ASCP’s Resident In-Service Examination (RISE)

ASCP’s Resident In-Service Examination (RISE) helps Residents to assess and track their training progress and medical knowledge. In addition, it assists Program Directors in evaluating the training program curriculum. RISE is an evaluation tool that can be used to assess progress in Anatomic Pathology, Clinical Pathology, Molecular Pathology and Laboratory Administration.


Helpful Links

Residents may be particularly interested in this article from the Oct. 2011 issue of AJCP, "Senior Pathology Resident In-Service Examination Scores Correlate With Outcomes of the American Board of Pathology Certifying Examinations."  
ASCP’s Resident In-Service Examination (RISE) helps Residents to assess and track their training progress and medical knowledge. In addition, it assists Program Directors in evaluating the training program curriculum. RISE is an evaluation tool that can be used to assess progress in Anatomic Pathology, Clinical Pathology, Molecular Pathology and Laboratory Administration.

RISE facts:

  • RISE is a comprehensive examination tool that is utilized by various international and 100% of the U.S. pathology residency programs;
  • More than 350 multiple choice questions, many with images, constructed by members of the RISE committee, in collaboration with the Association of Directors of Anatomic and Surgical Pathology (ADASP), Academy of Clinical Laboratory Physicians and Scientists (ACLPS), AABB, American Pathology Foundation (APF), American Society for Apheresis (ASFA) Graduate Medical Education Resources Committee, Association for Molecular Pathology (AMP), National Association of Medical Examiners (NAME), Society for Hematopathology (SH), Society for Pediatric Pathology (SPP), and The American Association of Neuropathologists (AANP), all of whom are acknowledged experts in their respective fields.
  • RISE is offered in a browser-based, online format, which provides a convenient way to administer the exam.

The examination is divided into three sections:

  • Anatomic Pathology (AP), two (2) hour and fifteen (15) minutes
  • Clinical Pathology (CP), two (2) hour and forty-five (45) minutes
  • Special Topics, one (1) hour

These three (3) sections may be administered either at individual settings or at a continuous setting. Completion time for the entire examination is six (6) hours.

Optimal Configuration
Because of diversity in pathology training programs, individual residents may be required by their Program Director to participate in any of the following combinations of the exam sections:

  • AP, CP, and Special Topics (total test)
  • AP and Special Topics only
  • CP and Special Topics only
  • Special Topics only

The fees and examination materials are the same, regardless of the number or combination of sections completed. Scores will be based only on the sections attempted. The Special Topics section must be completed in order to receive scores.

In-depth Analysis
Individual score information is provided to both Residency Program Directors and Residents. Computer-generated statistical and score reports are provided to assess both individual and peer group performance in relation to year of training and each content area.

The examination is designed to be used as one tool to help address medical knowledge strengths and areas for improvement in resident performance. RISE results are confidentially distributed by ASCP to each resident and Program Director. The use of RISE results and their distribution to other advising faculty are at the discretion of the program director and departmental leadership. RISE results should not be used as the sole criterion on which performance, promotion, or advancement is based.

RISE will next be administered March 18-31, 2017. The registration deadline is February 17, 2017. For more detailed information and any inquiries related to RISE, please contact:

Jay Wagner
P 312.541.4741; F 312.541.4472;

To go to the RISE exam, click here.
To go to the Practice Exam, click here.
1. Do RISE scores correlate with the American Board of Pathology certifying examinations?
a. A two-year study published in 2011 showed a strong correlation between RISE results from the senior year of residency and subsequent first-time ABP certifying exam pass rates (Rinder et al., AJCP 2011).

2. Did the AJCP study determine what overall RISE score is predictive of passing the ABP Board certifying examination?
a. While no single RISE score can definitively predict whether or not one will pass Board examinations, the mean percentile for residents who passed all ABP certifying examinations was around the 65th percentile. A resident scoring in the top quartile of the RISE exam very rarely fails any ABP certifying examination. By contrast, between one-third and one-half of residents scoring in the bottom quartile of the RISE exam subsequently failed at least one ABP certifying examination. (Unlike the ABP examination, there is no practical section on the RISE. Glass slides and virtual slides are not available for the RISE test.)

3. Who writes the questions for the RISE exam? Are they the same folks that write ABP examination questions?
a. The ASCP RISE committee members and solicited expert volunteers from collaborating societies write RISE exam questions. These are never the same individuals that write questions for the Board examinations. The RISE questions are, however, intended to be similar in content and style to Board exam questions. Several subspecialty societies (e.g. NAME, ADASP, ACLPS, AABB, AANP, APF, SH, AMP, SPP, etc.) work in cooperation with the RISE committee members to write relevant, current questions. The RISE committee takes every extra step to ensure that questions are as flawless as possible. Nevertheless, rare questions on the RISE may be excluded from analysis, for various reasons. Questions on the RISE exam are grouped together by specialty. For example, an exam might have 40 clinical chemistry questions occurring sequentially.

4. When will my RISE results be delivered?
a. RISE results are emailed to participants sometime in mid-May. Even within a single program, residents may receive emailed results at slightly different times.

5. Will fellowship programs or potential employers ask about my RISE results?
a. Keep in mind that RISE scores are only a single measure of medical knowledge and are not to be used as the sole criterion for performance, promotion, employment, or acceptance into a position.

6. Can I get a glimpse of the format for the exam?
a. A practice exam is available online demonstrating the format of the exam (

7. What is the overall breakdown of subjects on the RISE?
a. The exam is divided into three main sections: Anatomic Pathology (including Surgical Pathology, Autopsy/Forensic, and Cytopathology), Clinical Pathology (including Clinical Chemistry, Hematology, Microbiology, and Transfusion Medicine), and Special Topics (including Hematopathology, Lab Administration, and Special Techniques, the latter concentrating on Molecular Pathology and Diagnostics)

8. How long is the RISE and how much time do I have to complete it?
a. The RISE generally has around 350 questions. Completion time is 6 hours, including 2 hours 15 minutes for Anatomic Pathology, 2 hours 45 minutes for Clinical Pathology, and 1 hour for Special Topics.

9. I am an AP (or CP)-only resident, am I required to complete the entire exam?
a. A variety of configurations are offered, including the total exam for AP/CP (all 3 sections), AP + Special Topics (AP only), CP + Special Topics (CP only), and for rare individuals, Special Topics only. Confirm with your program director what sections you are expected to complete.

Rinder HM et al. Senior Pathology Resident In-Service Examination Scores Correlate with Outcomes of the American Board of Pathology Certifying Examinations. AJCP 2011;136:499-506.

    Karen Frank, MD, PhD, CHAIR
    National Institutes of Health

    C. Bruce Alexander, MD
    University of Alabama

    Beverly Baron, MD
    University of Chicago Hospitals

    Carey-Ann Burnham, PhD, D(ABMM), F(CCM)
    Washington Univ. School of Medicine

    Nicole Cipriani, MD
    University of Chicago Hospitals

    Magdalena Czader, MD, PhD
    Indiana University Purdue

    Raymond Felgar, MD, PhD
    Univ. of Pittsburgh Medical Center

    Rochelle Garcia, MD
    Univ. of Washington Medical Center

    Jonathan R. Genzen, MD, PhD
    ARUP Laboratories

    Ilyssa Gordon, MD, PhD
    Cleveland Clinic

    Greg Howe, PhD
    Yale School of Medicine

    Giovanni Insuasti-Beltran, MD
    Univ. of Arkansas for Medical Sciences

    Tera Jones, MD
    Alberta Justice Office of the Chief Medical Examiner

    Samir Kahwash, MD
    Nationwide Children's Hospital
    Sara Koenig, MD
    Univ. of New Mexico School of Medicine

    Diane Kowalski, MD
    Yale University School of Medicine

    Priya Kunju, MD
    University of Michigan Hospitals

    Wendy Lavezzi, MD
    Office of the District 5 Medical Examiner

    John Lee, MD, PhD
    NorthShore University Health System

    Kruti P. Maniar, MD
    Northwestern University Feinberg School of Med

    Alexander McAdam, MD, PhD
    Boston Children's Hospital

    Sara A. Monaghan, MD
    Univ. of Texas Southwestern Medical Center

    Ajit Paintal, MD
    Northwestern Memorial Hospital

    Octavia Palmer, PhD
    University of Pittsburgh Medical Center

    Kathryn Haden-Pinneri, MD
    Harris County Institute of Forensic Sciences

    Suzanne Powell, MD
    Methodist Hospital Houston

    Joseph A. Prahlow, MD
    Indiana Univ. School of Medicine-South Bend
    Bobbi S. Pritt, MD, MSc, DTM&H
    Mayo Clinic

    Raja Rabah-Hammad, MD
    University of Michigan

    Michael Riben, MD
    University of Texas – MD Anderson Cancer Center

    Christine Roth, MD
    University of Pittsburgh Medical Center

    Anjali Saqi, MD
    Columbia University Medical Center

    Rachel Sargent, MD
    The Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania

    Aliyah Sohani, MD
    Massachusetts General Hospital

    Paul E. Swanson, MD
    Foothills Medical Center

    Charles Timmons, MD, PhD
    Univ. of Texas Southwestern Medical Center

    Christopher Tormey, MD
    Yale School of Medicine

    Charles White, III, MD
    The Univ. of Texas Southwestern Medical School

    Jeffrey Winters, MD
    Mayo Clinic