- Longitudinal assessments involve shorter exams over a longer period of time, with exam content that is specifically related to a physician's practice.
- The ABIM's Longitudinal Knowledge Assessment (ABIM LKA) is an alternate MOC exam option to the 10-year recertification exam. The LKA is a five-year cycle where you are answering quarterly questions and receiving feedback about your answers.
- The exam questions can span any topic on the ABIM 10-year MOC exam blueprint, so you still need a broad base on information.
- The LKA is taken in an ongoing manner. Each exam participant is given 30 questions to answer per quarter over a 5-year ongoing cycle.
- It's a pass/fail exam, so at the end of the five-year LKA cycle, the ABIM will let you know if you passed. If you are successful, you'll be able to continue with the LKA, if not, you still have the opportunity to take the traditional 10-year MOC exam to maintain certification.
If you need to recertify and are considering the ABIM Longitudinal Knowledge Assessment, it's crucial to understand every aspect of this new exam type. While the content is the same as what you'll see on the 10-year exam, the format is new and different.
Here’s what you need to know about the ABIM quarterly Longitudinal Knowledge Assessment (LKA).
About ABIM's Longitudinal Assessment
What is a longitudinal assessment?
Until recently, MOC requirements for both Internal Medicine and Pediatrics included passing a high-stakes exam once every 10 years. Many doctors found this system burdensome, expensive, and not necessarily relevant to their practice.
This type of recertification is a growing trend among groups like the ABIM, ABP, and ABMS, as well as physicians who take the exams. Longitudinal assessments involve shorter exams over a longer period of time, with exam content that is specifically related to a physician's practice. Longitudinal assessments are proven to be more effective than traditional exams at reinforcing concepts and improving retention.
What is the ABIM LKA?
The LKA refers to the Longitudinal Knowledge Assessment that Internal Medicine physicians have the ability to take as part of their recertification requirements. The American Board of Internal Medicine is the organization that certifies physicians in Internal Medicine and its subspecialties.
The LKA is an alternate MOC exam option to the 10-year recertification exam. The LKA is a five-year cycle where you are answering quarterly questions and receiving feedback about your answers.
Physicians told the ABIM they need a more flexible learning experience that they can do on nights and weekends (without all the high security at test centers!) and wanted questions that provide feedback about why the right answer is right, and also why the wrong answer is wrong.
Instead of studying everything you need for the traditional 10-year MOC exam all at once, the LKA was developed to help you assess your medical knowledge over time in 30 question increments.
This ABIM longitudinal exam format allows you to log on from anywhere, and answer questions at your own pace—using the same resources you use while treating patients. You just have to answer the required number of questions in a set amount of time.
The ABIM Longitudinal Exam includes 120 questions offered per year for five years. Over the five-year period you can skip 100 questions.
ABIM Longitudinal Exam vs Knowledge Check-In
This kind of exam supports the science-backed information about how adults learn best: frequent information with quick feedback, repetition of material, and identifying gaps in knowledge.
ABIM LKA vs 10 Year ABIM MOC Exam
In order to maintain your Internal Medicine Certification, you will need to meet ABIM MOC requirements. Part of these requirements includes passing either the ABIM MOC exam or the ABIM Longitudinal Knowledge Assessment. The questions in each of these exams are developed from the same exam blueprint.
The main difference between the two is in the delivery structure. The ABIM MOC Exam is set up as one large exam that needs to be taken and passed once every 10 years.
The LKA is taken in an ongoing manner. Each exam participant is given 30 questions to answer per quarter over a 5-year ongoing cycle.
ABIM MOC requirements infographic
What is the Longitudinal Assessment like?
The LKA is a quarterly assessment, so you'll be logging in to answer questions much more regularly that the 10-year MOC exam option. The longitudinal exam gives you more flexibility, but also will require you to have ongoing knowledge of the ABIM MOC Exam blueprint since the LKA questions span the entire blueprint each quarter for five years.
- The exam is more flexible. You have a set amount of time to answer a set amount of questions—you are in charge of your own exam schedule from there—and you can do it from anywhere that has a stable internet connection!
- There are more learning opportunities. With each question, you get immediate feedback about the correctness of your answer, and opportunities to learn why your answer was correct or incorrect.
- An open book testing experience. The ABIM followed suit with other medical specialties, so this exam is open book, meaning you can use any resources during the exam that you use when treating patients.
- Pay less over time with multiple assessment options. The LKA is included at no additional cost for each certificate you are paying to maintain.
Quote from ABIM Board of Directors
How many questions are on the LKA ABIM?
The ABIM's LKA Exam includes 600 questions presented to you quarterly (30 questions per quarter) over five years. The question content is pulled from any of the content areas on the ABIM MOC blueprint. The ABIM Longitudinal Knowledge Assessment uses the same MOC blueprint as the 10-year exam.
The ABIM Longitudinal Exam presents 600 questions for you to answer over the five years—30 questions per quarter. You can skip up to 100 questions throughout the five-year testing time.
What's the ABIM LKA passing score?
Since you get immediate feedback about the correctness of your answers as you go, you know how you're doing and where you stand throughout the LKA. It's a pass/fail exam, so at the end of the five-year LKA cycle, the ABIM will let you know if you passed.
If you are successful, you'll be able to continue with the LKA, if not, you still have the opportunity to take the traditional 10-year MOC exam to maintain certification.
Pro Tip: Most physicians who have finished the first quarter of their second year of taking the LKA will receive interim formative score reports. Use your score report to focus your study!
How do I register for the LKA?
You should enroll in the LKA for the year your assessment is due. To register for the LKA, you must meet these three requirements:
- Your specialty must be eligible,
- You're interested in the LKA rather than the traditional 10-year exam,
- And you must be due for an assessment in 2022.
If you meet the above, then it's time to register!
The ABIM has added three new specialties this year, so if you need to recert in 2023 and your specialty is Critical Care Medicine, Infectious Disease, or Pulmonary Disease, you are now able to register for the LKA.
The first quarter of questions will release in January of 2023 and is open until March 31, 2023 (then those questions expire). Remember: Start early in the calendar year to avoid missing any questions.
How to study for the LKA exam
Remember, even though the ABIM longitudinal assessment is an open-book exam, you still need to study! The exam questions can span any topic on the ABIM exam blueprint, so you still need a broad base of information.
All of our IM learning tools cover all the topics on the blueprint for the exam.