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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 of your choosing. Please note the experience of taking a Medical Oncology Learning & Assessment online mirrors the Knowledge Check-In.

NOTE: The Knowledge Check-In will no longer be offered after 2021 as we transition to the longitudinal assessment. The traditional, 10-year MOC exam will continue as an option beyond 2021.

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. And watch this video from Pearson Vue to get a better idea about what you need to know:

Next, make sure that you can answer yes to the five questions below. Then move on to the System Check. In order to take the Knowledge Check-In online you must perform and pass the System Check on the computer you plan to use to take the exam.

Do you have a laptop or desktop computer?

  • The Knowledge Check-In is not compatible with a tablet (i.e., iPad, Surface, Kindle) or mobile device.

Do you have a web camera and microphone?

  • The webcam may be built into your computer or may be a separate device that is connected to the computer.
  • If using a laptop connected to an external monitor, you must have a webcam that is a separate device connected to the computer and the laptop must remain shut as two monitors are not allowed.
  • The microphone may be built into the computer or may be a separate device that is connected to the computer. The microphone should be on and not set on mute.

Do you have reliable internet?

  • You should have a 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.

Do you have a private, enclosed space that is free from disruptions?

  • During your testing session no one can be walking behind you within the view of the webcam (e.g., in an office with windows to a hallway).
  • During your testing session no third party is allowed in the room.

Does your laptop, webcam or smartphone camera allow you to take photos of your testing area?

  • With your laptop, external webcam or smartphone camera, you will be asked to send photos showing both left and right of your testing area, as well as the ceiling above and floor below your testing area.

Required System Check

You should complete the System Check to see if your computer is compatible with the online testing software. The System Check downloads an executable file onto your computer, and it walks 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.

Run my System Check now.

In addition to answering 'yes' to the five questions above, your computer must meet the following requirements to pass the system check:

  • Operating systems that may be used are Windows 8.1, Windows 10, or Mac OS 10.13 or later (excluding beta versions).
  • Updated web browser (i.e., Internet Explorer 11+, Google Chrome, Firefox 23+ or Safari 6.0.5+)
  • Internet cookies must be enabled.
  • All pop-up blockers must be disabled.

If you have an issue running the system check ask yourself these questions:

  • Can you update your operating system or web browser to the newest version?
  • Can you try an alternate 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.

If you need accessibility software, please contact us at accommodations@abim.org.

Frequently Asked Questions

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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. 

Both sessions of the Knowledge Check-In are open-book, meaning that you have access to an online external resource (UpToDate®). Visit the UpToDate User Academy for ABIM Exam to practice using the open-book feature. Please note that certain features of UpToDate, including those that access external websites like Society Guidelines, will not be available during the exam for security reasons.

How should I set up my computer and testing area?

As you will see in the video above, you may need to make some adjustments to your computer set-up prior to taking the exam.

Ask yourself the following questions to ensure your computer set-up is optimal:

Is the text size of your screen set to the recommended 100%?

  • Some operating systems set the default text to larger than 100%.
  • You can reset the text size in the display section of the control panel before taking your exam.

Do you have antivirus or security software on your computer?

  • Some programs can cause performance issues during the exam. These programs should be temporarily disabled before taking your exam.

Do you use a laptop computer with an external monitor?

  • Only one screen is allowed while taking your exam. Your laptop must be closed prior to the start of your exam appointment.
  • You must have an external webcam connected to your computer, as the laptop camera will not work when the lid is closed.

Do you use more than one monitor?

  • Only one monitor is allowed while taking your exam.
  • If you use more than 2 monitors, you must make sure that only one monitor is on and connected to your computer on exam day.

Do you use a headset?

  • Headsets are acceptable during the greet process to communicate with the greeter, but they must be removed and placed to the side during the exam.

In addition, you may need to make some adjustments to your testing area (home, office, or other setting) prior to taking your exam. You should make sure that you can answer yes to these questions:

Is the testing area you chose a private, secure space with a door?

  • 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).

Is your testing area free of any voice-activated devices (e.g. Amazon Echo, Google Home, etc)?

  • Any of these devices should be turned off or removed from the testing area for the duration of the exam.

Is your testing space (e.g. desk, table) clear?

  • The following items are not allowed within arm's reach: books, note pads, Post-it notes, typed notes/papers, or writing instruments.
  • All objects not necessary for your testing session should be placed out of arm’s reach of your body.

Please note that white boards and note-taking materials are not allowed. If you wish to take notes, there is a feature for typing notes on each exam question. Take your specialty's exam tutorial to practice using the notes 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.

We understand that distractions may occur and can take away from your concentration during the exam. Some suggestions for limiting your distractions include:

  • arranging for coverage
  • disconnecting, or muting your landline phone
  • placing a “do not disturb” sign on your door

When is the best time to start the Knowledge Check-In? / What if I start the exam late?

You may begin your exam process up to 30 minutes prior to your scheduled appointment time. Not any earlier. You have up to 15 minutes after your scheduled appointment time to click the "Begin Exam" link on Pearson VUE's website.

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. You may contact ABIM to discuss your rescheduling options.

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, which will be active on exam day.

Clicking the "Take Exam" button will take you to Pearson VUE's website where you should click "Begin Exam" to launch the exam. 

What identification will I need?

You will need to present primary identification when prompted during the check-in process. 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.

You will be asked to take a headshot of yourself and your primary ID using your laptop, webcam or smartphone camera. Pearson Vue 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 primary ID must be the same as the name that ABIM has on record for you or you may not be admitted to the exam.

What is permitted on my desk during the Knowledge Check-In?

  • Eyeglasses (Pearson Vue will ask to check them)
  • Beverages such as coffee and water
  • 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.

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.
  • 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 the Knowledge Check-In exam?

The Knowledge Check-In takes approximately 3 1/2 hours. The exam 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
Check in and Launch Exam Varies, up to 15 minutes
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 and a message will state that your time has expired. 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 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.

No third party is allowed in the room during your testing session, including during the scheduled break.

Returning from a scheduled break:

You must return from your schedule break before your break time elapses. Click "End Break" to move to the next exam session. 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.

Unscheduled breaks:

It is highly recommended you do not take an unscheduled break. If you leave the room or move out of the webcam’s view then your exam could be flagged for an audit and it may affect your results.

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, inadvertently close your exam, or something similar that drops the connection, 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. A page will automatically pop-up saying "Alert! The exam has unexpectedly shut down. You may return to your exam by relaunching." Click the "Relaunch" button to resume.

If for some reason you are not allowed back into the exam, please contact Pearson VUE Customer Support and an agent will try to help.

How do I conclude the Knowledge Check-In?

The exam interface will guide you through the steps to complete your exam and return you to your desktop.

At that time you may remove all executable and ancillary files from your desktop at the conclusion of your exam.

When will I receive my exam results?

  • If you took a Knowledge Check-In, you may receive the option to view your 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.
  • If you took a Learning & Assessment, you will receive your complete score report – highlighting how you performed in different areas of the exam – within one to two months.

What information will I receive if I choose to view my result?

If you choose to view your result, you will receive information about your performance on the exam. Regardless of the status you receive, you will receive a full score report in approximately 3-4 weeks. See Score Report Information for more on what the full score report contains.

I just took the Knowledge Check-In and I did not have the option to view my result. What does this mean?

Because ABIM's scoring includes many quality assurance processes, some additional time is needed to verify the accuracy of results. You will receive your score and full score report in approximately 3-4 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.