ABR sticks to plan for 2021 virtual exams

By AuntMinnie.com staff writers

June 23, 2020 -- Despite opposition from many educators and radiology trainees, the American Board of Radiology (ABR) has decided to stick to its previously announced plan to hold the next board exams as virtual tests in 2021.

The ABR previously announced it would postpone in-person certifying and specialty exams scheduled through November of this year, including the Core Exam that residents must pass to become board-certified radiologists. The ABR had previously rescheduled the 2020 Core Exam for November due to global disruption related to the COVID-19 pandemic.

But the ABR's plan drew the ire of many in the radiology education community, including radiologists-in-training who were planning to take exams this year but would no longer be able to do so. A number of radiology organizations signed on to a letter in early June urging the ABR to reconsider its plan.

But the ABR decided to stick to its original plan. On June 22, the group announced a schedule for virtually administering its upcoming tests in the first half of 2021, including the Core Exam for diagnostic radiology (DR), the Core Exam interventional radiology/diagnostic radiology (IR/DR), and exams for medical physics (MP) and radiation oncology (RO).

The schedule is as follows:

  • The DR Core Exam will take place remotely in February 2021 for candidates who would have taken the 2020 exams and in June 2021 for the rising R3 candidates, as under the ABR's original plan.
  • A virtual platform will be used for the DR Certifying Exam, which will be given twice in 2021.
  • The IR/DR Core Exam will be administered remotely in February 2021 for candidates who were originally scheduled to take the 2020 exams, as well as in June 2021 for the rising R3 candidates as originally planned.
  • A virtual platform will be used for both the oral and written parts of the IR/DR Certifying Exam.
  • For the medical physics (MP) exams, part 1 and part 2 exams are scheduled to take place at Pearson VUE testing centers on December 7-8, 2020. The ABR expects that Pearson VUE centers will be open at that time.
  • In radiation oncology (RO), the radiation biology and physics and clinical exams remain scheduled for Pearson VUE testing centers on December 7-8, 2020, with the expectation that the centers will be open at that time.

The ABR concluded by apologizing for the disruption in the exam schedule and by stating that final dates and methods for administering exams virtually in the first half of 2021 will be released by August 1, 2020.


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