THE AMERICAN BOARD OF PATHOLOGY

A Member Board of the American Board of Medical Specialties

 

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Blood Banking/Transfusion Medicine

Description of Examination

The ABPath uses criterion-referenced tests for its certification examinations.
Criterion-referenced tests (CRTs) are intended to measure how well a person has learned a specific body of knowledge and skills. On a CRT, the passing or "cut-off" score is determined in advance by a committee of experts in the field. The candidate’s performance (i.e. mastery of the subject matter) is compared to the cut-off score and not to other test takers. Theoretically, all candidates could pass or fail depending on how they performed relative to the passing score. Driving tests are an example of CRTs because the goal is to see whether the test taker is skilled enough to be granted a driver’s license, not to see if one test taker is more skilled than another test taker. In contrast, norm-referenced tests (NRTs) compare test takers to each other. Scores are reported as a percentage rank with half scoring above and half below the mid-point. NRTs are designed to sort and rank students "on the curve," not to see if they met a standard or criterion. The ABPath does NOT use NRTs for its certification examinations.

Blood Banking/Transfusion Medicine

The examination in blood banking/transfusion medicine is a one-day, computer-based examination consisting of combined Written and Practical questions in each section of the examination. It is administered as follows:

Blood Banking/Transfusion Total # of Qs Total Time
Written/Practical (I, II, III) 310 7 Hrs

 

All questions are multiple-choice and in the one-best-answer format. The questions are designed to measure the candidate’s body of knowledge and problem-solving ability. The practical examination includes graphs, charts, formulas, diagrams, tables, or other images.

Subject areas covered include, but are not limited to:

  • Blood, Plasma, Components donor criteria; collection and storage; processing, labeling, and storage; indications for use; and consultation
  • Immunohematology, Genetics, Transplantation blood groups, antigen/antibody detection and identification, immune hemolytic anemias, hemolytic disease of the newborn, tissue and organ transplantation and consultation, compatibility testing, tissue banking
  • Transfusion Practices and Sequelae blood component therapy; specific clinical aspects, indications, and consultation; transfusion techniques; sequelae; and consultation
  • Hemapheresis, Donor Apheresis, Therapeutic Apheresis clinical indications and consultation, procedures and techniques, complications and consultations
  • History, Administration, Management, and Regulation AABB standards, FDA regulations, quality control and assurance, general management principles

Chemical Pathology

Daily Examination Schedule

 Subspecialty Exam Information and Daily Schedules will be provided as soon as applicable.

Description of Examination

The ABPath uses criterion referenced tests for its certification examinations.
Criterion-referenced tests (CRTs) are intended to measure how well a person has learned a specific body of knowledge and skills. On a CRT, the passing or "cut-off" score is determined in advance by a committee of experts in the field. The candidate’s performance (i.e. mastery of the subject matter) is compared to the cut-off score and not to other test takers. Theoretically, all candidates could pass or fail depending on how they performed relative to the passing score. Driving tests are an example of CRTs, because the goal is to see whether the test taker is skilled enough to be granted a driver’s license, not to see if one test taker is more skilled than another test taker. In contrast, norm-referenced tests (NRTs) compare test takers to each other. Scores are reported as a percentage rank with half scoring above and half below the mid-point. NRTs are designed to sort and rank students "on the curve," not to see if they met a standard or criterion. The ABPath does NOT use NRTs for its certification examinations.

Chemical Pathology
The examination in chemical pathology is a one-day, computer-based examination consisting of combined Written and Practical questions in each section of the examination. It is administered as follows:

Chemical Pathology Total # of Qs Total Time
Written/Practical (I, II) 300 7 Hrs

 

A candidate must pass both the written and the practical portions of the examination in the same administration in order to pass the examination. All questions are multiple-choice and in the one-best-answer format. The questions are designed to measure the candidate’s body of knowledge and problem-solving ability. The practical examination includes graphs, charts, formulas, diagrams, tables, or other images.

Subject areas covered include, but are not limited to:

  • Laboratory administrative and management requirements and practices
  • Patient preparation and specimen collection
  • Standards and units of measurement
  • Calculations and statistics
  • Quality control
  • Instrumentation and equipment
  • Analytic methods and techniques
  • Disorders of metabolism
  • Electrolyte and acid/base disorders
  • Serum protein and coagulation abnormalities
  • Chemical disorders and clinical aspects of organ and system diseases
  • Diagnostic application of laboratory data
  • Screening and home-testing procedures
  • Drug abuse, overdose, and testing
  • Patient care decision-making and consultation

Clinical Informatics

  • Certification in Clinical Informatics is a joint and equal function of the ABPath and the American Board of Preventive Medicine (ABPM).
  • Applications using practice/experience in lieu of training will be accepted through 2022.
  • Examinations are administered by the American Board of Preventive Medicine. 

 

Clinical Informatics Exam Application by Experience only

Exam Application by Experience 

Prometric Centers Examination Schedule Information

  • Examinations are administered by the American Board of Preventive Medicine.

Description of Examination/Blueprint

Examination Content Outline -content supplied by American Board of Preventive Medicine

 

Cytopathology

Daily Examination Schedule


Cytopathology

 

Description of Examination

The ABPath uses criterion-referenced tests for its certification examinations.
Criterion-referenced tests (CRTs) are intended to measure how well a person has learned a specific body of knowledge and skills. On a CRT, the passing or "cut-off" score is determined in advance by a committee of experts in the field. The candidate’s performance (i.e. mastery of the subject matter) is compared to the cut-off score and not to other test takers. Theoretically, all candidates could pass or fail depending on how they performed relative to the passing score. Driving tests are an example of CRTs, because the goal is to see whether the test taker is skilled enough to be granted a driver’s license, not to see if one test taker is more skilled than another test taker. In contrast, norm-referenced tests (NRTs) compare test takers to each other. Scores are reported as a percentage rank with half scoring above and half below the mid-point. NRTs are designed to sort and rank students "on the curve," not to see if they met a standard or criterion. The ABPath does NOT use NRTs for its certification examinations.

Cytopathology

The examination in cytopathology is a one-day, computer-based examination consisting of combined Written and Practical sections and Virtual Microscopy (VM) sections. There are no glass slides, only VM. The examination is administered as follows:

Cytopathology Total # of Qs Total Time
Written/Practical (I, II) 240 4 Hrs 45 Mins
Micro/Virtual 60 3 Hrs 30 Mins

 

All questions are multiple-choice, single-best answer format. The questions are designed to assess the candidate’s body of knowledge and problem-solving ability. Written questions include theoretical, practical, administrative, technical, and regulatory aspects of cytopathology relative to disease processes and patient care. The practical questions include interpretive and problem-solving aspects of cytopathology, including cytologic-histologic correlation. The microscopic examination requires using locator skills, diagnostic interpretation, and correlation with histologic and clinical findings. The glass slides are not dotted; candidates need to be prepared to screen the slides independently, in order to assess both locator and interpretive skills. Some of the virtual microscopy cervical/anal cytology slides will be dotted and some of the FNA and non-gynecologic slides may be dotted.

Subject areas include, but are not limited to:

Gynecologic Cytopathology

  • Sample collection, preparation and automation, and ancillary testing
  • Morphology of normal, reactive, infectious, and epithelial abnormalities
  • Bethesda System terminology for Reporting Cervical Cytology
  • Primary prevention of cervical cancer-HPV vaccines
  • Secondary prevention of cervical cancer: current screening and management guidelines from key organizations (ACS, USPSTF, ASCCP, etc.)

Non-gynecologic and Fine Needle Aspiration Cytopathology; all body sites

  • Sample collection (techniques, indications) and processing,
    • Specimen types-direct smears, liquid-based preparations, cell blocks, crush/squash preparations and touch imprints of core biopsies, and gross specimen bench scrapes (latter for microscopic slides)
    • Stains - air dried Romanowsky-type, alcohol fixed Papanicolaou and H&E stained preparations
  • Cytomorphology of normal, reactive, infectious, and neoplastic/malignant entities
  • Standardized cytopathology reporting terminology recommendations for thyroid, salivary gland, pancreaticobiliary, breast, urinary, serous fluid and respiratory cytology.
  • Ancillary studies (histochemical stains, immunochemical stains, flow cytometry, molecular, cytogenetic, and genomic testing)
  • Includes applicable
    • Clinical presentation, radiologic findings, disease associations, and prognostic significance
    • Pathogenesis, epidemiology, molecular/genetic changes
    • Clinical management including applicable professional guidelines (e.g. ATA etc.) and targeted therapies/ companion and complimentary diagnostics

 Laboratory Management/Administration

Laboratory accreditation requirements, quality assurance, safety, federal laws and agency regulations, competency, physician credentialing, Continuing Certification, litigation, validation, statistics relevant to health care, informatics, digital pathology, billing and coding

 

2021 Examination Blueprint

Cytopathology Exam Blueprint - For maximum viewing, download the pdf once you open it.

 

Dermatopathology

Description of Examination

The ABPath uses criterion-referenced tests for its certification examinations.
Criterion-referenced tests (CRTs) are intended to measure how well a person has learned a specific body of knowledge and skills. On a CRT, the passing or "cut-off" score is determined in advance by a committee of experts in the field. The candidate’s performance (i.e. mastery of the subject matter) is compared to the cut-off score and not to other test takers. Theoretically, all candidates could pass or fail depending on how they performed relative to the passing score. Driving tests are an example of CRTs, because the goal is to see whether the test taker is skilled enough to be granted a driver’s license, not to see if one test taker is more skilled than another test taker. In contrast, norm-referenced tests (NRTs) compare test takers to each other. Scores are reported as a percentage rank with half scoring above and half below the mid-point. NRTs are designed to sort and rank students "on the curve," not to see if they met a standard or criterion. The ABPath does NOT use NRTs for its certification examinations.

Dermatopathology
The examination in dermatopathology is a one-day, computer-based examination consisting of written and practical sections. The practical section is composed of a microscopic section(traditional and virtual) and an image section. The examination is administered as follows:


Section                                                           #Questions                                                                    Time


Written                                                                    60                                                                      1 hours

Practical:

    Images                                                                120                                                                       2.5 hours

    Microscopic/virtual                                              90/30                                                               4.5 hours


All questions are multiple-choice and in the one-best-answer format. The questions are designed to measure the candidate’s body of knowledge and problem-solving ability. The practical examination includes images of gross lesions and special technical subjects including immunofluorescent, histochemical, microbiologic, and cytologic preparations.

Subject areas covered include, but are not limited to:

  • Diagnostic dermatopathology and relative clinical and laboratory knowledge
  • Gross and microscopic diagnosis of skin disorders by direct visual inspection and light, fluorescent, and electron microscopy and histochemical, bacteriologic, mycologic, virologic, and entomologic preparations
  • Laboratory management, quality assessment and assurance, patient care decision making, and consultation

Forensic Pathology

Daily Examination Schedule


Forensic Pathology

 

Description of Examination

The ABPath uses criterion-referenced tests for its certification examinations.
Criterion-referenced tests (CRTs) are intended to measure how well a person has learned a specific body of knowledge and skills. On a CRT, the passing or "cut-off" score is determined in advance by a committee of experts in the field. The candidate’s performance (i.e. mastery of the subject matter) is compared to the cut-off score and not to other test takers. Theoretically, all candidates could pass or fail depending on how they performed relative to the passing score. Driving tests are an example of CRTs, because the goal is to see whether the test taker is skilled enough to be granted a driver’s license, not to see if one test taker is more skilled than another test taker. In contrast, norm-referenced tests (NRTs) compare test takers to each other. Scores are reported as a percentage rank with half scoring above and half below the mid-point. NRTs are designed to sort and rank students "on the curve," not to see if they met a standard or criterion. The ABPath does NOT use NRTs for its certification examinations.

Forensic Pathology
The examination in forensic pathology is a one-day, computer-based examination consisting of combined Written and Practical sections and Virtual Microscopy (VM) sections. There are no glass slides, only VM. The examination is administered as follows:

Forensic Pathology Total # of Qs Total Time
Written/Practical (I, II) 250 4 Hrs
Micro/Virtual 55 3 Hrs

 


All questions are multiple-choice and in the one-best-answer format. Questions related to microscopic slides may be accompanied by an image or images (scene photograph, gross photograph, radiograph, etc). The questions are designed to measure the candidate’s body of knowledge and problem-solving ability.

Subject areas covered include, but are not limited to:

  • Pathology and interpretation of natural disease, therapy, and trauma
  • Interpretation of injury patterns and stigmata
  • Pathology and certification of natural and violent deaths
  • Interpretation of clinical and postmortem chemistries and toxicologies
  • Molecular biology, forensic odontology, physical anthropology
  • Criminalistics, public health, jurisprudence, management, and safety

Hematopathology

Description of Examination

The ABPath uses criterion referenced tests for its certification examinations.
Criterion-referenced tests (CRTs) are intended to measure how well a person has learned a specific body of knowledge and skills. On a CRT, the passing or "cut-off" score is determined in advance by a committee of experts in the field. The candidate’s performance (i.e. mastery of the subject matter) is compared to the cut-off score and not to other test takers. Theoretically, all candidates could pass or fail depending on how they performed relative to the passing score. Driving tests are an example of CRTs, because the goal is to see whether the test taker is skilled enough to be granted a driver’s license, not to see if one test taker is more skilled than another test taker. In contrast, norm-referenced tests (NRTs) compare test takers to each other. Scores are reported as a percentage rank with half scoring above and half below the mid-point. NRTs are designed to sort and rank students "on the curve," not to see if they met a standard or criterion. The ABPath does NOT use NRTs for its certification examinations.

Hematopathology
The examination in hematopathology is a one-day, computer-based examination consisting of combined Written and Practical sections and Virtual Microscopy (VM) sections. There are no glass slides, only VM. The examination is administered as follows:

Hematopathology Total # of Qs Total Time
Written/Practical (I, II) 250 4 Hrs 15 Mins
Micro/Virtual 45 2 Hrs 45 Mins

 

All questions are multiple-choice and in the one-best-answer format. The questions are designed to measure the candidate’s body of knowledge and problem-solving ability. The practical examination includes blood and bone marrow smears, imprints, and tissue sections.

Subject areas covered include, but are not limited to:

  • Methodology
  • Hematopoiesis
  • Erythrocyte disorders
  • Leukocyte disorders
  • Lymph node disorders
  • Blood vessels and hematologic disorders
  • Platelets and platelet disorders
  • Blood coagulation
  • Patient care decision making and consultation

2021 Examination Abbreviations and Terminology

Hematopathology Abbreviations and Terminology

Laboratory Management-General/Management and Informatics

Medical Microbiology

Description of Examination

The ABPath uses criterion-referenced tests for its certification examinations.
Criterion-referenced tests (CRTs) are intended to measure how well a person has learned a specific body of knowledge and skills. On a CRT, the passing or "cut-off" score is determined in advance by a committee of experts in the field. The candidate’s performance (i.e. mastery of the subject matter) is compared to the cut-off score and not to other test takers. Theoretically, all candidates could pass or fail depending on how they performed relative to the passing score. Driving tests are an example of CRTs, because the goal is to see whether the test taker is skilled enough to be granted a driver’s license, not to see if one test taker is more skilled than another test taker. In contrast, norm-referenced tests (NRTs) compare test takers to each other. Scores are reported as a percentage rank with half scoring above and half below the mid-point. NRTs are designed to sort and rank students "on the curve," not to see if they met a standard or criterion. The ABPath does NOT use NRTs for its certification examinations.

Medical Microbiology
The examination in medical microbiology is a one-day, computer-based examination consisting of combined Written and Practical questions in each section of the examination. It is administered as follows:

Medical Microbiology Total # of Qs Total Time
Written/Practical (I, II) 340 7 Hrs

 

 

A candidate must pass both the written and the practical portions of the examination in the same administration in order to pass the examination. All questions are multiple-choice and in the one-best answer format. The questions are designed to measure the candidate’s body of knowledge and problem-solving ability.

Subject areas covered include, but are not limited to:

  • Medical microbiology administrative and management practices
  • Quality control and infection prevention
  • Taxonomy, classification, and nomenclature
  • Collection, handling, and processing of specimens
  • Pathogenic mechanisms of infectious diseases and host-parasite relationships
  • Antimicrobial mechanisms of action and susceptibility testing
  • Media reagents and stains
  • Aerobic bacteria: Cultural and morphologic characteristics and infections
  • Anaerobic bacteria: Cultural and morphologic characteristics and infections
  • Spirochetes: Morphologic characteristics and infections
  • Fungi: Cultural and morphologic characteristics and infections
  • Viruses and Rickettsia: Cultural and morphologic characteristics and infections
  • Parasites: Morphologic characteristics and infections
  • Historical aspects of medical microbiology
  • Patient care decision making and consultation

Molecular Genetic Pathology

Description of Examination

The ABPath uses criterion-referenced tests for its certification examinations.
Criterion-referenced tests (CRTs) are intended to measure how well a person has learned a specific body of knowledge and skills. On a CRT, the passing or "cut-off" score is determined in advance by a committee of experts in the field. The candidate’s performance (i.e. mastery of the subject matter) is compared to the cut-off score and not to other test takers. Theoretically, all candidates could pass or fail depending on how they performed relative to the passing score. Driving tests are an example of CRTs, because the goal is to see whether the test taker is skilled enough to be granted a driver’s license, not to see if one test taker is more skilled than another test taker. In contrast, norm-referenced tests (NRTs) compare test takers to each other. Scores are reported as a percentage rank with half scoring above and half below the mid-point. NRTs are designed to sort and rank students "on the curve," not to see if they met a standard or criterion. The ABPath does NOT use NRTs for its certification examinations.

Molecular Genetic Pathology
The examination in molecular genetic pathology is a one-day, computer-based examination consisting of combined Written and Practical questions in each section of the examination. It is administered as follows:

Molecular Genetic Pathology Total # of Qs Total Time
Written/Practical (I, II, III) 270 7 Hrs

 


 

A candidate must pass both written and practical portions of the examination in the same administration in order to pass the examination. All questions are multiple-choice and in the one-best answer format. The questions are designed to measure the candidate’s body of knowledge and problem-solving ability. Questions may include karyotypes, gels, graphs, pedigrees, or other images.

Subject areas covered include, but are not limited to:

  • Normal structure/function, basic molecular techniques/methods, human genetic principles including DNA/RNA structure, transcription/translation, types of mutation and their detection, gene structure and function, population and risk calculation
  • Quality improvement, quality control, quality assurance and ethical, legal, and regulatory issues relating to molecular genetic laboratory testing
  • Inherited disorders of single and multiple genes and genes of mitochondrial origin
  • Neoplastic diseases and other acquired disorders
  • Infectious diseases
  • Identity testing, histocompatibility, immunologic diseases, and forensic testing

Neuropathology

Daily Examination Schedule

Neuropathology

Description of Examination

The ABPath uses criterion-referenced tests for its certification examinations.
Criterion-referenced tests (CRTs) are intended to measure how well a person has learned a specific body of knowledge and skills. On a CRT, the passing or "cut-off" score is determined in advance by a committee of experts in the field. The candidate’s performance (i.e. mastery of the subject matter) is compared to the cut-off score and not to other test takers. Theoretically, all candidates could pass or fail depending on how they performed relative to the passing score. Driving tests are an example of CRTs, because the goal is to see whether the test taker is skilled enough to be granted a driver’s license, not to see if one test taker is more skilled than another test taker. In contrast, norm-referenced tests (NRTs) compare test takers to each other. Scores are reported as a percentage rank with half scoring above and half below the mid-point. NRTs are designed to sort and rank students "on the curve," not to see if they met a standard or criterion. The ABPath does NOT use NRTs for its certification examinations.

Neuropathology
The examination in neuropathology is a one-day, computer-based examination consisting of combined Written and Practical sections and Virtual Microscopy (VM) sections. There are no glass slides, only VM. The examination is administered as follows:

Neuropathology Total # of Qs Total Time
Written/Practical (I, II) 190 3 Hrs 30 Mins
Micro/Virtual 66 3 Hrs 30 Mins

 


All questions are multiple-choice and in the one-best-answer format. The questions are designed to measure the candidate’s body of knowledge and problem-solving ability.

Subject areas covered include, but are not limited to:

  • Diagnostic neuropathology and patient care consultation
  • Theoretical, investigative, and administrative aspects of neuropathology
  • Specimens from the central or peripheral nervous systems, muscles, and organs of special senses
  • Relevant areas of general pathology

Pediatric Pathology 

Description of Examination

The ABPath uses criterion-referenced tests for its certification examinations.
Criterion-referenced tests (CRTs) are intended to measure how well a person has learned a specific body of knowledge and skills. On a CRT, the passing or "cut-off" score is determined in advance by a committee of experts in the field. The candidate’s performance (i.e. mastery of the subject matter) is compared to the cut-off score and not to other test takers. Theoretically, all candidates could pass or fail depending on how they performed relative to the passing score. Driving tests are an example of CRTs, because the goal is to see whether the test taker is skilled enough to be granted a driver’s license, not to see if one test taker is more skilled than another test taker. In contrast, norm-referenced tests (NRTs) compare test takers to each other. Scores are reported as a percentage rank with half scoring above and half below the mid-point. NRTs are designed to sort and rank students "on the curve," not to see if they met a standard or criterion. The ABPath does NOT use NRTs for its certification examinations.

Pediatric Pathology
The examination in pediatric pathology is a one-day, computer-based examination consisting of combined Written and Practical sections and Virtual Microscopy (VM) sections. There are no glass slides, only VM. The examination is administered as follows:

Pediatric Pathology Total # of Qs Total Time
Written/Practical (I, II) 190 3 Hrs 30 Mins
Micro/Virtual 70 3 Hrs 30 Mins

 

All questions are multiple-choice and in the one-best-answer format. The questions are designed to measure the candidate’s body of knowledge and problem-solving ability. The written examination includes theoretical, practical, and interpretive aspects of pediatric pathology relative to disease processes and patient care. The practical examination includes images of gross specimens, cytogenetic preparations, graphs, charts, and special histochemical and other techniques. The microscopic examination includes tissue sections and hematologic and cytologic smears pertaining to diagnosis, implications, and prognosis.

Subject areas covered include, but are not limited to:

  • Embryologic development and pathology of organ systems
  • Abnormalities of the placenta and amniotic fluid
  • Cytogenetic techniques and interpretations
  • Perinatal and iatrogenic problems
  • Congenital malformations and complexes
  • Metabolic and immunologic principles and disorders
  • Infectious diseases
  • Neoplasia and neoplastic diseases
  • Handling and processing of specimens, special histochemical procedures, labeling of cells, flow cytometry, DNA hybridization, DNA imaging, and other techniques using DNA probes
  • Pathogenesis and prognostic significance of diseases in tissue specimens, cytologic smears, and electron micrographs
  • Pediatric aspects of other areas of pathology, including neuropathology, hematology, blood banking/transfusion medicine, microbiology, chemical pathology, and forensic pathology
  • Laboratory management and quality assurance and their implementation

 

© 2015 The American Board of Pathology. All rights reserved.