Last Updated on December 28, 2022
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A gynecologist must earn a high school diploma and complete a bachelor’s degree that includes one full-year course in chemistry, organic chemistry, physics, biology, mathematics and English composition before applying to medical school. A high grade-point average and high scores on the Medical College Admission Test, which is taken in the third year of college, are necessary for admission to medical colleges or osteopathic medical colleges.
A student must earn either a doctor of medicine, or M.D., degree or a doctor of osteopathic medicine, or D.O., degree before applying to residency programs in obstetrics and gynecology. Either degree takes four years to complete, and there are no specific medical school courses for prospective gynecologists. Candidates for certification in obstetrics and gynecology may apply directly to residency programs in gynecology or they may choose to complete a one-year general medical residency before entering a post-graduate obstetrics and gynecology training program.
All four years of the training program in gynecology, including the first year, must be spent in residency programs that are accredited by the Accreditation Council for Graduate Medical Education. These programs include classroom training as well as clinical practice, and residents must take on the responsibilities of a chief resident in either their third or fourth years of residency. Residents must keep careful records of actual clinical cases in which they participated. During the fourth year of residency, prospective gynecologists apply to the ABOG for permission to take the written certification examination. Once this permission is granted, candidates are known as “registered residency graduates.”
Written Certification Examination
Registered residency graduates are required to pass the ABOG written examination after no more than five attempts. The examination consists of multiple-choice questions that cover subjects including prenatal care, simple and complicated delivery, diagnostic procedures, surgical procedures and specific conditions. Conditions include specific gynecological issues such as endometriosis and breast cancer, as well as diabetes and other general medical conditions that may affect the female reproductive system. The examination also includes questions relating to gender identification issues and domestic violence. Once a residency graduate passes this exam, obtains a medical license and practices obstetrics and gynecology for one year, she is eligible to take the oral certification examination.
Oral Certification Examination
The oral examination is based on details of actual obstetrics and gynecology patient cases logged by the candidate and submitted to the ABOG. ABOG examiners formulate specific questions based on this information. The questions are designed to make sure that the candidate can explain why she chose to treat a case as she did and why the treatment was correct. The examination also includes questions about hypothetical cases that are similar to those an obstetrician-gynecologist may encounter in actual practice. Once a candidate has passed the written exam, she becomes a Diplomate of the American Board of Obstetrics and Gynecology.