There are multiple versions of each certifying examination, and a rigorous scoring procedure ensures that all candidates are held to the same passing standard regardless of which version of the exam they receive.

After administration, statistical analyses are conducted and a small number of questions may be deleted if they do not meet standards for statistical and psychometric validity. Deleted questions are not included when calculating candidates' final scores. (See Quality Control Analysis section below for more about deleting questions.)

After deleted questions are removed, a candidate's total score is calculated as their number of correct answers. No points are deducted for incorrect answers and all questions are weighted equally.

Although the total score is based on the number of correct answers, all examination results are reported using a 1 to 300 scale, with 180 designated as the passing mark. This conversion is necessary because there are multiple versions of each exam. The versions may vary slightly in difficulty because they contain different questions, and it would be unfair to require someone who had a more difficult version of the exam to answer the same number of questions correctly as someone who had an easier version of the exam. A statistical process known as equating is applied to ensure that everyone is held to the same passing standard. Therefore, a candidate's score on the 1 to 300 scale does not reflect the percentage of questions answered correctly. Instead, a 180 represents the minimum level of knowledge required to pass the examination.

Quality Control Analysis

After administration of the examination, the ABP follows a number of procedures before releasing scores. First, the psychometric staff conducts preliminary scoring to ensure that all data were transmitted accurately from the testing centers. Next, the psychometric staff performs an analysis to verify that each question on the examination is statistically and psychometrically valid. Candidate comments are also reviewed to identify potentially flawed questions.

Questions flagged during these processes are reviewed by a committee of subject matter experts consisting of Board-certified, practicing pediatricians. If a question is determined to be flawed after content review, it is removed from the examination and is not included when calculating candidates' final scores. Because there are multiple versions of the examination, the psychometric staff employs equating techniques to ensure that candidates are held to the same passing standard regardless of which version of the examination they took.

The accuracy of examination scores is of utmost importance, and the ABP will not release any examination results until all steps in the quality control process have been satisfactorily completed.

Have Questions?

Please consult the Understanding Your Test Scores for Initial Certification Examinations for more information about examination scoring and reporting. If your question remains unanswered, please email