Should You Take the ABIM LKA or the Traditional MOC Exam? 

moc vs abim lka

The American Board of Internal Medicine (ABIM) Longitudinal Knowledge Assessment (LKA) is a new option for physicians to fulfill the MOC Assessment portion of their Maintenance of Certification (MOC) requirements. While the flexibility and open-book format may appeal to many, it may not be the best choice for everyone. We take a look at how the LKA and traditional MOC exams compare, and how you can make the right choice for your recertification requirements. 


Registering for the LKA can be done from December 1st of the prior year to June 30th. For example, to register for the 2024 LKA, you can enroll beginning December 1st, 2023. The first set of questions is released around January 1st. Any questions you miss by enrolling later will count against you, so it is vital that you decide ahead of time which recertification option you will choose. You are free to change your mind and switch to the traditional MOC exam at any time. 

Question Counts: How Many Questions are on the ABIM LKA and Traditional MOC Exams?

The traditional MOC exam consists of 220 multiple choice questions in single best answer format.  

The Longitudinal Knowledge Assessment contains 600 total questions, of which you must answer at least 500 over the 5-year period. 30 new questions are released at the start of each quarter and can be answered any time before the end of the quarter 

Content Topics 

The LKA follows the same blueprint as you will see on the MOC exam. This content has been determined as relevant to patient care and clinical practice. 

Because the LKA and MOC exam follow the same subject outline, using a question bank will allow you to prepare for either option. BoardVitals MOC question banks are formatted to these blueprints, and can be a great resource to help you prepare for the ABIM LKA or MOC exam. 

Test Conditions 

One of the biggest differences between the MOC exam and LKA is that the LKA is an open-book assessment that can be completed at home, at whatever time fits your schedule. The assessment can be done on any device, including laptops, smartphones, or tablets. The MOC exam is a traditional test, which must be completed at a testing center on a specific day. 


When taking the LKA, you receive immediate feedback after each question, including the correct answer, a detailed explanation, and references. After you have answered enough questions, you can access an interim score report so you can track how you are performing relative to the overall passing standard. The MOC exam is graded like any other test, and you will receive a score report 6-8 weeks after completion. 

Certification Period 

For the traditional MOC exam, you will maintain your certification for 10 years once you pass the test. 

If you opt for the LKA, you will remain certified for the 5-year period that you are enrolled, even if you have not completed all questions. At the end of the 5 years, you can choose to re-enroll in another LKA, or you can switch to the traditional MOC exam. If you re-enroll in the LKA, you will start the process over again, completing 30 questions per quarter for a 5-year span. If you do not pass the LKA, you will be required to take the MOC exam. 

moc vs abim lka

Choosing between the MOC exam or LKA will come down to your specific situation. No matter which option you select, you will fulfill your recertification requirements. Review your choices, and have confidence that you will make the right decision.  

Tags: MOC

The writing staff at BoardVitals is passionate about medicine, healthcare, and education. We’ve trained over 1.5 million physicians and work with more than 300 top teaching institutions. Learn more about our board review and continuing education products at

Try BoardVitals free for 10 days.

Free Trial. No credit card required.