Oral Board Exam

The American Board of Ophthalmology administers the oral board exam twice a year to young ophthalmologists who pass the written board exam.  Their website outlines the requirements, schedule, description of the exam, and even gives a sample question for preparing for the oral board exam.

If you’re like me, the oral board exam is a very daunting and mysterious test.  It is highly structured, well-organized, but shrouded in secrecy to the point where no one truly knows how well they did after the test.  The scoring system is not well-defined, and the prep books and courses all give a somewhat nebulous “this seems to work” approach to the test.

Obviously, even though I’ve taken the test I’m still not allowed to say much about the test itself (sorry!).  Still, a few of my friends have asked me how I prepared for the oral board exam, so this article will focus mostly on the various steps I took to study.  As with all of my study plan posts, keep in mind that my approach is not necessarily the optimal approach for you.  Only you know how you study best.  Another disclaimer is that the views expressed about the oral board exam are my own opinions, and therefore may not necessarily reflect the true intent of the ABO or AAO.

Key Dates

Registration Deadline

Exam Date

July 15, 2019

Thursday-Saturday, September 19-21, 2019


Westin O'Hare, Rosemont, IL
Hotel details


$1,950.00 for regular registration (no late deadline given)


What is the oral board exam about? What are they trying to test? How can you study for this? Read and find out!


What is the format of the test day like? What can you expect when you show up? I did my best to recall my oral board exam experience!

Study Plan

How should you study for the oral boards? How much time should you allow to study? Read and find out my tips!


What books, websites, and/or apps should you use to study for the oral board exam?  Check out this guide!

Content Overview

What general topics does the oral board exam cover? What is the oral exam presentation like? Read this overview and find out!

Content Outline

Check out our content outline to see a suggested list of topics to study! While it is not meant to be comprehensive, it will hopefully serve as a useful starting point when preparing for the oral board exam.