Study Shows ACC In-Training Exam Scores Predict Success on ABIM CVD Certification Exam

Performance on the ACC In-Training Exam (ITE) is strongly correlated with performance on the American Board of Internal Medicine's (ABIM's) Cardiovascular Disease Certification Examination, according to the results of an analysis published June 5 in the Journal of the American College of Cardiology.

Researchers, led by Julia H. Indik, MD, PhD, FACC, analyzed ACC ITE scores from 1,918 Fellows in Training (FITs) in their third year of fellowship and compared them to scores from the ABIM Internal Medicine and Cardiovascular Disease Certification Examinations, respectively, in addition to scores on the U.S. Medical Licensing Examination Steps 1, 2 and 3. A secondary analysis was also performed on scores of FITs who took the ACC ITE in their first and third training years.

The ACC ITE consists of 150 questions, developed by a committee made up of mostly program directors trained in question writing by the National Board of Medical Examiners. The exam is scaled to a standardized score scale ranging from 1 to 999, with a mean of 500 and standard deviation of 100 points. The ABIM Cardiovascular Disease Certification Examination is 240 multiple-choice questions, of which 200 compose the overall questions score. The scaled score is from 200 to 800, with a mean of 500 and standard deviation of 100 points.

The results of the primary analysis showed that ACC ITE scores were significantly correlated with scores on the first attempt of the ABIM Cardiovascular Disease Certification Examination (correlation coefficient = 0.68). Further, higher scores on both the ACC ITE and the ABIM Internal Medicine Certification Examination predicted higher scores on the Cardiovascular Disease Certification Examination. The secondary analysis also confirmed that the change in ACC ITE scores from the first to third year was a strong indicator of the ABIM Cardiovascular Disease Certification Examination score.

According to the authors, "This [analysis] indicates that the ACC ITE is a valuable predictive tool, and the results should be taken seriously by both the trainee and the training program." They add that "the ITE examination [should be used] in all years of training to identify knowledge gaps and provide program directors the opportunity to address these gaps early on so as to improve the likelihood of passing the ABIM Cardiovascular Disease Certification Examination."

Keywords: Cardiology, Cardiovascular Diseases, Certification, Coroners and Medical Examiners, Fellowships and Scholarships, Internal Medicine, Licensure

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