Information for Candidates

Examination Format

The examination is administered at Pearson testing centers world-wide in its new format. The oral examination aspect will no longer be a part of the certification process, so the examination will be a single-day event. 

The new computer-based examination will be approximately 200 multiple-choice questions, including video waveform items and static images. There will be approximately 30-40 waveform videos, with each video being between 5 and 25 seconds. Candidates will be able to control the video (stop, play, pause) and can watch the video more than once. 

Prior to the written examination a detailed analysis of individual questions has been performed and a minimum passing score established. After completion of the examination, the ABEM Executive Office will notify candidates whether they passed or failed. No other information about the examination, examination results, or performance on specific categories of the examination will be made available to the candidates. 

Diplomate Certificate

Upon approval of the candidate’s application for examination and a passing score on the examination, the Board will grant a certificate stating the candidate has satisfied the requirements of the Board and is recognized as a Diplomate in the subspecialty of electrodiagnostic medicine. The recipient of a certificate will be known as a Diplomate of the ABEM and, unless requested otherwise, will be listed in an online directory of ABEM Diplomates.

Note: A certificate granted by this Board does not confer any right, privilege, or license to practice electrodiagnostic medicine. Specialty certification in a subspecialty field is primarily of significance for physicians preparing for careers in teaching, research, or a practice emphasizing that field. The Board does not limit or interfere with the professional activity of any duly licensed physician not certified by this Board and emphasizes that there is no necessity for a Diplomate in a recognized specialty to hold certification in a subspecialty of that field in order to include subspecialty aspects within the range of privileges. Privileges granted physicians in the practice of electrodiagnostic medicine in any hospital or clinic are the prerogative of that hospital or clinic, not of the ABEM.  

Continuous Certification

In October 1994, the ABEM initiated a policy of time-limited certification. A program of maintaining certification was established to provide a mechanism for ABEM Diplomates to demonstrate their continuing education in electrodiagnostic medicine, as they keep up-to-date with changes in this medical specialty. Diplomates will be expected to demonstrate current medical knowledge and clinical problem-solving skills in periodic maintenance examinations.

The ultimate purpose of maintaining certification is to reassure the public and the medical profession that after initial certification, ABEM Diplomates continue to assimilate new knowledge and techniques and continue to develop their clinical skills. The Continuous Certification Program sets high standards for quality medical care and demonstrates professional accountability to the public by the ABEM and its Diplomates. 

To extend their certified status beyond the 10-year certified period, all successful certification examination candidates will be enrolled in the Continuous Certification Program. The program is designed so that each Diplomate's certification stays active on an ongoing basis. CoreComp requirements must be met each year along with the CME credit requirements on a 10-year cycle. Further details can be found on the Continuous Certification page.

Failing the Examination

Candidates will be notified whether they passed or failed the computer-based examination in a timely fashion. The ABEM encourages all candidates who are unsuccessful on the examination to take the examination the following year.

Establishing Eligibility Criteria after Failing the Exam

In accordance with the ABEM policy, candidates who fail the certification examination three times are ineligible to apply for the examination. To reestablish eligibility such candidates must obtain and document 3 months full-time equivalent of further electrodiagnostic training, approved in advance by the Board. 

To assist the candidate in establishing such a training program, the ABEM has determined that the following criteria govern the 3-month electrodiagnostic training program: 

1.  The electrodiagnostic training must take place in a center where there is an ACGME or RCPSC recognized residency training program or under the tutelage of an ABEM Diplomate.

2.  The electrodiagnostic training must include a minimum of 100 electrodiagnostic evaluations. These evaluations must be performed, documented, and interpreted by the candidate and include neuromuscular disorders in adults and children.

3.  The electrodiagnostic training must include adequate educational experience in the following:

  • Anatomy
  • Pathology of muscle and nerve
  • Neuromuscular physiology
  • Electrodiagnostic medicine, including instrumentation, quantification, and statistical analysis
  • Clinical aspects of neuromuscular diseases as they pertain to clinical electrodiagnosis

4.  The electrodiagnostic training must be completed prior to submitting an application for the examination.

To ensure that the proposed program will follow ABEM guidelines, candidates must submit an outline of the planned training program to the ABEM Executive Office at least 90 days prior to beginning the program for approval.  

The above guidelines will be incorporated into a training verification letter sent to the physician who directly supervised the additional electrodiagnostic training of the candidate. Based on the completed verification letter and other required materials submitted with the application, the ABEM Credentials Committee will determine the candidate’s eligibility. 

Release of Examination Results

By applying for the examination, candidates agree that the Board may, at its discretion, release examination results and scores to researchers selected by the Board to study the testing and evaluation programs under appropriate conditions of confidentiality. Any such studies will only contain information about candidates and Diplomates in the aggregate and the names of individuals will not be revealed in any publications. The Board may release the results of candidate performance on any or all of the Board’s examinations to the Director(s) of the Program(s) where a candidate acquired training. Aside from the above reasons, individual examination scores will be considered to be confidential and will not be released to others except pursuant to legal process.

Revocation of Certificates

The Board shall have authority to revoke any certificate issued by it or to place a certificate holder on probation for a fixed or indefinite time if:

  • The certificate was issued contrary to or in violation of the Bylaws or any rule or regulation of the Board.
  • The person to whom the certificate was issued made any material misstatement or omission of fact to the Board in his or her application or otherwise.
  • A license to practice medicine of the person to whom the certificate was issued is forfeited, revoked, or suspended.
  • The person to whom the certificate was issued is convicted of a felony or an offense involving moral turpitude.

The Board may also revoke any certificate if the Diplomate’s primary board certificate has lapsed, been suspended, or revoked. Any complaint in relation to such circumstances shall be reviewed according to procedures established by the Board. 

Appeal Procedure for Rejection of Credentials, Invalidation of Examination Score Due to Irregular Behavior, or Denial of a Request for Disability Accommodation

An applicant may appeal the decision if: 

  • The applicant submitted a formal application and received a negative determination regarding the application
  • The applicant’s examination scores are invalidated because of irregular behavior
  • The applicant’s request for disability accommodations was denied

Such applicants or candidates must submit the following materials to the ABEM office: 

  • Written request for a formal appeal with additional information that supports the appeal
  • $300 appeal fee

The appeal materials must be sent in a single mailing that is post-marked within 30 days of the date indicated on the letter/email of negative determination. The materials are sent to the Appeals Committee, which reviews the materials, deliberates, and makes a determination. In all events, the Appeals Committee’s determination is final and binding on both the Board and the candidate. 

If the appeal is granted, the appeal fee will be returned to the candidate. 

Appeal Procedure for Compromised Examination Process

A candidate who experiences a compromise in the administration of the examination must notify the ABEM of the issue compromising the administration of the examination on the day of the candidates scheduled examination. This contact will not result in a review of a candidate’s performance on an examination to the point of the compromise. The ABEM will investigate the issues stated by the candidate and determine whether the candidate will be allowed to sit for the examination at the next available administration. Failure to notify the ABEM on the schedule examination date of any issues forfeits the candidate’s rights to ask for a rescheduling of the examination. Once a candidate receives the results of the examination, the determination of fail status is not appealable.