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Cognitive Expertise Exam (Part 3)


Part 3 of Maintenance of Certification (MOC) is designed to measure the knowledge that sets certified pediatricians and pediatric subspecialists apart from non-pediatricians and other noncertified practitioners with less training and experience in pediatric care. It helps to assure the public that diplomates (board-certified pediatricians) are up to date on the latest information and best practices and are qualified to offer children the best possible medical care. Diplomates maintain their certification by being in compliance with all four parts of MOC, which includes passing an assessment of their knowledge at regular intervals.

Beginning in 2019, there are two ways to comply with the Part 3 requirement: 

  • MOCA-Peds, an innovative continuous assessment approach that delivers 20 questions electronically each quarter
  • Traditional proctored examination at a secure testing facility

MOC enrollment fees will cover the cost of MOCA-Peds. Those who choose the proctored exam will incur an additional fee that covers the costs charged by the testing center and associated expenses (see Enrollment and Fees).

Read below to see which approach applies to you or is best suited for your situation. Also beginning in 2019, Part 3 will align with your five-year MOC cycle.



Beginning in 2019, MOCA-Peds will be an option for pediatricians that meet all of the following conditions: 

  • Board certification in General Pediatrics, Child Abuse Pediatrics, Pediatric Gastroenterology, or Pediatric Infectious Diseases
  • MOC cycle begins in 2019
  • Assessment due date is during that cycle

MOCA-Peds will be available for other subspecialties over the next several years, but for now, exam due dates for all subspecialties will be postponed until MOCA-Peds is available to them.

Every person's exam cycle is unique. The best way to see your specific exam deadlines or to learn when you can transition to MOCA-Peds, log in to your ABP Portfolio.

Pediatricians who decide MOCA-Peds is not the best option for them can still choose to take the proctored exam at a secure testing facility.



Secure Exams

The secure examination is:

  • Developed by board-certified pediatricians and validated by a team of psychometricians
  • Composed of approximately 200 multiple-choice questions
  • Delivered in two timed sections, each section being two hours in length
  • Administered at computer-based testing centers

Reasons you might apply to take or retake the secure examination:

  • You prefer the secure exam over MOCA-Peds
  • You failed to appear for and take an examination that you had scheduled
  • You did not get a passing score on your first secure exam attempt
  • You were enrolled in MOCA-Peds and did not meet the passing standard
  • You wish to regain your certification

You have the option to test early. If you pass an exam early, your next exam due date will be recalculated. Requests should be sent to

Questions related to the secure exam, exam eligibility, or MOCA-Peds may be directed to