take action

Read Our Journal


Exhibit or Advertise


Resources for Exam Preparation

General Information

The American Board of Medical Specialties (ABMS) exam is administered by the American Board of Internal Medicine (ABIM) through Pearson VUE Testing Centers on behalf of all of the co-sponsoring boards. The American Osteopathic Association (AOA) Bureau of Osteopathic Specialists exam for a Certificate of Added Qualification in hospice and palliative medicine is administered to all approved applicants at one time and location. The AAHPM is not involved in the development of either certification exam. The following suggestions are to help provide a broad knowledge base in hospice and palliative medicine that may benefit you in your review for the exams.

Who should take the exam?
Certification by an ABMS or AOA Member Board has long been considered the gold standard in medical specialty certification. By pursuing board certification, physicians elevate themselves into the ranks of physicians committed to maintaining the highest possible standards for healthcare.  

Suggested Preparation

1. Become Familiar with Exam Content and Blueprint
ABIM has posted the hospice and palliative medicine certification exam blueprint which includes the content areas covered, their relative percentages, and the approximate number of questions in each area to expect on a typical exam.

Test-taking Skills

2. Review Textbooks

Hospice and Palliative Care Training for Physicians: UNIPAC, 4th Edition
The Hospice/Palliative Care Training for Physicians self study program. The 4th edition of this program consists of nine self-study books that may be ordered individually or as a complete set. This popular, comprehensive study program provides a critical foundation for healthcare providers who want to incorporate the principles of hospice and palliative medicine into their daily practice. They are not sufficient by themselves to serve as comprehensive review for the exam, but are an excellent resource.

3. Attend a Review Course

4. Take a Practice Test

HPM PASS - Hospice and Palliative Medicine Physician Assessment and Self-Study Tool
The Hospice and Palliative Medicine Physician Assessment & Self Study Tool includes up to 150 test questions to help assess your knowledge in key areas of hospice and palliative medicine and uncover areas where additional review may be helpful.

HPM FAST - Hospice and Palliative Medicine Focused Assessment and Self-Study Tool
Three Hospice and Palliative Medicine Focused Assessment & Self Study Tools offer 25 test questions focusing on important clinical topics including Prognostication, Pediatrics, and Psychiatry & Cognition.

5. Remain Up-to-date
Continue to keep abreast of the current evidence in the field.

2013 Annual Assembly
Attend the 2013 Annual Assembly.

2012 Annual Assembly Recordings
MP3 audio recordings of over 100 sessions featuring the latest in hospice and palliative care.

PC-FACS (Fast Article Critical Summaries for Clinicians in Palliative Care)
Remain up-to-date with the current evidence in the field with these concise summaries of important findings from more than 30 medical and scientific journals.

Fast Facts
Fast Facts - free, one page summaries for 195 critical topics in Hospice & Palliative Medicine. Peer reviewed, evidence based and can be searched using keywords; a good place to search when looking for resources on a specific topic.

JAMA Palliative Care Review Series
This series of over 60 articles, "Perspectives on Care at the Close of Life," began in 2000 and provides a case-based approach to common scenarios and dilemmas in hospice and palliative care. 

Palliative Care JournalClub

Pallimed - A Hospice and Palliative Medicine Blog

6. Take the ABIM Sample Tutorial
ABIM has provided a sample on-line tutorial so candidates may familiarize themselves with the look and feel of the computerized testing process.

7. Stay Current with the Rules and Logistics for Taking the Examination
Read carefully everything that you receive from your primary board concerning the instructions for registering for the exam.

Other Suggested Resources and Study Guides

Preparing for the Hospice and Palliative Medicine Certification Exam
Journal of Palliative Medicine

Practical Aspects of Palliative Care: Integrating palliative care into clinical practice
Harvard Medical School

ASCO Curriculum: Optimizing Cancer Care - The Importance of Symptom Management
American Society of Clinical Oncology

EPEC Project: Education in Palliative and End-of-Life Care
Northwestern University's Feinberg School of Medicine 
Beth Israel Medical Center Department of Pain Medicine and Palliative Care

Principles and Practice of Palliative Care and Supportive Oncology, Third Edition
Berger A, Shuster J, Von Roenn J, 2006

A Physician's Guide to Pain and Symptom Management in Cancer Patients, Second Edition
Abrahm, J 2005.

Palliative Medicine: Evidence-based symptomatic and supportive care for patients with advanced cancer, Fourth Edition
Woodruff R, 2004

Palliative Medicine: A Case-Based Manual
MacDonald N, 1998.

Clinics in Geriatric Medicine, Care of Terminally Ill Patient
Schonwetter R, 1996

Topics in Palliative Care, Vols. 1-5
Portenoy R, Bruera E

Center to Advance Palliative Care Additional Resources and Websites

Palliative Care & Rehabilitation Medicine Resources & Links
The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center

The Education in Palliative and End-of-Life Care for Oncology (EPEC-O) CD-ROM
Curriculum contained on this CD-Rom is a comprehensive curriculum in palliative and end-of-life care developed specifically for clinicians caring for persons with cancer. Available for order at Other EPEC workshops and on-line learning tools are available at the EPEC Project website:

Stanford End-of-Life Care Curriculum for Medical Teachers
Stanford University
The Stanford Faculty Development Center developed a 16 hour faculty development course incorporating basic material designed to be used by physicians in any area of expertise. This Web-based course is an adaptation of materials developed for that course.

Palliative Care Specialty Journals

Journal of Pain and Symptom Management

American Journal of Hospice and Palliative Medicine

Journal of Palliative Medicine

Journal of Palliative Care

Palliative Medicine

Palliative and Supportive Care

Twitter Image