Next Part I Exam

August 13, 2018

Part I Certification Examination

The First Step to Board Certification

Serving as the capstone to your residency training, the ABPMR Part I Examination is designed to assess your medical knowledge across the spectrum of physical medicine and rehabilitation.

Administered as a computer-based test on a single date at Pearson Professional Centers across the country, the Part I Examination assesses the knowledge and skills of candidates in a psychometrically valid manner.

Please note that the information on this page is a summary. For complete information about residency training, requirements, eligibility, and applying for the exam, please download the Certification Booklet of Information.

If you have any questions after reviewing this information, please contact the board office here.

The Exam

  • 325 questions
  • Two 3-hour sections
  • 60 minute break between sections
  • 6 hours active testing + tutorial and break

Step By Step

Part I Examination - Timeline

  • 1

    Meet all requirements to apply for the examination (see the Certification Booklet of Information for more details)

  • 2

    Apply for the Part I Examination by logging into the ABPMR website

  • 3

    Receive admissibility notice from ABPMR via email with instructions to register for the examination

  • 4

    Register for an examination seat at a Pearson Professional Center near you (register early; spaces fill quickly following admissibility notices and you may have to choose a testing center in another city)

  • 5

    Take the examination

  • 6

    Get your results in 6-8 weeks

For complete information on examination eligibility and application requirements, read the ABPMR Booklet of Information regarding primary and subspecialty certification.

Download Booklet of Information

Exam Dates & Fees

Application Windows & Fees

November 1, 2017 - January 31, 2018

  • $795 Examination Fee
  • $600 Processing Fee

February 1 - February 28, 2018

  • $795 Examination Fee
  • $600 Processing Fee
  • $500 Late Fee



Exam Date

August 13, 2018

About Pearson VUE

The Pearson Professional Testing Center environment

The ABPMR works with Pearson VUE, a computer-based testing vendor, to administer the Part I Examination at multiple locations across the country simultaneously. There are several rules and regulations from the ABPMR and Pearson that all candidates must follow to ensure examination security for everyone. The regulations include but are not limited to:

  • Electronic items such as mobile phones and tablets, as well as any test preparation or reference materials, are not allowed in the Pearson building
  • Personal items such as watches, wallets, purses, bags, and pens are not allowed in the testing room
  • You will be monitored by video and audio recording at all times
  • You are allowed to take unscheduled breaks during the exam by raising your hand for test administrator assistance; the exam timer will keep running
  • You are not allowed to leave the building for any reason during an unscheduled break

For a complete list of regulations, as well as notes on the facilities, seating arrangements, and computer you will use, please download and read our Preparing for your ABPMR Examination PDF.

Part I Overview

How the Exam Works

Before you start your exam, you’ll be able to take a self-paced tutorial at your computer station to become familiar with the format and logistics of the computer-based exam. You can view the same tutorial prior to the exam date at

The Part I Certification Examination consists of 325 questions, divided into a three-hour morning section (165 questions) and a three-hour afternoon section (160 questions).

All exam questions are multiple-choice format; the content is broad based and will provide an opportunity for making judgments and solving problems, as well as identifying correct facts and principles. Question types will vary from fact recall to complex diagnostic or treatment considerations. Regardless of question type, each question has four options (A-D) and only one best answer.

Preparing for Exam Day

You’ve been preparing for the content of the exam; it’s worth preparing for the logistics so you don’t have to be nervous about those. Here are a few tips:

  • Map out your route to the testing center and be sure you have a backup plan. Plan to arrive 30 minutes prior to the scheduled session. If you’re more than 15 minutes late, you won’t be able to take the exam.
  • Bring two forms of identification, including at least one government-issued identification with your signature and recent photograph. The other form of identification must have your signature. Both forms must match your name on file with the ABPMR.
  • Listen to the instructions from the test center administrator and ask questions if needed.
  • You’ll be able to mark questions you’d like to go back and review at the end of each section. Once you complete the morning section, you will not be able to re-enter that section during the afternoon section.
  • Pearson VUE facilities do not have any food or dining facilities; make plans to bring a lunch or get something nearby.
  • You have agreed not to discuss the exam content with anyone; exam security breaches are taken extremely seriously. Don’t jeopardize your hard work by talking with colleagues or friends about the questions you saw on the exam.