Physician Preparation for the American Board of Emergency Medicine ConCert Examination

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To maintain certification by the American Board of Emergency Medicine (ABEM), physicians are required to pass the Continuous Certification (ConCert) examination at least every 10 years. On the 2014 ConCert postexamination survey, ABEM sought to understand the manner in which ABEM diplomates prepared for the test and to identify associations between test preparation approaches and performance on the ConCert examination.


This was a cross-sectional survey study. The survey was administered at the end of the 2014 ConCert examination. Analyses included chi-square and linear regression to determine the association of preparation methods with performance.


Of the 2,431 on-time test-takers, 2,338 (96.2%) were included. The most commonly used study approach was the review of written materials designed for test preparation (1,585; 67.8%), followed by an online training course (1,006; 43.0%). There were 758 (32.4%) physicians who took a single onsite board review course, while 41 (1.8%) took two or more onsite courses. Most physicians (1,611; 68.9%) spent over 35 hours preparing for the ConCert examination. The study method that was most associated with favorable test scores was the review of written materials designed for test preparation (p < 0.001). Attending an onsite preparation course was associated with poorer performance (p < 0.001). There was a significant association between no additional preparation and failing the examination (chi-square with Yates correction; p = 0.001).


A substantial majority (97.8%) of physicians taking the 2014 ABEM ConCert examination prepared for it. The majority of physicians used written materials specifically designed for test preparation. Reviewing written materials designed for test preparation was associated with the highest performance.



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