The ABAT Test Guide

The ABAT Test Summary
What: The ABAT examination tests for knowledge of applied toxicology and the ability to use that knowledge to solve problems with patients.
Who: The exam is taken by those who have already obtained a doctoral degree or who have significant experience in the field of applied toxicology.
Where: The exam is administered each year at the location of the American Board of Applied Toxicology meeting.
When: The exam is administered each year during the American Board of Applied Toxicology's annual meeting.
How: The exam is written and administered by the American Board of Applied Toxicology.
Type: The exam is made up of 125 multiple-choice short-answer questions, and 4 problem-solving questions.
Why: The examination provides certification for individuals to practice applied clinical toxicology.
Time: The test takes between five and five and a half hours.
Language: The test is administered in English.
Cost: The combined cost of application and examination is $400. However, if an applicant is declined, $300 will be refunded.

By Adam Reger, Tests.com Contributing Writer

The American Board of Applied Toxicology (ABAT) Certification examination provides certification in applied toxicology. ABAT certification does not provide licensure, but toxicologists who pass the examination have the distinction of being diplomates of the American Board of Applied Toxicology (DABAT). Some common uses of applied toxicology certification include practicing in or directing a poison control center, working with health care professionals and medical examiners to treat patients and assisting in forensic examinations. The exam is written and administered by ABAT. The organization was founded in 1985 by the American Academy of Clinical Toxicology to provide a special focus on the field of applied clinical toxicology and those professionals working in the field.

Breakdown of the ABAT Exam

The test features two major components: a section of short answers and a problem-solving section. Test takers have five and a half hours to complete the exam.

The examination is administered in two sections over two days. It includes one section of short answers and a problem-solving section. The examination is given on paper. Pencils and all other necessary items will be supplied at the testing site.

The short-answer section is comprised of 125 questions:

  • Drugs: 40 questions
  • Chemicals: 35 questions
  • Environmental/Occupational: 15 questions
  • Toxicology Theory: 10 questions
  • Biologicals: 15 questions
  • General: 10 questions

The short-answer section tests one’s ability to recall general facts, but, more importantly, asks candidates to apply this knowledge to clinical decisions.

The problem-solving section is comprised of three clinically-oriented problems and one problem devoted to literature review, research and/or giving expert testimony.

The clinically-oriented problems test the candidate’s ability to assess a patient’s condition and work through the problem. The second type of problem-solving question tests the candidate’s ability to provide expert testimony, conduct research and review relevant literature.

ABAT Certification Exam Qualifications

The American Board of Applied Toxicology has established several application requirements for individuals applying to take the examination:

  • Candidates must have obtained a doctoral degree in a biomedical discipline or have earned a baccalaureate degree in the health sciences AND have at least five years of professional experience in the field of applied toxicology.
  • Candidates must also have completed at least twelve months of post-doctoral work in clinical toxicology or a closely related field. Individuals who have not completed the required post-doctoral work must have at least three years’ professional experience in clinical toxicology.
  • Candidates must have demonstrated experience in all of the following areas: clinical work; research and teaching; and leadership.
  • If the candidate is employed in a health profession that requires licensing, he or she must be in good standing with any jurisdictional board and possess a valid license. (A copy of the license is required along with the application.)
  • Candidates must be members of the American Board of Applied Toxicology.

Application Fees and Deadlines

The examination application is available on the ABAT website (www.abatox.org) and can be submitted electronically or via mail. The deadline for electronic applications is March 1. For paper applications, as well as submission of application and examination fees, the deadline is March 5.

Applicants’ submissions are reviewed by a credentialing committee, and applicants will be informed of the committee’s decision by a formal letter from the president of ABAT. Once a candidate’s application has been approved, he or she has two testing cycles to sit for the examination.

The combined fee for application and testing is $400 and is to be included with the candidate’s application. If the application is declined, the candidate will be refunded the $300 examination fee.

Testing Dates, Locations, and Logistics

The test is administered annually, during the North American Congress of Clinical Toxicology. The Congress is generally held in late September or early October, and the location changes each year.

The examination is scored manually within 60 days of the date of examination. Candidates will be notified of passing or failure, based on a minimum number of correct responses that will be set by ABAT.

Are you ready to start preparing for the ABAT exam? Please visit our ABAT Test Preparation Directory to find helpful study materials.