Practitioner Exam Prep


​ABC has numerous resources available for you as you prepare to sit for your ABC Practitioner Certification Exams. These include the Practice Analysis, sample exam questions and the information outlined below, all created exclusively for your use.
As you prepare for your exams, we encourage you to follow our Path to Certification Road Map and review the following:

 Prosthetic CPM Experience

 Orthotic CPM Experience


 Test Content Outline

One helpful study resource is using the Practitioner Test Content Outlines. The outlines are broken down by domain; each domain section indicates the percentage of emphasis the elements of practice in that domain receives on the exams. For each Practice Domain listed on the Test Content Outline, you should plan on familiarizing yourself with clinical, technical or general practice information related to that domain.

Test Content Outlines are available for Single Discipline Written Exams, Combined Written Exam, Simulation Exams and the CPM Exam.



​You may want to do a self-assessment of the practice areas that are represented by the percentage of time reported by certified professionals, checking the topics that you know you need to review, including any practice areas that you have not seen often in your practice.

 Practice Analysis

​​A Practice Analysis, or role delineation, is a study of the profession that provides a foundation for the exam content described in the Test Content Outline. ABC's ​Practice Analysis, which gives you an in-depth look at the profession, is used by the exam development committees to create ABC’s comprehensive, contemporary and relevant exams.​ 

The Practice Analysis can be a great study tool when preparing for your practitioner certification exams. Check out ABC's Practice Analysis Exam Preparation Guide to find out how​!

 Exam References and Recommended Reading List

​​Another source of information to help you prepare is the exam reference and recommended reading list. This reference list is used by the exam item writers to validate the correct answers to the exam questions. You may also want to refer to published journal articles, reference lists and the textbooks from your educational program.

Some candidates find it helpful to review basic test taking principals while preparing for the exams. Numerous references for exam preparation, reducing exam anxiety and study tips are available from a wide array of publishers and are commonly available in bookstores and online.​

 The Exams

​​​​​Written Examination

The practitioner written exam is a three hour, multiple choice exam that assesses your knowledge of patient and practice management. Knowledge assessed on the written exam includes anatomy, physiology, biomechanics, kinesiology, disease process, pathologies, material science, ethics and professionalism. Also included are general practice questions that you should be familiar with based on the practical experience you gained from your residency. 

The written exam contains 165 questions, however only 150 count toward your result. The other 15 questions are new questions that are being tested to see how they perform prior to being used in future exams.​

Combined O&P Written Multiple Choice Exam
The three and a half hour, 200 question, multiple choice exam assesses your knowledge of patient management. Knowledge assessed on the exam includes anatomy, physiology, biomechanics, kinesiology, disease process, pathologies, prescription criteria, material science, ethics and professionalism.

Sample O&P Written Exam
This exam Includes sample questions similar to those that you would find on the actual written exam(s), giving you get a feel for the types of questions that will be asked and how they are structured.  ​​​

Written Simulation Exam
The written simulation exam is interactive and concentrates on implementation of practice rather than just information recall. The problems will require you to apply information you obtain about a patient to what type of device would be recommended as well as the components and fitting criteria associated with the device. For example, the problem might provide medical history, symptoms, functional abilities and vocational activities for a particular patient and ask, "What would be the appropriate steps to take or assessments to make?" or "What would be the most appropriate device recommendation?"

The simulation problems also incorporate follow up scenarios where you will assess the patient at a follow up appointment and determine what actions should be taken based on the findings from the follow up assessment. For orthotics, the problems may include scoliosis/kyphosis, spinal cord injuries, fractures, treatment of stroke, upper extremity management, hip and knee pathologies, cervical spine and neuromuscular disease. The prosthetic problems may include management of the lower and upper extremity amputee including immediate postoperative fitting procedures. You will encounter seven simulation problems at the exam. Like the written exam, ABC tests simulation problems prior to using them in a future exam. One of the simulation problems on the exam is a pilot problem.

Clinical Patient Management Examination
Many activities in your daily practice relate to the patient situations you will encounter at the Clinical Patient Management (CPM) exam. Remember that every day you collect clinical information about a patient—you determine what orthotic or prosthetic intervention would be the most appropriate and then implement that established treatment plan—and all of that knowledge will be helpful in preparing you for the CPM exam. For example, the practical exam assesses your ability to identify gait deviations, understand the underlying causes of the deviations and what orthotic or prosthetic treatment would address the pathology.​​​​​​

 Exam Review Courses

​You might consider taking an exam review course, or purchasing exam preparation materials that are available from multiple sources. ABC neither sponsors nor endorses review/preparatory courses or any exam preparation materials. Your review may include specific O&P material, or might be in the general area of test taking techniques.​

 Study Groups

​​Consider forming a small exam study group. Candidates who pool their resources and study together may be more confident in their knowledge and more likely to pass the exam.

Your study group might consider scheduling to take the exam at the same time, traveling to the exam site together and supporting one another every step of the way.


​​One of the most important parts of your preparation for the ABC practitioner certification exams is completion of your NCOPE accredited residency. The competency assessments that are a part of your NCOPE residency are a good gauge of your knowledge and skills in a particular practice area. This is critical to your learning and progression from student to independent care provider.

The NCOPE Residency Standards are available here. Located on pages 6-8 of the standards are descriptions of the types of orthoses and prostheses that residents are required to have experienced. The specific competency assessment forms are part of NCOPE's online Typhon clinical tracking system that all residents are required to utilize. You will have access to these forms once you have registered with NCOPE. If you think that your residency training lacked exposure to certain practice element, make arrangements to shadow a practitioner who works in a different practice setting in order to be exposed to different patient populations.​

 ABC Certified Colleagues

​​Talk with ABC certified colleagues to find out what resources they suggest to help you prepare for your exams and what study advice they might offer. While they are not allowed to share exam content with you, they can help with focusing your studying activities to the most critical areas.​

 Exam Results

​​If you are retaking your written exam, review your Notice of Test Results and identify the domain areas where you have the most opportunity to improve. Review Understanding Your Exam Results for Orthotics and/or Prosthetics to help you focus your studies accordingly.​