About the Exam

Examination Details

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

The 220-item examination is broken into two sections. The General Practice section consists of 160 multiple choice questions – 140 of these questions are scored and 20 questions are non-scored, pilot questions. You are allotted four hours for this section. 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 three Areas of Emphasis: Additional General Practice, Ocular Disease, or Contact Lenses.  The Areas of Emphasis sections consist of 60 multiple choice questions – 50 scored questions and 10 non-scored, pilot questions. You will be allotted one and a half hours for this 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. When you have completed both sections, you will be prompted to fill out a brief survey.

Please note that all questions are weighted equally, and the exam is scored as a complete unit. You will not know which items are scored items and which are non-scored, pilot items. Neither your Board Certification nor your printed certificate will denote your Area of Emphasis selection.

View detailed descriptions of the General Practice and Areas of Emphasis sections of the Board Certification examination.

For an overview of exam performance, click here.