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How to Prepare for the American Board of Ophthalmology Certification Exam

Updated on January 19, 2012

The American Board of Ophthalmology creates the ophthalmology exam. Those who have a state medical license use this test for board certification. The Board and some third parties provide a number of prep tools for the ophthalmology license test.

There are two parts to the ophthalmology exam: a written portion (Written Qualifying Exam) and an oral portion. Candidates must first pass the written portion before being accepted for and scheduling the oral ophthalmology licensing test.

The American Board of Ophthalmology is not very helpful at explaining exactly how to study for this exam. Keep in mind that you must graduate from medical school and attend an internship and residency before you can even become a licensed ophthalmologist. This means that, by the time you will have reached the point to take the ophthalmology board exam, you should have a growing list of ophthalmology textbooks and other reference materials. The reference books that you accumulate are going to be the major sources of the things tested on the board's exam.

The Board does supply a very general ophthalmology exam content outline. The topics covered include cornea and external disease/the lens and cataract, eyelids, lacrimal system and orbit, glaucoma, neuro-ophthalmology, ophthalmic pathology, optics and refraction, pediatric ophthalmology and strabismus, and retina, vitreous, and uvea.

Consult your ophthalmology books and go through each topic one at a time. One way to prepare is to create your own expanded outline with all the relevant information for each portion of this ophthalmology exam. You can then save a lot of time later flipping through the books to review each topic covered on the test.

Take this exam seriously, as the registration fee is $1650 and up to $1950 if registering late. That is for the ophthalmology WQE only.

The oral exam is administered to those ophthalmologists who pass the written exam. This part of the exam is like a mock series of patient visits. The test taker must show that he can apply his ophthalmology knowledge to a real patient. The content outline and specifics for what is tested on the oral portion of this exam can be found in the American Board of Ophthalmology's Certification Brochure. There is an additional cost for the oral exam of $1650.

Resources:

American Board of Ophthalmology: Certification Brochure for Ophthalmology Test Takers

ABO: Ophthalmology Exam Practice Questions

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