2021 Primary Certification Exams

at Pearson VUE Professional Test Centers



The ABPath will deliver the Spring and Fall 2021 exam(s) exclusively at Pearson VUE testing centers to provide a safe and secure testing environment during the pandemic. Using Pearson VUE testing centers will ensure all candidates have an equitable testing environment while maintaining the security and integrity of this high-stakes exam. Pearson VUE offers a comprehensive network of testing centers throughout the United States, Canada and in select overseas locations.

No exams will be administered at the ABPath exams centers located in Tampa or Tucson for the 2021 Primary Exams, nor will we be using remotely proctored online exams.

If you need assistance or have questions regarding the exam at Pearson VUE, please contact Pearson VUE's customer service at
1-866-314-0159, 7am-7pm CT Mon-Fri. 

Exam Information 

Fall 2021 Primary Exam Announcement

2021 Fall Primary Exams to be Administered

at Pearson VUE Testing Centers

March 9, 2021- American Board of Pathology (ABPath) has announced the 2021 Fall Primary Exams (AP and CP) will be administered using Pearson VUE Professional test centers. Pearson VUE offers a comprehensive network of testing centers throughout the United States, Canada and in select overseas locations.


Fall 2021 Primary Exams will be administered from Oct. 12 - Oct. 22, 2021.


After careful consideration, the ABPath has decided to deliver all 2021 certification exams exclusively at Pearson VUE Professional Centers to provide a safe and secure testing environment during the pandemic. Using Pearson VUE test centers will ensure all candidates have an equitable testing environment while maintaining the security and integrity of this high-stakes exam.

No certification exams will be administered in 2021 at the ABPath exams centers located in Tampa or Tucson, nor will we be using remotely proctored online exams. For more information about the administration of the 2021 certification exams at Pearson VUE, please visit our website at 

Update: Scheduling for Fall Primary Exams will open on August 4 through September 30, 2021. 


Scheduling an Exam with Pearson VUE


Scheduling Instructions

Please read the instructions in their entirety. It contains important information about how to schedule your upcoming Fall 2021 primary certification exam(s) at Pearson VUE Professional Test Centers.

The window for scheduling an ABPath Fall 2021 Primary Certification exam(s) will begin on August 4 through September 30, 2021.

We encourage you to create your account and schedule your exam(s) with Pearson VUE as soon as the scheduling window opens for the most scheduling options and availability. Fall 2021 Primary exams will be administered from October 12 - October 22, 2021. (Please note all dates within the exam window may not be available at all Pearson VUE centers).

1. Create Your Pearson VUE Account once scheduling opens on August 4

• To schedule your exam appointment(s) you must first create a new account with Pearson VUE at Click on the “Create account” button on the right-hand side of the page.

If you need assistance creating your account or signing in, please contact Pearson VUE at
1(866) 314-0159, 7am-7pm CT Mon-Fri.

• If you took the Spring 2021 AP and/or CP exam with Pearson VUE, you do not need to create a new account for your Fall 2021 primary exam(s).
• If you have taken an exam with Pearson VUE before with a board or organization other than ABPath, you must create a new account for your ABPath exam(s).
• Important: ABPath is working under the umbrella of the American Board of Medical Specialties, so you will see “American Board of Medical Specialties” on some of the ABPath pages on the Pearson VUE website.

• To create an account, you will need your ABPath ID# (Board ID) and the primary email address you use with ABPath. You can find this information in your PATHway account.

o The ABPath ID# you will enter in the Pearson VUE system must have 8 digits to create an account. Your ABPath ID# consists of only 5-6 digits. You will need to add “zeros” in front of your ABPath ID# to create an 8-digit number.

• You will enter the 8-digit ABPath ID# in the field labeled “Unique Identifier.” For example, if your ABPath ID is 12345, you would enter 00012345 in the field labeled “Unique Identifier”.
• After your Pearson VUE account is created, you will be asked to confirm your personal information.
• The first and last name on your Pearson VUE account must match exactly what is shown on your government-issued photo ID (e.g. driver’s license, passport) that you will need to show when you take the exam. If the names are not the same, please contact ABPath right away at to change it.

2. Schedule Your Exam(s) on or after August 4.

Once you have created an account you will be prompted to log in with your username and password to schedule your exam(s). Once you have logged in, select the exam you are attempting to schedule and then choose a date and location for your exam from those available at a Pearson VUE Professional test center. If you are scheduling more than one exam you will repeat the process to schedule the next exam. (Please note all dates within the exam window may not be available at all Pearson VUE centers). Instructions to schedule an exam with Pearson VUE

• If you are taking the AP and CP exam, each exam must be scheduled separately. The dates you choose do not have to be back-to-back.
• After you have successfully scheduled your exam(s) you will receive a confirmation email from Pearson VUE for the exam(s) you scheduled. Please check your confirmation carefully to ensure it is correct.

Nursing mothers and those who need to request an accommodation should NOT use the Pearson VUE system to schedule their exam(s). You must contact ABPath at as soon as possible for approval and specific scheduling instructions.


What to Expect When Scheduling an Exam with Pearson VUE.

Once scheduling has opened on August 4, 2021 and you have created an ABPath account with Pearson Vue, follow these instructions to schedule your exam(s) Pearson VUE. 


Daily Examination Schedules and Exam Blueprints

Exam Schedules

2021 Anatomic Pathology (AP) Exam Schedule

2021 Clinical Pathology (CP) Exam Schedule


Exam Blueprints

2021 Anatomic Pathology (AP) Exam Blueprint

2021 Clinical Pathology (CP) Exam Blueprint


Practice Tutorial

The Practice Tutorial will help familiarize you with the functions and features of taking the exam(s). It should take no more than 30 minutes to complete and you may revisit the tutorial as many times as you like.

The Practice Tutorial can be accessed at

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Virtual Microscopy Sample Questions 

ABPath Virtual Microscopy Practice

The American Board of Pathology (ABPath) certification exams use Virtual Microscopy (VM) technology for viewing microscopic images to answer select exam questions. Microscopes and glass slides are no longer used in certification exams.

The link below contains 5 sample Virtual Microscopy questions, similar to what you will find on ABPath exams. Feel free to spend as much time there as you like to familiarize yourself with the VM functionality.

Virtual Microscopy Practice

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    2021 Primary Exam

Remote subheaders Copy 2 3 FAQs


1. Is the ABPath going to schedule my exam date?

Candidates will schedule their own exam(s) dates. Once ABPath notifies candidates that the scheduling period is open, they must create an account with Pearson VUE and then schedule the testing date and test center location of their choice based on availability.

2. How do I schedule an exam?

Candidates will schedule their exam(s) online. Once the scheduling period is open, go to the ABPath homepage on the Pearson VUE website (link will be provided) and create an account using your ABPath ID#. Once the account is created, you can sign in to select the exam you need to schedule. All candidates must create a new account, even if they have used a Pearson VUE center in the past.

Friendly tip: You can select up to three test centers to compare appointment availability.


3. I am taking both the AP and CP exam. Do they have to be scheduled together?

Each exam will be scheduled separately and they do not need to be taken on consecutive days. Candidates can schedule each exam on whatever day and/or test center they choose during the testing period.

4. Are there going to be extended dates to take the exam?

ABPath Primary exams must be taken during the announced testing dates. No exams will be administered after those dates. 

5. Can I take the exam remotely?

No, ABPath is using only Pearson Professional Testing Centers to administer the exams.

6. Can I travel to a different state/jurisdiction to take my exam?

Candidates are responsible for ensuring that there are no travel restrictions in place for the location where they want to take the exam. If a candidate travels to another state or country with travel restrictions in place, they may be turned away or required to quarantine.

7. My exam is not available at my preferred testing location. What should I do?

If your exam or date is not available at your preferred test center, please try an alternative date or search for other test centers. Appointment availability continues to change due to COVID-19, so be sure to check back regularly to see if the date you desire becomes available. The earlier that you schedule, the more likely you are to get your preferred date and location.

8. Are Pearson VUE test centers open on the weekend?

Test centers vary in the days and times that they are open. Candidates will need to determine days and times of availability with the test center they choose.

9. Will there be microscopes at the testing centers?

Microscopes are not required for the 2021 Primary Exams. The AP exam will be administered using only virtual microscopy images.

10. May I wear earplugs or headphones during the exam?

Candidates may use foam earplugs supplied by Pearson VUE Professional Test Centers. Personal earplugs or headphones are not permitted.

11. May I bring or use scrap paper during the exam?

Whiteboards and markers will be provided for use during the exam(s). No items are permitted in the exam room except for your ID and locker key if you are using a locker for personal belongings, food, and beverages.

12. What form of identification (ID) will I need to show?

You will need to show a government-issued photo ID (e.g. driver’s license, passport) for check-in at the test center and when returning from breaks. The first and last name on your photo ID must match the name listed on your profile with Pearson VUE. 

13. Am I required to wear a face mask?

Yes, candidates must wear a face mask at all times while in the test center and during the exam. A surgical or cloth face mask is acceptable as long as your nose and mouth are fully covered. Face masks with exhalation valves and face shields are not permitted. Test Centers are unable to provide face masks to candidates. Candidates without a face mask will be denied testing services. You will be asked to briefly remove the mask during the check-in process to take the required candidate photo.

14. What health and safety measures are Pearson VUE taking at the test centers?

Pearson VUE implemented a strict cleaning regimen at all Pearson Professional Centers. This includes providing hand sanitizer to candidates upon entering the test center and sanitizing the surface and equipment of each workstation at the end of every appointment. Any equipment used during the check-in process is sanitized after every use.

Pearson VUE has implemented social distancing requirements, which may vary by country. Test centers have limited workstation availability to ensure that a safe distance can be maintained between candidates.

 15. What if I need to request a testing accommodation?

All requests for accommodations, including those for Nursing Mothers, must be made through the ABPath by contacting Please contact ABPath as soon as possible for an accommodation.


16. May I bring my inhaler with me to the test center?

Yes, Inhalers are an approved comfort device. They will be allowed in the testing room upon visual inspection by the Test Center staff. Visual inspection will be done by examining the item without directly touching it (or the candidate) and without asking the candidate to remove the item, unless otherwise stated in the Pearson VUE Comfort Aid List.




What to Expect at Pearson VUE Professional Centers

What to Expect at Pearson VUE Professional Centers - This page has helpful resources and a video of the process you can expect when you arrive at a Pearson VUE test center. 

View Helpful Resources for Test-takers

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Photo Tour- The gallery of photos introduces you to the physical layout of the testing centers as well as the check-in procedures. 

The Candidate Rules Agreement that you will review and sign when you arrive at Pearson VUE Test Centers.

Cancellation Policy

Cancellation Policy

for 2021 Primary Exams

If you choose to cancel your exam(s) you must:

1. notify the ABPath by email at and 

2. cancel online with Pearson VUE if you scheduled your exam appointment date(s). 

Cancellation Deadlines and Fees:

Canceling Before the Exam Scheduling Period is Open. 
You may cancel your exam(s) with ABPath up until the Exam Scheduling period opens  for a full refund minus the $100 administrative fee. To cancel, email

Canceling After the Scheduling Period with Pearson VUE has begun: 

o   If you cancel your exam(s) once the scheduling period has begun, ABPath will refund your fee minus a $500 cancellation fee.  
o   If you apply to take a combined exam (AP and CP) and cancel one portion, there is no refund of your examination fee. When reapplying for the canceled exam during a future exam period, the standard examination fee for a single exam will be charged ($2100).
o   If you cancel within 48 hours of the scheduled exam, the full examination fee is forfeited. 
o   If you are registered for an exam with ABPath and do not schedule an exam date with Pearson VUE by the scheduling deadline date, that is considered a cancellation, the full examination fee is forfeited.
o   If you scheduled exam date(s) with Pearson VUE and do not show up, that is considered a cancellation and the full examination fee is forfeited.

For information on exam application fees and deadlines click here.