ABD Certification Exam (OLD pathway)

A limited number of candidates remain eligible for the ABD’s traditional Certification Exam:

  • Individuals on a 4-year training plan who began residency training on July 1, 2018.
  • Individuals who graduated in 2017, 2018, 2019 or 2020 who have not yet been certified.

The 8-hour Certification Exam consists of approximately 280 multiple-choice questions and is administered by Pearson VUE at nationwide Test Centers.

The Certification Exam tests a candidate's knowledge of the basic science and clinical aspects of dermatology, including all the related disciplines. Some questions have associated images. Topics on the exam include: clinical dermatology, pediatric dermatology, preventive dermatology, entomology, epidemiology, dermatopathology, cutaneous allergy and immunology, dermatologic surgery, cutaneous oncology, sexually transmitted diseases, internal medicine as it pertains to dermatology, medical ethics, photobiology and cutaneous microbiology as well as anatomy, physiology, biochemistry, molecular biology, physical therapy, pharmacology and genetics, as related to dermatology. 

Images include photographs of patients, diagrams and illustrative drawings and pictures of histopathologic sections or surgical techniques, Tzanck preparations, skin scrapings and smears, histochemical and fluorescent photo-micrographs, drawings or photographs of organisms, including viruses, rickettsiae, bacteria and parasites that affect the skin.

Candidates must answer multiple choice type questions covering dermatologic surgical areas including, but not limited to, basic and advanced cutaneous surgery and repair, Mohs micrographic surgery, anesthesia, hair transplantation, lasers, dermabrasion, sclerotherapy, liposuction, chemical peels, tissue augmentation, and anatomy as it relates to dermatologic surgery.

A virtual dermatopathology section encompasses the entire spectrum of dermatopathology using a virtual slide viewer embedded within the multiple-choice question. Sample virtual dermatopathology items are available HERE.

For reference, recent Certification Exam content was distributed as follows: basic science, 10%; dermatopathology, 19%; general dermatology, 39%; pediatric dermatology, 12%; and surgical dermatology, 20%.  

The results of the examination are reported as a single Pass/Fail score. Unsuccessful candidates who continue to seek certification will be required to reapply and repeat the entire examination. The last administration of the traditional Certification Exam will be in July 2022. Unsuccessful candidates who remain eligible for certification after the 2022 Certification Exam will need to enter the ABD’s current certification pathway, which requires passing the 4 modules of the CORE Exam, followed by the APPLIED Exam.

If you are eligible for the ABD traditional Certification Exam and would like additional information, please contact the ABD office.