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    The Definitive Guide to ABP's MOCA-Peds

    Key takeaways

    1. MOCA-Peds stands for “Maintenance of Certification Assessment for Pediatrics.” It is an option for the exam portion (part 3) of your MOC requirements, and is preferred by most pediatricians because MOCA-Peds is a straightforward process that easily integrates into day-to-day schedules.
    2. MOCA-Peds is taken in a 5-year long exam cycle. It’s important to think about the exam in year-long increments, because every January the assessment begins again with a new content outline that focuses on learning objectives and featured readings that require your full understanding.
    3. Each quarter you will receive 20 timed, multiple-choice questions. You'll answer 80 questions per year for years one through four of the five-year MOC cycle (i.e., a total of 320 questions per certification period).
    4. Make sure you take a second look at those questions you thought you knew, but didn't. It's likely that you'll see those questions again.
    5. Your performance will be graded by the ABP using a standardized score scale ranging from one to 300, so 180 is the passing score for MOCA-Peds. You can drop your four lowest scores over the course of the five-year MOC cycle.


    What is MOCA-Peds? | How does MOCA-Peds work? | Should I take MOCA-Peds? | This year's MOCA-Peds learning objectives | How to prep

    Do you have a recertification cycle on the horizon? Not to worry. We’re here to make maintaining your certification just a little bit easier.

    The below information is a full overview of the assessment for diplomates who are maintaining general pediatrics certificates and those with pediatric subspecialty certificates—MOCA-Peds. If that’s you, then read on! 

    What is MOCA Pediatrics?

    First, let’s get the vocabulary out of the way. “MOCA-Peds” stands for “Maintenance of Certification Assessment for Pediatrics.”

    You’ll also hear the acronym “MOC” tossed around. “MOC” stands for Maintenance of Certification—it’s the four-part process of keeping your pediatric certification. 

    So, along with maintaining your professional standing, completing your CME, and improving your professional practice, you must maintain your cognitive expertise to remain a certified pediatrician through the American Board of Pediatrics. 

    Cognitive expertise (MOC Part 3) can be proved in two ways:

    1. MOCA-Peds- an online, non-proctored assessment platform that’s taken on a five-year cycle
    2. MOC Exam- a traditional proctored examination at a secure testing facility that is taken every ten years

    MOCA-Peds is the preferred recertification method for most pediatricians because it’s a straightforward process that easily integrates into day-to-day schedules.

    How does MOCA-Peds work?

    When you elect to take MOCA-Peds for your Part 3 MOC requirement, you're entering into a 5-year exam cycle.

    While MOCA-Peds is taken on a five-year cycle, it’s important to think about it in year-long increments. Every year the assessment begins again with a new content outline that focuses on learning objectives and featured readings that require your full understanding.

    How many questions are on MOCA-Peds?

    The open-book online assessment consists of 20 timed, multiple-choice questions delivered quarterly, totaling 80 questions per year for years one through four of the five-year MOC cycle (i.e., a total of 320 questions per certification period).

    What will MOCA-Peds questions cover?

    For General Pediatrics, The assessment questions are based on 45 learning objectives and two featured readings. Each year’s featured readings are based on new guidelines and article developments in the field of pediatrics.

    The learning objectives and readings are listed in a new Content Outline released annually by the ABP for advanced study. The questions reflect the breadth of knowledge required for pediatric practice from a general pediatrics focus.

    There are also content outlines and assessments available and rolling out for a variety of pediatric subspecialties. Again, the ABP Content Outline changes annually—so make sure you’re referencing the correct one!

    How much does MOCA-Peds cost?

    The MOC fees you pay to ABP also provide access to MOCA-Peds.

    The proctored MOC examination fee is $265. Again, you only pay this fee if you sit the ten-year test rather than participating in MOCA-Peds.

    What is considered a passing score for MOCA-Peds?

    After you submit an answer, you’re told whether you got it right or wrong. You'll also see the rationale behind the correct answer and references to support it. Make sure you take a second look at those questions you thought you knew, but didn't. It's likely that you'll see those questions again. Post-assessment, you should be able to see those on the "My Performance" page.

    Once you submit your answers, your performance will be graded by the ABP using a standardized score scale ranging from one to 300 with 180 as the threshold for a passing score.

    This is meant to ensure that no one taking the assessment has an advantage or disadvantage by receiving too many easy or difficult questions. You’ll also be able to drop your four lowest scores over the course of the five-year MOC cycle, so if you have an off quarter it’s not the end of the world! You can make up for it with your next set of questions.

    What happens if I don't pass MOCA-Peds?

    According to the ABP, participating physicians who do not pass MOCA-Peds during the first four years of the cycle will need to take the proctored exam in the fifth year.

    There are no penalties to pediatricians’ certifications if they don’t pass or if they stop doing MOCA-Peds, as long as they successfully pass the proctored exam by the end of their MOC cycle. 

    MOCA-Peds vs the 10-Year Recertification Exam

    You might be asking: Which Exam is Right for me? It’s a great question because there’s so much to know about the assessment. Here’s a little more information to get you started:

    1. Instead of one huge exam every ten years (which can be tedious, time-consuming and costly), you take four smaller assessments over the course of five years. This optimizes continuing medical education while also meeting the evaluation objective.
    2. Did you see above that it’s open book? Part of the flexibility of these smaller assessments is that you get to use resources to help you answer questions. They are timed though!
    3. The online format is convenient. There’s no need to travel to a testing facility; you can complete the quarterly assessments anywhere that has (reliable!) internet service.
    4. Lastly, if you continue to perform well on MOCA-Peds, you will never have to take a proctored exam at a secure testing facility again to maintain your certification. 

    What will be on this year's MOCA-Peds?

    The ABP recommends that participating pediatricians review the learning objectives and featured readings prior to starting MOCA-Peds each year. This gives you time to brush up on topics you don't see frequently in your practice AND time to read over any new material. 

    Our QuickREF for MOCA-Peds guide gives you everything you need to know for the exam. It covers the entire content outline and featured readings. It's simple to search through QuickREF during the open-book assessment to find the exact topic your question is asking you about. 

    How do I prep for MOCA-Peds?

    Now, let’s discuss how best to prepare for the assessment. Just because it’s open book, doesn’t mean you won’t need to study. The ABP recommends you start early. So let’s jump right in.

    We recommend a two-pronged approach to prepping for the assessment: 

    First, prepare for the assessment with board-style Q&As based on the ABP’s learning objectives and featured readings for MOCA-Peds. With over 2,100 Q&As, you can see every question covered in the annual MOC board assessment with a single click.

    You can then take it a step further by filtering out 300+ questions (with answers and explanations, of course!) that cover content from the ABP’s MOCA-Peds current year learning objectives—making it easy to self-test for the quarterly assessment. Pro tip: try 'Test Mode' for a timed experience.

    Second, get to know QuickREF. We gathered the high-yield points of information that you’re likely to be tested on into this year’s QuickREF guide based on all current learning objectives and featured readings. Whether in print, digital and newly released audio format, it’s designed to be used as your open-book reference during the assessment.

    Flip through the print or search the digital to be able to quickly and easily find the information you need when you need it. Listen to the audio version in advance of the exam while you are on the go.

    The best way to save time and stress less over your recertification process is to self-test with our MOCA-Peds Q&As and use QuickREF during your assessment.

    What is the exam actually like? 

    Since MOCA-Peds is open-book, you’re allowed to use digital or print references during the assessment! Just don’t ask your friends—sorry, no calls for help! So make sure your “open book” materials—ahem, QuickREF for 2023 MOCA-Peds Learning Objectives— are prepped before you start your assessment. (Keep in mind that you only get five minutes to answer each question, so be sure you prepare!)

    Want to make sure you love our QuickREF before committing to a purchase? Check out our free trial. Get access to to content covering two learning objectives for free.

    Also, you should plan to answer 20 questions every quarter that span all of the ABP's 45 learning objectives and four featured readings for the year. BUT, you don’t have to answer them all at the same time. Want to complete 20 questions in 20 days? No problem! Just finish all 20 in the same quarter.

    For each question—whether it's related to a learning objective or featured reading—you'll see a clinical vignette followed by a multiple-choice question.

    To take the assessment, you can use a computer, tablet or smartphone. Just make sure you have reliable internet service since the ABP won't reset questions on an individual basis, like in the case of an internet outage. The ABP has also released a mobile app that will allow you to answer questions from your phone. 

    Pro tip: Choose your answer early, and then verify if it’s correct before submission. Even if you haven’t submitted the answer, it’s still counted if you lose internet connection or run out of time while verifying in your QuickREF.

    "Perfect study guide for the MOCA-Peds Exam. Every thing you need to know is in the study guide. Organized and easy to use reference during the test. I can’t wait to get the next edition." -Dr. Martha Smith

    If you still have questions about MOCA-Peds, email or call (1.800.841.8547) our support team to chat through our study tool options. They’re ready to help.  

    Ready to get started? We release a new QuickREF each year to act as your sidekick before and during the assessment. Our board-style Q&As also includes a MOCA-Peds filter that brings up the questions relevant to the test year. 

    Related Reading

    1. 5 Things You Need to Know About the MOCA-Peds Exam

    2. This Year's MOCA Peds Learning Objectives

    3. 2023 Pediatrics Important Dates Announced

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