This component of the ABFM Family Medicine Certification process involves the successful completion of the certification examination. All other components of the Family Medicine Certification process must be completed by the stated deadline to be eligible to sit for the examination. Failure to successfully complete the examination requirement by the deadline in the individual physician's Family Medicine Certification process will result in loss of certification.
The ABFM's Family Medicine Certification Examination is a secure, computer-based, standardized examination that measures clinical decision-making ability and the requisite medical knowledge needed to make those decisions as related to Family Medicine. It uses single-best-answer, multiple-choice questions and is the same for both initial certification candidates and candidates seeking continuous certification. The examination is a full day in length, consisting of a morning and afternoon session (with a lunch break in between). Candidates must satisfactorily meet application requirements and Family Medicine Certification requirements before being approved to take the cognitive examination. For a more detailed description of the eligibility requirements to sit for the examination, please refer to the Candidate Information Booklet.
As of 2012, the examination is administered in April and November. The fall examination has limited seating compared to the spring. There is no limit to the number of times that the examination may be taken, provided that the candidate has met the eligibility requirements at the time of each application.
Candidates may sit for the certification examination prior to the year in which their certification is due to expire. However, all successful examination attempts will reset your Family Medicine Certification process which includes resetting the examination requirement to be due in 10 years; any remaining time on a previous certification will be foregone.
View important dates and deadlines for Certification / Recertification.
Get the answers to frequently asked questions.
ABFM Certification Exam
Find out how to apply for an exam