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Date Updated: October 21, 2014

Subject Examinations

NBME subject examinations are achievement tests in a broad sense, requiring medical students to solve scientific and clinical problems.

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NBME to Discontinue Paper Subject Examinations

The NBME has transitioned all basic science and clinical science subject examinations to a web-based format. For the past two years, the majority of NBME subject examinations administered at schools have been delivered via the web. During the transition, new exam forms have been available in the web format only.

As we near 2015, the paper versions of the subject examinations are approaching the end of their usefulness as measures of current knowledge and practice. In some cases, the most recent paper version will be three years old, and for some exams the most recent version is older. Therefore, NBME recommends that schools that currently administer paper examinations plan to transition to web-based testing for the upcoming 2015-2016 academic year.

In order to assist schools with the transition to web-based testing, NBME staff will be providing webinar orientation sessions on how to order and prepare to administer web-based examinations.

Please note that International Foundations of Medicine® (IFOM®) exams will not be affected by this change and continue to be offered in paper-based format.

If you have any questions, you may contact the NBME Subject Examinations team at subjectexams@nbme.org or (215) 590-9258.

Administration of NBME  Subject Examinations at Prometric Test Centers

The comprehensive and clinical science web-based subject examinations may be ordered for administration at Prometric’s   worldwide network of 350 secure, convenient test centers.  

Prometric  testing may be preferred for students serving on clinical rotations in a distributed hospital network or for those located at sites without web-based test delivery.

Testing at Prometric centers requires some more advance planning to allow students sufficient time to schedule testing appointments.  When ordering the examinations on line, schools must set a 7-14 day testing window and populate a test administration roster which includes students’ email addresses.  The NBME then emails the students with a URL to access a web page for retrieval of their scheduling permits. 

For more details on how the process works, including fees and how to arrange for test accommodations, see Administration of NBME Subject Examinations at Prometric Test Centers.  If you have additional questions, you may contact us at subjectexams@nbme.org.

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