FMCLA is designed to assess Diplomates in a comparable way to the one-day examination. The longitudinal assessment will deliver 25 questions each quarter that can be answered online, anywhere, at any time. The complete assessment is designed to include answering 300 items over a maximum of four years. Successfully completing 300 questions and achieving a passing score on FMCLA during the four-year window will satisfy your examination requirement and enable you to maintain your board certification.
Meaningful Participation in Year One
If you choose to participate in the longitudinal assessment, it is important that you fully participate. In the first year of participation, you will need to complete 75 of the 100 questions you receive over the course of the year and answer a short quarterly survey following completion of each question set. The 75 items completed is what we refer to as Meaningful Participation. Note that you will meet this requirement when your total answered questions reaches 75, irrespective of whether they were answered correctly or incorrectly (the requirement is 75 items completed, not 75% correct responses). You will be eligible to continue participating in the full 300-item assessment only if you meaningfully participate in year one.
Successfully completing all 300 questions on FMCLA allows you to meet your examination requirement. As such, the questions are considered secure and should not be copied, printed, or reproduced in any other way before, during, or after administration.
After Year One, What Happens Next?
If you do meaningfully participate in the first year of FMCLA, you will continue to receive 25 quarterly questions until you have answered 300 questions, or four years have elapsed, whichever comes first.
If you do not meaningfully participate in the first year of FMCLA by answering at least 75 questions by December 31, you will be withdrawn from the assessment. You would then be required to successfully sit for the one-day Family Medicine Certification Examination within the next year in order to maintain your board certification.
Similar to the one-day Family Medicine Certification Examination, FMCLA has a blueprint outlining the targeted percentage of questions you will receive in each content category over the 300 items. One way to approach preparation is by regularly reviewing topics commonly seen in family medicine practice, through articles such as those found in the American Family Physician and other journals that publish high quality clinical review articles. Board review courses may also be of help for family physicians who have a more narrow scope of practice and would benefit from a concentrated, broader review of topics.
Your annual board certification fee provides you with access to all knowledge self-assessment (KSA) activities and materials, which you may also find helpful for clinical review of the most prevalent diagnoses seen in family medicine practice. As you identify your own knowledge gaps through participation in knowledge self-assessment activities, you can better target your selection of CME to match your knowledge gaps, which will also help in your preparedness for FMCLA.
The FMCLA platform delivers 25 questions each quarter providing you with flexibility to complete the entire process in as little as three years or up to a maximum of four years. The table below lists the beginning and ending date for each quarter that you will have to answer your questions.
Year Quarter One Quarter Two Quarter Three Quarter Four One January 1–March 31 April 1–June 30 July 1–September 30 October 1–December 31 Two January 1–March 31 April 1–June 30 July 1–September 30 October 1–December 31 Three January 1–March 31 April 1–June 30 July 1–September 30 October 1–December 31
Four (if needed)
January 1–March 31 April 1–June 30 July 1–September 30 October 1–December 31
How many questions do I have to answer?
You must answer a total of 300 questions over a maximum four-year period. These are intentionally paced at 25 questions per quarter without the ability to make-up a backlog or move forward more quickly during the assessment process. At the end of four years, any shortfall from 300 answered questions will be counted as incorrect. All participants must answer a minimum of 275 total questions by the conclusion of the maximum four years to complete the assessment. Those who do not do this will be removed from FMCLA after the quarter in which it becomes impossible to reach 275 answered questions.
You control the pace at which you move through your 25 quarterly questions. You may answer as few as one question at a time, or you could complete the maximum of 25 questions in a single session. It is important that you are confident in the answers you submit. Once you access a question, it must be answered within the allotted time designated on the timer. Answers cannot be changed once submitted and questions cannot be accessed at a later time. If a question is opened, but an answer is not submitted, the question will be counted as incorrect and will be accounted for in your overall score.
How Much time do I have to answer each question?
You will have five minutes to answer each question. Five minutes per question allows time to carefully read and answer the question, including the time to use reference materials as needed. Most questions won’t require you to use resource materials. Based on our experience with the Continuous Knowledge Self-Assessment (CKSA) activity and the 2019-2021 FMCLA pilot, five minutes is more time than people need. On average, questions are being answered in a range of 2–2.5 minutes, just as with the one-day Family Medicine Certification Examination.
The timer cannot be paused after a question has been accessed. We highly recommend that you are in a quiet place where you will be uninterrupted to ensure you are able to concentrate when answering these questions.
If you require accommodations that will allow for additional time to answer questions, you may submit a request through your online application. If accommodations become necessary after the application process is completed, you may submit a written request to [email protected].
What Happens If I do not Complete the Questions?
There is flexibility built into completing FMCLA.
If you do not answer all 25 questions by the end of a quarter, you simply move on to the next quarter. ABFM will continue to deliver 25 questions per quarter until you reach 300 answered questions or four years have elapsed.
In year one, you must meaningfully participate by completing 75 out of the available 100 questions by December 31 and provide feedback to the surveys in order to continue into the next year. After year one, you will have three years to complete the remaining questions, with 25 delivered each quarter. This will allow for periods in which you could opt out of a quarter when needed for life events, practice disruptions, or vacation/travel.
All participants must answer a minimum of 275 total questions by the conclusion of the maximum 4 years to complete the assessment. Those who do not do this will be removed from FMCLA after the quarter in which it becomes impossible to reach 275 answered questions. The one-day examination would need to be completed by December 31 of the following calendar year to continue ABFM certification.
You will receive up to 30 Division 1 CME and up to 10 certification points for your participation once your final results are released.
Withdraw from FMCLA
Withdrawals/removals that occur prior to the end of the sixth quarter of participation do not use up an examination attempt. Since two examination attempts are available under the certification process fees, in most cases, two examination attempts will still be available to use for the one-day examination.
Withdrawals/removals that occur after the end of the sixth quarter of participation will use up an examination attempt. Since two examination attempts are available under the certification process fees, in most cases, one attempt will still be available to use for the one-day examination. If both available examination attempts included in the process fees have already been used, a reduced examination fee of $650 (or 50% of the current full examination fee) would be required to register for a one-day examination attempt.
Hardware & Software Recommendations
We highly recommend that you use a computer or tablet with good internet connection. You may be able to use a mobile device to answer your questions; however, we do not recommend taking the longitudinal assessment on a small device. The items will be easier to view and answer on a computer or tablet.
While the FMCLA platform may work with other browsers, you may encounter issues if you use an unsupported browser. The FMCLA Platform has been optimized for the current versions of the following browsers:
- For Windows users:
- Microsoft Edge
- Google Chrome
- Mozilla Firefox.
- For Mac users
- Google Chrome
- Mozilla Firefox
- For Windows users: