Considering a different experience for your next MOC exam? Here's some good news: You have options! You aren't pigeonholed into taking the traditional 10-year exam for your certification anymore (if you don't want to).
Here are some of the most frequently asked questions about the new assessment—the Longitudinal Knowledge Assessment—to help you decide which option is right for you.
What Exactly Is the Longitudinal Knowledge Assessment (LKA)?
Over time, the ABIM received feedback from physicians that they need a more flexible learning experience, where they didn't have to cram for a long-form exam every 10 years.
So, in early 2022 the ABIM launched the Longitudinal Knowledge Assessment. Now, instead of studying everything you need for the traditional 10-year MOC exam all at once, the LKA confirms your medical knowledge in chunks.
Should I Take the LKA?
This one is entirely up to you! We're just here to offer some more details about each so that you can make an educated decision. Some physicians are enthusiastic about the exam—saying the LKA is more flexible. They also like that it's more educationally sounds to see results right away instead of having to cram once every 10-years and wait for results.
Others like the traditional 10-year exam because they can get it over with once and then not have to worry about it again for another 10-years.
How Does the 5-Year LKA Exam Cycle Work?
At the beginning of each quarter, you'll receive 30 questions from the ABIM and you can answer them at any time before the quarter ends. Don't put them off too long! You don't want to be stressing to get them done the last week of the quarter! You have 4 minutes to answer each question. That's important, and we'll talk more about that later on!
The ABIM Longitudinal Exam includes 120 questions offered per year for five years. You can skip 100 questions over the five-year period. Over the entire course of the 5 years, you'll be offered 600 questions and you must "open" at least 500 of those to meet the requirements.
What Format Are the LKA Question In?
The format of the questions are just like those on the 10-year exam. You'll have a question, maybe an image or a lab, and then you'll be given multiple choices to pick from. You just pick the one you know is the best answer.
It’s important to get practice with the exam's format. Our Internal Medicine Board-Style Q&As are asked in this same style and built off of the ABIM exam blueprint to help you build your recall of essential board-relevant facts and get comfortable with the exam format.
What Are the Topics Covered in LKA?
The exam blueprint used for the LKA is the exact same as the one for the traditional 10-year exam.
Is the LKA Open Book?
It sure is! 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.
But keep in mind that you only have 4 minutes to answer each question! You might have time to research a few questions during the exam, but you won't want to do that with each and every question. We recommend using the search feature in our Digital Internal Medicine Core. That way, you can quickly search for exact keywords and go right to those sections while the exam clock ticks.
How Is the LKA Scored?
Since you get immediate feedback on your answers (meaning you'll know if you answered each one correct or incorrectly right away), you'll know how you're doing along the way. At the end of the 5-year cycle, the ABIM will let you know if you met the passing score.
Also, as of spring 2023, some LKA participants will begin to receive interim formative score reports with the following details:
- Individual Performance to Date that reveals their current score and how it compares to the overall passing score
- Group Performance that shows a distribution of scores for all examinees in that discipline and the average score in the distribution
- Recent Content Area Performance that reports how many items they got correct and incorrect within each content area over the past year, along with their confidence levels for each response
But the most important thing to note is that if you are successful, you can continue with the LKA. If not, you'll have the opportunity to take the 10-year exam to keep your certification.
What Is the Cost of the LKA?
If you plan to participate in the LKA for the first certificate you maintain, then you're good to go as the LKA fee is included in the annual MOC fee. According to the ABIM, an internal medicine physician with one certificate will save $100 over a 10-year period when they choose to do the LKA instead of the traditional 10-year recertification exam.
Should I Study for the LKA?
This exam is still pretty new, and quite unlike the traditional 10-year exam, so it's safe to say you can change-up your study plan for the LKA! Here's what we recommend you do to prepare/study for the LKA.
- Go through questions in the Internal Medicine Board-Style Q&As to get a good feel for what the exam questions will be like.
- Use the Digital Internal Medicine Core's search feature as your open-book resource during the exam.
- Need a deeper review before the exam? Watch the Internal Medicine Video Board Review for a comprehensive review before you open up this quarter's questions.
Remember, even though this is an open book exam, you still need to study! Ready to start? Our IM learning tools cover all the topics on the blueprint for the exam.