By Dr. Tochukwu Okwuosa, DO
Tochukwu (Tochi) Okwuosa is a cardiologist at Rush University Medical Group in Chicago. She primarily works with patients who have undergone or are undergoing cancer treatment (chemotherapy, radiation therapy, immunotherapy, target therapy and/or stem cell transplant) for cancer and as a result have developed heart disease; or who have heart disease prior to going through cancer treatment. She is participating in the LKA to maintain her certification in cardiovascular disease and regain her certification in internal medicine.
I find the Longitudinal Knowledge Assessment (LKA®) to be absolutely the best decision I’ve made in terms of taking the boards. I love the convenience; it’s very flexible and I have 90 days to answer 30 questions for each discipline in which I’m taking the LKA. Even then, if I can’t get to all the questions for any reason, I love the flexibility that I am allowed to not answer up to 100 questions over five years, so I won’t automatically fail for not responding to some. It’s like, life happens, people get busy and we can’t always get to everything we want to. I appreciate that.
I think the amount of time given to respond to each question is reasonable. Four minutes is enough time for me to think through the question or look up the answers if I need to. I decided to enroll in the LKA in two disciplines—cardiovascular disease, which is what I do primarily, and internal medicine. My internal medicine certification lapsed a couple of years ago and because I practice in cardiology and oncology, it made sense to ensure I was up to date when it came to internal medicine, too. I felt the LKA could help me do that.
I like the fact that because I’m taking these exams over time, I’m receiving regular updates throughout. Most of the cardiology questions have not been a surprise to me, but even in a few years there have been a number of changes in internal medicine practices, and I have used that new information when seeing patients. One example is around hypertension; I know the hypertension guidelines, but there was a new recommendation that I was not so familiar with that I now use for my patients with high blood pressure.
I take questions when I have some down time, usually at home when members of my family are off doing their own thing. I’ll do five to 10 questions on each subject. I try to keep pace with both, taking the same number of questions for both internal medicine and cardiovascular disease for any time period that I decide to answer questions. If towards the end of the three-month period I’m not done, I set aside some time to answer up to 15 questions each to complete both exams.
I’d say to anyone considering the LKA that it’s extremely convenient and very doable. I actually enjoy it! I have fun taking these questions and learning in the process. I would also advise them to keep an eye on the timer. Once you click on a question, the timer begins to run, and you can’t stop it. Once my daughter came in and distracted me and when I got back to my desk, the time for the question had passed. So, there is enough time (and you can add extra time to a question by drawing from a limited timebank if you need it), but make sure you don’t have distractions; if you think you might be distracted, don’t take the next question. Also, the quality of the questions has improved with time since the LKA began in early 2022; so the questions currently are very reasonable and have rational answers.
Enrollment for the 2023 LKA closes 6/30/23. Learn more at www.abim.org/LKA.