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The Examination Committee, under the direction of the ACVR Executive Council, is responsible for formulating and administering the examination annually to candidates determined to be qualified by the ACVR Executive Council. The Examination Committee is composed of the Chair, Chair-Elect, Examiners, the Chair of Assistant Examiners, and the Assistant Examiners.
The Examination Committee Chair is the head of the Examination Committee and is responsible for determining the content of the ACVR Examination. Examiners are assigned one section of both the preliminary and certifying examinations annually based on preference and seniority. Responsibilities for the preliminary examination include revising questions already in use as well as writing new examination questions as directed by the Examination Committee Chair. Responsibilities for the certifying examination include assembling at least 15 clinical imaging studies per year to be evaluated for inclusion in the examination by the full Examination Committee.
Assistant Examiners are responsible for revision of the examination objectives annually under the direction of the Chair of the Assistant Examiners. Each Assistant Examiner will be assigned to an Examiner to help in the preparation of the Examiner’s section of the preliminary and certifying examinations.
The ACVR examination in diagnostic imaging is a two part examination composed of the Preliminary Examination and the Certifying Examination. A candidate must pass the Preliminary Examination according to the criteria set forth in this document in order to qualify to sit the Certifying Examination. A candidate who passes the Certifying Examination is eligible to become a Diplomate of the American College of Veterinary Radiology. Diplomate status is ultimately conferred by a vote of the ACVR Executive Council.
The Preliminary Examination is a written examination which is composed of multiple choice questions. All questions will be referenced to a specific objective listed in the current ACVR Preliminary Examination Objectives, which is reviewed and updated annually by the ACVR Assistant Examiners, and is submitted for approval to the ACVR Executive Council. The Objectives will be published on the ACVR website no later than the deadline for candidate applications to sit the Preliminary Examination.
Images will be used in the examination and may include normal or abnormal cases. While emphasis is given to the dog, cat and horse, other species will be included where appropriate and noted. The current literature relevant to examination sections and diagnostic imaging is a source of examination material. In addition, past literature pertinent to specific radiographic techniques, special procedures, radiobiology and alternate imaging are used for questions. While there is no stated specific time limit regarding the literature, particularly for Veterinary Radiology & Ultrasound, outdated, obsolete, or obscure material is avoided.
The Preliminary Examination is a criterion referenced examination. The philosophy of a criterion referenced examination is based on the concept that candidates are measured against an absolute standard that represents critical skill and knowledge. The difficulty of each item on the examination is the basis for establishing the initial standard on a Benchmark Scale. The data from the examination is used to establish a Benchmark Scale, and the criterion referenced standard is transcribed to determine a pass point represented in scaled score points. Future tests are equated to the Benchmark Scale and criterion referenced pass point after differences in the difficulty of the test have been taken into account.
Candidates who pass the Preliminary Examination may apply to sit for the Certifying Examination.
Candidates who fail the Preliminary Examination may apply to retake the Preliminary Examination. Failing candidates will receive a letter from the Chair of the Examination Committee detailing specific areas of weakness to aid in their preparation for the next examination.
The Certifying Examination is an oral examination which is divided into 6 sections, each of which covers a specific area of diagnostic imaging:
All cases will be referenced to a specific objective listed in the current ACVR Certifying Examination Objectives, which is reviewed and updated annually by the ACVR Assistant Examiners, and is submitted for approval to the ACVR Executive Council.
Examination Committee members choose the cases used for each section. Each examiner selects cases for their own section but may also provide cases for other sections, as can the Chair and Co-Chair. Before being approved for final use, all cases, the expected responses and scoring criteria are reviewed by the entire examination committee for suitability.
Each 90-minute exam section is subdivided into two (2) forty-five minute sessions that are taken consecutively. Candidates are presented with 10 to 15 cases which are presented as video clips on a monitor or optimized graphic files in a PowerPoint® presentation. These 10 to 15 cases are reviewed over the course of the entire 90 minute session so that roughly half of the cases will be given by one examiner prior to switching to the second examiner and completing the remaining cases.
Any animal commonly seen in veterinary practice may be used as the subject of an examination question but dogs, cats, and horses are most frequent. The examination is designed to test recognition of radiographic signs in general (similar in any species) or recognition of species-specific disease. Candidates should expect that the cases used for the thoracic, abdominal and musculoskeletal sections will generally consist of radiographs, but other modalities (such as CT, MRI, sonograms, or scintigrams) may be included, either separately or as part of a multi-modality examination.
Candidates should be prepared to evaluate each case as if providing consultation to another veterinarian. Sufficient clinical information will be provided to evaluate each case. Examiners are listening for a systematic evaluation of the study, listing of pertinent imaging findings, and discussion of which of the findings they believe are significant. Candidates should assess the imaging findings in a meaningful manner without spending a large amount of time on the review of normal findings. Candidates should present a compilation of findings leading to an imaging diagnosis, followed by an appropriate, ranked list of differential diagnoses if the imaging diagnosis is not specific. Candidates should demonstrate an understanding of the pathophysiology of observed abnormalities, and provide a rational justification for the use of any ancillary studies, views or special procedures. The pattern of discussion should convince the examiner that the candidate understands what can be concluded from the images. Though interaction between the examiner and candidate is limited, the examiner may ask for further clarification, description or elaboration of key anatomical, pathophysiological, or biomechanical issues. It is important that the examiner clearly understand the candidate’s thought processes, prioritization, and conclusions.
Each case presented in an exam section is worth a total of 10 points. Up to 4 points are awarded for the candidate's observation of imaging abnormalities. Up to 4 points are awarded for a candidate's ability to synthesize imaging findings with the patient's clinical history and signs. Up to 2 points are awarded for a candidate's ability to make appropriate patient management recommendations, including both imaging-related diagnostics and other pertinent diagnostic testing.
A candidate must complete all six sections of the Certifying Examination during one test period with a minimum score of 70% of the total points possible in each section. A candidate failing only one section may retake the failed section during one of the next two test periods. The candidate will be allowed one attempt to retake and pass the reexamination within the allowed period. If unsuccessful, then the candidate must retake the entire Certifying Examination. Candidates who fail more than one section must retake the entire Certifying Examination.
Names of candidates who pass the Certifying Examination are referred to the ACVR Executive Council, which votes to confer Diplomate status upon successful candidates.
Failing candidates will receive a letter from the Chair of the Examination Committee detailing specific areas of weakness to aid in their preparation for the next examination.
Last Update: March 2, 2010
©2013 American College of Veterinary Radiology