In December 2018, ABFM launched a pilot to study the feasibility and validity of an alternative to the one-day family medicine certification examination, called Family Medicine Certification Longitudinal Assessment (FMCLA). This approach to assessment of cognitive expertise is more aligned with adult learning principles, promoting more enduring learning, retention and transfer of knowledge than infrequent, episodic examinations.

The FMCLA pilot evaluation will be conducted over several years in order to collect enough feedback and data to evaluate the quality, effectiveness, and acceptability to the program. Participant feedback is sought and reviewed at multiple steps along the way. This information will be used in continuous improvement of the process.

Thanks to the early success of the pilot, Diplomates whose 10-year examination requirement was due in 2020 had the option to either participate in FMCLA in the second cohort starting in January 2020, or continue taking their examination in a test center.

We are happy to announce that family physicians who are currently certified and have their 10-year examination requirement in 2021 will now have the option to select participation in FMCLA. The start of that participation will be January 2021.


  • You will be provided 25 questions online each quarter
  • Questions can be completed at the place and time of your choice
  • You may use clinical references during the assessment, much like you do in practice
  • You will not need to travel to a test center, nor spend additional time and money on preparatory courses

In order for FMCLA to count for your examination requirement, you will need to answer 300 questions over a four-year time period. Since the platform delivers 25 questions each quarter, FMCLA provides you with flexibility to complete the entire process in three years or extend to a maximum of four years, with breaks along the way if needed. The FMCLA pilot program is designed to maintain the same high standards as the examination. The cut score for the Longitudinal Assessment will be just as rigorous as the one-day examination.


  • It minimizes your time and expense spent in preparation for the examination and the inconvenience of the test center
  • It can be completed when and where is best for you—increased flexibility and less stress than is often associated with the one-day examination
  • It provides you with immediate feedback after each response, with a critique explaining reasons for the right or wrong answers and supporting references for future study
  • Learning is more continuous, allowing you to immediately apply information to your practice
  • There is no additional cost—your certification fees remain the same as with the one-day examination

We expect FMCLA to be successful and to continue in its current, or improved, fashion in future years.  In the unlikely event that FMCLA does not continue beyond the pilot phase, we would provide an additional year for participants to take the One-Day Family Medicine Certification Examination in order to maintain certification. 

FMCLA Graphic