Notice: Fall 2017 exams affected by natural disasters... More >

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ABIM knows that we have many physicians whose lives have been upended by recent natural disasters. If you live or work near an affected area, we understand that the weather may have impacted your ability to take your Fall 2017 exam as scheduled. We have developed a series of options to help you get through this process as smoothly as possible. If you have any questions, please call us at 1-800-441-ABIM (2246) or email request@abim.org.

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Initial Certification indicates that physicians have met rigorous standards through intensive study, accredited training and evaluation and that they have the clinical judgment, skills and attitudes essential for the delivery of excellent patient care.

MOC is a professionally determined standard that attests that an internist is staying current in knowledge and practice throughout his/her career.

For more than 75 years, Certification by ABIM has stood for the highest standard in internal medicine and its 20 subspecialties.

MOC Assessments in 2018

In 2018, ABIM will begin offering a new two-year assessment option to provide physicians more choice, relevance and convenience in meeting the assessment requirement of the Maintenance of Certification (MOC) program.

This assessment option, called a Knowledge Check-In, is available for Internal Medicine and Nephrology in 2018. The Knowledge Check-In will become available to other specialties in 2019 and 2020 as an additional option along with the traditional 10-year MOC exam.

Use the information and tools below to understand more about the new assessment option and to decide whether if it will be right for you.

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What is the difference between the Knowledge Check-In and the traditional MOC exam?

The most obvious difference is that the two-year ABIM Knowledge Check-In can be taken in the comfort of your home or workplace. Secondly, it will be a much shorter experience. You do not need to be successful on every Knowledge Check-In to maintain certification (as long as you complete other program requirements). You will also receive performance results much quicker and more detailed feedback about your performance will follow.

  • 1IM and Nephrology only available in 2018 with more specialties to roll out in 2019 and 2020. View our rollout schedule below under "When is the Knowledge Check-In available in my specialty?".
  • 2 In Spring 2018, IM and Nephrology exams will be part open book/part closed book, while other specialties will be entirely closed book
  • 3 In Fall 2018, IM and Nephrology exams will be entirely open book while other specialties will be part open book/part closed book
  • 4 Initially, the Knowledge Check-in will contain questions covering the breadth of the discipline; however, ABIM is continuing to explore focusing assessments on a subset of knowledge relevant to specific practice types

Will the ABIM Knowledge Check-In cover the breadth of my discipline or be more targeted?

Initially, the ABIM Knowledge Check-In will cover the breadth of your discipline but ABIM is continuing to explore how we might be able to move to assessing a subset of knowledge relevant to practice in the future, since many physicians requested this.

How does the Knowledge Check-In work?

What does “no consequences” mean for the Knowledge Check-In?

  • If a physician is successful on the ABIM Knowledge Check-In in 2018, it will count as a pass. If a physician is not successful and their exam was due in 2018 or 2019, they will have another opportunity to take it again in 2020 without a change to their certification status.
  • This doesn't mean physicians can skip the assessment. If a physician skips it, and their certification expires in 2018, their status will change to Not Certified.
  • In addition to meeting other certification requirements, physicians with certifications expiring in 2018 will need to take the Knowledge Check-In or pass the traditional MOC exam or they will no longer be certified.

Can I take the Knowledge Check-In and should I try it?

If I choose the ABIM Knowledge Check-In, will I still have to take the traditional MOC exam?

If you do well on the ABIM Knowledge Check-Ins, you won’t need to take the traditional MOC exam to remain certified.

When is the Knowledge Check-In available in my specialty?

The Knowledge Check-In is available for Internal Medicine and Nephrology in 2018. View the tentative rollout schedule to find out when the Knowledge Check-In will be available in your specialty.

Please note that the Knowledge Check-Ins will be offered every other year from the year they are first offered within a specialty. For example, Knowledge Check-Ins that begin in 2018 will be offered again in 2020. Knowledge Check-Ins that start in 2019 will be offered again in 2021.

Why can’t the ABIM Knowledge Check-In be available for all specialties in 2018?

  • ABIM is working to make the ABIM Knowledge Check-In available for all subspecialties as soon as possible.
  • To effectively develop and implement so many new assessments at one time, ABIM plans to make assessments available as quickly as is realistically possible.

My certification is due to expire in 2017 but the ABIM Knowledge Check-In will be available in my certification area in 2018. Can't I just wait and take that?

  • All physicians with certifications that expire before the ABIM Knowledge Check-In is offered in their specialty will still need to take and pass the traditional MOC exam in order to maintain their certification.
  • Because your certification will expire on 12/31/17—before the ABIM Knowledge Check-In is available in your specialty area—you will need to pass the traditional MOC exam in order to maintain your certification.
  • Allowing your certification to lapse will prevent you from being able to take the ABIM Knowledge Check-In.
  • Once you pass the traditional MOC exam, you will have 10 years before you need to take another assessment.

I am planning to take an assessment in 2018. When can I register? What dates is it offered?

Knowledge Check-Ins:

Registration will open in January 2018 for Internal Medicine and Nephrology Knowledge Check-Ins.

Available dates for the Knowledge Check-In are listed below and ABIM will be in touch with more information, including deadlines,  before registration opens:

2018 Internal Medicine Knowledge Check-Ins:

  • June 7
  • June 9
  • September 12
  • September 15
  • November 20
  • December 1

2018 Nephrology Knowledge Check-Ins:

  • June 7
  • June 9
  • November 1
  • November 6

If you are thinking about taking the Knowledge Check-In at home, you will need to make sure your personal or work computer meets the specifications to take the assessment. Check your computer.

Traditional MOC exams:

In January 2018, you can begin to register for traditional MOC exams in both spring and fall 2018.

Registration deadlines:

Deadlines apply to both spring and fall MOC exams and all Knowledge Check-Ins.

I want to take the Knowledge Check-In at home or in my workplace. How do I confirm my personal computer will work?

Taking your MOC assessment outside a testing center lets you choose where you take it and on what device you take it.

But before you register to take the Knowledge Check-In from one of these places, you need to ensure that you have a laptop or desktop that you can use during the assessment because the Knowledge Check-In is not tablet compatible (i.e., iPad, Surface, Kindle).

Check your computer to make sure your personal or work computer meets the specifications to take the assessment.

You also need to answer yes to these questions:

  • Do you have a private, enclosed space that is free from disruptions?
  • Do you have a web camera and microphone?
  • Do you have reliable internet?
  • Do you have administrative rights on your computer?

Please note that the Knowledge Check-In will also be offered at a secure testing center if you cannot or prefer not to take it in your home or office.

What does “open-book” mean? What can I access?

Open book means that physicians will begin to have access to UpToDate® within the assessment during Knowledge Check-Ins and MOC exams. Access to UpToDate is included in the assessment fee and physicians do not need to have their own UpToDate account.

Open book availability for the Knowledge Check-In:

Physicians will be able to access UpToDate®—an online, evidence-based clinical decision support resource—directly through the exam platform during the 2018 Knowledge Check-Ins for Internal Medicine and Nephrology. All Knowledge Check-Ins that open in 2019 and beyond will feature access to UpToDate.

Open book availability for the traditional MOC exam:

Spring 2018: Physicians will be able to access UpToDate directly through the exam platform for part of the Internal Medicine and Nephrology traditional MOC exams, while the other part will be closed book. This allows ABIM to evaluate the performance of questions to ensure a fair testing experience while transitioning from closed-book exams to exams that allow access to an external resource within the assessment.

All other spring 2018 traditional MOC exams will be entirely closed book.

Fall 2018: Physicians will be able to access UpToDate within the assessment for the entire Internal Medicine and Nephrology traditional MOC exams. All other traditional MOC exams administered in fall 2018 will feature access to UpToDate for part of the exam.

2019 and beyond: Physicians will be able to access UpToDate within the assessment on the entire exam for most specialties. Some specialties may still require part of the exam to be closed book.

What happens if I don't pass the Knowledge Check-In in 2018?

If you are successful on the ABIM Knowledge Check-In in 2018, it will count as a pass. If you are not successful and your exam is due in 2018 or 2019, you will have another opportunity to take it again in 2020.

This doesn’t mean physicians can skip the assessment. If you skip it and your certification expires in 2018, your certification will lapse. In addition to meeting other certification requirements, physicians with certifications expiring in 2018 will need to take the Knowledge Check-In or traditional MOC exam or they will no longer be certified.

Could I lose my certification with the two-year ABIM Knowledge Check-In?

  • You do not need to be successful on every two-year Knowledge Check-In to maintain certification.
  • If you choose the new Knowledge Check-In and you take it for the first time either the year before you are due or the year you are due, and you are not successful, you will have to pass the traditional MOC exam in order to remain certified.
  • If you want to build in a cushion by allowing time for more attempts at the Knowledge Check-In before you are due, plan to take the Knowledge Check-In two to three years before your due date.

I need to take an Internal Medicine or Nephrology assessment by 2019. What does this mean for me?

If you are interested in taking the Knowledge Check-In, it will be offered in Internal Medicine and Nephrology in 2018 and 2020. There will be no Internal Medicine and Nephrology Knowledge Check-Ins in 2019, so if you want to choose that option, you should register for a date in 2018.

If you are successful on the ABIM Knowledge Check-In in 2018, it will count as a pass. If you are not successful, you will have another opportunity to take it again in 2020.

If you do not take the Knowledge Check-In in 2018, you’ll still have the opportunity to take the traditional MOC exam in 2019.

The Knowledge Check-In opens in my specialty in 2019. What does this mean for me?

If the Knowledge Check-In opens in 2019 for your specialty and you are eligible, you can choose that option. If 2019 is the year your assessment is due and you don't pass the Knowledge Check-In, you'll need to pass the traditional MOC exam in 2020 in order to remain certified. Knowledge Check-Ins that open in 2019 will be offered again in 2021 – they will not be offered in 2020.

Beyond 2018, physicians who are unsuccessful on the Knowledge Check-In the year their certification is due will need to take the traditional MOC exam the following year, and only then would their certification status be effected.

What are other physicians doing and how are they deciding?

ABIM Board members share their assessment plans

Rajeev Jain, MD – Dr. Jain is a board certified gastroenterologist who has been in private practice in Dallas, Texas, since 1999. He explains that he plans to take the two-year Knowledge Check-In the first year it's offered in Gastroenterology (2019) because he wants to demonstrate to his patients he is keeping up with medical knowledge.

Roger Bush, MD – Dr. Bush, a board certified internist, is the Founding Program Director of the Billings Clinic Internal Medicine Residency, the first of its kind in this rural, underserved area. He is due to take an Internal Medicine assessment in 2020, and shares that he plans to take the two-year Knowledge Check-In because it fits with the way he learns.

Vineet Arora, MD – Dr. Arora, a board certified internist, is an academic hospitalist, Assistant Dean of Scholarship & Discovery, and Director of Graduate Medical Education Clinical Learning Environment and Innovation at University of Chicago. She is due to take an Internal Medicine assessment in 2021, but because the Knowledge Check-In will only be offered in 2018 and 2020, she plans to take it a year early in 2020. She recommends colleagues certified in Internal Medicine and due in 2019 to think about taking the 2018 Knowledge Check-In.