On September 12 and 15 several hundred physicians sat for the second administration of the ABIM Knowledge Check-In (KCI) in Internal Medicine. As was the case in the spring, many physicians opted to take the exam remotely at their home or workplace, including ABIM President and CEO Richard Baron, MD.
Overall feedback from diplomates has been positive, particularly around the flexibility of taking the exam online, and others shared an appreciation for the access to UpToDate®. A few physicians experienced technical issues, though it was fewer than in the spring, and for many they were resolved quickly and they were able to proceed with the KCI.
Thousands more physicians are registered to take a KCI later this year, and eight additional specialties will roll out in 2019. Registration opens for all exams, including the traditional MOC assessment, on December 1, 2018.
Below is a sampling of post-exam survey responses from the most recent KCI, published in their unedited form.
“I appreciate the flexibility and ease to test in my office. Having UpToDate available reflects the way I practice. The test as a whole is far more clinically relevant than I remember from my experiences with the 10 year exam; however, there are still some questions where practice style and patient follow up come in to play.”
“When checking in the proctor noted I had to remove everything from my desk, including my printer. This would have been helpful to know ahead of time so I did not take more time cleaning off my desk. Also, the proctor asked to move the camera around 360 degrees but the camera is part of the iMac and unable to do that. He asked for a mirror and I could have had one if I knew I needed to do this ahead of time. All in all a great experience and these small “”issues”” are truly nothing to complain about. Good job. Now I just hope I passed :)”
“Interesting. This was somewhat more challenging that I am used to and there was significantly more time restraints – especially with using the online aide. This is going to be interesting as many of us are not accustomed to taking tests like this.”
“This was a great experience. I thought this was the most like-real-clinical-practice board exam I have taken (initial certification in 1998). I would recommend this to anyone. I am looking forward to more frequent but less arduous testing in the future – like this.”
“I liked being able to do the exam remotely. I thought there were some questions with controversial choices and perhaps these are experimental questions. For a “”Knowledge Check-In”” process, I think having the more basic questions which require core knowledge are more fair than the esoteric diagnoses that one not likely to see in practice, particularly since there are only 90 questions. For example, I can recall multiple questions addressing specific hematologic diagnoses/conditions within this 90 minute test, which seems much higher than the MOC blueprint.”
“The check in process was wonderful. I love taking at my office and having access to a beverage. There was a little delay in when I hit the next button or up to date button before it would come up. the staff was supportive and readily available however the “”chat box”” is disruptive as it is in the middle of screen. When I moved it different people kept responding to me from my initial question (i assume i hit the call button more than once) so even after my question was answered I kept getting messages. Overall i really liked this “”at home”” version and will highly recommend to anyone else”
“I liked the question format, design. I liked the ability to use up-to-date as a resource. I thought there was a mix of easier and tough questions which is probably the goal. I think there should be more time for the assessment. I did complete each section with about 5 minutes remaining, but I did not have time to go over all flagged questions. I do not think the questions completely reflected my day-to-day outpatient practice. Specifically, I didn’t have any questions on diabetes management which is most of what I do (outpatient). I would like to see more time allotted for the exam. I would also suggest a more focused exam going forward. Having to study the breadth of IM every 2 years seems a bit much.”
“I could not start the test as planned due to technical difficulty (the start exam button did not work until I downloaded Chrome). ABIM staff were very helpful and supportive throughout the process”
“I appreciated the ease of interaction with the proctor. I had to restart my program when the chat box wouldn’t close and covered my screen. I also lost connection during my check-in process, but the proctor helped me fix both problems quickly and put me at ease. Thanks!”
“I did have some difficulty logging into the session in the beginning and had to log off my computer entirely and log back in but then everything worked fine. It was a little nerve wracking as I was unsure if I would have to start everything (the check in) all over again after logging in again, but I did not and everything went well.”
“My only complaint is that there were unforeseen issues with launching the test through the ABIM website in non-Google Chrome web browsers. I understand that this is a newly discovered problem, but it would have been helpful if the ABIM website had immediately informed us of this issue once it was known so that I didn’t have to call and clarify myself. It was also somewhat cumbersome to launch the PV Proctor program despite having done the system test without problems. I had to launch it three times for it to work properly, which didn’t occur during the system check.”
“I really appreciated having UpToDate available, as that is what I use frequently in my practice. This test was much more focused on content I find important than the test I took 9 years ago. Thank you for making these changes.”
“The questions as compared to my initial boarding were significantly more difficult I presume as a result of having access to uptodate. However, this resource has neither the time available nor ease of use to be very helpful. Specifically, the tiny screen space available for reviewing articles made uptodate difficult to navigate. I was disappointed in this experience as compared to ongoing ABP evaluation. MOCA PEDS occurs with truly open source review with much looser regulation and time allotment, feedback on questions immediately and learning that takes place as part of the process. I’m able to do that work at my leisure at a local coffeehouse, and I am learning as I go. This exam feels more like a barrier and less symbiotic”
“A little extra time would have allowed for a bit more UpToDate review of areas of uncertainty. I found the test a learning experience due to the open book nature, but found I had a few questions (length of time when post or perimenopausal bleeding needs evaluation after last normal period comes to mind) that would have required a bit more delving. Minor issue, however.”
“having the med calculators and UTD access was great. I typically used UTD to confirm what I already knew, not to find the answer, which is how I use it clinically as well. Content was good– a bit heavy on heme for me, but we do see a lot of anemia. Overall I think this was a very fair and practical assessment and I’m glad I chose the Check-In.”