Primary Certification

Virtual Part II Examination FAQ


What are the dates for the virtual Part II Examination?
There will be multiple administrations of the virtual Part II Examination in 2020:

  • September 12-13, 2020
  • October date(s) TBD
  • November date(s) TBD

We hope to finalize the October and November administration dates soon. Please plan to block out these dates on your calendar once they are announced, since the schedules for these administrations won’t be finalized right away.

When will I know my scheduled date and time?
Having secured our oral examiners for September, we are currently working on scheduling candidates for the first administration (Sept. 12-13) only. We will likely complete that process in the next few weeks.

If you are a candidate for the first administration, you will get a Schedule Notice; if you are not, you will be notified that you will be scheduled for a future administration.

Can I request a specific date or tell you when I’m not available?
At this time, you may submit notification if you are unavailable for the September administration only. Once we release the other dates, you may notify us of any other conflicts.

But before you do, remember: you’ll only need to plan about 2-3 hours for your entire examination, and we cannot accommodate all conflict notices. We understand this year has been full of changes, but we urge you to prioritize your examination date and time above other commitments once you’re scheduled.

How are you selecting candidates for each administration?
With the exception of those also taking a subspecialty examination this year, candidates will be randomly assigned to an exam date. Subspecialty candidates are being scheduled in coordination with their other exam date.

Why does it take so long to set the schedules?
Several steps need to take place in succession, including securing enough examiners (this has been complex with the change in dates and format), triple-checking examiner/candidate conflicts, scheduling examinations in succession, accounting for candidate and examiner breaks, and many more factors. Changing the exam to a virtual administration introduced several more decisions and complications that make scheduling a challenge this year. We appreciate your patience!

What about subspecialty exam candidates, like sports medicine, pain medicine, and others?
We have a plan for you! As a first step, please make sure you have applied for your subspecialty examination. The ABPMR doesn’t have a way to track you once you enter fellowship, so we rely on applications to identify you.

Specifically, Sports Medicine Examination candidates need to apply by June 30, 2020, in order to be placed in the correct Part II Examination administration.

Once you have applied, we will send you information specific to your exam and ensure that you are scheduled in the Part II administration that coordinates with your exam.

If I fail the September administration, can I take Part II again in October or November 2020?
No. Candidates have one attempt per year. If you fail anytime in 2020, you'll be able to reapply for the 2021 examination.


What equipment will I need for my exam?
You will need:

  • A fast internet connection (one that works well for streaming services, for example)
  • A computer with a built-in or external webcam, microphone, and speakers/headphones

Where should I plan to take my exam?
Find a quiet, distraction-free location with a strong internet connection. This could be in your home or in an office with a door.

What should I do about distractions during the exam?
We suggest minimizing distractions as much as possible! This may mean that you’ll need to send family members and pets away during your exam time, or perhaps you can otherwise arrange others’ coming and going. Making these arrangments may help you concentrate and do your best during the exam.

Where can I find more details about how the new virtual format will work?
We’re learning about the platform logistics now and will be updating our website soon with lots of new information on the virtual exam format and what to expect. We hope to have the information live on our website by sometime in July.

How should I prepare for the exam?
You should prepare the way you were preparing for the in-person exam (minus the travel arrangments). The virtual Part II Examination process will still include multiple patient vignettes which you’ll be asked to manage through a variety of independently scored domains.

Originally Published: June 19, 2020