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The ABFM Board Exam: Everything You Need to Know

In this post, we overview essential information for the Family Medicine Board Exam, including: how the ABFM is scored, when it is offered, what the exam covers, and more.

What is the ABFM exam? 

The ABFM certification is an exam offered by the American Board of Family Medicine (ABFM) to residents who have completed their family medicine residency training. In order to be board-certified by the ABFM, residents must take and pass this exam.

What does the ABFM exam cover? 

The ABFM certification includes a variety of questions covering organ systems such as cardiovascular, musculoskeletal, and the respiratory system. There are also questions that will cover population-based care and patient-based systems. Here is a full list of the content that is included in the ABFM certification exam.

What is the exam format? 

The ABFM board exam is a computer-based test. It includes four sections that take 95 minutes each. There are 75 multiple-choice questions in each section with breaks between each of the sections. You cannot move back and forth between the sections.

How is the ABFM board exam scored?  

The exam is pass/fail for the purposes of board certification, though a three-digit score reflecting performance is provided to the examinee.

Final score reports are issued six to eight weeks after the test date; however, the ABFM may release a preliminary result earlier in cases where there is high certainty regarding the pass/fail outcome.

In 2020, the pass rate was 98.3% for first-time ABFM certification test-takers. The pass rate for repeat test-takers was 61.2%.

When is it the ABFM board exam offered and how much does it cost? 

The ABFM exam is offered twice a year. The first administration is offered in April and early May. The second administration is in November.

The ABFM exam dates for November 2021 are below:

November 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, and 13

The exam cost for first-time test takers is $1,300.

Why is the exam important? 

The American Board of Family Medicine is a trusted organization by both physicians, medical practices, and patients. Getting your certification is extremely important to your career and professional development within the medical field.


Med School Tutors can help you prepare and feel confident to sit for your ABFM certification exam. Visit our blog post on high-yield ABFM study resources. Prepare with an expert tutor and increase your odds of passing the exam. Schedule a free consult to get started.