Exam Day

Part II Examination

Exam Logistics

If you've passed Part I of the American Board of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation certifying examinations, congratulations—it's now time to move on to Part II.

As the final step to earning your board certification in physical medicine and rehabilitation, the ABPMR Part II Examination goes beyond a test of knowledge.

Rather than selecting from a set of options as in the Part I Examination, Part II candidates apply the medical knowledge they’ve accumulated over their training to manage specific patient scenarios in an interactive setting.

The Part II Exam tests how a candidate applies their medical knowledge in the competencies taught in residency training including data acquisition, problem solving, patient management, systems-based practice, and interpersonal and communication skills.

What to Expect

Your Part II Exam

  • Before the Exam
    • Apply to Take the Exam

      The ABPMR Part II Exam is administered annually around mid-May at the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minnesota.

      Log In to Apply

      Apply for the Part II Exam by logging in to your physician homepage. The system will walk you through the process of submitting required documents and fees before the deadline.

      Admission Card

      In February, you will receive a Part II procedure notice via email which includes your admission card with the date and time of your examination session. Print and keep this card, as you must present the admission card at check-in on the day of the exam.

    • Make Travel Arrangements

      Allow Extra Travel Time

      After receiving details of your examination date and time, it’s time to make your travel and hotel arrangements. We recommend arriving in Rochester, Minnesota, one full day before your examination date in order to get acclimated and allow for any unforeseen travel delays.

      Each candidate makes his or her own air/ground transportation and hotel arrangements. The ABPMR offers discounted airfare through Delta; to take advantage of those rates, please contact Travel Leaders at 800-533-2012, or learn more here. Travelers may fly into the Minneapolis-St. Paul Airport (MSP) or the Rochester Airport (RST). Shuttles are available to and from each airport.

      Book a Hotel

      The ABPMR has negotiated discount rates with a Rochester hotel (the Hilton Garden Inn, 225 S. Broadway, 1-800-HILTONS), but there are several hotels in Rochester that are within walking distance of the examination site.

      Find the Exam Location

      Before the day of the examination, be sure to know how to get to the exam site which is on the 5th floor of the Mayo Building, on the Mayo Clinic Campus, located at 200 1st Street Southwest. Plan on arriving 30 minutes prior to your scheduled exam time.

    • Prepare for the Exam

      View Videos

      Watch the “What to Expect” video to learn more about the location and protocol of the exam. View the video vignettes on the ABPMR website to understand what to expect during the oral examination.

      Tips for How to Approach the Exam

      When preparing for the exam, we recommend you practice different patient management scenarios with a mentor or study partner. Keep these tips in mind for how to approach the exam:

      • Approach the examination systematically. Be thorough and clear about the specific information you are requesting, as well as the procedures or actions you will take.
      • Keep answers specific. Focus on responding to questions with relevant, accurate, and content-appropriate statements.
      • Speak precisely and at a moderate pace. Examiners document your answers in their notes. In order that your answers can be accurately documented, do not speak too quickly.
      • Listen to the examiner’s cues. During the examination, you will give and receive information. The cues from the examiner are intended to give you the information necessary to manage the patient. The examiner will not ask trick questions. All examiner information is pertinent and designed to guide you through the examination.
      • Know that unavailable information is unnecessary to manage the case. If you ask for specific information, such as results of a test or findings of a physical examination, and the examiner states that information is not available, simply proceed to manage the patient as you normally would without that piece of information. You can trust that the unavailable information is not needed to manage the patient.

      Exam Scoring

      Your performance on each vignette is evaluated using the performance criteria described within the following domains:

      • Data acquisition
      • Problem solving
      • Patient management
      • Systems-based practice
      • Interpersonal and communication skills

      For an in-depth description, read this information regarding Examination Domains.

  • On Exam Day
    • Arriving

      Arrive early

      Plan to arrive at the Mayo Building 30 minutes prior to the start time of the exam. Late arrival may result in the loss of your examination seat. Enter the building on the east side and go to the 5th floor to check in. Many of the hotels are within walking distance and plenty of street parking is available in the area.

      Leave some items behind

      Besides your admission card, you are not required to bring any supplies to the exam. All supplies needed to complete the examination will be provided. Scratch paper and pencils will be available for you to take notes during the exam, but must remain in the examination room.

    • Pre-Check Desk

      Verify Schedule Notice

      Upon arriving on the 5th floor, you’ll first check in at the pre-check desk. There, ABPMR staff will verify the date and time of your examination on the Schedule Notice and collect any prohibited items you may have brought with you. You will be able to store personal items if you have not already secured them prior to arriving at the exam site.

      Health-related items such as eyeglasses and hearing aids are allowed in the examination room but may be inspected during the check-in process.

      Prohibited Items

      Prohibited items include, but are not limited to:

      • Computers
      • Cell phones
      • Key fobs
      • Pagers
      • Wallets
      • Watches
      • Audio recording devices
      • Any other electronic device or information storage system
      • Notepaper
      • Cameras
      • Pens
      • Books
      • Study materials
      • Luggage
      • Tie tacks
      • Briefcases
      • Purses
      • Food or drink

      Limited Restrooms Available

      Note regarding restrooms: There are limited restrooms available in the waiting area/lobby after you check in. More restrooms are available in the examination area. We strongly recommend using the restrooms located near the pre-check desk upon arrival to the 5th floor.

    • Check-In Procedures

      Admit Card

      Following pre-check, you’ll proceed to the check-in desk. At check-in, you will present your admission card to ABPMR staff. If you do not have your admission card, you will be asked to provide a photo ID (eg, a valid driver’s license or passport).

      Policies and Name Tag

      ABPMR staff will remind you of policies and procedures for your examination session and you will also receive your name tag with exam times and room locations on the back.

    • Orientation and Exam Procedures


      Immediately prior to your exam start time, all candidates will have a mandatory orientation given by the ABPMR Part II Examination Committee Chair. The orientation serves as a reminder of information you’ve already received.

      Line Up with Your Group

      A few minutes before your first exam session begins, you will be asked to move to the group indicated on your name tag. Each group will be escorted to the hallway where the exam rooms are located.

      Finding Exam Rooms

      You will find the first exam room listed on the back of your name tag and stand outside the room until you hear the chime indicating that you may enter the room and begin the first 40-minute exam. A chime will also ring when each exam session has ended. ABPMR staff will be on hand to assist you with finding your rooms for the second and third exam sessions.

    • Breaks During the Exam

      Breaks Between Exams

      You have a five-minute break between each 40-minute exam session. Feel free to use the restroom between exams. There are three restrooms available in the examination area. Bottles of water will also be available.

      Listen for Chimes

      After each break, you will wait outside of your next examination room until the chime sounds, indicating you may enter.

  • After the Exam Day

    Exiting the Exam Area

    After leaving the last examination room, you will be escorted by ABPMR staff to exit the exam area. You will be guided to the personal items check-out area, where you can pick up any personal items you checked before the exam.

    We remind you not to share, ask or discuss the content of the exam with anyone, per the agreement you signed before the examination.

    Email with Survey Link

    During the exam, you will receive an email from the ABPMR reminding you of the binding agreements you signed, as well as a link to a post-exam survey. We encourage you to complete the survey; the board seriously considers your feedback.

    Exam Results

    Exam results typically are released six to eight weeks after an exam administration. You will be notified by email when results are viewable electronically (by logging into your ABPMR.org account).


    Candidates who pass the exam will receive their certificates approximately 4-5 months after the exam.