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My Post 2020 08 05T143200.355

Responses to FAQs for ABPath CertLink (ABPCL), the online longitudinal assessment of knowledge and judgment.

General Overview of ABPath CertLink® (ABPCL)

What is a longitudinal assessment?

Longitudinal assessment is a testing approach that fosters learning through continuous assessment of knowledge. The method involves administering questions over a long period of time in order to identify knowledge gaps. Longitudinal assessment can aid in comprehension, retention, and retrieval of knowledge.

Can I participate in ABPCL?

ABPCL is open to all certified diplomates of the American Board of Pathology (ABPath).

Can I customize the content of my ABPCL assessment?

Yes! ABPCL features over 30 content areas and a flexible assessment design so you can create an individual assessment that matches your knowledge and practice.

How do I answer ABPCL questions?

Questions are delivered at the beginning of each quarter through the CertLink® platform at Questions may be answered at any time during the quarter they are assigned.

Is there a cost to do ABPCL?

The cost of participation in ABPCL is included in the CC Program biennial fee. For non-time-limited diplomates there is no cost to register for ABPCL during this pilot phase.

How does ABPCL meet my Assessment requirement?

ABPCL covers all certifications being maintained in the CC Program and features a customizable assessment design with practice areas for any certification. Answering all ABPCL questions assigned every quarter throughout a 10-year CC Cycle and answering questions correctly will meet your Assessment requirement shortly before the end of a 10-year cycle.

Where can I find answers to my ABPCL questions not answered here?

Complete information about ABPCL can be found on the ABPCL In-Depth page.


FAQs for ABPCL Participants

*Please note: ABPCL has NOT been approved for use on smartphones.*

1. How do I reset my password when my account has been locked?

ABPCL will lock your account after five failed login attempts. To avoid this, select “Forgot your password?” on the login page prior to entering the incorrect password the 5th time. After the 5th failed attempt, ABPath must reset your password; you will receive a password reset email that will provide instructions. Once your new password has been set, be sure to use your new password when logging in; if you've previously saved your password in your browser history for easier log in, be sure to update it with the new password.

2. How do I change the email address that I would like to use for ABPCL?

Contact ABPath at ABPath will update your email address in your ABPCL profile; you will then receive a password reset email that will allow you to proceed. Please be sure to also update your contact information in your PATHway account.

3. How do I know if my computer meets the technical requirements for optimal ABPCL performance, including a reliable internet connection?

The technical requirements for optimal ABPCL performance (which includes having a reliable internet connection) can be found here.

4. What if I experience technical difficulties with the ABPCL system after confirming my testing environment meets the technical requirements?

In ABPCL, go to the ’Need Help?’ menu and select “Run System Check”. If your system passes the check and the issue persists, contact ABPath at for further assistance.

5. What should I do if my security settings do not allow access to ABPCL?

If you suspect your institution's security settings/firewall may be preventing you from accessing ABPCL, contact your IT department with the following suggestions:
 • Enable pop-ups
 • Allow cookies
 • Enable DOM storage
 • Whitelist the domain

If you are still unable to stay logged in:
 • Connect to a different network (guest Wi-Fi or cellular network) to determine if a firewall or proxy server is preventing access
 • Disable anti-virus software

Your IT staff can use the following website and testing credentials to test access to ABPCL:
• URL:
• username:
• password: CertL1nk#

6. Why is the number of questions in “Your Assessment Details” more than what is assigned for the quarter?


Each quarter ABPCL delivers 15 new questions that include core items in your areas of certification and elective items from your chosen Practice Areas. You can also receive up to a maximum of 10 clones of prior questions based on your previous performance. The number of questions in the individual Practice Areas will exceed what is assigned because many questions are applicable to multiple Practice Areas and are counted in each corresponding Practice Area. When you answer one of these questions, it is automatically counted in all Practice Areas that it applies to, but only scored once.

7. Why are there Practice Areas listed under “Your Assessment Details” that I did not select?

Under “Your Assessment Details” you may see Practice Areas that you didn't select when you designed your assessment. This is because some questions are applicable to multiple Practice Areas, and all such Practice Areas are listed on your Assessment Details. You only have to answer a question once and it will only be scored once.

Complete list of Practice Areas

8, How often will I have to design my assessment?

ABPath CertLink will prompt you to design your assessment from 31 different Practice Areas every 6 months.

9. How do I provide feedback to ABPath on the content or quality of a specific question?

Item-specific feedback may be given on the Critique screen following each individual question; there is a "Feedback" button on the utility tray that will associate your feedback with that question. Feedback can also be given in retrospect on your Question History page. ABPath reviews all item feedback after the end of each quarter and makes necessary changes. Regretfully, we cannot respond to each of you individually, but know that your comments are reviewed and adjustments made as appropriate.

10. Why does the zoom functionality cause some images to be blurry and unreadable?

The zoom function is meant to enlarge an image, not magnify it (as can be done with virtual microscopy). The resolution of an image will determine the degree of readability as you zoom in. ABPath items usually include several images at low and high-power magnification; be sure to view ALL (up to 10) images for a question. Additional images are indicated by arrows to the left & right.

11. Why am I receiving more than 15 questions a quarter?

One of the hallmarks of ABPath CertLink is the ability to reinforce learning and measure retention of learning. You may see questions that are very similar to ones you’ve answered in previous quarters; they are called clones. Each quarter you will receive 15 new questions and based on your previous performance, you may also receive up to 10 clones. Clones are administered no sooner than 2 quarters after a question has been answered incorrectly or correctly and you indicated you had low confidence with the question.

12. What happens if I do not complete any or all my questions by the end of a quarter?

Any questions left unattempted at the end of a quarter will be recorded as incorrect. ABPCL does not allow for those unattempted questions to be made up in a later quarter. ABPCL sends at least six reminder emails during every 3-month period; please be sure to add to your approved addresses to ensure you receive reminders. You may also want to consider setting your own quarterly calendar reminders. We suggest completing your questions early in the quarter to account for possible technical issues, differences in time zones, etc.

© 2015 The American Board of Pathology. All rights reserved.