Correlation Between Radiology ACGME Case Logs Values and ABR Core Exam Pass Rate

Acad Radiol. 2020 Feb;27(2):269-273. doi: 10.1016/j.acra.2019.10.004. Epub 2019 Nov 4.


Rationale and objectives: There is discordance between the American Board of Radiology (ABR) and many radiology trainees with respect to the most appropriate means to prepare for the ABR Core Examination. Whereas the ABR suggests that participation in routine clinical examination interpretation best prepares a trainee for the practical material of the test, residents, and many program directors feel that time away from clinical service for study and review courses are necessary. This study examines the relationship between studies interpreted in the first three years of residency as reported in the Accreditation Council for Graduate Medical Education case logs and performance of first-time test takers on the ABR Core Examination.

Materials and methods: Accreditation Council for Graduate Medical Education case log data was anonymized for a single year cohort of residents in all accredited radiology residencies. This was then provided to the ABR and matched with performance on the Core Examination. A random effects logistic regression model was used to evaluate for a relationship between the number of examinations read and the pass/fail status of the Core Exam.

Results: Modeling using a linear and a quadratic term yields a significant relationship between case log values and Core Exam performance. There is a positive correlation until an inflection point of approximately 11,000 examinations, at which point a negative correlation develops.

Conclusion: The data supports that active engagement in clinical duties is associated with better performance on the ABR Core Examination, with the caveat that there appears to be a point at which service outweighs educational value. Beyond this, performance on the examination declines.

Keywords: ABR; Case logs; Core exam; Radiology education; Test preparation.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Education, Medical, Graduate
  • Educational Measurement
  • Internship and Residency*
  • Radiography
  • Radiology* / education
  • United States