Written Board Exam

I want to cover a few topics about preparing for the American Board of Ophthalmology written qualifying board exam (also called the WQE).  You can read more about the exam directly from the ABO.

To some degree, U.S. ophthalmology residency graduates have some preparation built into their training for the WQE through the Ophthalmic Knowledge Assessment Program (OKAP) test taken every year of residency.  However, performance on the OKAPs are highly variable, depending on individual interest, how well your program prepares you, etc.

So while it would be easy for me to just say, "prepare for the written exam the same way you did for the OKAP," the truth is that most of us probably will approach the written exam differently.  And for good reason - failing the written exam could seriously jeopardize your chances of being board certified.

Unfortunately, I cannot provide specifics about test questions, but I can at least try to provide some useful information about the test and how I prepared for it.  Although I didn't ace the test, I passed and did fairly well on most of the sections.  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 written board exam are my own opinions, and therefore may not necessarily reflect the true intent of the ABO or AAO.

Key Dates

Registration Deadline (Regular)

Registration Deadline (Late)

Exam Date

June 1, 2019

August 1, 2019

Saturday, September 14, 2019


$1,950.00 for regular registration, $2,250.00 for late registrants


What is the written exam about? How is it organized? Read and find out!

Types of Questions

What kinds of questions are on the exam? What might those questions look like? I try to expand on the ABO's descriptions!

Content Breakdown

What should you study? Not sure what to focus on in the BCSC? I go through each section of the WQE and give tips on what areas to focus in your studies!