American Board of Radiology (ABR) exam preparation
The ABR core exam is the first hurdle to radiology certification. It is taken in the PGY-4, or 3rd year of dedicated radiology training, and covers all areas of radiology. Neuroradiology is a significant portion of radiology practice and an important topic for the test. However, it is also heavily covered in the scope of radiology practice and residents may be well prepared from call and daily work assignments.
Regardless, detailed preparation is suggested and can minimize the risk of failure. Some believe that this is the most detail oriented exam (i.e. nitpicky), so you definitely need to have mastery of the details.
The ABR certifying exam is taken 15 months after residency training is complete. After this examination, the trainee is given a full diagnostic radiology certificate which is good for 10 years pursuant to maintenance of certification efforts.
The exam is a little bit different than the core exam. It consists of 5 sections:
- general radiology
- non interpretive skills
- 3 subspecialty areas of the trainees choice
Trainees who have done a significant amount of neuroradiology either through their residency or dedicated fellowship may consider 1 or more neuroradiology sections. Careful preparation is again suggested.
The most painful hurdle of all is the last and most expensive, the ABR neuroradiology certificate of added qualification exam. It requires registration 6 months in advance, is only offered once per year in Chicago or Tuscon, and costs > $3,200! You need a letter from both your neuroradiology fellowship and your current practice saying that you practice a significant amount of neuroradiology.
Preparing for this test is ostensibly the hardest because you already know a significant amount of neuroradiology. Just enough to understand how bad those question are, you might say. Nevertheless, some review might be worthwhile, but it should be carefully targeted.