Preparing for the Certificate of Added Qualification in Sports Medicine

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Preparing for the Certificate of Added Qualification in Sports Medicine

So you are either primarily taking the CAQ-SM or recertifying? Well this post is for you.

Introduction. The Sports Medicine Certification Program is jointly developed by the American Board of Internal Medicine (ABIM), the American Board of Emergency Medicine (ABEM), the American Board of Family Medicine (ABFM), The American Board of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation (ABPMR), and the American Board of Pediatrics (ABP).

The examination is administered to candidates from all four boards at the same time in the same testing centers. This is typically either in July or November. ABFM is responsible for administering the examination. The exam includes 200 questions with two 2-hour sections. There are 15 minute breaks sections and exam time typically lasts about 4 hours. It is generally going to be very similar to your USMLE, COMLEX and specialty board exams. ABFM does offer an online tutorial for anyone not familiar with the exam format.

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Further content breakdown is based upon the ABFM Sports Medicine Exam Content Breakdown which can be reviewed here in detail here.  

The examination fee is $1300 per the current ABFM candidate booklet. Unfortunately, the other specialties tend to “up charge” to take the exam. For example, as an EM trained physician, Dr Kiel paid a $470 ‘application fee’ and $1555 examination fee to ABEM. If you are lucky and time things right, you can probaly get your employer to cover this cost.

Board Review Books. We are currently aware of only two CAQSM board review books.

The first book is a generalized content review organized by system. This is helpful for questions on specific diseases, biomechanics, etc. We all found this book useful during fellowship and especially when preparing for the CAQSM.

This book has 400 questions divided into two 200 question tests. Although there are a few errors in the explanation of this book, it is generally very helpful approach to preparing for the exam.

Online Board Review. We currently offer the only online sports medicine question bank written by sports medicine physicians for sports medicine physicians preparing for the CAQSM. We rolled this out a few months ago and people have been using it. Because it’s new and we want to make sure as many people use it as possible, we continue to offer it at a discounted rate of $99 for 90 days access.

There is a website called board vitals which has exam questions for many, many occupations and physician specialties, including sports medicine, so we can not comment on it’s quality or authorship.

Finally, there is a 200 question ACSM CAQSM practice test in circulation that you should ask your faculty and peers about as it is extra practice material which you may find helpful. Please contact us if you have specific questions about that.