Family Medicine Recertification Exam FAQs

Family Medicine is one of the more challenging recertification exams (based on a lower pass rate than for most other specialties). The topics are fairly broad and the exam is fairly lengthy. These are the most frequently asked questions about the Family Medicine Maintenance of Certification Exam.

1. How long is the Family Medicine MOC exam?

ANSWER: The exam lasts one full day.

2. What is the exam format?

ANSWER: The examination is computer based and separated into five sections with three optional breaks. Section 1 is 120 minutes and contains 120 multiple choice questions. Timing is critical. If you use a practice FM question bank with a timer, set the timer to 55 seconds per question to simulate real exam conditions. Section 2 and 3 are exam modules the candidate selects on test day. Each of these last for 45 minutes and consist of 45 multiple choice questions. Section 4 and 5 each last 95 minutes and consist of 80 multiple choice questions. The exam also contains 20 field test items that are not scored (they are generally used for psychometric refinement). Since you won’t know which ones those are, make sure to attempt every question.

Once a candidate has completed a section, he or she cannot go back to work on it later.

3. How should I prepare for the exam?

ANSWER: There are many well-known review guides that can help you prepare for the type and format of questions you’ll face on the exam. We recommend McGraw Hill’s Family Practice Examination and Board Review and Bratton’s Family Medicine Board Review, which is also available via e-reader. For an online FM MOC question set we suggest our own, BoardVitals.

4. What does the exam cover?

ANSWER: The exam covers the following subject areas:

  • Cardiovascular: 9%
  • Endocrine: 6%
  • Gastrointestinal: 5%
  • Hematologic/Immune: 2%
  • Integumentary: 5%
  • Musculoskeletal: 9%
  • Nephrologic: 2%
  • Neurologic: 2%
  • Nonspecific: 7%
  • Psychogenic: 5%
  • Reproductive—Female: 3%
  • Reproductive—Male: 1%
  • Respiratory: 10%
  • Special Sensory: 2%
  • Population-based Care (topics such as biostatistics, epidemiology, evidence-based medicine, prevention, health policy, legal issues, bioterror, quality improvement, and geographic/urban/rural issues.): 3%
  • Patient-based Systems (topics such as clinical decision-making, communication and doctor-patient interaction, family and cultural issues, ethics, palliative care, and end-of-life care.): 3%
  • Module 1: 13%
  • Module 2: 13%

5. What modules may I choose from?

ANSWER: On the day of the exam, candidates must select two modules from the following:

  • Ambulatory Family Medicine
  • Child and Adolescent Care
  • Geriatrics
  • Women’s Health
  • Maternity Care
  • Emergent/Urgent Care
  • Hospital Medicine
  • Sports Medicine

6. How is the exam scored?

ANSWER: The family medicine MOC exam is not based on failing or passing a certain percentage of candidates. The examination committee focuses on accepting a score that demonstrates a consensus level of mastery in the field of Family Medicine.

7. When will I get my results?

ANSWER: Candidates can expect to receive their results approximately six weeks after the last examination day.
For more materials to prepare for the exam, please visit our family medicine review page here.

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