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Prepare for an Assessment Online (Home or Office)

This section provides you with the information necessary to prepare for taking the Knowledge Check-In online in a space other than a testing center, such as your home, office or other private space.

Note that in 2018 the Knowledge Check-In option is only available for those certified in Internal Medicine or Nephrology. 

Before you schedule a date and time for your Knowledge Check-In you should review the Assessment Options page to understand more about this new option.

You should make sure that you can 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?

Required System Check

We will publish a link to the system check well in advance of the Knowledge Check-In. If you are scheduled to take the online Knowledge Check-In in 2018, you will receive an email from ABIM with a link to the system check as soon as it is available.

You should complete the system check to see if your computer is compatible with the online testing software. The system check will download an executable file onto your computer, and it will walk you through a check of the computer and necessary equipment for taking the Knowledge Check-In remotely.

Please make sure that you perform the system check from the same computer and location you will be testing from on exam day.

If you have an issue running the system check: First, try an alternate computer. Second, contact your IT staff to make sure you have permission to download and install an executable file on your computer.

If you still do not pass the system check: You should reschedule your appointment to take the Knowledge Check-In at a Pearson VUE test center. If your computer is found not to meet the requirements on the exam day, you will not be able to take the exam and you will forfeit your exam fee.

Computer and Technology Requirements

You will need the following equipment to participate:

  • A laptop or desktop computer. The Knowledge Check-In is not compatible with a tablet (i.e., iPad, Surface, Kindle) or mobile device.
  • A web camera with a minimum resolution of 640x480 @ 10 fps. The webcam may be built into your computer or may be a separate device that is connected to the computer.
  • A microphone, either built into the computer or a separate device connected to the computer. The microphone should be on and not set on mute.
  • Headsets are acceptable for the greet process, but must be removed and placed to the side during the exam.

Location Requirements 

  • Secure, private space with a door, away from disruptions.
  • No one can be walking behind you within the view of the webcam (e.g., in an office with windows to a hallway).
  • No third party is allowed in the room during your testing session, including during the scheduled break.

Computer Requirements

  • Operating system of Windows 7 or newer, or newest MAC OS for Apple computers.
  • It is recommended that the text size of your screen should be set to 100%. (Some operating systems set the default to larger than 100%. You can reset text size in the display section of the control panel prior to the exam.)
  • Updated web browser (i.e., Internet Explorer 11+, Google Chrome, Firefox 23+ or Safari 6.0.5+)
  • Adobe Air 14.0 or newer is required
  • Internet cookies must be enabled.
  • All pop-up blockers must be disabled.
  • Reliable, broadband internet connection (DSL, cable, or LAN/WAN): 512 kbps up/down. Dial-up connections are not supported. Wired networks are recommended due to better exam delivery performance when possible.
  • Local administrative permissions on your workstation. You should be able to install software freely without requiring permission from someone else during the system check and on exam day.

Some antivirus and security programs can cause performance issues. Please disable antivirus and security scanning software temporarily while taking your exam.

If you have a disability and require accessibility software, please contact us at accommodations@abim.org.

Remember: If your system does not meet these requirements, please reschedule your appointment to take the Knowledge Check-In at a Pearson VUE test center. If your computer is found not to meet the requirements on exam day, you will not be able to take the exam and you will forfeit your exam fee.

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Are there tools to prepare me for the Knowledge Check-In?

Browse to your exam within the MOC Assessment Information section. There you will find the exam blueprint, which gives an outline of the exam’s content and shows the percentage of exam questions that you should expect to answer in each content category.

In addition to reviewing the blueprint, you should take the exam tutorial to become more familiar with the features of the exam.

How do I begin the Knowledge Check-In?

Sign in to your Physician Portal and go to the My Exams page. Under the name of the Knowledge Check-In that you are taking, click the green “Take Exam” button to begin.

When should I begin the Knowledge Check-In? / What if I start the exam late?

You can begin your exam process up to 30 minutes prior to your scheduled appointment time. You have up to 15 minutes after your scheduled appointment time to start the exam process.

You may not be permitted to begin the exam process more than 15 minutes after your scheduled appointment time. If that occurs then you may forfeit registration for that appointment, and you may need to register and pay for your next exam.

What identification will I need?

You will need to present primary identification when prompted by the Pearson VUE greeter software. Candidates without valid primary ID may not be admitted to the exam.

Primary ID: A current, non-expired government-issued form of ID that contains both your signature and a recent photograph. A valid driver's license, passport or state identification card is acceptable. Note: Any form of ID issued by the following governments cannot be used as a primary ID, per U.S. government regulations: Cuba, Iran, North Korea, Sudan, and Syria.

A webcam photo will be taken of your photo ID and you. The greeter will verify that the photo on the ID matches the photo of you before you can start your exam.

Important: The name that appears on your ID must be the same as the name that ABIM has on record for you or you may not be admitted to the exam.

How should I set up my testing area?

Your office, home or other setting must meet the following requirements:

  • It must be a private, secure space with a door, away from disruptions.
  • No third party is allowed in the room for the duration of your testing session, including during the scheduled break, and no one can be walking behind you within view of the webcam (e.g., in an office with windows to a hallway).
  • The testing space should be clear, and all objects not necessary for your testing session should be placed out of arm’s reach of your body.
  • Any voice-activated devices (e.g., Amazon Echo, Google Home, etc.) should be turned off or removed from the testing space for the duration of the exam.

The work area should be clear of all materials, including the following items, which are not allowed within arm's reach: books, note pads, Post-it notes, typed notes/papers, or writing instruments (such as pens, markers or pencils). White boards should be wiped clean. Please note that white boards and other note-taking materials are not allowed. If you wish to take notes, there is a feature for typing notes on each exam question. Take the exam tutorial to see more on the note-taking feature.

If your location does not meet these requirements, please reschedule your appointment to take the Knowledge Check-In at a Pearson VUE test center. If your location is found not to meet the requirements on exam day, you are unlikely to receive a refund.

What happens after I sign in to take the Knowledge Check-In?

Please make sure that all computer applications, other than your internet browser, are closed before signing into your ABIM Physician Portal.

When you sign in using the “Take Exam” button in your ABIM Physician Portal, you will be prompted to download and start the greeter software. The software will prompt you to take your photo and a photo of your primary identification using your webcam. Once this initial process is completed, you will be placed into a queue to wait for a greeter who will complete the check-in process and allow you to begin your exam.

This process should take about 15 minutes, but may take longer in certain cases when troubleshooting is needed. This does not take away from your total testing time – your testing time does not begin until the greet process is complete and the greeter releases your exam. All greeter support is provided in English.

The greeter will ask for your phone number so they can communicate with you during check-in via:

  • Microphone. During the check-in process you can communicate with the greeter via an external microphone, headset or your web camera.
  • Chat window. The greeter will ask you to enter your phone number in the chat window.
  • Blue phone button. During the exam you will be able to communicate with Pearson VUE by clicking the blue phone button in the recording window.

You are then asked to scan your entire work area. With your external webcam, or by lifting and rotating your laptop, you will be asked to scan slowly left to right to show surrounding walls and to scan up and down to show the floor and ceiling.

To insure the integrity of the exam, the greeter will scan for items including but not limited to:

  • Additional monitors. You are able to use only one monitor during your exam. Any other monitors must be unplugged and turned away from you. You are permitted to use an external monitor if you are using a laptop computer, in a docking station, or connected through your computer, but in this case, your laptop must be closed.
  • Additional computers. If there are any, they must be turned off and monitors must be dark.
  • Wall art/posters. If there are any, you may be required to scan them using your webcam.

The greeter may ask you to:

  • Turn out all your pockets (pants pockets and blazer/sweater pockets) so the greeter can see that they are empty.
  • Roll up long sleeves to show that there is no writing on your arms.
  • Lift any tie to show the greeter that nothing is hidden under the tie.
  • Pull long hair back to show the greeter that there is nothing attached to your ear (such as a Bluetooth earpiece).

If you are unable to complete a room scan, then you are not permitted to proceed further or to take the exam.

Certain essential medical items (e.g., Bluetooth-enabled glucose monitoring devices and diabetic supplies) may be brought into the testing area with prior approval of ABIM. You should submit your request to ABIM by sending an email to accommodations@abim.org.

After this process is complete, the Knowledge Check-In will begin. Your greeter will not contact you during the exam. However , if you have an issue you may contact Pearson VUE via the blue phone button in the recording window.

What is not permitted to be used during the Knowledge Check-In?

To assure the integrity of the exam and your credential, the following are prohibited:

  • Electronic devices, including cell phones, cameras, recording devices, PDAs, calculators and pagers.
  • Wallets and purses.
  • Heavy jackets, coats, etc.
  • Watches. The time remaining in the exam session will be displayed on your computer screen.
  • Calipers, nomograms or other interpretive aids.
  • Study materials, books, notes, scratch paper, etc.
  • Pens, pencils, highlighters and other writing instruments. You may type and save notes in the “Notes” section available for each exam question.

Reminder: No third party can enter the room during your Knowledge Check-In, and you may not allow the computer screen to be seen by other individuals.

Candidates who fail to adhere to these policies are subject to disciplinary action which could lead to dismissal from the exam, invalidation of the exam, disqualification from future exams, or other sanctions deemed appropriate by ABIM.

What is the schedule for exam day?

The Knowledge Check-In takes approximately 3 1/2 hours. The day is divided into two sessions, each containing a maximum of 45 multiple-choice questions. The Knowledge Check-In is the same exam whether you take in online or in a test center.

Action Time Allotted
Registration Varies
Tutorial Optional, up to 5 minutes
Instructions and Pledge of Honesty Up to 3 minutes
First Session Up to 1 1/2 hours (maximum 45 questions)
Break Optional, up to 15 minutes
Second Session Up to 1 1/2 hours (maximum 45 questions)
Optional Survey Up to 5 minutes
Feedback Screen Up to 2 minutes
Total Approximately 3 1/2 hours

What is the structure of the exam?

The exams are given in modular format with a set number of questions per test session. Answer every question because your score will be determined by the total number of questions answered correctly.

There is no penalty for guessing. For each question, there is one best answer. Be sure to check the Review Screen in the exam for any unanswered items, which will be indicated as "unseen" or “incomplete.” The time remaining for each session will appear in the upper right-hand corner of the computer screen Continue to work until you have answered all questions.

A message box will appear on your computer screen as a reminder when five minutes remain in a session. If you are still working at the end of a session, the computer screen will turn gray, a message will state that your time has expired, and no further keyboard and mouse responses will be recorded.

At the conclusion of the first test session, you will be offered an optional break of up to 15 minutes.

What do I need to know about time management and the scheduled break?

You will have up to one and a half hours to complete each of the two sessions. The time remaining for each session will appear in the upper right-hand corner of the computer screen.

During a session, you must remain in your seat. If, for any reason, you must get up during an exam session, the time you spend away from the computer will be deducted from your remaining testing time. For assistance during an exam session, use the blue phone button in the recording window to request assistance if you:

  • Have a problem with your computer
  • Experience issues with the testing software
  • Need assistance for any other reason

Five-minute notification:

A message box will appear on your computer screen as a reminder when five minutes remain in a session. If you are still working at the end of the two-hour session, the computer screen will turn gray, a message will state that your time has expired, and no further keyboard and mouse responses will be recorded.

Taking a scheduled break:

You have up to 15 minutes of optional break time to use at the completion of the first session. Taking the scheduled break is optional and the available time will appear on your screen. You can decline the break and immediately begin the second exam session. You can choose to use some or all of your break time.

Returning from a scheduled break:

You must move to the next exam session by the end of the scheduled break. If you do not return to the computer and resume the exam by the end of the break time, a timer will appear, counting the additional time you are away from the computer. That additional time will be deducted from your testing time in the next exam session once you do resume the exam, and that time cannot be added back to your session.

What should I do if I have a technical issue during the Knowledge Check-In?

If there is an issue during exam delivery, you can use the blue phone button in the recording window to request assistance.

If you get disconnected from the internet, have a power outage, or something similar that drops the connection, then you will have up to one hour to resume the test, not to exceed four hours from the original start time. You must resume the test on the same workstation and cannot move to a new computer.

Pearson VUE Customer Support will attempt to resolve the issue. If Pearson VUE detects a disconnection, you will receive a message with instructions on what to do next. If necessary, Pearson VUE will provide an Incident Report number to reference when following up.

How do I conclude the Knowledge Check-In?

You may remove all executable and ancillary files from your desktop at the conclusion of your exam.

To obtain an exam receipt: The day after your exam, you may log onto Pearson VUE’s website to print out a receipt.

When will I receive my exam results?

If you took a Knowledge Check-In, you will receive a preliminary result on your screen at the conclusion of your exam. Your complete score report will be emailed to you in approximately three to four weeks.

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 assessments are confidential, in addition to being protected by federal copyright and trade secret laws. Candidates and diplomates who undertake assessments agree that they will not copy, reproduce, adapt, disclose or transmit assessments, in whole or in part, before or after taking an assessment, by any means now known or hereafter invented. They further agree that they will not reconstruct assessment content from memory, by dictation, or by any other means or otherwise discuss assessment content with others. Candidates and diplomates further acknowledge that disclosure or any other use of ABIM assessment 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 assessment results, exclusion from future assessments, suspension or revocation of Board 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.