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Passing the Boards: Can USMLE and Orthopaedic In-Training Examination Scores Predict Passage of the ABOS Part-I Examination?
Gregg R. Klein, MD1; Matthew S. Austin, MD1; Susan Randolph1; Peter F. Sharkey, MD1; Alan S. Hilibrand, MD1
1 Department of Orthopaedic Surgery, Thomas Jefferson University Hospital, 925 Chestnut Street, Fifth Floor, Philadelphia, PA 19107. E-mail address for A.S. Hilibrand: alan.hilibrand@mail.tju.edu
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The authors did not receive grants or outside funding in support of their research or preparation of this manuscript. They did not receive payments or other benefits or a commitment or agreement to provide such benefits from a commercial entity. No commercial entity paid or directed, or agreed to pay or direct, any benefits to any research fund, foundation, educational institution, or other charitable or nonprofit organization with which the authors are affiliated or associated.
Investigation performed at the Department of Orthopaedic Surgery, Thomas Jefferson University Hospital, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

The Journal of Bone and Joint Surgery, Incorporated
J Bone Joint Surg Am, 2004 May 01;86(5):1092-1095
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Passing the written and oral examinations is a requirement for certification for the American Board of Orthopaedic Surgery (ABOS). Residents and residency program directors alike consider passing "The Boards" to be a priority. Part I of the ABOS examination consists of over 300 multiple-choice questions designed to test the candidate's knowledge in general orthopaedics, basic science, and the application of this knowledge. Part II is an oral examination administered to evaluate the candidate's competence in areas such as data gathering and interpretation, diagnosis, treatment, and technical skills. Passing the ABOS Part-I examination the first time is crucial to avoid delays in taking Part II and attaining board certification. In 2002, 553 (89%) of 623 first-time test-takers passed the ABOS Part-I examination. If one were to include repeat examinees, 637 (79%) of 805 passed1. The passing rate after one or more failures is dramatically lower than that for first-time examinees. In 2002, there were 182 repeat test-takers, of whom ninety-eight failed (a 54% failure rate), demonstrating the importance of passing the first time1. This suggests that inadequate training and preparation of an orthopaedic knowledge base for this examination during residency may be difficult to correct after an initial failure of the ABOS Part-I examination.
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