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Frequently Asked Questions

The American Board of Pathology Questions

If you have questions concerning the application process, the examinations, verification of certification, or other activities of the American Board of Pathology, please review the Booklet of Information, Instructions for Candidates, and Helpful Hints for Applicants. Each of these documents can be found on this Web site. You should also review any instructions that you may have received with your application. If you do not find the answers to your questions in these locations, check our Frequently Asked Questions below. If you still need additional information, e-mail your questions to Please indicate the general nature of your question (i.e., primary examination, subspecialty examination, license question) in the subject line so that we can direct your question to the appropriate department.

Where can I find information regarding examination dates, deadlines for filing, fees, requirements for certification, and other general information?

The Booklet of Information on this Web site contains this information. Click on Booklet of Information Index on the home page and then click on the title that you wish to explore. In addition, the Instructions for Candidates Index contains useful information for applicants for primary certification. The Voluntary Recertification Contents section contains information regarding voluntary recertification.

How can I request an application?

All applications are available on this Web site and can be downloaded, completed using Microsoft Word, and mailed to the ABP. Click on Applications and Forms on the home page.

When can I submit the application?

Applications should be submitted no more than three months prior to the application deadline. Applications submitted too far in advance will be returned. However, if possible, please do not wait until the deadline to submit the application.

What is required regarding medical licensure?

Each applicant must submit a notarized copy of his/her currently valid, full and unrestricted license(s) to practice medicine or osteopathy in the United States or in Canada. Applicants for primary certification who are in the process of obtaining a medical license may submit their applications for certification, but they must provide evidence of having passed USMLE Step 3, and a copy of the application for licensure must be submitted with the application. If the information is not submitted with the application, the application will not be processed. If a notarized copy of the currently valid, full and unrestricted license is not received in the ABP office by the time the examination results are released, the results will not be released to the applicant, or to anyone, until such is received.

Applicants for subspecialty certification must submit a notarized copy of their currently valid, full and unrestricted license to practice medicine or osteopathy in the United States or in Canada. Evidence of passing USMLE Step 3 and applying for licensure is not acceptable for subspecialty certification.

My medical license is currently valid but will expire before I receive my examination results. What do I need to do?

Before examination results are released, you must send a notarized copy of your renewed license to the ABP office.

When will the examination dates be assigned?

For primary examinations, exact examination date assignments will be sent in early March to those registered for Spring examinations and in early September for those registered for Fall examinations, pending notification of board qualification. The date will not change once assigned.

Some subspecialty examinations may be given on multiple days due to the number of candidates. Candidates for multiple-day examinations will be notified of this as soon as possible, and exact dates will be sent no later than six weeks prior to the examination.

Can I request a date for my examination?

Requests for specific examination dates are not accepted for primary certification. The dates are assigned once all applications are entered into the computer system. The system assigns dates.

For subspecialty examinations on multiple days, requests may be made for a specific day, but it may not be possible to honor all requests.

What can I do if my examination date is not acceptable?

For primary certification, if the date is not acceptable, applicants for primary certification have four weeks from the date of the notification letter to cancel and transfer the application and fee to the next examination session for which the applicant qualifies. The initial request for transfer of examination dates are assessed $250. There will be a $500 fee assessed for any additional transfer of examination dates. Transfers cannot be made within the same sessions, and dates cannot be exchanged with other candidates.

For subspecialty certification, there is no opportunity to cancel the date after the filing deadline without forfeiture of the fee, unless there is verified illness at the time of the examination.

When will my application be processed?

Applications are processed in order of date received until date assignments have been made. Once the examination date is assigned, the applications are processed in order of date assigned.

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