Maintenance of Certification: Part three—cognitive expertise test

Dr. Larry C. Gilstrap lllLarry C. Gilstrap lll, MD, American Board of Obstetrics and Gynecology executive director

The year 2013 is important for the American Board of Obstetrics and Gynecology (ABOG) Maintenance of Certification (MOC) process because it will be the first year of the cognitive expertise test. It is in year six that each diplomate of ABOG must complete part three of MOC by taking and passing a secure written examination. This requirement currently affects approximately 7,000 of the 27,000 diplomates who are enrolled in MOC.

Applications for MOC 2013, including those in year six, will be available on the ABOG website until November 15, 2013. Physicians are encouraged to apply early in the year. When year-six diplomates apply for MOC, they will be notified that they must pass a secure written examination before December 15, 2013. They will also be required to pay an additional fee of $175 to cover the administrative costs of preparing the examination and the test center fee. This fee will be in addition to the $245 fee for MOC parts one, two, and four.

When a diplomate’s application has been approved, information will be emailed to the diplomate explaining the process for scheduling a test at a Pearson VUE test center, which are located throughout the US. Seats at each test center can be scheduled most days of the year on a first-come, first-served basis. Physicians are encouraged to schedule their examinations as soon as possible.

If a physician does not pass the written examination, it may be retaken (a maximum of five times). A new application must be completed with a new test fee of $175. The last day an application for a retest can be submitted is November 15, 2013. If a physician fails to pass the MOC part three examination by December 15, 2013, his or her certificate will expire. A re-entry test must be taken and passed to reinstate his or her ABOG certification. In addition to passing the written examination, year-six diplomates must also complete MOC part two (lifelong learning) and part four (quality improvement).

The cognitive expertise test will consist of two 50-question selectives chosen by the diplomate (obstetrics only, gynecology only, office practice only, or a combination of all three). For example, a laborist could take both selectives in obstetrics. The test will last 105 minutes. The questions will be multiple-choice with one best answer and will be based on common clinical problems. An MOC practice test is available on the ABOG website.

Eligible diplomates should refer to the 2013 online MOC Bulletin for more detailed information about the requirements, dates, deadlines, and fees for the examination.