EXAMINATION CONTENT OUTLINES
Public Health and
General Preventive Medicine
OFFICE OF THE BOARD
111 West Jackson, Suite 1110
Chicago, Illinois 60604
(312) 939-ABPM 
Fax (312) 939-2218
Web Site: www.theabpm.org
The specialty area examinations are intended to assess whether the candidate claiming to have the knowledge, skills, and experience associated with comprehensive specialty practice is qualified to do so. The Board recognizes that many applicants are engaged in practice or have received training which is not fully congruent with Board expectations. However, the Board cannot adjust its definition of specialty practice to conform to the day-to-day work experience of a varied group of applicants. Applicants who judge their training and experience to lack elements regarded by the Board as important will find it helpful to prepare for comprehensive specialty practice, and examination, by guided study. This Study Guide outlines the scope of practice and provides a list of useful texts and periodicals. There is no certainty that the answer to every examination question will be found in the cited materials, as many questions require an exercise of discernment and judgment rather than a specific textbook answer.
Introduction to The Guide
This Guide has been prepared for physicians who seek to develop knowledge and skills in Preventive Medicine through appropriate reading, class work, formal training, and experience. The Guide describes the scope and content of the field, including the specialty areas, so that physicians may know what is expected of them as they engage in comprehensive specialty practice or prepare for examination by the American Board of Preventive
Medicine (ABPM). In addition, a list of competencies has been developed for Preventive Medicine practitioners.1,2
Review of the competencies and the accompanying performance indicators will assist in targeting content areas for study or review.
A companion document prepared by the ABPM, entitled
Answers to Your Most Asked Questions, provides additional information on the examination.
Candidates commonly inquire if review books, courses, or similar exam preparation offerings are of value. Many examinees feel that brief courses enhance recall of previously acquired knowledge and improve one=s approach to multiple-choice examinations in general. But it is quite unlikely that anyone will learn, for example, biostatistics or toxicology, in a review course or from a review CD or other media. Board and exam committee members do not participate as faculty in such activities nor are such practice questions abstracted from Board examinations and vice versa. Some review questions may be similar to examination questions; however it is not correct to infer that there is a transfer of content as a small change in a question or in a response may change what is the correct answer. The Guide includes outlines of core and specialty area content; approximate percentage distributions of test items; lists of books, periodicals, and other materials which have been found to be useful to practitioners and examinees; and general information about Board examinations. The outlines and lists are not claimed to be all-inclusive or definitive. In every specialty, time and circumstances bring changes in what is expected of its practitioners. Books grow out of date and are replaced by later editions or alternative works by different authors. Thus, although the Guide is revised from time to time, the Board makes no claim that cited texts are best or most current and cannot assure that persons who read any or all listed texts will achieve competence or perform at some predictable level on the examination. Further, it is well recognized that personal backgrounds and preferences are important determinants of the suitability of any particular text or educational medium.