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Initial Certification Examination & Certification Details Maintenance of Certification Schedule a Certification Exam Schedule a Maintenance of Certification Exam Exam FAQs

Initial Certification
Taking the Pulmonary Disease Exam

Key Exam Dates

Exam (Note: Dates are subject to change.) October 26, 2012 October 12, 2012
Exam for Candidates Requiring Testing Accommodations Across Multiple Days* November 17 and 18, 2012 November 15 and 16, 2012
Registration Opens March 1, 2012 March 1, 2012
Deadline Registration May 1, 2012 May 1, 2012
Late Registration (requires late fee) May 2, 2012 May 2, 2012
Deadline Late Registration June 1, 2012 June 1, 2012
Deadline Cancellation September 1, 2011 September 1, 2011

Exam Content and Blueprint

What Does the Examination Cover?

Click here to see the detailed Pulmonary Disease Certification exam blueprint (pdf), which includes the content areas covered, their relative percentages, and the approximate number of questions in each area to expect on a typical exam.

Exam Administration

The exam lasts one day. Multiple editions, or "forms," of the exam are used, and they may differ in question order and content. Some questions require the interpretation of illustrative materials such as electrocardiograms, radiographs and photomicrographs (e.g., blood films, Gram stains, urine sediments). A list of normal laboratory values is provided. Refer to this list to interpret values given in the questions because they may differ from those to which you are accustomed.

Exam Development

A complete description of the process used to develop ABIM exams is available in How Exams Are Developed. Topics include:

  • Pretesting
  • Question content criteria
  • Question-writing process
  • Question review/editing process
  • Relevance review, and more

Question Format

The exam consists of single best answer questions only. This type of question consists of a brief statement, case history, graph, or picture followed by a question and list of possible options. You must choose the one answer that is better than the others; note that other options may be partially correct. Familiarizing yourself with the question format in advance may help you work more effectively.

Copyrighted Materials

ABIM's examinations are confidential and copyrighted under the Federal Copyright Act. Candidates agree not to copy, reproduce, reconstruct by dictation or other means, or disclose examination content in any manner. ABIM's Self Evaluation Process Medical Knowledge Modules are also copyrighted works. Candidates agree not to copy, reproduce or make any adaptations of the modules in any manner and not to assist someone else in the infringement of these or any other Board-copyrighted works.


Scoring and Reporting of Exam Results


The examination pass-fail decision is based on your performance on the entire examination. Unanswered questions are scored as incorrect; therefore, you should answer every question. The minimum passing score reflects an absolute standard that is independent of the performance of any group of candidates. This standard has been established by the examination committee and approved by the ABIM Board of Directors.


  • After the exam is given, it will be analyzed and evaluated to ensure the reliability of individual results.
  • Your results will be released and a Score Report will be mailed to you within three months of the last date of the exam in that area.
  • ABIM website's Home Page will announce when exam results have been released. No additional information is available until that time.
  • You can obtain your pass/fail status for an exam in the exam history section on your home page under Physician Login when results are released.
  • Scores are provided through the mail only. Copies of your Score Report will be maintained for two years from the date they were released. During that period, you may obtain a copy of your Score Report upon written request.
  • Questions regarding exam results should be submitted in writing within six months of the date results were released.

Those who pass the examination are designated as certified as diplomates of ABIM. The certificate is valid for ten years. Maintenance of Certification is required for renewal of certificates. The certificates are mailed directly from the engraver within three to four months after candidates are notified of their results. Note: your current board certification status is reported on your Physician Login Home Page.


Initial Certification Examination & Certification Details Maintenance of Certification Schedule a Certification Exam Schedule a Maintenance of Certification Exam Exam FAQs
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