Part III—Cognitive Expertise
This component of ABFM Maintenance of Certification (also referred to as ABFM MC-FP or simply, MC-FP) involves the successful completion of a cognitive examination. All other components of MC-FP must be completed to be eligible to sit for the examination. Failure to pass the cognitive examination by the end of the MC-FP cycle results in the loss of certification.
The ABFM MC-FP Examination contains multiple-choice (one best answer) questions and is the same for certification and recertification candidates. It is a test of cognitive knowledge and problem-solving ability relevant to Family Medicine. The examination is a full day in length, consisting of a morning and afternoon session (with a lunch break in between). The examination is offered in computer-based format only. Candidates must satisfactorily meet application and MC-FP requirements before being approved to take the cognitive examination.
As of 2012, the examination is administered in April and November. The fall examination has limited seating and is primarily for those physicians who were unable to take the spring examination and for off-cycle residents who did not complete training in time to take the spring examination. Additionally, candidates who are unsuccessful on the spring administration can apply to retake the examination in the fall. There is no limit to the number of times a candidate may take the examination, provided qualifications are met with each reapplication.
Candidates may sit for the MC-FP examination prior to the year in which their certification is due to expire. However, all successful examination attempts will initiate a new 10-year certification period and continuous MC-FP process; any remaining time on a previous certification will be forgone.
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