High-Yield Subjects for the ABIM Internal Medicine Exam

  • /Reviewed by: Amy Rontal, MD
  • Taking the ABIM exam may seem like a daunting task to conquer, as internal medicine encompasses a vast array of specialties. It is important when taking the exam, like any other exam, to try and get into the mindset of the test writer. If I were writing the ABIM exam, what would I want my board-certified internist to know? What should I be competent in? Answering these questions may provide some insight into what is high-yield and what is not worth focusing on, especially if pressed for time.

    The good news is ABIM publishes an exam blueprint of what they consider to be the highest-yield topics.

    ABIM High-Yield Exam Topics

    ABIM tells you the top Medical Content Specialties they will ask you about on the exam:

    • Cardiovascular disease is consistently the leader at 14%
    • Endocrinology – 9%
    • Diabetes & Metabolism – 9%
    • Gastroenterology – 9%
    • Infectious Disease – 9%
    • Pulmonary Disease – 9%
    • Rheumatology/Orthopedic -9%

    So really, there are six topics that will comprise about 44% of all test content.

    Take this into consideration when outlining your study schedule. If you are consistently underperforming in these medical content categories on MKSAP or UWorld, it may be time to seek out a boards review course or other more intensive resources to review these.

    See our tips on how to utilize MKSAP and UWorld for your ABIM preparation.

    Within the high-yield specialties, ABIM questions will also fall under one of 11 cross-content categories. These represent broader themes encountered within the practice of emergency medicine.

    The top 4 types of questions asked for each specialty are:

    • Critical Care Medicine – 10%
    • Geriatric Medicine – 10%
    • Prevention – 6%
    • Women’s Health – 6%

    With that being said, you now know the highest-yield specialties to study and focus on for your ABIM exam. Within those, you know which specific topics to pay extra special attention to.

    High-Yield ABIM Topics for Easy Exam Points

    Indeed, there are high-yield ABIM topics that are easy points. I believe these include:

    • age-appropriate cancer screening guidelines
    • interpreting ECGs
    • electrolyte and acid-base disturbances
    • vaccine schedules

    Remember to triage! There will definitely be questions you don’t recognize a single disease or answer choice, that is okay. If you don’t know, guess and move on.

    Remember, the odds are in your favor. Study and you’ll do fine! If you’re looking for more information regarding ABIM test dates, the exam format, score releases and more, be sure to read our post on everything you need to know about ABIM.