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ABIM/ASCO Medical Oncology Learning & Assessment

As oncologists advance in their careers, many see their practices evolve so that a majority of their time is more focused on one or more site-specific cancer types. With this in mind, the American Board of Internal Medicine (ABIM) and the American Society of Clinical Oncology (ASCO) have collaborated to develop a new approach that more closely mirrors physician interests and practice through the ABIM/ASCO Medical Oncology Learning & Assessment.

The Learning & Assessment is a flexible, lower stakes Maintenance of Certification (MOC) program that offers physicians the choice of medical oncology assessments – a general medical oncology assessment, or disease-specific medical oncology assessments. Whichever module one chooses, this path assures that a physician will continue to receive a valid and fair assessment that recognizes them as an ABIM Board Certified Medical Oncologist who is staying current in their field. To support continuous learning, the Learning & Assessment will help oncologists identify knowledge gaps and strengths and will link them to relevant educational resources before and after the exam. Physicians will also be able to access evidence-based support tools (e.g. UpToDate®) during the assessment; a process that better resembles day-to-day practice.

ABIM's traditional 10-year MOC exam will also remain an option for medical oncologists to maintain certification.

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How the Program Works

The jointly developed Learning & Assessment provides oncologists with assessment options that keep pace with rapidly evolving oncology practice. Physicians who choose to participate in the Learning & Assessment and take a focused assessment will see an exam composed primarily of questions from a single content area such as Breast Cancer or Hematologic Malignancies. Therefore, these exams are most appropriate for oncologists who spend a significant portion of their practice on this disease area. The exam questions will be written at the same difficulty level as ABIM's traditional 10-year MOC exam in oncology and the question content is not meant to go deeper in the focus area, but broader. In addition to disease-specific questions, each Learning & Assessment exam will include core oncology topics such as supportive care, clinical research methodologies, therapeutic principles, and genomics. The blueprints for the General Oncology, Breast Cancer and Hematologic Malignancies focused assessment modules will be available on ABIM and ASCO's websites in 2019.

Educational materials to prepare for the exam will be available on ASCO University. In addition, specific references to address learning gaps identified through the exams will be published after the assessment and can be found on ASCO University and through a physician's score report. Oncologists will take an assessment every other year with the Learning & Assessment. After an assessment is successfully completed, a physician could choose a new assessment module or select the same area of specialty for their next assessment. Unsuccessful completion of a single Learning & Assessment would never result in a loss of certification, thus making it a lower stakes option for maintaining certification. However, after two consecutive unsuccessful attempts (taken over consecutive administrations), examinees may need to pasas the ABIM's 10-year MOC exam to remain board certified. Physicians participating in the Learning & Assessment will still need to fulfill other MOC program requirements, such as earning MOC points.

Compare the Learning & Assessment to the Traditional MOC Exam

Eligibility and Registration

Registration opens for all 2020 ABIM assessments on December 1, 2019. Find more information about your specialty, including exam dates, content (blueprint), tutorial and scoring.

The Learning & Assessment opens in my specialty in 2020. What does this mean for me?

The chart below illustrates potential scenarios and next steps, depending on whether you pass or fail the Learning & Assessment:

Coronavirus Reminder

To provide more flexibility to physicians during the COVID-19 pandemic, ABIM has extended the deadline for all 2020 Maintenance of Certification (MOC) requirements to 12/31/21. This deadline change will be reflected in your Physician Portal in late July.

Physician A takes and passes the Learning & Assessment in 2020. Their next assessment will be due in 2024, and they will have the option of taking either the longitudinal maintenance pathway or the traditional 10-year MOC exam to maintain their certification.

Physician B takes and fails the Learning & Assessment in 2020. Because it is a “no-consequence” year, they will remain certified. However, their next assessment will be due in 2022, and they will have the option of taking either the longitudinal maintenance pathway or the traditional 10-year MOC exam to maintain their certification.

With the launch of the longitudinal maintenance pathway in 2022, the only opportunity to take the ABIM/ASCO Learning & Assessment will be in 2020. The Learning & Assessment will NOT be offered in 2021, but if you’re due to take an assessment in 2021 and would like to try it, you may do so in 2020.

Get MOC assessment information in your specialty, including dates, scheduling, content (blueprint), tutorial and scoring.

What specialty modules will be offered in the Learning & Assessment?

In 2020, General Oncology, Breast Cancer and Hematologic Malignancies will be available with additional options expected in 2022.

Can I use the Learning & Assessment to regain my certification?

Yes, by passing two consecutive General Oncology Learning & Assessments, diplomates can regain certification as long as they are meeting all other MOC requirements. Once certification is regained, diplomates can choose from any of the specialty assessment options available.

What is the difference between the Learning & Assessment and the KCI?

While there are similarities between the KCI and the Learning & Assessment, there are also unique features offered in the Learning & Assessment not currently available in the KCI. As part of the collaboration with the American Society of Clinical Oncology, the Learning & Assessment offers specialty modules in place of a breadth of field assessment. In addition, both pre- and post-educational materials will be provided to those taking the assessment.

Tips for all physicians taking the Learning & Assessment

  • Take the exam tutorial to practice using UpToDate® and become comfortable with the interface.
  • Review the exam blueprint to gain a better understanding of the content that will be covered. All Learning & Assessment are currently breadth of discipline.
  • Sign in to your Physician Portal and review your appointment time.
  • Familiarize yourself with the exam day schedule.
  • All physicians will receive their complete score report within 1-2 months of taking the Learning & Assessment.

If choosing the online option there are a number of things physicians can do to help the exam day experience go well.

Before Exam Day (Online)

  • Complete the System Check using the same computer and in the same location you'll be using on exam day. It may be helpful to take the System Check before registering to make sure your equipment is compatible with the exam software.
  • Please watch this video from Pearson Vue to learn more about the check-in process.
  • Review the FAQs for more detailed information about computer requirements and security.

On Exam Day (Online)

  • Sign in to your Physician Portal and start your exam 30 minutes early to allow for any troubleshooting.
  • Make sure you are using the same computer you used to complete the system check.
  • Prepare your testing space: desk cleared, door closed and webcam/microphone functioning.
  • You’ll need to present a valid ID during the check in process.
  • Use a hardwired internet connection instead of WiFi to improve connectivity.
  • Need help? PearsonVUE staff are available to assist you via chat.

After Exam Day

All physicians will receive their complete score report – highlighting how they performed in different areas of the exam – within 1-2 months of taking the Learning & Assessment.