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Initial Certification Examination & Certification Details Maintenance of Certification Schedule a Certification Exam Schedule a Maintenance of Certification Exam Exam FAQs

Maintenance of Certification
Taking the Pulmonary Disease Exam

Key Exam Dates

Item 2011 2012
Spring Fall Spring Fall
* These testing dates are available only to candidates with a documented disability requiring additional testing time, as provided under the Americans with Disabilities Act. Please see the ABIM policy on Testing Accommodations for Exam Takers with Disabilities.

Results will be released within three months of the last test date for this area.

Responsibility for Deadline Compliance - It is the sole responsibility of the candidate to be aware of and comply with registration deadlines. In fairness to all candidates, the Board adheres firmly to its published deadlines for registration and late registration for its examinations. Candidates are encouraged to apply early in the registration period. Scheduling Your Maintenance of Certification Exam provides an overview of how to schedule exams, exam fees, and how to change or cancel exams.

Exam (Note: Dates are subject to change.) April 22, 2011 October 26, 2011 April 12, 2012 October 12, 2012
Exam for Candidates Requiring Testing Accommodations Across Multiple Days* May 18 and 19, 2011 November 17 and 18, 2011 May 11 and 12, 2012 November 15 and 16, 2012
Registration Opens December 1, 2008 May 1, 2011 December 1, 2011 May 1, 2012
Deadline Registration February 15, 2011 August 1, 2011 February 15, 2012 August 1, 2012
Deadline Cancellation April 15, 2011 October 1, 2011 April 15, 2012 October 1, 2012

Exam Content and Blueprint

What Does the Examination Cover?

Click here to see the detailed Pulmonary Disease Maintenance of Certification exam blueprint (pdf), which includes the content areas covered, their relative percentages, and the approximate number of questions in each area to expect on a typical exam.

Exam Administration

The exam lasts one day. Multiple editions, or "forms," of the exam are used, and they may differ in question order and content. Some questions require the interpretation of illustrative materials such as electrocardiograms, radiographs and photomicrographs (e.g., blood films, Gram stains, urine sediments). A list of normal laboratory values is provided. Refer to this list to interpret values given in the questions because they may differ from those to which you are accustomed.

Exam Development

A complete description of the process used to develop ABIM exams is available in How Exams Are Developed. Topics include:

  • Pretesting
  • Question content criteria
  • Question-writing process
  • Question review/editing process
  • Relevance review, and more

Question Format

The exam consists of single best answer questions only. This type of question consists of a brief statement, case history, graph, or picture followed by a question and list of possible options. You must choose the one answer that is better than the others; note that other options may be partially correct. Familiarizing yourself with the question format in advance may help you work more effectively.

Copyrighted Materials

ABIM's examinations are confidential and copyrighted under the Federal Copyright Act. Candidates agree not to copy, reproduce, reconstruct by dictation or other means, or disclose examination content in any manner. ABIM's Self Evaluation Process Medical Knowledge Modules are also copyrighted works. Candidates agree not to copy, reproduce or make any adaptations of the modules in any manner and not to assist someone else in the infringement of these or any other Board-copyrighted works.


Scoring and Reporting of Exam Results


The examination pass-fail decision is based on your performance on the entire examination. Unanswered questions are scored as incorrect; therefore, you should answer every question. The minimum passing score reflects an absolute standard that is independent of the performance of any group of candidates. This standard has been established by the examination committee and approved by the ABIM Board of Directors.


  • After the exam is given, it will be analyzed and evaluated to ensure the reliability of individual results.
  • Your results will be released and a Score Report will be mailed to you within three months of the last date of the exam in that area.
  • ABIM website's Home Page will announce when exam results have been released. No additional information is available until that time.
  • You can obtain your pass/fail status for an exam in the exam history section on your home page under Physician Login when results are released.
  • Scores are provided through the mail only. Copies of your Score Report will be maintained for two years from the date they were released. During that period, you may obtain a copy of your Score Report upon written request.
  • Questions regarding exam results should be submitted in writing within six months of the date results were released.

At the end of the 10-year Certification cycle, physicians who pass the Maintenance of Certification Exam, have successfully completed the self-evaluation component, and whose credentials have been verified by ABIM are considered to be recertified for another 10 years. Physicians with a lapsed Certification are considered recertified upon successful completion of these three components. Your current status is reported on your Physician Login Home Page.


Initial Certification Examination & Certification Details Maintenance of Certification Schedule a Certification Exam Schedule a Maintenance of Certification Exam Exam FAQs
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