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General Exam Outline

Examination Details

The American Board of Optometry (ABO) Board Certification examination is a multiple-choice, computer-based test containing items that emphasize patient assessment and management. The examination focuses on clinical knowledge and skills, not didactic details, and is administered at Prometric Test Centers worldwide.

The 240-item examination is broken into three separate sections. The General Practice section consists of 160 multiple choice questions, for which you will be allotted four hours. An optional break of up to one hour occurs upon completion of the General Practice section.

After the break you will be prompted to select your second section, one of six Areas of Emphasis. You will be allotted one hour for this 40-question section.

You then will be prompted to select one of the remaining five Areas of Emphasis. You will be allotted one hour for this 40-question section.

You may review items at any time while you are in a section, but once you complete or “time out” of that section, you will not be permitted to go back to review or change answers in it. When you have completed all three sections, you will be prompted to fill out a brief survey.

The outline below describes the components of the General Practice and Area of Emphasis sections.

General Practice (160 questions)

The core of the board certification examination consists of the following ten areas:

  1. Ametropia/Ophthalmic Optics (16%)
  2. Pediatrics/Binocular Vision/Vision Therapy (8%)
  3. Contact Lenses (13%)
  4. Anterior Segment (15%)
  5. Pre- and Post-Operative Care (7%)
  6. Posterior Segment (12%)
  7. Optic Nerve/Glaucoma (12%)
  8. Neuro-Ophthalmic Disorders (5%)
  9. Vision Rehabilitation (5%)
  10. Systemic Health (7%)

Areas of Emphasis (80 questions)

Each candidate also selects two of the following areas of emphasis, each of which consists of 40 questions.

  1. Additional General Practice
  2. Contact Lenses
  3. Pediatrics/Binocular Vision/Vision Therapy
  4. Ocular Disease Anterior
  5. Ocular Disease Posterior
  6. Vision Rehabilitation/Low Vision/Neuro-Ophthalmic Rehabilitation

Please note that all 240 questions are weighted equally, and the exam is scored as a complete unit.  Neither your board certification nor your printed certificate will denote your Area of Emphasis selections.

View detailed descriptions of the General Practice Section and Areas of Emphasis sections of the board certification examination.