Grace Year Policy

Grace years are available to everyone in good standing and enrolled in the ABS Continuous Certification Program, whenever an assessment is normally due.

The ABS encourages diplomates to do their best on all assessment attempts. Correctly answering 80% of the questions is required to pass an assessment, with two chances to answer. A score of at least 40% must be achieved on the first attempt to qualify for a second attempt in the same testing administration, so frequent guessing is not a recommended strategy. Those who do not answer a minimum of 16 questions (40%) correctly on their first attempt or 32 questions (80%) correctly by their second attempt may be granted a grace year and will be able to retake it the following year without loss of certification status.

Diplomates who are enrolled in the Continuous Certification Program and are not up to date with all program requirements at the time of assessment registration will be unable to take the assessment until those requirements have been fulfilled. Grace years are provided to diplomates that are currently enrolled in the program and do not pass an assessment when it is due, whether they do not register for the assessment or are unsuccessful in their assessment attempt. To receive the grace year, diplomates must be current on their annual fee payment.

If a diplomate does not pass the assessment while in their grace year, they will lose certification. Regaining certification after the grace year will then require successful completion of a secure exam.

Diplomates who do not remit payment for their annual fee in the year that they are due to complete an assessment will not automatically receive a grace year in the following year and will lose their certification on Dec. 31 of that year. These diplomates will be listed as “Not Certified” until their outstanding balance has been paid. Following payment of an outstanding balance, the grace year will be reinstated along with a “Certified” certification status.

Diplomates who are participating in the lapsed pathway do not receive any grace years during the five years in which they are completing the pathway requirements.

Grace years are available for everyone in good standing and participating in the Continuous Certification Program, whenever an assessment is normally due. There is no “predetermined” maximum number of grace years that a diplomate could receive. However, those who are currently in a grace year and do not pass the assessment will not be issued another grace year at that time and their certification will expire on Dec. 31 of that year.

Diplomates who are enrolled in the Continuous Certification Program but still have time remaining on their ten-year certificate, and either do not take or fail an assessment in a given year are also eligible to receive a grace year. These diplomates must remit their annual fee payment in the year that the assessment is due, and no later than December 31 of that year to receive the grace year.

Related Policies

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