Taking the Cardiovascular Disease Exam
Key Exam Dates
Note: Exam results are released within three months of the last exam date.
* These testing dates are available only to candidates with a documented disability requiring additional testing time, as provided under the Americans with Disabilities Act. Please see the ABIM policy on Testing Accommodations for Exam Takers with Disabilities.
Responsibility for Deadline Compliance - It is the sole responsibility of the candidate to be aware of and comply with registration deadlines. In fairness to all candidates, ABIM adheres firmly to its published deadlines for registration and late registration for its examinations. Candidates are encouraged to apply early in the registration period. All registration is done through the Physician Login.
|Exam (Note: Dates are subject to change.)||November 6 and 7 or November 7 and 8, 2013||October 20 and 21 or October 21 and 22, 2014|
|Exam for Candidates Requiring Testing Accommodations Across Multiple Days*||November 18-22, 2013||November 10-14, 2014|
|Registration Opens||March 1, 2013||March 1, 2014|
|Deadline Registration||May 1, 2013||May 1, 2014|
|Late Registration (requires a non-refundable late fee)||May 2, 2013||May 2, 2014|
|Deadline Late Registration||June 1, 2013||June 1, 2014|
|Deadline Cancellation||September 1, 2013||September 1, 2014|
Exam Content, Blueprint and Question Format
New in 2013
ABIM has recently added a small number of audio-based questions to the exam that will require you to recognize and interpret recorded heart sounds. You will listen to the sounds using headphones supplied at the test center.
How to prepare for audio-based questions on your exam:
- Take the ABIM Exam Tutorial, which includes an example of an audio-based question.
- Retake the tutorial at the test center on exam day, which allows you to practice listening to the audio-based questions using the headphones supplied by PearsonVue.
What Does the Examination Cover?
Multiple-Choice Questions Exam Component:
View the detailed Cardiovascular Disease Certification exam blueprint (pdf), which describes the content areas assessed by multiple-choice questions. Relative percentages of questions in each content area are provided, as well as the approximate number of questions included from each content area on a typical exam.
ECG and Imaging Studies Exam Component:
The ECG and Imaging Studies component of the exam tests your ability to interpret ECGs, echocardiograms and coronary angiograms.
The exam lasts one and one-half days. The full day of the certification exam is devoted to multiple-choice questions, which are administered in four (4) two-hour sessions. The half day of the exam is devoted to the interpretation of electrocardiograms and imaging study cases which are administered in two sessions: the electrocardiogram session is two hours and the imaging studies session is two hours and 15 minutes. Depending on how you schedule your exam appointment, these sessions could be on the day before or the day after the multiple-choice question sessions.
Multiple editions, or “forms,” of the exam are used, and they may differ in question order and content.
A complete description of the process used to develop ABIM exams is available in How Exams Are Developed. Topics include:
- Question content criteria
- Question-writing process
- Question review/editing process
- Relevance review, and more
The Cardiovascular Disease Certification Exam consists of multiple-choice questions and special question formats for the interpretation of electrocardiograms and imaging studies. (A tutorial for these special formats will be provided to Certification candidates prior to exam administration.)
The multiple-choice questions are single-best-answer questions which consist of a brief statement, a case history, and an image (in some questions), followed by a question and list of possible options. You must choose the one answer that is better than the others; note that other options may be partially correct. Familiarizing yourself with the question format in advance may help you work more effectively.
Some multiple-choice questions require the interpretation of still frame and moving images such as radiographs, ECGs, echocardiograms, ventriculograms-aortograms, angiograms, nuclear studies, computed tomography scans, MRIs, and histology slides. In addition, some questions may require recognition and interpretation of recorded heart sounds. A list of normal laboratory values is provided. Refer to this list to interpret values given in the questions because they may differ from those to which you are accustomed. A list of generic drug names used in exam questions, along with common corresponding trade names, is also provided.
Special question formats are used in the ECG and Imaging Studies component of the exam, requiring you to interpret electrocardiograms, echocardiograms, and coronary angiograms. View the Sample Cases - Electrocardiograms and Imaging Studies (pdf) to see examples of the answer option lists. Familiarizing yourself with the format and scoring of these question types in advance will help you work more efficiently on the examination itself.
The interactive exam tutorial allows you to practice navigating the answer option lists.
Copyright and Examination Non-Disclosure Policy
All ABIM materials are protected by the federal Copyright Act, 17 U.S.C. § 101, et seq. Access to all such materials, as further detailed below, is strictly conditioned upon agreement to abide by ABIM's rights under the Copyright Act and to maintain examination confidentiality.
ABIM examinations are confidential, in addition to being protected by federal copyright and trade secret laws. Candidates and diplomates who undertake examinations agree that they will not copy, reproduce, adapt, disclose, or transmit examinations, in whole or in part, before or after taking an examination, by any means now known or hereafter invented. They further agree that they will not reconstruct examination content from memory, by dictation, or by any other means or otherwise discuss examination content with others. Candidates and Diplomates further acknowledge that disclosure or any other use of ABIM examination content constitutes professional misconduct and may expose them to criminal as well as civil liability, and may also result in ABIM's imposition of penalties against them, including but not limited to, invalidation of examination results, exclusion from future examinations, suspension, revocation of certification and other sanctions.
With respect to ABIM's Maintenance of Certification (MOC) products, including its Medical Knowledge Modules and ABIM PIMs Practice Improvement Modules®, candidates agree that they will not copy, reproduce or make any adaptations of such materials in any manner; and will not assist someone else in the infringement or misuse of these or any other ABIM-copyrighted works.Top
Scoring and Reporting of Exam Results
The multiple-choice questions are treated as one exam component; electrocardiograms and imaging studies are treated as a second exam component. To become certified, candidates must achieve passing scores on both components.
The pass-fail decision for each component is based on your performance on the entire examination component. Unanswered multiple-choice questions are scored as incorrect; therefore, you should answer every question. The minimum passing score for each component reflects an absolute standard that is independent of the performance of any group of candidates. The standard for each component has been established by the examination committee and approved by the ABIM Board of Directors.
- After the exam is given, it will be analyzed and evaluated to ensure the reliability of individual results.
- Your results will be released and a Score Report will be mailed to you within three months of the last date of the exam in that area.
- You will receive e-mail notification when your results are released and an announcement will be posted on ABIM's website. No additional information is available until that time.
- You can obtain your pass/fail status for an exam in the exam history section on your home page under Physician Login when results are released.
- Scores are provided through the mail only. Copies of your Score Report will be maintained for two years from the date they were released. During that period, you may obtain a copy of your Score Report upon written request.
- Questions regarding exam results should be submitted in writing within six months of the date results were released.
Those who pass the examination are designated as certified as diplomates of ABIM. The certificate is valid for ten years. Maintenance of Certification is required for renewal of certificates. The certificates are mailed directly from the engraver within three to four months after candidates are notified of their results. Note: your current board certification status is reported on your Physician Login Home Page.
Click here to see the First-Time Taker Pass Rates for Initial Certification (pdf).Top