK) Examination once during their 10-year MOC cycle. The DOCK examination tests clinically relevant fundamental knowledge in ophthalmology as well as self-selected practice-related knowledge. The exam is based on the MOC Content Outline, a curriculum of clinically relevant ophthalmic knowledge developed by hundreds of practicing ophthalmologists.


  • The DOCK is a secure, proctored, 150-item computer-based exam that takes approximately four hours to complete. The exam consists of one 50-item module on Core Ophthalmic Knowledge and two 50-item modules chosen by you from a list of practice emphasis areas. You are encouraged to select modules in the areas of clinical practice most relevant to you.
  • All diplomates must complete the DOCK once in 10 years. Please refer to the specific DOCK requirements in your personalized MOC Status Table to determine the years in which you are eligible to register for the DOCK.
  • The content of the DOCK  is based on the MOC Content Outline, a curriculum of clinically relevant practice-related knowledge, and also includes topics in patient safety, environment of medical practice, and ethics.  The content is developed and vetted by hundreds of volunteer practicing ophthalmologist volunteers.
  • The DOCK is a pass-fail examination with results based on the total percent correct of all 150 questions. It is necessary to achieve an overall passing grade based on the combined grades of all three modules. Unanswered questions are scored as incorrect; therefore, you are encouraged to answer every question.
  • The DOCK examination employs a criterion-referenced passing standard, which means it is possible for all examinees to pass the examination. The ABO does not release the passing standard for any exam forms.
  • Results are mailed to approximately eight weeks following the close of the September test window.

Exam Registration

  • Registration for the September DOCK is available annually until June 1. (Late registrations are accepted until August 1 accompanied by a $300 late fee.) 

Module Selection

  • All examinations include a 50-question module in Core Ophthalmic Knowledge.
  • At the time of registration, diplomates select two additional 50-question practice emphasis area modules for inclusion on their examination. 
  • Diplomates are given the option to select two modules within the same practice emphasis area or two different practice emphasis areas. However, there is currently only one module available for Refractive Management/Intervention and Uveitis.
      • Comprehensive Ophthalmology
      • Cataract/Anterior Segment
      • Cornea/External Disease
      • Glaucoma
      • Neuro-Ophthalmology and Orbit
      • Oculoplastics and Orbit
      • Pediatric Ophthalmology/Strabismus
      • Retina/Vitreous
      • Refractive Management/Intervention
      • Uveitis 


  • In late June, registered diplomates are sent an email from the ABO with instructions for scheduling a test appointment. The total examination appointment time is 3.5 hours which includes time for check-in, tutorial, optional 10-minute breaks between modules, optional closing survey, and check-out.


  • The DOCK examination is available by appointment on regular business days (including most Saturdays) throughout the entire month of September at Prometric Test Centers nationwide, enabling diplomates to take the DOCK in a location close to his/her home or practice.
  • To locate a list of test centers near you, visit Please note: exact locations are not available until approximately three months prior to the examination.
  • Beginning in 2017, you can choose to take the DOCK Examination from your home or office. Simply sign up by June 1 to schedule a test appointment anytime during the month of September. A computer or tablet with a camera and sufficient internet is required. Unsure if your computer meets the requirements for the remote proctored examination? Click here to test it out and watch the overview video, produced by the ABO's remote proctoring provider Proctor U. (The test will still be available at test centers in 2017.)

Special Accommodations: The ABO complies with the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) to mitigate the effects of an ADA-qualifying disability on the testing activity. To accommodate individuals with disabilities, the ABO will make reasonable modifications to its examinations that do not fundamentally alter the requirements of the examination or the measurement of the skills or knowledge the ABO examinations are intended to test. Click here to review the ABO's ADA policy and download the accommodation request form.