Scenario-based Clinical Examination

The Scenario-based Clinical Examination is designed to objectively evaluate an orthodontist’s knowledge, abilities and critical thinking skills to certify orthodontists based on proficiency and clinical excellence. 


Scenario-based testing is utilized by several other medical and dental specialty boards.  This format allows for testing for a large amount of material in a relatively short period of time.  This allows for questions to be graded objectively based on pre-determined desired responses. 


Scenarios and questions are developed in collaboration with program directors/chairs, examiners, leaders in the industry and the ABO Board of Directors.


Requirements and Eligibility:

1. Successful completion of ABO Written Examination

2. Graduate of an advanced specialty education program in orthodontics and dentofacial orthopedics in the United States or Canada, accredited by the Commission on Dental Accreditation (CODA)

3. Examinees participating in extended programs will be required to complete their program prior to being eligible to take the Clinical Examination


Components and Criteria:

The examination will be composed of four domains for assessment:



Weighted % of Exam

Data Gathering and Diagnosis
Treatment Objectives and Planning
Treatment Implementation and Management
Critical Analysis and Outcomes Assessment


The scenario-based examination will be held at Pearson Vue Testing Centers worldwide and will be graded on a Pass/Fail basis.


Each examination will be comprised of scenarios from each of the four domains using ABO provided patient cases. 


Examinees will be exposed to several patient cases, each scored by a different pair of examiners.


Examinees will be presented with cases and questioned on a variety of information depending on each individual scenario.  The following includes some examples of things that may be included in the cases presented:


Patient history

Chief complaint

Treatment plan

Periodontal charting

Layout of current situation

Intra-oral photographs

Extra-oral photographs

Panoramic radiographs

Cephalometric radiographs

Tracings and superimpositions

3D Models

Cast-radiograph Evaluation (CRE)

Case Management Form (CMF)   



As part of preparation for the Scenario-based Examination, the ABO highly recommends that examinees gain as much experience as possible working through patient cases completing an objective analysis of the facts to form their own judgment.  These critical thinking exercises will strengthen an examinee's skills as they prepare for the scenario-based examination.  The practice of presenting an examinee's own clinical cases to fellow residents / colleagues, educators, and/or mentors will also aid individuals to become more comfortable with the examination format.  This process also promotes the opportunity for self-evaluation and reflection on case outcomes.


The tools previously created by the ABO to assess case outcomes will be utilized within the scenario-based examination process.  These tools include the cast radiograph evaluation (CRE), case management form (CMF), and cephalometric superimposition technique and interpretation.


Utilize the ABO study materials and board prepared videos to help you prepare for the Scenario-based Clinical Exam.


Past Exam Results:


# of Examinees

Pass Rate

November 2020
February 2021
July 2021
November 2021


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