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A Critical Care Physician’s Experience with the Internal Medicine Longitudinal Knowledge Assessment

June 30, 2022  |  Posted by Tessa Damm, DO  |  LKA

by Tessa Damm, DO

Tessa Damm is a member of ABIM’s Critical Care Medicine Board. She is participating in the Longitudinal Knowledge Assessment in Internal Medicine.

I work exclusively in critical care medicine, but desire to maintain my certification in internal medicine as I believe this benefits my practice. I felt the Longitudinal Knowledge Assessment (LKATM) presented a unique way to recertify while learning at the same time.

I’ll admit I was pleasantly surprised by the LKA. No testing modality can truly replicate clinical practice, but I’ve found the LKA to mirror the physician clinical experience more closely than any other test I’ve taken to date. My working knowledge of internal medicine is pretty good, though there are many things I no longer encounter regularly, namely outpatient medications, and need to look up. The LKA isn’t intended for physicians to spend months studying and memorizing as you can access resources while you’re taking questions.

Additionally, I’ve found sitting in a test center all day for the longform exam can really be an endurance event and it can be difficult to stay focused. A benefit of the LKA is the ability to do as few as one or as many as 30 questions with each sitting. It’s really gratifying to feel like you’re making progress while being able to do so at your own pace.  

I found it to work best to use two monitors, one being my mobile device with the same apps and references that I use during clinical practice, and the other my computer to display test questions. The functionality and interface are great. It’s clear how much time you have for each question and easy to figure out how you move on to the next one.

Some of my colleagues have asked about the 4-minute per question time limit, and I thought it was an appropriate amount. I never felt stressed, and that I had time to read the question stem, using my working knowledge to narrow down my choices before looking up information to fine tune my answer.

The immediate feedback provided after most questions is really helpful, and confirmation that I’m doing ok. If I wasn’t scoring well, it would tell me I need to go and study up on some things. It’s reaffirming my approach.

I really like the “life happens” feature, where you can choose not to open up to 100 questions over your five-year cycle. I’m not sure if I’m going to use it, but feels like a safety net that if needed I can step away.

I also like the flexibility of mixing and matching assessment options. 30 questions per quarter is pretty manageable, but if you have more than one certificate you might want to do the longform for one of them, and the LKA for others.

The LKA is a totally new assessment experience. I thought it might be cumbersome, but it’s just the opposite. With the LKA you spend more time engaging and learning than prepping.

Enrollment for the 2022 LKA is open until 6/30/22. Physicians participating will continue to be reported as certified throughout their 5-year cycle as long as they are meeting the LKA Participation Requirement and any other Maintenance of Certification requirements. A question history will be provided after six months of participation, and quarterly score reports offered after five quarters.