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Exam Applicants FAQs

General Exam Questions

How do I find out more about the In-Training Exam (ITE) and Subspecialty In-Training Exams (SITE)?

Your program director will be able to provide information about your ITE/SITE. You will also find additional information here.

When and where are the exams given?

The General Pediatrics certifying examination is administered once a year, and the subspecialty certifying examinations are administered every two years. All certifying examinations are administered on computer and there are testing centers located throughout the US, Canada, and abroad. Additional details about the exams are available here.

What percentage of people pass the exam the first time they take it?

The overall passing rate for any of the certifying examinations varies from year to year depending on how candidates perform compared with the absolute passing standard for that particular examination. An absolute passing standard allows the pass rate to range anywhere from 0% to 100%, as each candidate’s performance is judged independently of the performance of other candidates. You can get details for other years and for subspecialties here.

Who develops the tests? Are they different every year?

Developing a certification exam is a lengthy and rigorous process that helps to ensure that the exams are valid, fair and reliable. Pediatricians and pediatric subspecialists from both community and academic practice are involved in every step of the process:

  • Determining content to be covered
  • Writing questions
  • Reviewing questions
  • Selecting questions for the exam
  • Analyzing the results
  • Setting a passing score

To ensure exam security and currency of content, the exams are different every time. After the exam is administered, questions and their responses are analyzed and teams of pediatricians and pediatric subspecialists review the exams and remove poorly performing questions before exams are scored.

More information about the exams is available here.

How much will this cost?

To view the fees for our various certifying examinations, please follow the links below:

Who governs the ABP and where does its financial support come from?

The ABP is governed by a board of directors, comprising 15 members. There are 10 board-certified pediatricians who work in education, research and clinical practice. One subboard chair represents the subspecialities. Two public members are non-physicians knowledgeable about the health and welfare of children and adolescents. Board members serve six- or three-year terms. The ABP President and Executive Vice President also are members.

Officers, including the board chair, are elected on an annual basis for one-year terms. The ABP Nominating Committee submits candidates for board membership.

Support for ABP activities come from fees paid by physicians applying for certification and maintenance of certification. (See the financial section of the FAQs for details.)

Internally, the board is run by the President and CEO (currently David G. Nichols, MD, MBA) who is appointed by the board of directors. His nine-member senior management team includes experts in such fields as credentialing, examination development/administration, psychometrics, competency-based assessment, quality, finance, information technology and operations.

What is the difference between the ABP and the AAP?

The ABP is separate from the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP), which is a membership organization that advocates for children and pediatricians in the US. The AAP is the largest provider of educational materials for pediatricians and pediatric subspecialists in the world. However, the AAP does not certify pediatricians. Although ABP certification is required to become an AAP fellow (FAAP), there are AAP members who are not certified. You can check certification on the ABP website.

How do I change my password?

You can change your password and/or email by logging in to your online portfolio and clicking Change my email address, passwordor security information within the My Contact Information section.

How do I update my mailing address/email address?

Please log in to your online portfolio and click Change my email address, password, or security information or Change my address information in the My Profile section.

Is my ABP identification number the same as my AAP identification number?

No. The ABP and the AAP are separate organizations and do not share identification numbers or databases.


Applying for the Exam

How do I apply for the certifying exam?

Applications for all certifying exams are available on the ABP website. To apply, please log in to your online portfolio with your user name and password, then click Apply for Exams. Next, click Initial Certification Examination, and click the link for General Pediatrics Certifying Examination or Subspecialty Certifying Examination.

When must my training be completed in order to apply for certification?

An applicant must satisfactorily complete the standard length of training before the first day of the month in which the exam is administered. If the applicant's contracted training period does not expire before that date, he or she will not be eligible for that exam, even if all formal training has been completed earlier and the remaining time is used only for leave.

What is the deadline to apply for the certifying exam?

To determine the deadline for your specific exam, read Exam Dates and Fees for either the General Pediatrics Certifying Exam or the Subspecialty Certifying Exams on the ABP website.

What documents am I required to submit for my application?

The Checklist Items section of your online portfolio shows the documents required to complete your application for the exam. Please log in to your online portfolio to view your Checklist Items under the Examinations and Registrations section.

What is the deadline to submit my license, ECFMG, medical school diploma, etc. for the General Pediatrics Certifying Exam?

All applicants for the certifying examination must submit a copy of a valid (current), unrestricted license by the licensure deadline, which is usually October first of each year. Temporary licenses, training licenses and licenses issued outside of the US or Canada are not acceptable. Applicants for the General Pediatrics Certifying Exam who graduated from a medical school outside the US or Canada must ensure that a copy of the medical school diploma, with translation if necessary, and the ECFMG certificate (or acceptable substitution) are received by the ABP published deadline.

Click here to view Exam Dates and Fees, or see below to learn more about where and how to send required documentation.

What is the deadline to submit my license for a subspecialty certifying exam?

The ABP must receive a copy of your valid (current), unrestricted license, including the expiration date on the copy, by the licensure deadline, approximately 3 months before the administration of the exam. Temporary or training licenses are not acceptable. Applicants should refer to the application materials for the specific licensure deadline for a particular exam administration.

What types of payment does the ABP accept for certification exams?

Application payments are payable only via credit card (American Express, MasterCard or Visa). If using a debit card, please inquire with your financial institution to determine if the per transaction limit is sufficient to cover the fee. If you experience a technical difficulty, you must contact the ABP the same or next business day.

Where do I send my license, ECFMG, medical school diploma, etc.?

Required documentation may be mailed, emailed or faxed to the following:

American Board of Pediatrics
111 Silver Cedar CT
Chapel Hill, NC 27514
Fax: (919) 918-7114
General Pediatrics email:
Subspecialties email:

How do I request test accommodations?

The ABP offers reasonable test accommodations for those who qualify under the Americans with Disabilities Act Amendments Act. Applicants are asked to indicate their intent to request accommodations when completing the applications. Click here for the information about the ABP's policies, including accommodations for a disability, courtesy accommodations for those who need to bring medical devices, medication or comfort aids and extended break time for breastfeeding test candidates.



Can I apply for the exam before I get my license?

You may apply for the exam before getting your medical license. However, you are not permitted to take the exam unless the ABP receives a copy of your valid (current), unrestricted license by the deadline that applies to your registration status. Temporary licenses, training licenses and licenses issued outside of the United States or Canada are not acceptable.

Is a license from a country outside the US or Canada acceptable?

No. Applicants for initial certifying exams are required to hold a current, unrestricted medical license in the United States or Canada.


Documentation from the ABP:

Where is the fax cover letter?

Download a fax cover letter now.

Will the ABP provide documentation that I am "board eligible"?

The ABP's Time-limited Eligibility for Initial Certification Examinations policy establishes a seven-year limit to the time that can elapse between a pediatrician's completion of training and achievement of certification. Following expiration of the seven-year time limit period, a candidate must cease and desist from making any representation of board eligibility. A candidate's eligibility for board certification does not equate with acceptance for an examination. Acceptance to take an examination requires the review of an individual's credentials by the ABP, which does not occur until a formal application is submitted.

If an inquiry is made to the ABP regarding the status of an individual, the response will be whether the individual is or is not certified. Upon receipt of a signed release form provided by the ABP, information will be released regarding the individual's certification history and whether an individuals application to take a general or subspecialty certifying examination was accepted and when the acceptance expires. Click here for Guidelines for Stating Certification Status. Information regarding acceptance status will be released only in writing, not via telephone or email. A release form may be obtained by sending an email to Click here for Guidelines for Stating Certification Status.

Can I receive a letter stating that I have been accepted to take an exam?

The ABP will provide a verification of status letter upon receipt of a signed release form (provided by the ABP). Information will be released regarding whether an individual's application to take a General Pediatrics Certifying Examination or subspecialty certifying exam was accepted and when. The request may be mailed to:

American Board of Pediatrics
111 Silver Cedar Ct.
Chapel Hill, NC 27514

The letter will not be provided to the physician until the signed release form has been received by the ABP. A release form may be obtained by sending an email to

Where is my receipt for payment of the exam fee?

A copy of your receipt for the exam fee is available by logging in to your online portfolio. Once logged in, click Certification and Registration Information, then click Review Your Registration Information. Last, click Remittance Receipt in the Important Correspondence section. The receipt will also be saved in the My Archives section of your portfolio.

My name has changed. How can I update my records?

Our Name Change Form can be found here.


Application Status and Your Online Portfolio

How do I check the status of my application?

Applicants must refer to their online portfolio to monitor the status of the application. The online portfolio will display items missing from the application (if applicable), acceptance letters, and the results of the exam. Although reminders of missing material will be sent by email, it is the applicant's responsibility to frequently review their portfolio to ensure the required material is received by the ABP by the published deadlines and to notify the ABP of email and mailing address changes.

Why does my application status say "Pending Acceptance?"

The ABP will post exam acceptances on the online portfolio for all qualified candidates approximately 3 months prior to the exam administration date. Therefore, your portfolio will continue to display the term "Pending Acceptance" in the registration status until the ABP makes a credentialing decision regarding your application.


Preparing for the Exam — General Pediatrics

Does the ABP publish or recommend any preparation materials for the General Pediatrics Certifying Exam?

The ABP does not sponsor or maintain records about any courses that claim to be review courses in preparation for the certifying exams. The ABP does publish a General Pediatrics Content Outline that may aid you in preparing for the General Pediatrics Certifying Exam. The outline gives the topics covered on the exam and the percentage of questions related to that topic.

How many questions will be on the General Pediatrics Certifying Exam?

The General Pediatrics Certifying Exam will consist of approximately 330-350 multiple-choice questions.


Preparing for the Exam — Subspecialties:

If I do not take the subspecialty certifying exam or am not successful on it, how long will my status remain accepted?

A candidate whose application is accepted but who does not take a subspecialty certifying exam will be a re-registrant when applying for a future exam. The ABP requires applicants to have completed the training required for initial certification in general pediatrics, as well as the pediatric subspecialties, within the previous seven years (i.e., 2007 or later for exams administered in 2014). If the required training was not successfully completed within the previous seven years, applicants will need to must complete 6 months of supervised practice in an accredited training program.

Does the ABP publish or recommend any preparation materials for a subspecialty certifying exam?

The ABP does not sponsor or maintain records about any courses that claim to be review sessions in preparation for the certifying exams. The ABP does publish a Subspecialty Content Outline that may aid you in preparing for a subspecialty certifying exam. The outline gives the topics covered on the exam and the percentage of questions related to that topic.

How can I schedule an appointment to take the subspecialty certifying exam?

What can I expect when I arrive at the testing center to take the subspecialty certifying exam?

The validity of the performance of candidates on the certifying exam of the ABP is secured by every means available. Learn more about Prometric testing centers.

What is the format of the subspecialty certifying exam?

The ABP has created a tutorial with sample questions. This online exercise is a demonstration of how the computer-based tests operate and is not intended to illustrate subspecialty certifying exam content. A more functional but similar tutorial with sample questions will be available to you at the Prometric testing center at the time of your scheduled appointment.


Withdrawing from the Exam

How do I withdraw from the exam?

To withdraw from the General Pediatrics Certifying Exam or the subspecialty certifying exam, you must provide notification with your signature to the ABP by mail, fax or email. If emailing, please send a scanned copy of your signed notice. Please include your ABP identification number in your correspondence. The ABP must receive your notice by the withdrawal deadline. Upon receipt, the exam fee will be refunded to your credit card account. The processing fee and late fee, if applicable, are non-refundable. Although you may withdraw your registration for the exam, the ABP will continue to process your application to determine future registration status. Therefore, documentation - including your valid (current), unrestricted license — must be submitted by the published deadlines. If the training or licensure requirements are not met, your application will be disapproved.

If I withdraw from the exam, will I be a new applicant or a re-registrant when I apply again?

If you are a new applicant this year, we will continue to review your information to determine your future registration status. If you meet all training requirements and submit a valid (current), unrestricted license by the licensure deadline, your application will be processed. As an applicant, it is your responsibility to check your online portfolio to ensure the ABP receives all materials required to complete the application by the published deadlines. Confirmation of the receipt of your documents will be provided in the Checklist Items section of the portfolio. If you are a new applicant and you do not meet all training requirements or the licensure requirement, your application will be disapproved. You will be required to apply as a new applicant when registering for a future examination. If you are a re-registrant this year, you will continue to apply as a re-registrant. You must submit a valid (current), unrestricted license by the re-registrant licensure deadline.


After the Exam

When will I receive my exam results?

Results for the General Pediatrics Certifying Exam will be released to your online portfolio by mid-January. Subspecialty exam results will be released to your online portfolio three months after the administration date of the certifying exam. The ABP will notify all candidates by email when the scores have been posted.

Do I receive CME credits for initial certification?

CME credits are not issued for initial certification or initial subspecialty certification.

When will names of newly certified pediatricians be published on the ABP's website?

Certification information for those who passed the General Pediatrics Certifying Exam or subspecialty certifying exam will be available to the public approximately one week after the exam results are released to candidates.

How are exam scores reported and utilized?

Each candidate's exam score will be reported to his or her program director. The names of certified pediatricians, but not their scores, will be sent to appropriate organizations and directories, such as the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP). Periodically, the ABP conducts research utilizing data that it has compiled; the candidate's anonymity is guaranteed in all such cases. Refer to the ABP's Privacy Policy (PDF).

May I get my score verified?

No. The ABP employs several quality-control procedures to ensure that all exams are scored with complete accuracy. Manual and automated checks are integrated throughout data transmission and scoring processes to ensure the completeness and integrity of each candidate's data. This is the primary reason why it takes two to three months to release exam results.

May I appeal?

Yes, but the circumstances under which you may appeal are limited. First, if you experience a technical or environmental issue during the administration of the exam that you believe had an impact on your performance, you must have notified the ABP in writing within three business days from the completion of your exam. Please see our Computer-Based Administration Policy (PDF) for specific details.

All such complaints are automatically investigated. Then, if the ABP deems your exam has been compromised, the ABP will invalidate your score and allow you to retake the exam at the next available administration. If, however, the exam was not compromised, your exam result will not be changed. You may, however, appeal this decision. A successful appeal will not reverse a failing grade or alter a score, but might allow you to retake the exam. Please see our Appellate Review Procedure (Appeals) Policy (PDF) for specific details about the ABP’s appeal policy.

Am I allowed to discuss or disclose items that were on the exam?

The ABP's exams are copyrighted and administered in secure locations including computer testing centers by proctors who are responsible for maintaining the integrity and security of the certification process. Proctors are required to report to the ABP any irregular or improper behavior by a candidate, such as giving or obtaining information or aid, looking at the test material of others, taking notes, bringing any electronic devices (eg, cameras, scanners, cell phones and the like) into the exam, failing to comply with time limits or instructions, or talking or other disruptive behavior. Irregular or improper behavior that is observed, made apparent by statistical analysis, or uncovered by other means will be considered a subversion of the certification process and will constitute grounds for invalidation of a candidate's exam. Unauthorized possession, reproduction, recording, discussion, reconstruction of content from memory, or disclosure of any materials, including but not limited to exam questions or answers before, during or after an exam or other certification activities is a violation of the ABP's honor code and federal copyright law. Failure to comply may result in the invalidation of exam results, exclusion from future exams, revocation of certification or any other sanction deemed appropriate by the ABP and its legal counsel.


ABP Certificates

Can the ABP rescind my scores or deny me admission to its exams?

The ABP reserves the right to withhold permission for applicants to take its exams or obtain certification for a number of reasons. These reasons include, but are not limited to, circumstances involving a breach of the honor code, leading to a threat to the security and integrity of the exam process, and demonstrating that an applicant is not capable of performing the role of physician and advocate for infants, children, and adolescents. In such instances, the applicant will be notified. The applicant will be informed if the circumstances entitle the applicant to an appeal of the decision to the Credentials Committee of the ABP or the Credentials Committee of the appropriate subboard.

Can I receive a duplicate certificate?

In order to receive a certificate, the request must be in writing and signed by the board-certified pediatrician, and it should include the address where the certificate is to be sent. The request can be mailed to:

American Board of Pediatrics
111 Silver Cedar Court
Chapel Hill, NC 27514

Can a degree on my certificate be added or changed?

A certificate awarded by the ABP for passing a certifying exam reflects the candidate's medical degree received at the time of graduation from medical school. Degrees awarded either before or after graduation from medical school are not included on the certificate. The degree shown on your certificate is that which the World Health Organization recognizes as being the degree presented by your medical school.