2023 OCE Examination Information

2023 Candidate COVID Protocols

2023 Examination Information

What to Expect

Confidentiality of Examination Content

Examination Day

A government-issued ID is required during registration. While the examination consists of a two-hour time period, check-in and identification procedures and pre-exam orientation will require candidates to be prepared to spend a total of up to four hours for the entire process.

You cannot bring personal items (including but not limited to pagers, cellular phones, computers, PDA’s, recording devices, smartwatches, reference materials, purses, backpacks or briefcases) with you to the registration, orientation, or testing center. The presence of any of the above devices will be cause for immediate dismissal from the examination and an automatic failure.

Monitoring of Oral Examinations

To assist with training, candidate examinations will be monitored using closed circuit television. Two cameras will be used in the testing room, one focused on the candidate and one focused on the examiner. Recordings will be used only in connection with ABPD’s training and calibration of OCE examiners. The candidate’s face will be electronically hidden to protect identity.

Examination Overview

The examination is administered at a facility specifically designed for administration of professional specialty board oral examinations. The examination is composed of two one-hour sessions administered successively by two examiners from the ABPD’s Examination Committee, Consultant Examiners, or a Board Director. Each session consists of clinical vignettes that are presented to the candidate for discussion.

The candidate will be presented a brief introduction of the patient to be discussed, followed by a series of questions regarding the patient’s medical/dental history, diagnosis and treatment options. Many, but not all, cases will include images projected on a flat-panel monitor. The candidate will be permitted to ask questions about the patient and request that an image or images be revisited.

Examiners utilize ‘open-ended’ questions to assess the candidate’s knowledge and skills. Candidates will benefit by giving evidenced-based answers and occasionally citing references to support rationale. Candidates will be expected to have evidenced-based knowledge of all currently acceptable therapy whether they perform the procedures in practice or not and in all types of pediatric patients.


The ABPD utilizes the following criteria for scoring. Questions and acceptable answers are developed for each of the ‘Skill Sets’ of a vignette. Candidates receive a score for each of these Skill Sets:

  1. Data Gathering/Diagnosis
  2. Management/Treatment Planning
  3. Treatment Variations/Complications

The Scoring Categories are as follows:

4 - Demonstrates full & in-depth understanding of the concepts.

3 - Demonstrates adequate knowledge and familiarity with the critical key features of the concepts.

2 - Demonstrates less than adequate understanding of the concepts, missing critical key features.

1 - Demonstrates wrong or inappropriate understanding of the concepts.

  • The examiners independently score each Skill Set based on the candidate’s response. Examiners do not discuss scores or come to a consensus.
  • To assure valid and reliable examinations, the examiners are not allowed to give candidates any feedback on their responses.
  • Candidates are encouraged to apply knowledge to a clinical situation, defend a point of view in a convincing manner and not use stalling tactics by being excessively slow in response leading to insufficient information in the time allotted.
  • It is most important that the candidate proceeds through all skill sets in the vignettes. Results of all examinations are analyzed and processed by a professional psychometrician. The final score is reported to the candidate as either a Pass or a Fail.
  • Examination results are reported to candidates via the ABPD website within 6 weeks.