Ensuring Fairness and Equity

Keeping ABPMR Examinations Secure

The ability to assure the public of our diplomates' knowledge and skills is central to the mission of the ABPMR. Because the main way we measure knowledge and skills is through secure examinations, keeping those exams secure is one of the most important things we do.

Exam security means taking all steps necessary to ensure candidates cannot and do not cheat on ABPMR examinations. This includes efforts such as monitoring candidates during examinations, forensic data analysis, confidential reports, and more.

When applying for an examination, all ABPMR examination candidates are required to abide by our Examination Irregularity Policy, Nondisclosure Policy, and Cooperation Agreement. Click here to read these policies in full.

Consequences For Sharing Information

The exam security policies stipulate that you cannot share any examination content or questions with anyone before, during, or after an examination under any circumstance. It's natural to want to talk to others about an important event like board exams, but please remember the consequences for doing so:

You could, just by chatting with a friend about a question on the exam, invalidate your board certification, get barred from future examinations, and jeopardize your future in physiatry.

You've worked so hard for so long to achieve board certification, then to maintain it over your career. Don’t throw away your board certification and all that entails over a casual conversation with serious consequences.

Reporting an Incident of Exam Irregularity

Ensuring the security and integrity of board exams is one of the most important things we do at the ABPMR. Like you, we believe no physiatrist should enjoy an unfair advantage when it comes to board certification. If you witness a candidate sharing secure examination information, you may choose to report your experience either confidentially or anonymously by using the form below.

Confidential vs Anonymous Reporting - What’s the Difference?

When you report confidentially, you provide ABPMR with information about both the potential wrongdoing and/or observed incident, as well as some information about yourself. This includes things like your name, contact information and how you have come to know about this wrongdoing. We may follow up with you for more information, but we will always keep your information and identity secure.

In confidential reporting, the inclusion of information like one’s identity helps to guide a potential investigation. In this situation, the ABPMR can confirm sources, ask follow-up questions, and even work together with the confidential reporter to gather more information. This way, the investigator can confirm claims easier and faster as they know who they can talk to during their investigation.

Anonymous reporting is different in that your personal information is not provided with the complaint. The downside is that it is a bit more difficult for the ABPMR to assess the credibility of the complaint. The investigation is limited to the information that is submitted so the investigator must go out and look for additional sources. Thus, leads are harder to find and follow. Because of the anonymity involved, these types of complaints are much less likely to be verified and acted on.

Reporting Unethical Behavior

We want to hear about incidents of potential cheating or exam irregularity but reports of other types of unprofessional behaviors are best handled by a state medical board. ABPMR does not have the authority to investigate or adjudicate behaviors unrelated to exams; individual state medical boards have primary investigatory power and responsibility to regulate practice.

To file a complaint against a physician or medical specialist, contact your state medical board. The Directory of State Medical and Osteopathic Boards can be accessed from the Federation of State Medical Boards (FSMB) website.

From the Executive Director

On Exam Security

Security & Exam Results

A Note on Security Measures and Exam Results

Have you ever wondered why it takes several weeks for the ABPMR to release examination results, even from computer-based tests? It's all about ensuring exam reliability, validity, and security.

Following initial data formatting, item review, and key validation, the ABPMR conducts additional exam security tests following each examination administration. This includes forensic data analysis of candidates in the same residency training programs, candidates taking the exam at the same testing center, comparing past examination performance, and other response pattern analysis designed to detect irregular behavior.

For this reason, the ABPMR releases exam results four to six weeks following the exam date. For more details on the behind-the-scenes steps involved, read the News Center article Why Exam Results Take Weeks to Release.