I hope all of those out there who took the exam this year survived and will soon learn they all kicked butt! Congratulations for studying, working hard and surviving!

I wanted to take this time to also make some comments about our lack of action on the blog.

I could say that life has been busy (because it has) or work has been busy (because it has) but mainly I have to admit some of my fire about this topic has started to loose its intensity. Before I never really understood how people who had already taken and passed the exam were not affected by what was going on with the exam, what questions were on it and how the format had changed. I remember thinking how the exam speaks to how credible our profession is and if this exam seems to be based on nothing, how can we say this certification means anything? How can people not care?

Well I realize now that once you pass the exam and you are not living in that space of teaching yourself Bays again and memorizing incidence numbers again, it’s easy to move on and forget. I used to think about the exam every day and how it was scored every day, but now that it is over I go very long without thinking about it, almost to the point of forgetting about it.

That being said, I intend on continuing this forum to discuss the exam, how it affects those that take it and let it be a place for people to say how they feel about the exam after they take it.

Congratulations again to all the test takers. Feel free to leave a comment about your experience.


New ABGC email!

May 18, 2011

Hello all – I wanted to post the email that I just received from the ABGC because I think it is very exciting and a great step in the right direction for the exam.

If you did not receive it here is the email:

“Dear 2010 ABGC Certification Examinee:

The American Board of Genetic Counseling (ABGC) is committed to continually enhancing our certification examination program. To that end, we are considering several improvements:

1. A practice examination to help genetic counselors prepare for the exam. A practice exam offers a series of questions similar to questions one would find on the actual exam. It also allows the examinee to know which questions they answered correctly and incorrectly, and indicates the correct response.
2. A self-assessment examination to help genetic counselors prepare for the exam. This includes everything in a practice exam and also includes an explanation about why the response is correct and why the other options are incorrect.
3. Instant scoring so the test taker will learn whether he/she passed immediately upon completion.
4. Moving the exam window to a different time of year that may be more convenient to new graduates (i.e. not at the end of the summer).
5. Having more than one exam window to better accommodate all certification candidates.

We plan to accomplish most of these goals in time, but they cannot all be done at once. We would like to pursue improvements that the majority of genetic counselors feel would be most valuable first. To help us determine this, we are surveying current genetic counseling students, 2011 graduates, and recent examinees.

This is a quick survey and your opinion counts! We plan to immediately begin working on the initiative that the majority of respondents agree is most valued.”

At the bottom of the email there is a link to a survey that is intended for current students, 2011 grads and people who took the 2010 exam to complete. I suggest everyone who fits this criteria should take the survey.

I think all of the suggested changes are fantastic and what this exam needs to be better for the test takers. I have to say I think number 1 and 2 are the most important and would be the most helpful to test takers.

What do you think are the things the ABGC should work on having ready first?


I wanted to encourage all you GCs to take a few minutes and complete this years’ ABGC PAS.  The survey is for ALL practicing GCs, not just certified GCs.  So, if you haven’t already completed the survey, now’s your chance.  They want all responses in by the 29th (this coming Friday), so don’t wait too long.  This is an opportunity to represent your personal part of the GC world.   Very important if we want to continue to be a part of improving our certification exams and whatnot.  Link is below…


BTW, speaking of surveys — I realize we’ve done a terrible job of updating this blog, and we haven’t yet posted the results of our little 2010 Boards survey.  Please check back soon.  We don’t intend to let this blog die, we’ve just been a bit busy.

Update from ABGC!

November 19, 2010

It was brought to our attention that the ABGC has posted new information on their site that includes the pass/fail rate and some other stats from the 2010 exam.

This PDF can be found under the “What’s new” section of the ABGC website and is also is currently posted as an ABGC Highlight on the front page. Also you can click on the link below:

2010 Examination Administration Statistics

The summary of the pass fail rate, according to this document, is as follows:

314 candidates took the exam in 2010, and of those 237 candidate passed the exam for a pass rate of 75.5%

The document also says the pass rate for the 2009 exam was 77.3%

We were also informed that this information is posted every year after the exam and should be available on the ABGC website. So in the future you can visit the ABGC website for this information.

We commend the ABGC for posting this detailed information in an easy to understand format.

Thanks to everyone for visiting our blog and keeping the conversation about certification and the exam ongoing. As of now we have about 68 respondents to our survey and we are hoping to get at least to 100 so we can better estimate the pass-fail rate for this exam cycle.

Please tell your friends and classmates about the survey! We hope to get everyone useful information as soon as possible!

Please visit the link in the post below to complete the survey.

2010 Survey

October 26, 2010

Hi, all!

Below is a link that will take you to a survey very similar to the one we conducted last year.  Your answers will remain anonymous.  As before, we’re hoping that we can get as many exam-takers as possible to complete this short survey, as the results can give us some basic stats, such as the overall pass rate.  So, enjoy (and please pass the word).


GC Feedback Survey – 2010 exam

Results are in!!

October 25, 2010

The results of the 2010 ABGC exam have been mailed out and received by some. The score report says the same as last year, that there are 170 scored questions and 30 unscored questions that were being pretested for future exams.

They did not indicate which version of the exam the testee took or if there is a different passing score for each test.

They did not indicate what the pass rate was for the exam.

They did put in a summary of how they score the certification exam which is complicated but helpful to have in with the score report. So this is a great improvement from last year’s exam, so thank you to the ABGC for this addition.

What we know now is that the passing score for one of the exams is 124/170.

Please post if you have any other information. We will put together a survey as we did last year to try to assess this information.

We hope everyone passed and there are a lot of happy people!

The ABGC sent an email about when the scores for the exam will be ready. If you did not already see the email it was sent on July 27th and I have posted a copy of it below:

July 27, 2010

ABGC 2010 Examination Score Reports

Dear Examinee:

ABGC would like you to know that scores will not be available or released until after the NSGC Annual Education Conference which is being held in Dallas, TX on October 14-17, 2010. The testing agency will not have enough time between the end of the testing window (September 18) and the AEC to compile all of the scoring and complete the quality assurance review. The scores are expected to be released the week of October 17th.

I think the ABGC went above and beyond with sending this email since they did not have to commit to a score release date. I think it also is appreciated to let those that are taking the exam know they will not know their score before the NSGC conference. So thank you to the ABGC for that thoughtful email!

Now moving on to boards – Good luck to everyone. Remember it isn’t really about how smart you are or how good of a counselor you are, just try to answer the questions the way they want you to answer the questions. What are they looking for? What do you think they want you to say? If you play their game you will come out on top!

I hope we have 100% of candidates passing this year!

Hello all

If you haven’t received the message already, the ABGC posted new material to their website which includes a list of references for the test and some sample questions.

Though I appreciate the questions the ABGC gave to us, it would be helpful if they provided at least a one sentence explanation of why the answer is the correct answer. Just giving an answer key doesn’t really allow us to wrap our heads around what they are looking for us to understand.

Possibly in the future they will do this with new practice questions.

As for the list of references, well I guess it’s helpful to see this list but the idea of studying all of these texts with the possibility of only one question out of 170 arising from the material makes the list seem a bit silly. I would totally expect this number of texts if we had 500 to 1000 questions to answer like the ACMG boards but that is not our situation. To be honest, I wonder how many of these texts the questions really came from.

Well those are my new thoughts. I hope everyone is keeping calm about the boards and enjoying the spring weather. Keep on going everyone. You can all do it!!

Starting over

March 8, 2010

Why am I doing this all again?

1. I want to prove to myself I can pass
2. I want to prove to others I can pass
3. My job expects me to pass
4. My profession expects me to pass

Even with all of those reasons there is a big part of me that really does not care about this exam. I still struggle with respecting the content of the exam, accepting the price of the exam, accepting how they score the exam, and agreeing with what it means in regards to my current position. I feel trapped between all of the things I have to balance in my real life (working long hours, stress, my family, my friends, money, chores, etc.) with learning to pass a test that relates to an unrelated life (clinical genetic counseling and vignettes).

If I pass the test what will it mean to me? I will not feel smarter or accomplished. I will not feel more qualified at my job. I will feel I finally learned to answer the questions the way the Board wants me to answer them and I will be happy to be able to call myself a genetic counselor in my state. Is that worth 1369 dollars and countless hours spending time away from my family and friends, stressed out and unhappy? Unfortunately I really don’t know but since I paid for the test I better figure it out soon.