Certifying Examination

Part 2

Certifying Examination (Part 2)

This oral examination is the final step in the certification process for most physicians. The purpose of the examination is to determine whether a candidate can efficiently gather relevant information about a patient and then manage this patient appropriately and effectively.

Candidates who successfully complete the Qualifying (Part 1) Examination, who have met the practice duration requirement, have adequate practice logs and acceptable peer review, and who meet all criteria of the Board, will be eligible to take the Certifying (Part 2) Examination.

Candidates for certification must complete the entire certification process within six years of completing their residency. The Board may approve an extension of the six-year period of admissibility for the following reasons:

  • At least one year spent in an approved fellowship
  • Deferral by the Credentials Committee due to an inadequate surgical log
  • An excused absence from an examination

Schedule and Fees

Certifying Exam applications are mailed in mid-May to all eligible candidates, and the current application will be available for download from the ABU website at that time. The application and fee are due July 1. Applications may be submitted with an additional $750 late fee until July 15, after which time no applications will be accepted.

Electronic Practice Logs, practice log verification form, practice breakdown, and complications narratives are due September 1. Logs submitted after this date will be assessed an additional $750 late fee until September 15, after which time no logs will be accepted.

Letters of admissibility to candidates who have been approved to take the exam will be mailed in December.

Dates for the 2025 Certifying Exam are March 21st or 22nd.

About the Exam

The Certifying (Part 2) Examinations are given annually in March in Raleigh, North Carolina. The examination is an interactive process between examiner and candidate during which an assessment is made of the candidate’s ability to diagnose and manage urologic problems. There are two one-hour examination encounters with different examiners, composed of one OSCE and two protocols each.  Time zones will be taken into consideration and accommodated as possible.  Due to the complexity of this process, candidates will not be able to select their exam appointments.

The Trustees of the American Board of Urology, who are selected for their expertise in clinical urology, develop protocols and questions for this examination. After an individual Trustee develops an oral protocol, it is presented to a subgroup of other Trustees for comments and critique. The protocol then undergoes sufficient revision to ensure clarity, adequate representation of the problem at hand, and relevance to that particular field of clinical urology. When all in the subgroup agree that the protocol is acceptable, it is presented to the entire Board of Trustees for review and potential selection among the protocols deemed best for upcoming use on the oral examination.

Oral examiners include current and former Trustees of the American Board of Urology, as well as carefully-selected, well qualified guest examiners. The guest examiners are nationally chosen for their knowledge, ability to be fair and consistent, and clinical urology reputation. Prior to the Certifying (Part 2) Examination, the protocols are presented to the entire group of examiners, to ensure all examiners understand the details of each protocol.

Candidates will be expected to demonstrate knowledge and surgical experience in the broad domains of urology such as: infertility, impotence, calculous disease, Endourology, extracorporeal shock wave lithitripsy, neurourology, urodynamics, urologic imaging, uropathology, female urology, pediatric urology, infectious disease, obstructive disease, psychologic disorders, renovascular disease, transplantation, genitourinary sexuality, trauma, urologic oncology, and geriatric oncology.

NEW in 2023

Objective Structured Clinical Examinations (OSCEs)

Beginning with the 2023 Certifying (Part 2) Examination, the ABU will incorporate Objective Structured Clinical Examinations (OSCEs) as part of the oral examination.  The OSCEs will assess communication and professionalism related to patient care and may include the presence of an external participant (actor) with whom the candidate will need to interact during the exam. 

The nature of these interactions could involve any number of skills that the Board is already testing, though in a more realistic, accurate, and meaningful manner.  These clinical exams will account for approximately 10% of the entirety of the exam and the remainder of the examination will remain largely unchanged.

The Board strongly feels that the urological education currently in place at the training programs already prepares candidates for the oral examination and no changes are necessary to prepare for the OSCE portion.  Further, we do not believe that candidates need to alter their specific exam preparation in any way.  The inclusion of OSCEs will allow candidates to better demonstrate their knowledge, compassion, and ability to communicate.  These are attributes we are already testing during the examination, but we believe OSCEs will simply allow us to assess those qualities more accurately.

We firmly believe that the inclusion of OSCEs will benefit our mission in allowing the Board to better assess candidates in an ongoing effort to insure the delivery of high quality, safe and ethical urologic care. 

To read an article published in Urology Times about a candidate's experience taking the Certifying (Part 2) Exam, please click here.

Oral Examination Dress Code

The American Board of Urology has a practice of anonymity for applicants to the Certifying (Part 2) Examination with respect to training, practice location, and a candidate’s name. Wearing a military uniform makes a candidate identifiable in that military regulation not only mandates a nametag on the uniform, but the uniform itself reveals the practice type of the candidate in question. The ABU asks that military candidates for board certification appear in civilian clothing throughout the examination process. Military candidates who present in uniform may be denied access to the examination process. Appropriate, professional attire is recommended for all candidates for board certification by the American Board of Urology.

Tips for Successful Completion of the Oral Exam

Do not assume that routine tests have been obtained and routine care administered. You must ask the examiner for this information.

  • Be systematic in data gathering. Do not guess. If you don’t know, say so.
  • Discuss how you would manage the problem.
  • Time is short, don’t waste it.
  • Don’t be alarmed if an examiner cuts you off. Under these circumstances, the examiner has already determined what you know and considers prolonging the discussion to be unnecessary.
  • You are expected to manage all urologic disease. You will not be allowed to send urologic problems to a consultant.
  • You may take notes during the exam. They will not be graded.


Each examiner is evaluated statistically throughout the examination. This allows comparisons between examiners with respect to fairness and severity. If an examiner's performance is inconsistent or appears not to be impartial, this matter is taken into account during the grading process to ensure fair treatment of every candidate. In such case, the examiner in question will not be invited to participate in future oral examinations.

The Board uses a standardized, well-documented method to determine the minimum pass level which represents competency needed to practice urology. Using a sophisticated statistical program, the difficulty of the protocols and the severity of the examiners are determined. The values are then placed on the same scale, so that differences in examiners and protocols may be equalized, giving each candidate the same probability of passing the exam, regardless of the particular protocol or examiner. For example, one candidate might receive a very difficult protocol administered by a “very severe” examiner. The statistical program adjusts for such a scenario so that the total score required to pass the examination is less than if that same candidate had an “easy” examiner and a less challenging protocol. In the case of an easy protocol administered by an “easy” examiner, the scale would be raised to a higher level so that it would be just as probable to pass the exam with a “severe” examiner and difficult protocol as it would be if with an “easy” examiner and an easy protocol.

Statistical results for the Certifying Exam can be found here.

Review Courses

While the ABU does not endorse any review course, we have been made aware of the following third-party preparatory programs:

AUA Oral Board Review Course

Urology Oral Board Prep

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