American Board of Internal Medicine (ABIM) Certification

The American Board of Internal Medicine (ABIM) is the only recognized Board in the specialty of internal medicine and is one of the 24 certifying boards recognized by the American Board of Medical Specialties. ABIM is an independent not-for-profit organization whose certificates are recognized throughout the world as signifying a high level of physician competence. The ABIM exam can be taken at Pearson VUE testing facilities. The ABIM testing takes place 2 times per year. The exam is composed of multiple-choice questions with a single best answer, predominantly describing patient scenarios. Questions ask about the work done (that is, tasks performed) by physicians in the course of practice:
  • Making a diagnosis
  • Ordering and interpreting results of tests
  • Recommending treatment or other patient care
  • Assessing risk, determining prognosis, and applying principles from epidemiologic studies
  • Understanding the underlying pathophysiology of disease and basic science knowledge applicable to patient care
Exam content is determined by a pre-established blueprint, or table of specifications. The blueprint is developed by ABIM and is reviewed annually and updated as needed for currency. Trainees, training program directors, and certified practitioners in the discipline are surveyed periodically to provide feedback and inform the blueprinting process. The primary medical content categories of the blueprint are shown below, with the percentage assigned to each for a typical exam:
  • Allergy/Immunology 2%
  • Cardiovascular Disease 14%
  • Dermatology 3%
  • Endocrinology, Diabetes, and Metabolism 9%
  • Gastroenterology 9%
  • Geriatric Syndromes 3%
  • Hematology 6%
  • Infectious Disease 9%
  • Nephrology/Urology 6%
  • Neurology 4%
  • Obstetrics/Gynecology 3%
  • Medical Oncology 6%
  • Ophthalmology 1%
  • Otolaryngology/Dental Medicine 1%
  • Psychiatry 4%
  • Pulmonary Disease 9%
  • Rheumatology/Orthopedics 9%
  • Other 2%
Every question in the exam will fall into one of the primary medical content categories shown above.  There are also other important areas that are addressed in conjunction with this medical content, and these areas are called “cross content categories.” Not all questions have a cross-content classification; the crosscontent categories are shown in the following table:
  • Cross-Content Category Relative Percentage
  • Critical Care Medicine 10%
  • Geriatric Medicine 10%
  • Prevention 6%
  • Women’s Health 6%
  • Clinical Epidemiology 3%
  • Ethics 3% Nutrition 3%
  • Palliative/End-of-Life Care 3%
  • Adolescent Medicine 2%
  • Occupational Medicine 2%
  • Patient Safety 2%
  • Substance Abuse 2%
Make sure you are prepared for your American Board of Internal Medicine (ABIM) Certification. McRee Learning Center can help.
ready to start your exam prep
ready to start your exam prep