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Diagnostic Imaging – Nature & Scope of the Radiology Examination

Revised: 10/2019

General

Examination Format

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 majority vote of the ACVR Executive Council.

Honor Code
The ACVR requires all candidates to agree to and sign the ACVR Honor Code prior to participation in the Preliminary Examination and the Certifying Examination. Any violation of the Honor Code may result in nullification of a candidate’s examination results.

Location
The examination is given at a time and location determined by ACVR. The date of the examination is published on the ACVR Calendar annually.

Content
The Preliminary Examination is a written examination that is composed of multiple-choice questions. All questions are based on content included in the Radiology Preliminary Examination Content Outline.  The Preliminary Examination Study Guide, published on the ACVR website under ACVR Preliminary Examination, is study guide reference to help guide residents in their preparation for the ACVR Preliminary examination. These materials will be published on the ACVR website no later than the deadline for candidate applications to sit the Preliminary Examination.

Images will be used for some questions in the examination and will include normal and abnormal cases. Sample ACVR Preliminary Examination Questions are published on the ACVR website under ACVR Preliminary Examination.  While emphasis is given to the dog, cat and horse (approximately 50%, 35%, 10% respectively), other species will be included where appropriate (5%).. The current literature relevant to examination sections and diagnostic imaging is a source of examination material (see Resource List for ACVR Preliminary Examination, included with Preliminary Study Guide). 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, out-dated, obsolete, or obscure material is avoided.

Scoring:
Examination Cut Score and Scoring
The Radiology Preliminary Examination is a criterion-referenced examination. This simply means that examinees are measured against an absolute standard of minimum competency, and not based on the performance of others taking the examination. This minimum competency standard, also known as the “cut score”, is developed from the following steps.

  1. Items to be used on the examination are selected based on the content outline and examination specifications.
  2. The ACVR Examination Committee members assess the probability that a minimally qualified examinee will answer an item (test question) correctly. To do this, they consider the difficulty level, the complexity level, and the construction of the item. All items on the initial examination (“Exam A”) are evaluated for their difficulty level and are then given a rating based on an estimate of how many (e.g., 60%, 70%) minimally qualified examinees would get the given item correct. The individual ratings for each item are then averaged across all of the members of the Examination Committee and an overall cut score is determined (e.g., 65%, 70%). In other words, the examinee will have to get 65%, or 70% of the items correct to pass the examination
  3. After the examination is administered, the items are “scored” to determine if they are functioning properly. Various statistical indices are then calculated (e.g., p-values, reliability coefficients, standard deviation, standard error of measurement).
  4. The cut score determined in step 2 is implemented to determine how many examinees passed/failed the examination.

Outcome
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 examination committee outlining the strengths and weaknesses in each of the major content domains (Radiology/Fluoroscopy, Ultrasound, CT, MR, Nuclear Medicine, Professional Collaboration) as an aid in preparation for the next examination.

Click here to view the preliminary examination content outline.

Content
The ACVR Certifying Examination is a case-based examination delivered online. Candidates are presented with a series of cases covering a range of species, anatomy, pathology, and imaging modalities, each case comprising a summary of the history and clinical signs, and diagnostic images as stills or videos. Candidates are required to list their observations and synthesize a diagnosis or ranked list of differential diagnoses. The marking scheme rewards candidates able to identify the major abnormalities, recognize their pathological significance, and express the likely relationship between the imaging and reported clinical findings.

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.

Scoring
See the scoring rubric for details.

Outcome
Examination Cut Score and Scoring
The Radiology Certifying Examination is also a criterion-referenced examination (see above). This simply means that examinees are measured against an absolute standard of minimum competency, and not based on the performance of others taking the examination. This minimum competency standard, also known as the “cut score”, is developed from the following steps.

  1. Items to be used on the examination are selected based on the content outline and examination specifications.
  2. Examination questions will be graded by at least 2 Examiners in a blinded manner using the scoring rubric. Additional examiners will be used to score questions in the event there is disparity with the initial scores.

Names of candidates who pass the Certifying Examination are referred to the ACVR Executive Council, upon which a majority vote of approval will confer Diplomate status upon successful candidates.

Failing candidates will receive a letter from the  Chair of the Examination Committee detailing specific areas of weakness and strengths to aid in their preparation for the next examination.

Click here to view the certifying exam content outline.

Standards for Admission to Membership Education, Training and/or Experience

To be eligible for examination and certification as a Diplomate in Veterinary Radiology, candidates must have training supervised by two ACVR Diplomates or one Diplomate of the ACVR and one Diplomate of the ECVDI in a program that meets the guidelines established by the Executive Council of the American College of Veterinary Radiology. Generally speaking, most candidates entering a three-year residency training program have had prior clinical experience as an intern or in private practice. Upon completion of a residency training program that meets established guidelines, the candidate should be qualified to apply for the certification examination.

Requirements for the Certifying Examination in Veterinary Radiology 

Section 1.   The following prerequisites must be met to the satisfaction of the Executive Council (2/3 affirmative vote by Executive Council) before any candidate is eligible to undertake any portion of the certifying examination in Veterinary Radiology.

An eligible candidate must:

  1.  Have satisfactory moral and ethical standing in the profession.
    b.    Be a graduate of a School or College of Veterinary Medicine accredited or approved by the AVMA, or possess a certificate issued by the Educational Commission for Foreign Veterinary Graduates (ECFVG), or are legally qualified to practice veterinary medicine in some state, province, territory or possession of the United States, Canada, or other country.

Section 2.    Application to undertake the certifying examination shall be accompanied by the above information and shall be accompanied by an examination fee in the sum fixed by the Executive Council.  Applications must be postmarked by the deadline date determined by Executive Council to be considered.

Section 3.    Additional requirements for the certifying examination shall be contained in the By-Laws of the ACVR or its RVS.

Examination Requirements

Section 1.  In addition to the requirements above listed in Article VI of the Constitution of the ACVR, to be eligible for the Preliminary examination a candidate must:

  1. Have one of the following qualifications:
    1. Be in an approved residency program. All programs must be submitted to Executive Council  for approval by September 1 of the year, 2 years in advance of anticipated examination.  This may be a regular or alternative approved program.
    2. Or be a Diplomate of the European College of Veterinary Diagnostic Imaging.
  2. Submit to the Executive Council a statement of his/her qualifications, and other evidence of his/her professional experience and competence.  Answer in detail a questionnaire presented by the Executive Council.
  3. Submit two names for letters of reference of his/her personal and professional competency, including a letter from his/her sponsor.

Section 2.   Certifying examination requirements:

  1. A candidate must satisfactorily pass the Preliminary Examination before sitting for the Certifying  Examination.
  2. Complete 3 month of clinical training in an approved program or be a Diplomate of the ECVDI who with one year of work along side a Diplomate of the ACVR.

2020 PRELIMINARY EXAMINATION – retake examination

  • The retake Preliminary examination for candidates that were unsuccessful in the August administration will be held on December 1st, 2020.
  • This examination will be offered remotely in the same manner as the August administration.
  • Registration form
  • Registration due date:  October 15, 2020
  • Remote proctoring form and instructions: Coming soon

Preliminary Examination Schedule:

Tuesday December 1st, 2020

  • Session 1 – 9 am – 11 am
  • Break – 11 am – 11:15 am
  • Session 2 – 11:15 am – 1:15 pm
  • NOTE: these times are irrespective of time zone (i.e. 9 am start time regardless of your location)

 

 

2020 Diagnostic Imaging CERTIFYING EXAMINATION

Due to the ongoing health concerns and travel restrictions the 2020 Certifying Examinations will be held remotely. The ACVR has done everything possible to ensure a fair, secure, and smooth exam administration but as this is the first time we have conducted this examination with this format the Equine Diagnostic Imaging and Diagnostic Imaging examinations will be staggered:

DI                                            – December 1st and 2nd, 2020

In the event that the first exam does not go as tested and planned the EDI and DI examinations will be further postponed

 

Remote proctoring form and instructions:

Please complete this form.  You will complete the first section as the candidate and then the form will be e-mailed to the proctor you identify for completion of shipping address and confirmation they can provide this service.

Deadline:  October 15, 2020

 

Certifying Examination Daily Schedule

DI session 1DI session 2
AT12:00 PM4:00 PM
ET11:00 AM1 hour break3:00 PM
CT10:00 AM2:00 PM
MT9:00 AM1:00 PM
PT8:00 AM12:00 PM

NOTE: Start times will vary for candidates outside of North America

 

2021 PRELIMINARY EXAMINATION 

  • The 2021 Preliminary examination will be held on August 26th (pending confirmation of site availability)
  • The current plan is to offer this examination in person at the Oquendo Centre

Registration information: 

Preliminary Examination Schedule:

  • Session 1 – 8 am – 10 am
  • Break – 10 am – 10:15 am
  • Session 2 – 10:15 am – 12:15 pm

 

 

2021 Diagnostic Imaging CERTIFYING EXAMINATION

  • The 2021 Certifying examination will be held on August 24/25th (pending confirmation of site availability)
  • The current plan is to offer this examination in person at the Oquendo Centre

 

Registration information: 

 

Certifying Examination Schedule

  • Day 1
    • Session 1 – 9 am – 12 pm
    • Break – 12 pm – 1 pm
    • Session 2 – 1 pm – 4 pm
  • Day 2
    • Session 1 – 9 am – 12 pm
    • Break – 12 pm – 1 pm
    • Session 2 – 1 pm – 4 pm