Everything to Know (For Now!) About the ABIM Knowledge Check-In Exam

October 22, 2020
ABIM now offers a 2-year assessment option, called a Knowledge Check-In (KCI), for your Maintenance of Certification (MOC).

In a nutshell:

  • Provides more convenience in meeting the assessment requirement of the MOC program
  • Takes about 3 hours to complete
  • Includes access to UpToDate® during the exam without the need for a personal subscription
  • Can be taken at either a test center or online, such as from your home or workplace
Knowledge Check-In vs Traditional MOC
What is the Knowledge Check-In registration process like, and can I register now?

Registration opened for all 2020 ABIM assessments on December 1, 2019. 

Go to this ABIM website for detailed information about KCI and MOC registration.

Due to COVID, some KCI and MOC exams have been canceled or postponed. Got to this ABIM website to find detailed information about rescheduling your exam.

What if I’m not currently certified or am in a grace period? 

You can regain certification by passing two consecutive KCIs and completing any outstanding MOC points requirements. If you are in the grace period for the 10-year MOC exam, you can meet your assessment requirement by passing two consecutive KCIs.

What does a “no consequence” Knowledge Check-In mean?

The first year a KCI is offered in a specialty, it is considered “no consequences,” meaning if a physician is unsuccessful on one or more attempts of the KCI, they will get another opportunity to take and pass the KCI 2 years later. They will continue to be publically reported as certified as long as they are meeting all other MOC requirements.

What are my options if I start the Knowledge Check-In and decide to discontinue?
Example 1, Knowledge Check-In, Maintenance of Certification

According to the above example provided by ABIM, this physician passed. The next assessment is due in 2022. In 2022, he decides to switch back to the 10-year pathway. The original assessment due date of 2023 is restored. He attempts the 10-year MOC exam in 2023 and passes. He is certified, and the next assessment is due in 10 years.

Can I take multiple Knowledge Check-In assessments in 1 year?
Example 2, Knowledge Check-In, Maintenance of Certification

Scenario A
According to the above example provided by ABIM, Physician A has an assessment due in 2020. He attempted the KCI in the spring of 2020 and failed. He reattempted the KCI in the fall of 2020 and passed. He is certified, and the next assessment will be due in 2022.

Scenario B
Physician B also has an assessment due in 2020. She attempted the KCI in the spring of 2020 and failed. She chose to switch to the 10-year MOC exam and passed in the fall of 2020. She is certified, and the next assessment will be due in 10 years.

What can I do to prepare for the Knowledge Check-In or MOC Exam?
  • Familiarize yourself with UpToDate since you’ll have access to this during your exam
  • Prepare with Rosh Review’s Knowledge Check-In Qbank, which includes 2,000 questions based on the KCI blueprint
How do I take the Knowledge Check-In exam at home or in a similar location (not at the testing center)?

Here’s what you will need access to:

  • A laptop or desktop computer (the KCI is not compatible with tablets or mobile devices)
  • Reliable internet access 
  • A webcam (stand-alone or built into your computer)
  • A microphone (stand-alone or built into your computer)
  • A private or enclosed space free of disruptions (you need to be alone!)
  • A camera (laptop, webcam, smartphone) to take photos of your testing area
  • Identification (a current, nonexpired government-issued form of ID that contains both your signature and a recent photograph)

According to ABIM, these items are permitted on your desk or workspace while you take the KCI exam:

  • Eyeglasses
  • Beverages such as coffee and water
  • Certain essential medical items (e.g., Bluetooth-enabled glucose monitoring devices and diabetic supplies). These may be brought into the testing area with prior approval of ABIM. Submit your request to ABIM by sending an email to accommodations@abim.org.

According to ABIM, these items are NOT permitted on your desk or workspace while you take the KCI exam:

  • Electronic devices, including cell phones, cameras, recording devices, PDAs, calculators, and pagers
  • Wallets and purses
  • Watches (your exam screen will show the time remaining in the exam session)
  • Calipers, nomograms, or other interpretive aids
  • Study materials, books, notes, or scratch paper
  • Pens, pencils, highlighters, and other writing instruments (notes can be taken in the “Notes” section available for each exam question)

ABIM stresses that no third party can enter the room during your KCI, and you may not allow other individuals to see the computer screen.

Per ABIM, 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.

How long does the Knowledge Check-In exam take?

3.5 hours.

How many questions are on the Knowledge Check-In exam?

It is divided into two sessions, each consisting of a maximum of 45 multiple-choice questions.

Here is a sample schedule described by ABIM:

Sample Knowledge Check-In schedule by ABIM
What is the structure of the Knowledge Check-In exam?

It is in modular format.

There is a set number of questions per test session.

Pro Tip

Since your score is determined by the total number of questions answered correctly, make sure to answer every question. Do not leave any blank! There is no penalty for guessing.

Does the Knowledge Check-In exam include breaks?

Yes. You will have up to 1.5 hours to complete each of the two sessions (there is a timer on the screen to show you the time remaining).

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
  • Once you resume the exam, that additional time will be deducted from your testing time in the next exam session, and that time cannot be added back to your session

Unscheduled breaks (may lead to an audit!)

  • 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

Use the blue phone button in the recording window to request assistance if any of the following happen:

  • You have a problem with your computer
  • You experience issues with the testing software
  • You need assistance for any other reason

What happens as time begins to run out?

  • A message box will appear on your computer screen 5 minutes before time runs out to remind you there are only 5 minutes remaining 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
When will I receive Knowledge Check-In exam results?
  1. You may get the option to view your result on your screen at the end of your exam (ABIM may decide not to reveal your score due to a quality assurance process)
  1. Your complete score report will be emailed to you in approximately 3 to 4 weeks
What are the best ways to prepare for the Knowledge Check-In exam?
  1. Stay current during your practice and read the latest journal updates such as those from the New England Journal of Medicine, Annals of Internal Medicine, and Journal of the American Medical Association 
  2. Use the Rosh Review Knowledge Check-In Qbank to answer similar-style questions and topics that will appear on the actual KCI exam

Disclaimer: Rosh Review is neither endorsed by nor affiliated with ABIM. I have no unique insight into the Knowledge Check-In other than what is publicly available through ABIM’s website and emails.


American Board of Internal Medicine (ABIM) website
Knowledge Check-In
Prepare for an Assessment Online
MOC Assessment Information
Assessment Options

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