COVID-19 Updates

ABU Qualifying (Part 1) Exam COVID-19 FAQ

Dear Candidates,

The Board has received several questions regarding the rescheduling of the Qualifying Exam (QE) and thought it is best to address 3 of the primary inquiries in a notification to all candidates:

Why can’t the QE be given in a format similar to the In-Service Exam (ISE)?

While it might seem logical to deliver the QE at academic institutions where the ISE is currently taken, there are major limitations with this solution in the current environment:

It is critical for the QE to be administered to all candidates in a standard fashion, exposing each candidate to the same experience. In addition, the security of the QE is much greater than the ISE. The Pearson VUE testing environment, and level of security that the ABU requires, cannot be duplicated when testing is undertaken at institutional testing centers that are utilized for the ISE.

The logistics that have closed Pearson VUE testing centers have also translated to University testing centers. At the present time, and unforeseeable future, Universities are prohibiting group interaction and have closed campus facilities. We don’t know when restrictions will be lifted and appreciate there will be variability in University policy that differs from institution and state. While institutions may liberalize their restrictions, it would be a distinct disadvantage to candidates if some had access and others did not.

How was January of 2021 chosen? Couldn’t it be done sooner?

1. Pearson VUE centers work with multiple organizations and Boards. They have informed the ABU that exams will be rescheduled in the sequence that they were cancelled. At this time, Pearson VUE is unable to give any concrete timetable as to when that will begin. Without knowing what the future holds, the ABU felt it was best to select a time that would not require a second change and would be least disruptive to candidates going into a practice that was recovering from the current effects of the pandemic.

2. After careful deliberation, January was felt to provide the candidates and the ABU with the best opportunity to secure 2 dates at multiple testing centers. Hopefully, Pearson will let us know if we have secured those dates in the next 2-3 weeks.

Can I get a refund of my QE payment?

The Board is sensitive to the fact that the pandemic may cause financial burden for some candidates. The Board will be happy to refund application payments to candidates that request one. Because the application fee covers many aspects of the certification process, the candidate will be deferred into the 2021 certification cycle taking the QE in July 2021, which would also place their oral Certifying Exam within that cycle.

The Board appreciates there is no perfect time to reschedule the exam. The unexpected burden that Covid-19 places on each of you is not taken lightly by the Board. Paramount in this decision was the health and safety of our candidates and colleagues in urology.

We have heard the concerns from many candidates and know all of you are under great stress. The Board hopes this will place into perspective the decision made to defer the QE. The ABU staff is also under a great deal of stress while working remotely; all of them remain committed to assisting you and over 12,000 ABU diplomates with your needs.

Please address any concerns regarding this decision to me.


J. Brantley Thrasher, MD, FACS
Executive Director

©2021 The American Board of Urology  |  All Rights Reserved  |  Site by Blue Cloud Studio