CBPS Exam Preparation

What to Expect on the Examinations

Exam Subject Matter

The first step to successful preparation for an ABFAS examination is to understand the topics or subject areas that are covered on the examination. The Exam Content page details the topics on the examination along with the relative weighting of each topic.

Candidates should honestly assess their knowledge and experience against the exam content to determine their strengths and weaknesses and develop an appropriate study plan.   

Exam Structure

It is important to be familiar with the structure of the exam. The In-training Exam Overview page provides details on the structure of each of the CBPS exams.

Navigating the CBPS Exam

Here is the typical flow of a CBPS case:

  • Patient condition, relevant medical history, images, and/or other pertinent information is presented.
  • The candidate gathers additional information by selecting options from dropdown lists that relate to physical exam tasks, imaging, laboratory tests, and/or diagnostic procedures. As options are selected, more information may be displayed that could be helpful for a diagnosis and treatment plan.
  • The candidate arrives at a diagnosis and treatment plan. Follow-ups and/or an additional diagnosis may appear in the case.


Navigating the CBPS Exam Video

This important video will help test-takers understand the format of the exam and how to navigate it.

To watch the video, first log in with your ABFAS username and password using the "Login" button at the top of the webpage. Password assistance is available on the Login page.





Recommended Approach to the CBPS Examination

  • Consider all relevant aspects of patient management including:
    • case history
    • physical examination
    • imaging
    • labs
    • diagnostic procedures
    • diagnosis
    • treatment
    • follow-up diagnoses and treatments as needed
  • All procedure decisions should be based on clinical indications.
  • Physical examination and patient work-ups are as important as diagnosis and treatment.
  • When collecting patient information, balance thoroughness with efficiency and quality versus quantity. 
  • Select only information specific to the problem presented.
  • Do not take too much time on any one point or decision.

Earning Score Points

  • Candidates earn score points by making selections specifically relevant to the management of the case.
  • Routine preoperative evaluations, that are not specific to the case, do not typically earn score points.
  • There are no penalties for making irrelevant, but harmless, selections.
  • There are penalties for making selections that are harmful or unsafe to the patient.  
  • Multiple selections that elicit the same information will not be penalized or result in additional credit.

Common Mistakes to Avoid

Jumping to a Diagnosis and Treatment. 

One of the most common mistakes made on the CBPS is to jump to a diagnosis and move to treatment without providing evidence that the diagnosis and treatment were selected in a thoughtful manner. For example, seeing an image of a patient with a bunion and saying “I’m going to take an x-ray and then do this procedure” would be a mistake. ABFAS cannot assume an appropriate problem-focused physical examination has been performed. This must be demonstrated by selecting the physical examination options that relate specifically to the problem presented and/or support the determination of a diagnosis and treatment plan, where applicable.

Providing a Surgical Work-up.

Working up the patient to prepare the patient for surgery is not the purpose of the examination. The purpose is to come up with a diagnosis and a treatment plan that is pertinent to the case itself.  Candidates should concentrate on the case-specific information presented to determine if any additional evidence is needed for the diagnosis and treatment of the case. It is important to focus on the management of the case, not the surgical work-up.


Other Helpful CBPS Exam Resources

This video provides tips from ABFAS for a successful CBPS Exam experience.

To watch the video, first log in with your ABFAS username and password using the "Login" button at the top of the webpage. Password assistance is available on the Login page.



ABFAS Guide to the CBPS


CBPS Practice Exam

  • After carefully reading all the material and watching each video in this section, candidates should take the practice examination. All of this should be done well in advance of exam day.
  • The CBPS practice exam functions exactly like the real CBPS examination and is available to candidates eligible to take CBPS examinations. 
  • The practice exam can be retaken an unlimited number of times.
Take the CBPS Practice Exam

    To see the answer key, you need to sign-in with your ABFAS user name and password using the "Login" button at the top of the webpage. If you need password assistance, you will find it on the "Login" page.