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The ABIM Pulmonary Disease and ABIM/ABEM Critical Care Medicine certification exams last one day each with examinations taking approximately 10 hours to complete. Both exams are divided into several sessions, containing up to 60 multiple-choice questions each; some questions require the interpretation of illustrative materials such as electrocardiograms, radiographs and photomicrographs (e.g., blood films, Gram stains, urine sediments). The pass rate for the Pulmonary Disease certification exam in 2015 was 96% while the pass rate for the Critical Care Medicine certification exam in 2015 was 92%.
Past examinees have said that the ABIM Pulmonary Disease Certification Exam is pretty fair and the difficulty level is comparable to the in-training exam, maybe a little harder. Questions pertaining to occupational exposure/diseases, and lung cancer staging and treatment are prevalent so be ready for those. Past examinees recommend focusing more time on memorizing physiology equations. 6-8 weeks worth of studying should be adequate for most.
The ABIM/ABEM Critical Care Medicine certification exam has been rated as being easier than the Pulmonary Disease certification exam, especially if you’ve had good exposure during fellowship to all types of critical care (MICU, surgical and trauma, heart and cardiovascular, and neuro), and saw all types of emergencies (eg., cirrhosis in ICU, heme onc disasters, end stage heart failure, acute MI, etc.). 4-6 weeks worth of studying should be adequate for most.