A Member Board of the American Board of Medical Specialties

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2021 Subspecialty to be Administered

at Pearson VUE Testing Centers


March 9, 2021- American Board of Pathology (ABPath) has announced the 2021 Subspecialty and 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.

2021 Subspecialty Exams will be administered from Sept. 13 - Sept. 25, 2021.

(Clinical Informatics will continue to be administered by the American Board of Preventative Medicine

at Prometric testing centers October 11-31, 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.

Candidates will be notified when scheduling opens.


More information will be posted here as it becomes available!

Subspecialty Exam Fact Sheet

This fact sheet contains updates and reminders for the 2021 Subspecialty exams.


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Scheduling a Subspecialty Exam with Pearson VUE 

How to Schedule your 2021 Subspecialty certification exam(s) at Pearson VUE Professional Test Centers.

The window for scheduling an ABPath Subspecialty Certification exam(s) will begin on July 1 through August 30, 2021.

All Subspecialty exams will be administered from September 13- September 25, 2021.

(Please note all dates within the exam window may not be available at all Pearson VUE centers).

We encourage you to create your account and schedule your exam(s) with Pearson VUE as soon as possible for the most scheduling options and availability.

Create Your Pearson VUE Account

• 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 ABPath Subspecialty 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. Candidates from the American Board of Dermatology have slightly different instructions that were email to them. 

o The ABPath ID# you will enter in the form must have 8 digits to create an account in the Pearson VUE system. 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.

Schedule Your Exam(s)

Scheduling will open on July 1st. 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).

• If you are taking more than one subspecialty 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.


What to Expect When Scheduling an Exam with Pearson VUE.

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


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.


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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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 more than one 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 is available during the testing window.

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

ABPath 2021 exams must be taken during the exam test date window. 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 2021 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 Certification Exams. The exams will be administered using only virtual microscopy images where applicable.

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. please be sure your FIRST and LAST name on your government-issued photo ID matches the profile information in PATHway, If it does NOT match, contact us to update your information in PATHway at or

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  or 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 Subspecialty Exams

This policy does not apply to the 2021 Clinical Informatics exam

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) with Pearson VUE. 

Cancellation Deadlines and Fees:

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

Canceling After the Scheduling Period with Pearson VUE has begun: (Scheduling period date to be announced)

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 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 deadline date of Aug. 30, 2021, 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.


© 2015 The American Board of Pathology. All rights reserved.