THE AMERICAN BOARD OF PATHOLOGY

A Member Board of the American Board of Medical Specialties

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Primary and Subspecialty Applications and Examinations

If you have questions concerning the application process, the examinations, verification of certification, or other activities of the American Board of Pathology, please review the ABPath Booklet of Information.

If you still need additional information, e-mail your questions to mary@abpath.org for primary certification or Renee@abpath.org for subspecialty certification.

How does the ABPath communicate with applicants?

All communication between the ABPath and applicants for certification regarding their applications occurs via email. This includes notice of approval of the application, examination date assignment and results being available. You may also receive e-mails during the application process, so please be sure the e-mail address in your “My Profile” tab in Pathway is correct.

How do I request an application for primary/subspecialty certification?

All applications are online available through Pathway, with the exception of Clinical Informatics and Single certification these are paper applications found the ABPath web site. For primary certification, once logged into Pathway the application/registration link is under the “Primary” tab at the top of the page.  For subspecialty certification the application/registration link is under the “Subspecialty” tab.

I logged into PATHway and there is not an application available for me. What should I do?

Application links are under the “Primary” tab for AP and/or CP certification.  If the link is not available, contact Resident Tracking (restrkg@abpath.org) or check with your program director (PD) to ensure he/she has completed Resident Management and Evaluations.  You will not get an application link until the latter is completed by your PD. Application links for subspecialty exams are in the “Subspecialty” tab.

When will my application be processed?  How long does the process take?

Applications are processed in order of date submitted. Applicants will be able to track the progress of their applications through Pathway, Board Correspondence screen. Your application is not reviewed immediately upon finalization. You will not see progress on your Board Correspondence screen until your application is reviewed by the ABP.

Does my application have to be approved by my program director and the ABPath by the deadline date?

No, the deadline date is for submission of your completed application and payment only, not the approval of the application.  As long as your application was submitted by the deadline date you have met the deadline.

I have submitted my application, but why are the boxes indicating requirements for application (medical license, diploma, etc.) not checked off on my Board Correspondence screen yet?

These are not checked until the application is complete, then reviewed and approved by the ABP Credentials Committee.  We receive hundreds of applications during the application window and they are reviewed according to date submitted.  Be patient.

Does the ABPath have a finance or payment plan?

No

What is a full and unrestricted medical license?

A medical license that allows a physician to practice in state, jurisdiction, or Canadian territory with no restrictions.  A training license is NOT full and unrestricted.

I have a training license is this acceptable to apply for certification?

No, you must have a full and unrestricted medical license.

I am starting a fellowship in July and the program told me that I only need to apply for a training license, so why do I have to apply for a full and unrestricted medical license?

For board certification, you must have a full and unrestricted medical license or have applied for a full license.

I applied for a medical license, but will not get it until after to the deadline.  Can I still apply for the examination?

Your application will be processed, and if approved, you will be assigned a date to take exam and allowed to take the exam.  The ABPath will assign you a “Withhold Results” status, which means you will not receive the results of your examination until you have provided a copy of your full and unrestricted medical license showing the expiration date in Pathway, My Profile tab.  You have two years from taking the exam to obtain a full and unrestricted license.  If you have not reported such to the ABP, your exam results will be invalidated and you will have to take the exam once again if you want to be ABP certified.

If I don’t get my medical license before the examination dates are assigned, will I still be able to receive a date assignment to take the examination?

Yes, the ABPath will assign you a “Withhold Results” status, which means you will not receive the results of your examination until you have provided a copy of your full and unrestricted medical license showing the expiration date in Pathway, My Profile tab.  You have two years from taking the exam to obtain a full and unrestricted license.  If you have not reported such to the ABP, your exam results will be invalidated and you will have to take the exam once again if you want to be ABPath certified.

How many shared autopsies can I have?

For the current requirements for certification, please see the Booklet of Information.   August 27, 2020

Effective 2018, New Shared Autopsy Policy:

1) There is not a limit of the number of shared autopsies; no more than two residents can share an autopsy.

2) The maximum number of single organ autopsies (e.g. brain) allowed is five and cannot be shared.

3) The maximum number of limited autopsies (e.g. chest or abdomen only) allowed is ten and can be shared.

For exceptions during COVID-19 pandemic visit https://www.abpath.org/index.php/announcements/429-coronavirus-covid-19-information-and-resources

How many single organ/fetal autopsies can I submit?

1) The maximum number of single organ autopsies (e.g. brain) allowed is five and cannot be shared.

2) The maximum number of limited autopsies (e.g. chest or abdomen only) allowed is ten and can be shared.

3) Fetal autopsies—refer to the fetal autopsy policy in the Booklet of Information (section III.B.)

I won’t have 30 autopsies before the application deadline for submission.  What should I do?

For the current requirements for certification, please see the Booklet of Information.   August 27, 2020

You must have completed the required 30 autopsies by the application submission deadline date (January 15 for the spring exam) or you will have to wait until the next exam session.

For exceptions during COVID-19 pandemic visit https://www.abpath.org/index.php/announcements/429-coronavirus-covid-19-information-and-resources

Which ACGME Autopsy Log should I upload to my application?

 The ACGME autopsy log is located on the ACGME website under "Specialty Specific Reports".The log includes age group, gender, primary diagnosis (as would be reported on a death certificate), and PGY year the autopsy was performed. Do not include any identifying information on the log (e.g. case#, medical record#), this would be a violation of HIPPA. 

The ACGME autopsy log will look like the sample log below:

ACGME AUTOPSY LOG sample

 

The application form asks for the number of surgical specimens that I have examined. I don’t know the exact number.  What should I do?

Many hospital LIS systems can search for reports with your name as the resident of record.  If you cannot do this, an estimated number is acceptable.

I am a 3rd year resident in an APCP program and have completed the required 18 months of AP rotations. Can I apply to take the AP part of the exam this year and take the CP exam next year, when I complete the required CP rotations (or vice versa)?

No, you cannot apply for any portion of the APCP exam until the last year (4th year) of training

I started my training off cycle (after July 1) and will not complete training until after July 1.  Can I still apply for the spring examination?

It depends on date of completion training.  If you complete the required 48 months of training by Aug. 31, you can apply for the spring exam; however, you will have a “Withhold Results” status until the ABP receives a letter from your program director verifying satisfactory completion of training.  If you complete your training after Aug. 31, but before December 31 you can apply for the fall exam.

I am in an APCP program and I want to be certified in APCP.  Can I take the AP portion of the exam in the spring and then take the CP portion later (or vice versa) or do I have to take the AP and CP exams both at the same time?

Yes, you can take one portion of the exam in one session (spring or fall) and the other portion during another session; however, you should consider the additional expenses for registration, transportation, food, hotel, and time from work.  The fee to take a single exam (AP or CP) is $1800, rather than $2200 if both are taken in the same session. If you pass the AP or CP portion of the exam, you are not board certified until you have taken the other portion of the APCP exam and passed that exam.

I am an APCP resident, who wants to be certified in APCP.  Can I apply for only the AP or CP exam and when I pass one portion of the exam, be able to apply for a subspecialty exam?  Then I would take the other AP or CP exam the following year.

No, you must complete the 48 months of required training and become certified in APCP in order to qualify for subspecialty certification.  If you want to get two separate certificates, one in AP and one in CP, the training requirements are 36 months for AP and 36 months for CP, so you would need additional training.  The primary certification requirements (AP and/or CP) vary by subspecialty.  See the Booklet of Information.

I am taking the spring primary exam this year.  Can I apply for a subspecialty exam this year too?

A candidate for the Spring primary examinations (AP and/or CP) who wishes to apply for a subspecialty examination in the same year must submit the subspecialty application prior to the subspecialty application deadline.

a. If the candidate is successful in the primary examination, the ABPath will automatically process the application for the subspecialty examination.

b. If the candidate is not successful, he/she will be notified and the subspecialty examination fee minus a $100 administrative fee will be refunded. A new subspecialty application must be completed for future examinations.

I am APCP board eligible and passed the AP part of the exam but not the CP part.  Can I take a subspecialty exam this Fall?

No, you must be successful in both the AP and CP part before taking the subspecialty examination.

Date Assignments for Exams

When will the examination dates be assigned?

  • Spring primary examination dates will be posted to your Board Correspondence screen in March
  • Fall primary examination dates will be posted to your Board Correspondence screen in September

If I choose to take the primary exam at the Tucson, AZ location, when will I know that I was assigned a date Tucson?

Date assignments are posted in March.  If you chose Tucson, AZ for your location, you will be assigned to take the exam in Tucson.  Pathway has been set up when the Tucson location is full a notification will appear to let you know that it is full and you must choose Tampa, FL.  The Tucson assignments are made on a first come basis, based on date of the completed application and training program location. There are a limited number of candidates who can be assigned to the Tucson examination center. All Fall examinations are administered in Tampa.

Can I request a date for my examination?

No, requests for specific examination dates are not accepted. The dates are assigned by the computer system.

What can I do if my examination date is not acceptable?

Primary certification only.

Inability to accept the date assignment once date assignments are posted, candidates for the primary certification examination have two weeks from notification of their assignment to cancel. If the candidate cancels from the examination, the examination fee minus a $500 cancellation fee will be refunded within two weeks of cancellation. You cannot change the date assignment within a given examination. If the ABPath is not notified within the 2-week period, the assignment will stand.

Subspecialty certification only. There is no opportunity to cancel the date after the filing deadline without forfeiture of the fee, unless there is a verified illness at the time of the examination.

If I cancel an examination for which I am registered, will that be considered/recorded as a FAIL?

No

I am an APCP resident and have registered for the AP and CP examinations, but I won’t have time to study for the CP or AP part of the exam.  How do I cancel one part?

There is not an option to cancel a portion of the examination once your application and payment have been received.  If you decide not to show-up for one part of the exam, you may email Mary (mary@abpath.org) or tell the proctor or other staff person in the exam center that you will not be coming the next day. If you are not coming for the first day of the exam, be sure to be on time for the exam you are taking the next day.  Exams are generally given AP one day, CP the next.  There is no refund of the fee if you are a no-show.

How do I cancel an examination for which I am registered? (Primary Examination Only)

The exam dates are electronically assigned and appear on your Board Correspondence screen in March for the spring exam and in September for the fall exam.  Once your exam date assignment is posted, you have a 2-week window to cancel taking the examination.  There is a non-refundable $500 cancellation fee.  By clicking “CANCEL” on your Board Correspondence screen, an automated email is sent to the ABP.  $500 is withheld from the initial fee submitted and the balance will be refunded to you. 

If I cancel taking the examination, will I be required to complete the application process again?

No; if your application was previously approved and you still are board eligible (green table) on your “My Profile” tab, you only need to complete a registration package, which includes the honor code, registration form, certificate form, and payment of fees.

Exam Results

When will the results of the examination (primary/subspecialty) be available?

Results will be posted to your Pathway Board Correspondence tab approximately 6 weeks after the last examination date. For subspecialty 6 weeks from last day of all subspecialty exams.  A notice will be posted on the ABPath home page and you will receive an e-mail notification to check your Pathway Board Correspondence tab.

What should I do if I cannot open my results letter?

If you have a problem opening your results letter, Technical Support has several suggestions:

1. Press F5 on your keyboard to refresh the page.

2. Reinstall Adobe Acrobat, it may not be installed correctly.

3. You may have your pop-up blocker turned on.

4. If you are using Google Chrome as your internet browser, switch to Internet Explorer.

5. If you are using a MAC or smart phone, please use a PC.

I just received an email that my examination results have been posted, mine are not available?

If your results are not available, please check your medical license status. It is a requirement that you possess a full and unrestricted medical license to practice medicine or osteopathy valid through September 1, (spring); November 1 (subspecialty); December 1 (fall) for your results to be released. If the medical license you have uploaded does not display a valid expiration date, please upload a copy showing the expiration date (registration card, wallet care, state online verification, etc.) to your “My Profile” tab.  Please e-mail mary@abpath.org for primary and renee@abpath.org for subspecialty if you continue to have problems.

How are the ABPath exams scored?  Do I have to pass each section (written and practical)?

The sections of the AP examination (microscopic glass slide/virtual microscopy written and practical) are scored as a whole exam and the sections of the CP examination (written and practical) are likewise scored as a whole exam. All subspecialties are scored as whole exams.

The ABPath uses criterion referenced exams for its certification examinations.  Criterion-referenced tests (CRTs) are intended to measure how well a person has learned a specific body of knowledge and skills. On a CRT, the passing or "cut-off" score is determined in advance by a committee of experts in the field. The candidate’s performance (i.e. mastery of the subject matter) is compared to the cut-off score and not to other test takers. Theoretically, all candidates could pass or fail depending on how they performed relative to the passing score.  A driver’s test is an example of CRTs, because the goal is to see whether the test taker is skilled enough to be granted a driver’s license, not to see if one test taker is more skilled than another test taker. In contrast, norm-referenced tests (NRTs) compare test takers to each other. Scores are reported as a percentage rank with half scoring above and half below the mid-point. NRTs are designed to sort and rank students "on the curve," not to see if they met a standard or criterion. The ABPath does NOT use NRTs for its certification examinations.

How is the pass point for the exam determined?

The ABPath uses the modified Angoff method, the most commonly used and psychometrically valid method for determining the pass point for an exam. Using this method, a group of SMEs are instructed to think of a minimally qualified candidate, since we want our exam to separate candidates who should be certified from those who should not be certified. The SMEs consider each item on a test and estimate the percentage of minimally qualified candidates who would answer the item correctly. This estimates the difficulty (Angoff rating) of each item. If the SMEs estimate that 90% of minimally qualified candidates (MQCs) would get the item correct, it is an easy question, but if they estimate that only 20% if MQCs would get it correct, it is a difficult question. The average or sum of the Angoff ratings is used to determine the provisional cut score i.e. the score that a borderline candidate, someone who should just barely pass, would be expected to achieve. That provisional cut score is retrospectively applied to a previous exam as a “reality check” between the modified-Angoff approach and the historical pass rate. Because all exams have some measurement error, the provisional cut score or standard can be adjusted using the standard error of measurement (SEM). A candidate’s theoretical true score falls somewhere within an error band of their estimated score. Using the SEM to adjust the provisional pass point up provides confidence that less than competent candidates who should fail will not pass due to measurement error. Using the SEM to adjust the provisional pass point down provides confidence that competent candidates who should pass will not fail due to measurement error. The operational pass point is set after a final decision about whether to adjust the provisional pass point. The pass point then becomes the criterion-referenced standard or % of items that a candidate would need to get correct in order to pass. Each year the percent of items that need to be answered correctly is adjusted for the difficulty of the exam as compared to the standard setting exam.  Setting the criterion standard for each exam is performed every 3-5 years.

How should I notify the ABPath of a change in my address?

You are responsible to maintain your current e-mail address, mailing address, and phone numbers through Pathway in your My Profile tab.

How should I notify the ABPath of a change in my name?

Changes in name must be made in writing with the applicant’s signature and must be accompanied by legal verification (marriage license, court order, etc.). A form for submitting name changes is available in the Our Organization section of this website and can be downloaded, printed, and either faxed or emailed to mary@abpath.org with the supporting documentation.


Continuing Certification (CC) Program

Please refer to the CC Booklet of Information for more information about ABPath's CC Program.  Please email any specific questions to CC@abpath.org.

What is the CC Program?

Maintenance of Certification (MOC) is an American Board of Medical Specialties (ABMS) initiative adopted by its 24 member boards to assure the public that their physician is committed to continuous professional development and lifelong learning and competency in their specialty and/or subspecialty. ABPath's Continuing Certification Program is how ABPath fulfills this initiative.

What are the benefits of CC?

The CC Program is recognized as an important quality indicator by insurers, hospitals, quality and credentialing organizations as well as the federal government. Through the CC program, board-certified physicians advance the standards of specialty medical care provided nationwide.

When do I need to submit my CC requirements?

ABPath's CC program requirements are based on a 10-Year cycle. The Board requires that an electronic CC Reporting Form be submitted via PATHway every two years. A diplomate will be on either an even-year or odd-year reporting cycle based upon the year of enrollment in the CC program.

An assessment covering any certificates maintained in the CC Program must be passed once per 10-year cycle.

What if I have multiple certificates?

Only a single CC Reporting Form will be required to maintain all certificates that a diplomate has earned. The Assessment requirement is certificate specific.

My certificate has an expiration date on it. When will I receive an updated certificate?

Certificates with expiration dates will be replaced as their listed expiration date comes up if the certification is being maintained. Passing the CC Examination does not change any expiration dates or CC Program dates/deadlines. This includes receiving an updated certificate.

I have a non-time limited certificate.  Can I participate in the CC program?

The CC Program is open to all diplomates of the ABPath. Voluntary participation in the CC program, or lack thereof, cannot put a non-time limited certificate in jeopardy. Participation in CC by diplomates with non-time limited certificates is strongly encouraged by ABPath. Non-time limited certificate holders can voluntarily enroll in CC for a one-time fee of $100. Please refer to the Voluntary Enrollment section of the CC Program Overview page for details.

Reporting

What does reporting cover?

Completing a reporting form every two years meets the CC Reporting requirements (Professionalism, Lifelong Learning, and Improvement in Medical Practice).

Where do I find CC Reporting Form?

ABPath's website (www.abpath.org) has a large, green "Log in to PATHway" button at the top right of every page. CC Reporting Forms are accessed through the CC Program page of your PATHway account. 

How do I submit CC Reporting Forms?

When all required fields have been completed and the information saved you may click the "Finalize and Submit Form" button located in the lower left of each page. If the form is complete you will be routed to a secure payment page. Once the online payment transaction is completed the form will automatically be submitted for review. If there is an issue trying to submit the form will display an error message.

What is the CC form submission fee for?

Each diplomate is assessed a fee for development and maintenance of an electronic record of certification and CC participation with ABPath. The $50 annual CC fee is linked to the submission of the biennial CC Reporting Forms. For more information please view the Fees section of the CC Program Overview page.

How long does it take for CC Reporting Form approval?

All Reporting Forms will be reviewed for approval on a regular basis. Once a Reporting Form has been reviewed for approval, an email will be sent to the diplomate either stating approval or requesting further information.

Lifelong Learning

If I am enrolled in a fellowship during the reporting cycle, do I still need to complete CME/SAMs credits?

No, completion of a fellowship during a reporting period may be used to satisfy both the Lifelong Learning and Improvement in Medical Practice (IMP) requirements. For fellowships that are not ACGME-accredited, a letter from the Program Director or other institutional official must be provided to ABPath stating that the fellowship was held to the same standards as an ACGME-accredited fellowship in order to be used for CC reporting.

Are CME and SAMs the same thing?

All SAMs are AMA Category 1 CME credits that are eligible to be reported to ABPath as self-assessment. Only AMA Category 1 CME credits are accepted for CC Lifelong Learning requirements. SAMs differ from CME in that they require additional considerations. Any educational activity which awards SAM-eligible CME will indicate this in information about the activity.

Is there a limit to how many CME/SAMs credits that I can obtain from any single provider?

No, CME credits can be obtained from any ACCME-accredited provider. ABPath requires that 80% of CME/SAMs credits be directly related to your practice.

How can the CME/SAM credit I earn automatically appear in PATHway?

Any AMA Category I CME credits you earn can be reported directly to ABPath by an ACCME-accredited educational provider. These credits will appear in your PATHway profile and relevant reporting form automatically. Encourage your favorite educational organization to directly report to the ABPath if they do not already.

If I obtained more than the required minimum CME/SAMs credits, do I need to enter and track all of the credits?

Diplomates only need to enter and track the minimum required number of CME/SAMs credits in order to complete a CC Reporting Form. Diplomates wishing to enter and track all obtained credits beyond the minimum CC requirements may do so.

Professionalism

If I have more than one medical license, do all licenses need to be uploaded to PATHway?

A full and unrestricted license is necessary to complete CC Professionalism requirements. If a diplomate holds more than one license, they all must be full and unrestricted and uploaded in the My Profile tab. Any non-US licenses in a language other than English must be accompanied by a translation when uploaded.

What is the evaluation component of Professionalism?

Every Year 4 and Year 8 Reporting Form in a 10-year cycle asks for references, if applicable. ABPath asks for four references and their email address. Please only enter a reference if they meet the requirement of a given line.

You may have submitted a Year 4 or Year 8 CC Reporting Form but it will not be reviewed until all 4 evaluations have been submitted to ABPath.  It is the responsibility of the diplomate to follow up with their references to make sure that the evaluation forms are received and submitted as soon as possible.

What will be expected of the references that I provide to ABPath?

The four references provided will be sent an email with a link to an evaluation form. The emails are sent at the time of reporting form submission. The evaluation is very brief and should only take a few minutes to complete and submit. The reference will be asked to comment on your effectiveness in the six CC competencies adopted by the ACGME and the ABMS.  

What if a reference says that they did not receive the evaluation email?

The reference email address may have been entered incorrectly on the Reporting Form. This can be corrected if you send a request to the update reference to ABP-MOC@abpath.org. Also, some mail servers may automatically send the evaluation link email into the reference’s junk or spam folder. Please ask the reference to specifically look for an e-mail from ABP-MOC@abpath.org with your name in the subject line.

If you would like to resend the evaluation email to a reference, the link to do so is located on your Board Correspondence page in PATHway. The link is only active if it is underlined.

How can I check to see if the evaluation forms have been submitted by my references?

On the Board Correspondence page in PATHway there is a list of your four references. If the Resend Evaluation Form link appears next to a reference’s name, then the evaluation form has not been received by ABPath.

Improvement in Medical Practice (IMP)

What if I am affiliated with multiple labs that are accredited?

Only list the agency accreditation numbers for the primary laboratory that you are associated with for Improvement in Medical Practice on your CC Reporting Form.

Assessment

What is the Assessment requirement of the CC Program?

An assessment covering each certificate being maintained in the CC Program is required once per 10-year cycle.

ABPath CertLink® (ABPCL)
General Overview of ABPath CertLink® (ABPCL) 

What is a longitudinal assessment?

A longitudinal assessment is designed to assess an individual’s knowledge over time. Answering groups of questions every three months allows the assessment to be continuous, identify knowledge gaps, promote educational opportunities, and allow for remediation.

How do I use ABPCL to meet the CC Assessment Requirement?

Diplomates should:
•  Design their Assessment to best fit their knowledge and practice.

o A custom Assessment can be created from over 30 Practice Areas. The ABPath CertLink® Practice Areas and the topics covered in each can be viewed here.

•  Complete the assigned ABPCL questions each quarter.
•  Use any resources available while answering a question other than another person.
•  Read the Critique after answering a question.
•  Agree to maintain a fair and secure assessment process.

How do I claim CME Credit for ABPCL Participation?

If you are participating in ABPath CertLink® (ABPCL), you can claim up to 5 CME credits per year (1.25 credits/quarter) for successful participation. The credits may be claimed from February to December during the year following your participation through the American Society for Clinical Pathology (ASCP) in collaboration with the American Board of Pathology (ABPath). You do not have to be a member of ASCP to claim these credits. Claim CME here.

Enrollment and Eligibility

How do I enroll?

Diplomates will be automatically registered in ABPCL after successful completion of ABPath Primary and/or Subspecialty certification exams.

Can I participate in ABPCL if I do not have to maintain my certifications?

Yes! ABPCL is open to all diplomates of the ABPath. ABPath encourages diplomates who hold non-time limited  certifications to participate in  ABPCL. Lifetime diplomates are also able to claim CME credit for their participation.

Before You Start: Technical Requirements 

Can I use my cellphone or tablet to receive and answer questions?

The browser-based CertLink platform is optimized for PC and Mac computers. If you prefer to use a tablet, the mobile app will provide the best experience. Go to the Google Play store for Android tablets or the Apple App Store for iPads to download the ABPCL 2.0 app. If you used the mobile app in the first version of ABPCL, you must download the new app for participation in ABPCL after July 14, 2021. ABPath CertLink (ABPCL) is not approved for use on smartphones.

What browser should I use?

Any browser that is up to date. Your browser of choice may already be set up to update automatically. If not, follow the instructions below to manually update your browser.

To update Google Chrome:

• On your computer, open Chrome.
• At the top right, click “More”.
• Click “Update Google Chrome”. If you don't see this button, you're on the latest version.
• Click “Relaunch”.
• Note: You can also download the latest version of Chrome from the official Google Chrome download page: https://www.google.com/chrome

To update Microsoft Edge:

• The Microsoft Edge browser is tied to Windows 10 and consequently, so are its updates. To update the Edge browser, you need to update Windows.
• Press the “Windows Key”, type “Check” for updates, and then press “Enter”.
• Under the “Update Status” section, select “Check” for updates.

To update IE (note Microsoft is phasing out IE):

• On your computer, open Internet Explorer.
• Click on the gear icon in the upper right corner.
• Select “About Internet Explorer”.
• Check the box next to “Install New Versions Automatically”.
• Click “Close”.
• Note: You can also download the latest version of Internet Explorer from the official Microsoft Internet Explorer download page: http://www.microsoft.com/windows/internet-explorer/

To update Firefox:

• Open the Mozilla Firefox browser.
• Click the “Open” menu button Firefox menu in the upper right-hand corner of the screen.
• In the menu that appears, click the “Open Help Menu” Firefox help icon button at the bottom.
• Select “About Firefox”.
• The window that appears will automatically check for updates and show you the current version of Firefox. If an update is available, there will be an option to install the update.
• Note: You can also download the latest version of Firefox from the official Firefox download page: https://www.mozilla.org/firefox/

To update Safari:

• Open the Apple menu and choose App Store.
• In the top of the window that appears, click the “Updates” button in the toolbar.
• Find Safari and click “Update” (or Update all to do every app).
• Note: You can also download the latest version of Safari from the official Safari download page: https://support.apple.com/safari

For other browsers:

• https://www.computerhope.com/issues/ch001388.htm

What type of Internet connection should I have? Can I use a wireless network?

Both wired and wireless networks are supported. Testing requires a stable connection and wireless networks can introduce reliability and performance issues. The software allows test takers to easily reconnect when an error occurs, but an unreliable connection can impact testing. We recommend that before answering questions you click the Readiness option on the upper right menu to evaluate your network speed and connectivity.

At a minimum you should have the following:

Latency/Ping: < 25ms
Download Speed: > 15 Mbps
Upload Speed: > 2 Mbps
Packet Loss: 0%

If your internet connection does not meet these requirements, we recommend that you use a different network or device. If you are using a wireless network, you can try a wired connection.

How can I check my device to verify it can deliver my assessment?

Your device should be checked to verify it is properly configured for testing. Please click the Readiness option on the upper right menu. Once the Readiness check is complete, please review the results. Please contact support if you have any questions or issues. For best results, run the Readiness check prior to answering questions.

Can workplace security settings impact my assessment? 

Check with your IT department to ask about the presence of a proxy server. While the presence of a proxy server is usually not a cause for concern, if you plan to answer questions in a workplace environment, you may also want to consider answering questions on a non-work network or computer to help ensure an optimal user experience. 

If you encounter any technical issues, please go to the Readiness option on the upper right menu to run a system check. Contact support if you have any questions or need further assistance.

Do I have to allow pop-ups?

Pop-up blockers may prevent external articles from opening. Additionally, the Readiness check in the upper right menu creates a pop-up window that runs a sample test. This window may be blocked by a pop-up blocker and cause an error in the system check. By configuring pop-up blockers to only allow pop-ups from the testing site, the security of the pop-up blocker software is not compromised. Simply add *.starttest.com to your pop-up blocker's list of allowed sites.

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The privacy of examinees, their personal information, and the test materials are extremely important. Session cookies are used to track the current test each examinee is taking. A session cookie is a special type of cookie that is only stored in memory and is automatically deleted when the user closes the browser. Session cookies are used to track a user's current state during their visit and require that session cookies be enabled to use the site. These cookies are automatically removed when the browser is closed. We do not use or support cookies that in any way are used to track an individual's Internet usage outside of our own website.

{slider Can I test on desktops running under VMWare or other virtual machines?}

No. The software will explicitly detect and block the starting of tests on virtual machines.

{slider How do I get support?}

You can request support in the platform by clicking “Support” in the upper right menu or send an email to abpath@mycertlink.org. If needed, an ABPath CertLink® support agent will follow-up with you as soon as possible. ABPath office hours are Monday thru Friday, 8:00 am - 4:00 pm Eastern Time.

 
Getting Started  

Slider What is my username and password?

Your username is the email address that you provided ABPath when registering for CertLink and your temporary password is sent in an email message with instructions for getting started on Day 1. If you have set your password but have forgotten it, you can request a reset link by clicking "Reset Password" on the login page.

How do I design my assessment? 

Your assessment includes a combination of required and elective content. The required Core content is assigned by ABPath based on the certifications that you are maintaining via the Continuing Certification (CC) Program. A list of Elective Practice Areas  is provided for you to choose from to design the rest of your Assessment; you can adjust the percentage of content from each Elective Practice Area that appears in your Assessment. Once you’ve made your selections, your Assessment Design is locked for 6 months, after which you can redesign your Assessment for the next 6-month run.

What's on my dashboard?

The Dashboard provides real-time Assessment performance and progress information.

 dashboard for FAQs screenshot

1. Community Comparison: The comparison of your performance (percent of the questions answered correctly) to peers who have answered the same questions. Because other diplomates answer questions at different times, you may see these numbers fluctuate.

2. Your Performance: Your individual Assessment performance, represented by the percent of the questions answered correctly.

Note about scoring: You will sometimes see a question that is similar to one from a previous quarter, particularly if you answered the question incorrectly; this is the concept of using clone questions in spaced repetition to promote learning and retention. For scoring purposes, we consider these two questions as a single family, with the score of the most recently answered question included in the “Your Performance” calculation. For example, if you answered the first question incorrectly and then the clone question correctly, these are counted as one question answered correctly. As a result, you may see a small discrepancy between “Your Performance” and the actual percentage calculated from your correct and incorrect answers.

3. Progress: The number of remaining questions to answer and by when, plus the percentage of questions you've answered for the current quarter, e.g. 40% complete.

4. Your Assessment Overview: A timeline that displays each quarter of the Assessment period, past, current and future.

How many questions do I have to answer?

 Each quarter ABPCL delivers 15 new questions that include core items based on your certification(s) and elective items from your chosen Elective Practice Areas. You canalso receive up to 10 clones of prior questions per quarter based on your previous performance.

Can I customize the content of my ABPCL Assessment?

Yes! ABPCL features over 30 Elective Practice Areas and a flexible assessment design so you can create an individual assessment that is relevant and matches your knowledge and practice.

How often do I need to answer a question?

You will be able to access your questions each quarter at the beginning of that quarter. You will receive an email or text (depending upon the preference you have selected) with a link to the questions at the beginning of the quarter. You must answer all questions by the quarter’s end. You may choose the rate at which you progress through each quarter’s questions. For example, you may answer one question a week, all the questions at one time, or any frequency in between.

Can I use the Internet and other educational resources to answer questions?

Yes, diplomates may use any type of educational resource, except for another person, as long as the question is answered in the allotted time.

Can I consult with my colleagues or peers when answering questions?

No, Assessment is considered an individual activity. You may not use “recalled” questions or answers, or any type of information provided by other diplomates.

 
Answering Questions 

How do I start answering questions?

Click the "Assessment Details" button on the Progress card or click "Assessment" in the left navigation menu. You will be taken to the Assessment Details page where you can choose to answer questions by clicking "Start Assessment" for random topic delivery or clicking “Begin” in a specific Practice Area.

Can I choose which questions to answer?

On the Assessment Details page, you will see a breakdown of the content comprising your Assessment. There you can choose the practice area to begin answering questions.

How much time do I have to answer a question?

Once you start a question, you will have 5 minutes to submit your answer. The amount of time remaining will be displayed.

Will my question be marked incorrect if I don't submit an answer before the timer expires?

If you have an option selected but don't click “Submit,” the selected option will be automatically submitted as your answer and scored. If no option is selected when the timer expires, the question will be marked incorrect.

Can I skip a question and return to it later after I’ve opened it?

No, you must answer the question within the allotted time once it is opened. An unanswered question is scored as an incorrect response.

If I answer a question incorrectly, can I try again?

If you answered incorrectly, we encourage you to click “Reattempt” to answer the question again. Although only your first attempt is scored, answering the question a second time can help reinforce your understanding of the material. In addition, any questions answered incorrectly are eligible to be redelivered to you in subsequent quarters as a clone. Answering the question clone correctly later will result in the replacement of the previous incorrect score, thus improving your performance.

How do I review questions after answering them?

You can review the Critiques and References related to all questions you have answered in the past by using the “Question History” option on the left navigation menu.

What happens if I don't complete the Assessment items within the quarter or my computer times out before I complete an answer?

Any items left unanswered at the end of a quarter will be marked as incorrect/forfeited. Any questions that time out will be marked as incorrect. These questions, along with others you may have answered incorrectly,  may appear as clones in future quarters.

How do I leave feedback?

• Please complete your Castor surveys.
• For item-specific feedback: You can submit feedback about question content using the Feedback button at the top of the Critique page after each question. Feedback will be collected after the close of each quarter and presented to our team of experts; any necessary corrections will be made. We are not able to follow up with you individually, but please know your feedback will be carefully reviewed. Changes take about six months to be completed due to the system’s functionality. During that time, you may see a clone of that same question before any corrections have been made. You do not need to provide feedback on the clone question; it will be corrected with the original question.

• For technical issues, general feedback about the platform, or inquiries regarding policies: Please send an email to abpath@mycertlink.org or create a Support Ticket by clicking “Support” on the upper right menu within the platform.

 
Tracking Progress and Receiving Feedback

How will I know if I answered a question correctly or incorrectly?

You will receive immediate feedback for each answer you submit. CertLink will also display your cumulative performance over time, as well as a dashboard to show your areas of strength and weakness in each Elective Practice Area.

What type of feedback will I receive regarding my performance?

After answering each question, you will receive a “Critique” which indicates the correct answer, Key Learning Objective, and a brief review of the topic, including an explanation of why the options were correct or incorrect. At least one Reference will also be provided.

What happens if I answer a question incorrectly?

You may receive a very similar question called a clone, in a future quarter. If you answer a clone correctly, this will count for your final score (i.e. it replaces your incorrect response on the initial question). You may also receive a clone if you answered a question correctly and with low confidence (i.e. guess). Spaced repetition of questions reinforces learning.

What if I don’t answer all the questions?

Any questions left unanswered at the close of a quarter will be forfeited and marked as incorrect. 

What is a passing score?

You must correctly answer 60% of the questions presented, either the initial question or clone. 

What happens if I don't achieve a passing score?

 If you do not achieve a passing score at the end of the fourth year of your participation, you will receive a warning and have an additional two years to meet the Assessment requirements.

Does the system allow for special accommodations?

CertLink can accommodate special needs as were  provided for the Continuing Certification (CC)  examination (for example, extra time for those who qualify). You must submit the same documentation required for the Primary or Subspecilaty examinations to receive  accommodation for special needs.

What if I have a life emergency?

 CertLink is designed with flexibility for emergencies and qualifying life events, with appropriate documentation. Diplomates may request time off for life events (sabbatical) by creating a support ticket directly in ABPCL or emailing abpath@mycertlink.org. Quarters approved for sabbatical do not count towards the overall participation requirement. Questions not yet attempted in a quarter approved for sabbatical will not be marked incorrect.

The current quarter may be requested for sabbatical up to one day prior to closing. Quarters cannot be retroactively requested for sabbatical.

How can I provide feedback?

You will be able to provide item content-related feedback on each question after you submit your answer and read the Critique. The ABPath will also survey all participating diplomates at least once a year to improve CertLink. General platform feedback & technical or policy-related questions are handled via ABPCL Support by emailing abpath@mycertlink.org. 

Troubleshooting

I see a "Page not found" message.

"Page not found" errors can result from a number of different problems. Use the following checklist to try to resolve this problem.

• Try clicking the Refresh button on your browser to reload the page.
• Check to see if you can access other sites to make sure that your internet connection is functioning properly.
• Check to make sure that your web browser and internet connection meet the minimum system requirements listed in Technical Requirements.
• Check to make sure that your anti-virus, firewall, proxy and content filter systems are configured to allow inbound and outbound traffic from the starttest.com sites (you may need assistance from your IT department to check these settings).
• Clear the web browser’s cache.

If you have checked all these possible issues and you still receive the "Page not found" error, you will need to contact ABPCL Support for further assistance.

Some of the navigation buttons are not appearing or the test is locking up.

If you have anti-virus or firewall software installed on your machine, it may be interfering with question delivery. This software may be a stand-alone application such as Norton or may be part of your browser. Most of these packages allow you to configure them to allow access to sites you approve as safe. Please refer to the help component of your anti-virus or firewall software for further assistance.

My test is slow.

Click Readiness on the upper right menu to run a system check. If you have a fast internet connection and questions are taking more than five seconds to load, verify that you do not have performance problems connecting to other sites. If you believe it is a problem with the testing site, please contact ABPCL Support.

I cannot find an answer to my problem. How do I get support? 

You can request ABPCL Support by clicking “Support” on the login page or within the platform and submitting a ticket. You can also send an email to abpath@mycertlink.org. An ABPath CertLink® Support Agent will follow-up with you within the ABPath office hours of Monday thru Friday, 8am – 4pm Eastern Time.

  

New Features and Updates   My Post 2

 

 

Continuing Certification Examination

When is the CC examination offered?

The CC exam is offered twice a year during Spring (March) and Fall (August) sessions. You can take the CC exam in Year 8, 9, and 10 of a 10-year CC Cycle.

When can I register to take the exam?

Registration for the Spring (March) session is open from November 1st - December 31st of the preceding year. Fall (August) registration is open from April 1st - May 31st.

How many times can I take the exam?

You may take the CC exam for as many times as you are eligible until you pass.

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

Complete information about the CC examination can be found on the CC Examination page.

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