Skip to content

March 2021 Oral Exam Update

As all of you know, the COVID-19 pandemic forced us to postpone the October 2020 Oral Exam. This was a very difficult decision for us but necessary at the time. We also have many factors to take into account when considering the March 2021 Oral Exam. The Board has explored all options and hoped that we would be able to return to our normal processes as time passed.  Unfortunately, the current pandemic conditions along with many other exam-related factors have not granted our wish.

Our guiding principle throughout the pandemic has always been to place the safety of our candidates, examiners, and staff above all other considerations.  Furthermore, there are many factors to consider beyond just COVID virus status that affect the ability to host the exam in its usual format. After careful consideration, the Board has decided to move the March 2021 Oral Exam to a virtual format.  To ensure the successful management of the exam, the virtual format will host a limited number of candidates in the first administration. With these limited numbers, our main goal is to manage the current backlog of candidates, primarily those that need to reschedule from the March and October 2020 exams. For those candidates originally scheduled for the March 2020 or October 2020 Oral Exam, you will be contacted by ABE staff regarding your participation in the March 2021 Virtual Oral Exam.

To help accommodate as many candidates as possible, we are also reviewing the addition of a subsequent virtual oral exam following the success of the March 2021 exam and before our likely return to an in-person oral exam in October 2021.  It would be shortsighted to give the specifics of any virtual or in-person future exams beyond March 2021 until we have evaluated the status at that current time.  Rest assured, we value the candidate’s ability to challenge the oral exam and are considering every opportunity for you to do so.

Many of you have experience with online seminars, interviews, mock oral exams, etc., and should have a comfort level with this format that you may not have had previously. However, a high stakes exam such as this presents many additional challenges with the replication of the traditional oral exam format in a virtual environment. This is a more complex undertaking than presenting a seminar or managing a small-scale mock oral exam and will require much planning and further analysis upon completion.

For candidates concerned about when they will be able to take the oral exam, please note that you can switch tracks and submit your Case History Portfolio as the second stage of the three-part ABE board certification process. There will be no penalty or additional fees to make this switch.  If you would like to switch tracks, please email your track change request to our office at

Please wait for communication from the ABE staff with regard to your eligibility for the March 2021 exam and beyond.  All eligibility for the March 2021, October 2021, and any exams in between will be conveyed via direct correspondence from the ABE with fair and equitable opportunities given to those 2020 graduates.  We will also make any updates available on our website’s Oral Exam page at:  Please help us attend to these issues in a timely fashion and be assured that we will keep you in the know.

On behalf of the ABE directors and staff, we appreciate your patience with the ever-changing events and want to acknowledge your dedication and hard work as you move forward with the board certification process.



Melissa Drum, D.D.S., M.S.
Secretary, American Board of Endodontics

Bradford Johnson, D.D.S., M.H.P.E.
Chair, ABE Oral Exam Committee