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Boards & Exams 

After graduating from medical school, physicians typically spend the first year of residency training in a hospital caring for patients with a wide range of medical illnesses. The psychiatrist-in-training then spends at least three additional years in a psychiatric residency learning how to diagnosis and treat mental health disorders while gaining valuable skills in various forms of psychotherapy and in the use of psychiatric medicines and other treatments. After completing residency training, most psychiatrists take a computerized psychiatry certification exam given by the American Board of Psychiatry and Neurology (ABPN) to become board certified. Candidates become diplomates after passing their examination. Diplomates must be recertified every 10 years.

Diplomates maintain their certification through the Maintenance of Certification Program (MOC) of the ABPN. Beginning in 2012, diplomates who pass their initial certification or MOC examination will enter into the Continuous Pathway to Lifelong Learning Program (CP-MOC). The CP-MOC is a four-part process, which includes:

  • Professional Standing – holding a valid, unrestricted medical license
  • Lifelong Learning and Self-Assessment – continuing medical education
  • Cognitive Expertise – demonstrating specialty-specific skills and knowledge
  • Performance in Practice – demonstrating use of best evidence and practices compared to peers and national benchmarks

The goal of the program is for diplomates to commit to a process of continuous self-evaluation and improvement. Diplomates are responsible for their own self-assessment activities, continuing education credits, and practice improvement plans, and they can choose the learning tools that will best address their needs.

Essential Resources for Psychiatric Certification and Maintenance of Certification Exams

American Psychiatric Publishing (APPI), a division of the American Psychiatric Association, publishes a wide variety of educational materials to help psychiatrists and psychiatrists-in-training expand their expertise, enhance the effectiveness of their practice, and meet their certification requirements.

FOCUS Psychiatry Review, Volume 2

FOCUS Psychiatry Review, Volume 2, contains 400 new board-type multiple-choice questions derived from material in the annual FOCUS Self-Assessment Examinations that can help psychiatrists prepare for examinations and identify areas for further study. The questions cover important clinical areas of psychiatric practice and closely follow the American Board of Psychiatry and Neurology (ABPN) outline of topics for the recertification examination in psychiatry.

FOCUS Major Depressive Disorder MOC Workbook

FOCUS Major Depressive Disorder Maintenance of Certification (MOC) Workbook is designed to help psychiatrists assess their strengths and weaknesses in the diagnosis and treatment of patients with major depressive disorder, evaluate their knowledge and clinical skills, initiate a program of quality improvement, and advance their assessment, communication, diagnostic, and treatment skills.

Psychiatry Review and Canadian Certification Exam Preparation Guide

Psychiatry Review and Canadian Certification Exam Preparation Guide is the first exam preparation guide intended specifically for candidates taking the Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons of Canada (RCPSC) psychiatry examination. The information presented is based on The American Psychiatric Publishing Board Review Guide for Psychiatry and consistent with Canadian psychiatry practice.

FOCUS: The Journal of Lifelong Learning in Psychiatry FOCUS: The Journal of Lifelong Learning in Psychiatry is the best system to meet Maintenance of Certification requirements of the ABPN, Self-Assessment, Performance in Practice and Lifelong Learning. In one subscription FOCUS provides a comprehensive review of current clinical practice based on the content outlined by the ABPN recertification exam.

View a complete list of books related to psychiatric boards and exams.