The Psychiatrist Test Guide

The Psychiatrist Test Summary
What: The Psychiatry Resident-in-Training Examination (PRITE) evaluates residents in comparison to their peers.
Who: Psychiatry residents at various stages in their training take PRITE.
Where: PRITE exams are conducted locally.
When: PRITE is offered annually as a two-day test in the fall. Residents receive their scores in winter.
How: Written, computerized and video-based.
Type: Residents complete the exam using test booklets and answer sheets.
Why: PRITE results offer residents and residency directors a detailed computer analysis of how they compare to those in the same training stage elsewhere.
Time: The test spans two days.
Language: English
Preparation: Commercial review manuals are available for purchase as are the past five years of exams from the American College of Psychiatrists.
Cost: Ranges from $1500 to $3000.


The annual Psychiatry Resident-in-Training Examination (PRITE) is not a board certification test, but rather an evaluation resource for psychiatry residency programs. Most psychiatry residents in the U.S. take the exam three to four times during their training, according to the exam designer – the American College of Psychiatrists.

Psychiatry residents choose to take the exam in the fall at various training stages – even as beginners – as a way of measuring how they compare to their peers at the same level. The residents receive a detailed computer analysis of their results and the comparables. Directors of residency programs are also able to compare how their group of residents matched up against residents elsewhere.

The two-day test includes 300 questions using test booklets and answer sheets. The content areas include:

  • Neurology and neurosciences
  • Growth and development
  • Adult psychopathology
  • Emergency psychiatry
  • Behavioral science and social psychiatry
  • Psychosocial therapies
  • Somatic treatment methods
  • Patient evaluation and treatment selection
  • Consultation-liaison psychiatry
  • Child psychiatry
  • Alcoholism and substance abuse
  • Geriatric psychiatry
  • Forensic psychiatry

Another more specialized examination, Child PRITE, includes 200 questions surveying adolescent psychiatry issues.

PRITE questions are written by a special board including representatives from the American College of Psychiatrists, American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry, American Association of Directors of Psychiatric Residency Training, American Psychiatric Association and the Association for Academic Psychiatry as well as two neurology consultants, one genetics consultant and six psychiatry residents.

American Board of Psychiatry and Neurology Inc. Subspecialty Certifications

The American Board of Psychiatry and Neurology (ABPN) issues certifications recognizing qualified specialists credential, training and testing requirements. The ABPN oversees the two-part board examinations for psychiatry, neurology or neurology with special qualifications in child neurology. The parts are divided into multiple-choice and oral exams and the total application and exam fees near $3,000.

Part I of the psychiatry exam is timed, multiple-choice and administered by computer at Pearson VUE testing centers. Psychiatry questions cover the following areas:

  • Development through the life cycle
  • Behavioral and social sciences
  • Epidemiology and public policy
  • Diagnostic procedures
  • Clinical aspects of psychiatric disorders
  • Treatment of psychiatric disorders
  • Special topics like suicide, child abuse, sexual abuse and domestic violence

Part II of the exam features two sections. The candidate is given 30 minutes to examine a patient while one or more examiners observes, followed by 30 minutes of discussion with the examiners. Candidates are evaluated on the physician-patient relationship, interview conduct, data organization, phenomenology, diagnosis and prognosis.

ABPN psychiatry exam candidates also complete a vignette section presented in either written or video clip format. Examiners discuss the content with candidates.

The ABPN’s subspecialty exams and certifications include child and adolescent psychiatry, forensic psychiatry, addiction psychiatry and geriatric psychiatry. The certificates are issued for 10 years. Application and exam fees are typically $1,500 to $2,000.

If you’re interested in preparation materials for PRITE or subspecialty certifications, check out our Psychiatry Test Directory.