ABFCS Annual Certifying Exam Preparation

The American Board of Facial Cosmetic Surgery administers rigorous written and oral exams to allow candidates to demonstrate their expertise in patient care and best practices in facial cosmetic surgery.

You may review our outline of the Written Examination Content and a general overview of the Oral Examination Content below.

Written Examination Content

The first part of the American Board of Facial Cosmetic Surgery (ABFCS) examination is given as a computer-based written test. This exam must be completed during one session with a maximum time allotment of four and a half hours. The material covered involves over 50% facial cosmetic procedure questions, with the remaining questions covering liposuction, dermatological topics, patient safety and ethics, and surgical principles.

Approximately 30% of the ABFCS written test items will be at the recall of facts/recognition level; 40% of the questions will be at the application level; and about 30% of the items will be at the problem solving, synthesis, and evaluation level.

The below outline, which represents percentages of test items given per topic on the 2020 written examination, is furnished to help guide your study. 

2020 ABFCS Written Examination Content Outline

Liposuction (8-12% test items)

  1. Instrumentation/Modalities
  2. Anesthesia
  3. Anatomic Considerations

Facial (55-59% of test items)

  1. Soft Tissue
  2. Implants
  3. Liposuction
  4. Rhinoplasty
  5. Otoplasty
  6. Face and Neck Lift
  7. Forehead/Brow Lift
  8. Blepharoplasty
  9. Lips
  10. Midface
  11. Orthognathic
  12. Genioplasty

Dermatology (8-10% of test items)

  1. Resurfacing
  2. Laser/Light/Radiofrequency Treatments
  3. Scar Management
  4. Soft Tissue
  5. Hair Restoration

Patient Safety (10-14% of test items)

  1. Airway/Oxygenation/Ventilation
  2. ACLS
  3. Medical Emergencies
  4. Surgical Emergencies
  5. OR/Environment Safety
  6. Ethics/Communication
  7. Patient Evaluation/Perioperative Care

Surgical Principles (10-14% of test items)

  1. Anatomy
  2. Physiology
  3. Aesthetic Analysis
  4. Pharmacology
  5. Complications

Oral Examination Content

For the second part of the exam, one of our testing administrators will serve as oral examiner. Like the written exam, this examination also covers the full range of facial cosmetic surgery topics, as well as extends upon the topics covered on the written examination. The oral exam also tests your ability to listen and communicate clearly and effectively using your knowledge of facial cosmetic surgery.

Topics covered during the oral examination may include:

  • Patient consultation
  • Knowledge of specific procedures
  • Surgical principles
  • Patient safety

The Annual Cosmetic Surgery Review Course

The American Academy of Cosmetic Surgery sponsors the Annual Cosmetic Surgery Review Course for cosmetic surgeons. To learn more, contact the AACS at (312) 981-6760 or via email at info@cosmeticsurgery.org. While attendance at the AACS Annual Review Course is not mandatory, it is strongly recommended for all applicants for certification. Note that the AACS Annual Review Course covers all aspects of cosmetic surgery, including facial cosmetic surgery topics relevant to the ABFCS exam.