Board Certification

Internal Medicine Board Review


UWorld is excited to announce the launch of Internal Medicine (IM) Qbank, a comprehensive study aide for the general Internal Medicine Boards. Essential for both initial certification and maintenance of certification ("MOC" or "recertification"), this new question bank features a user-friendly interface that mimics the real exam and provides in-depth and high-yield informative explanations filled with vivid illustrations and concise, easy-to-follow tables and flow charts. The Internal Medicine Qbank software allows you to compare your cumulative scores, gauge your progress against your peers, and track your statistics to see real-time improvement. UWorld is a trusted and respected name in medical board review and has a proven track record for quality content. Our expert practicing physician authors create real-world clinical vignettes which match the style and difficulty level seen on the actual test. We will provide you with the knowledge and confidence to pass your Internal Medicine Board examinations.

Examination Content

The purpose of the Internal Medicine Boards is to certify physicians who have demonstrated the competent level of knowledge, skill, and professionalism to maintain a high standard of health care delivery in the United States. In order to earn their admitting privileges, Internal Medicine physicians are required by most hospitals to attain an initial certification followed by recertification every ten years to satisfy the certification requirements of health care plans that classify physicians as "preferred" or "in network".

The exam takes place over the course of one day and covers a broad range of topics. The majority of the exam (approximately 75%) is based in an outpatient or emergency department setting; the remainder of cases occurs in an inpatient setting (i.e., intensive care unit, nursing home, etc.) Most of the exam will test the examinees' knowledge of traditional internal medicine and its subspecialties, with particular focus given to cardiology, pulmonology, and gastroenterology. However, the American Board of Internal Medicine (ABIM) also expect that test takers be well-rounded and prepared to identify and treat patients in departments such as allergy/immunology, dermatology, psychiatry, ophthalmology, nutrition, women's health, and ethics.

Most of the questions expect examinees to integrate information from a variety of sources and use appropriate clinical judgment to attain the correct answers. A few of the questions may involve audio/visual aids. Examinees can also expect to see both long and short question stems and should be able to manage their testing time effectively.

Examination Dates

The ABIM Initial Certification examination is offered only once per year and is administered during predetermined testing dates. The ABIM recertification exam is offered twice per year, also during the course of predetermined test dates. Examination dates and registration deadlines may change throughout the year. A list of current examination dates as well as other important registration deadlines for each of the tests can be found on ABIM official website

Cost of Examination

Taking this exam is costly. Utilizing the UWorld IM Qbank will help you maximize your chances of passing on the first try, thus sparing the expense of re-examination fees. The cost of examination for initial certification and recertification, refund policies on fees as well as other discounts related information can be found on ABIM official website

Test Length and Format

The Initial Certification examination is comprised of four sessions of up to sixty multiple choice questions each. Two hours are allotted for each session. Also included in the examination time is one hundred minutes worth of break time that can be divided between three predetermined breaking points (between each session). A candidate can expect to spend approximately ten hours taking the test on examination day.

The Maintenance of Certification examination is comprised of three sessions of up to sixty multiple choice questions each. Two hours are allotted for each session. Also included in the examination time is eighty minutes worth of break time that can be divided between two predetermined breaking points (between each session).

The entire exam is made up of multiple choice questions with only one single best answer option. Some of the questions may require interpretation of radiographs, electrocardiograms, clinical photographs, photomicrographs, etc. There may also be questions that contain audio/video related content meant for interpretation (e.g., heart sounds, lung sounds, and clinical videos). Many of the questions will contain patient laboratory results; a list of normal laboratory values will also be provided.


Results of the examination are released within three months of the last examination date. Scoring is based on a pass/fail decision on the entire examination. The minimum passing score is based on a predetermined absolute standard. Scores are not based on the cumulative performance of any group of examinees; all scores reflect the independent performance of the candidate. Examinees are encouraged to answer all questions, as any unanswered question is scored as incorrect.

In the event that a candidate is unsuccessful on the initial attempt at the Internal Medicine Examination, the candidate may reapply as long as they meet all licensure, professional standing, and procedural requirements.

IMPORTANT: Starting in 2011, if a candidate fails the initial certification examination for three consecutive years, the candidate must "sit out" one full examination year and will not be eligible to retake the exam during the following annual exam administration. (This new policy does not apply to recertification examinees). If the above requirements are met, there are no restrictions on the total number of opportunities for re-examination.

Eligibility Criteria - Initial Certification

To be considered eligible to take the Initial Certification exam, candidates must meet all of the following criteria:

  1. 1. Completion of predoctoral medical education
    • Graduates of medical schools in the United States or Canada must have attended an institution that (at the time of graduation) is/was accredited by
      • the Liaison Committee on Medical Education (LCME),
      • the Committee for Accreditation of Canadian Medical Schools, or
      • the American Osteopathic Association.
    • Graduates of international medical schools must have
      • a current Educational Commission for Foreign Medical Graduates (ECFMG) certificate,
      • equivalent credentials from the Medical Council of Canada, or
      • document of training from a US-sponsored Fifth Pathway program.
  2. 2. Completion of Graduate Medical Education (GME)
    • 36 months of graduate medical education must have been completed by August 31st of the year of examination and must be accredited by
      • the Accreditation for Graduate Medical Education (ACGME),
      • the Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons of Canada, or
      • the Professional Corporation of Physicians of Quebec.
    • GME must include 12 months of accredited internal medicine curriculum at each of the levels of R1, R2, and R3.
      • There is no credit recognized for repeated training at the same level or for administration duties as a chief medical resident.
      • Training as a subspecialty fellow is not credited as fulfillment of the internal medicine training requirements.
  3. 3. Content of Training
    • The stipulated 36 months of full-time internal medicine residency education must include
      • a minimum of 30 months of general medicine, subspecialty internal medicine, and emergency medicine training which may include:
        • 4 of the 30 months of education in primary care areas such as neurology, dermatology, office gynecology, and office orthopedics,
        • up to three months of other electives approved by the internal medicine program director, and
        • a maximum of three months vacation leave.
      • 24 of the 36 months of residency education in areas in which the resident provided or supervised direct patient care in inpatient or ambulatory settings.
      • a minimum of 6 months of direct patient care on internal medicine rotations during the R1 year.
  4. 4. Clinical Competence Requirements
    • The American Board of Internal Medicine stipulates that certification candidates in internal medicine be competent in
      • patient care and procedural skills,
      • practice-based learning and improvement,
      • interpersonal and communication skills,
      • professionalism, and
      • systems-based practice.
    • Residents must receive a minimum of satisfactory ratings in overall clinical competence and moral and ethical behavior in each aspect of clinical competence throughout the final training year.

Eligibility Criteria - Maintenance of Certification / Recertification

To be considered eligible to take the Maintenance of Certification exam, candidates must meet all of the following criteria:

  • Current and valid certification in either Internal Medicine or a subspecialty may be required in order to renew certain ABIM certifications.
  • Must be enrolled to take Maintenance of Certification (MOC).
  • Must have a valid and unrestricted license to practice medicine in the United States or Canada or,
    1. If practicing outside of the United States or Canada, the certification candidate must have a license to practice from their country and provide documented proof from the appropriate licensing authority in that country that the license is in good standing and without conditions or restrictions.
    2. If the candidate has a restricted, suspended, or revoked license, or if the license has been surrendered in any jurisdiction, said candidate cannot be certified, recertified, or admitted to a certification examination.
  • Must earn 100 points of self-evaluation.
  • Must schedule and pass an MOC examination.

Disclaimer Disclaimer: The information on this page was taken from the official American Board of Internal Medicine website Please refer to the official ABIM website for the most current information on applying for certification and recertification examinations, scheduling an exam, and up-to-date test information. UWorld is in no way affiliated with the American Board of Internal Medicine (ABIM) and makes no attempt to represent an affiliation.