Requirements for Board Exams for Medical Doctors

by Maria OCadiz

According to the Health Care Blog, which discusses issues affecting the American health care sector, medical board exams will continue to be important, even though they may be becoming outdated. Their importance stems from the need for young medical professionals to dedicate enough time to improve their fundamental medical knowledge. Being a board-certified medical doctor means that you can make the appropriate clinical judgment based on your training. Various medical boards have numerous conditions that you must meet before sitting your desired exam.


Sitting for a medical doctors board exam requires completing a residency, which provides specific training in your selected specialty, such as gynecology, family medicine or pediatrics. According to the Association of American Medical Colleges, residency programs may last for at least three years for those seeking board certification for the first time. During residency, you engage in such activities as treating patients, attending medical conferences or teaching other resident physicians who are less experienced. After completing this program and passing the board exam, you will be able to practice in your specialty.


Fellowships are post-residency training for doctors who choose to specialize in a particular medical area. For example, you could choose to be a cardiologist. Undertaking a fellowship would be important when sitting a subspecialty medical board exam. According to the Association of American Medical Colleges, residency programs for subspecialties may stretch to 11 years. Subspecialists obtain a wealth of medical knowledge in their area.

Maintenance of Licenses

You must maintain your medical license according to the regulations stipulated by your licensing board. If your license has been revoked, you could be ineligible to take a recertification exam. Other possible impediments include serving probation or having your license suspended, according to Consumers’ Checkbook, a nonprofit consumers’ organization. Always provide accurate information to your licensing board to avoid any problems with your licensing that could prevent you from taking a board exam.

Gain Practice Experience

Before taking board exams and seeking certification, some medical boards may require you to gain experience in the field for a certain number of years following your residency program. The experience could relate to the specialty for which you are seeking a medical board exam or certification. An example of such a certifying body is the American Board of Physician Specialties, which takes candidates through a course on medical ethics.

About the Author

Maria OCadiz has been writing professionally since 1982, most recently publishing for various websites on topics like health and wellness, and education. She holds a Master of Arts in Education. She is a former university professor, curriculum facilitator and teacher.

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