Saturday, March 5, 2016

My First MOCA Minute

The American Board of Anesthesiology has been surprisingly progressive in their reforms of the anesthesia Maintenance of Certification (MOCA) process. Ahead of other medical specialties, the ABA has done away with the nonsensical Part 3 Simulation exam and the much feared and despised recertification exam at the end of each certification period.

Instead the ABA has instituted a new program called MOCA 2.0. Instead of a once a decade pass/fail exam that could potentially ruin one's career, the ABA started the MOCA Minute. It's an annual series of 120 computerized questions that one takes at home that after ten years is equivalent to the previous recertification test. It's essentially open book without all the intimidation and expense of the previous exam. Only thirty questions can be answered each quarter to prevent people from doing it all at the end of the year. After doing my first MOCA Minute, my verdict is that I like it.

It is very easy to register for MOCA 2.0. Basically they want your credit card information. Then each quarter the ABA will send you reminders to take the MOCA Minute. I received a couple of emails from them before I got around to taking the test. The questions are pretty easy. There is a gimmicky countdown clock that ticks down 60 seconds as soon as each question pops up. I don't know the purpose of this timer since just reading the questions and the multiple choices takes longer than one minute. There is no penalty for taking as long as necessary to answer a question. After you answer it, it will instantly tell you if you answered correctly and give a brief explanation of the answer. Again there is no penalty for answering wrong. It took about one hour to go through all thirty questions and explanations. It gets easier as you go along since several questions and topics repeat themselves. Thus the percent of correct answers go up the more questions that are taken.

This process is a much more relevant way for anesthesiologists to maintain their medical knowledge and certification. It does away with the intimidation and expense of the previous recertification. Is it perfect? I think there are a couple of areas that could be improved upon. First get rid of that 60 second timer. It is not relevant at all to the exam. I think it is only there because of the name MOCA Minute. The MOCA Minute ideally should count towards one's CME requirements. Right now I still need to purchase CME tests for the CME requirements for recertification and state medical licensure. If I'm already spending time reading and learning, why doesn't the MOCA Minute count towards my CME requirements? It isn't just about the money, is it? Finally please get ride of Part 4 of MOCA 2.0. It's purpose is nebulous and just adds more tedium to the already onerous recertification process.

Thank you ABA for listening and acting on the concerns of your members. Your proactive approach to the maelstrom that is angering physicians nationwide should be emulated by the other medical boards.


  1. I'm up to 71% with 90 questions answered, and I got an email today saying I was "performing at the level expected of a board-certified anesthesiologist" Anyone else care to share their score?

    1. Good for you!! Glad you like it!! FYI life lesson: asking for others' scores is generally considered rude. (Just some kind, straightforward advice.) I do not like MOCA minute after trying it. I am board certified in three specialties of medicine and surgery. I have a 10 year cert from the ABA. Signed up for MOCA minute as apparently as there is no option offered for the Moca Minute ...paying my money and immediately getting started on my questions. Apparently the system doesn't like my web browser and the system applied questions to my results page that I never saw...then they scored the questions negatively against me! When i discussed this with ABA they told me to use a different browser or use MY IPHONE at work or between cases!! ARE YOU KIDDING?? I have a very fast paced high acuity practice and playing on my phone is not safe. Hard to believe they are selling this that way. Maybe it's for anesthesia doctors who supervise residents and CRNAs?? Also, I asked the ABA to take those questions off my record since I never saw them and they said their software doesn't allow them to do that. I asked what if this keeps happening? She said it will not. LOL My experience is that 100% it will. Then I asked what if I end the MOCA minute cycle with a failing I lose my 10 year cert that I ALREADY EARNED by already taking and passing an expensive test? She could not answer this and seemed to infer that I would get a call from the Board and be not in good standing. Now recall, I already have earned my certification for TEN years. This MOCA thing is now arranged that after one year into the cycle, you are not in good standing any more for the certification that you already earned. Has anyone else experienced this?

  2. I have a non-time-limited board certification in anesthesiology, thank goodness. But my pain medicine subspecialty boards is set to expire in 2018. Therefore I registered for MOCA 2.0 for the pain medicine subspecialty.

    I just began the MOCA minute questions. For nearly half the questions that I encountered, one minute is definitely not enough time to parse the question thoroughly then carefully consider each of the possible responses.

    Stepping back for a moment, the "old" way to recertify was to take a single exam every ten years consisting of 200 questions. Now with MOCA 2.0, the requirement has been increased to 1200 questions to answer during the ten years. On the face of it, something seems wrong. I could understand increasing the requirement from 200 to 400. But 1200 seems absurd. I agree . . . it is a form of hazing.