COMPREHENSIVE SUBJECT EXAMS

Assess student learning progress and readiness to take the USMLE® and access national normative data

Overview

Educators use the Comprehensive Subject Exams to assess students' learning progress and readiness to take the USMLE Steps 1 and 2. The exams must be administered securely and are not intended to be used for practice purposes.

In addition to helping you save the time and resources that go into creating your own assessment, the Comprehensive Subject Exams enable you to:

  • Access overall and content area scores that can be compared with those of relevant national comparison groups, so you can measure your cohort against students on a national level
  • Gain a more thorough understanding of you examinees' readiness for the USMLE Steps 1 and 2
  • Provide your students with actionable feedback through in-depth score reports that help them progress on their learning journey
  • Ensure quality with questions that are written and reviewed with the same rigor used to create USMLE Step 1 and Step 2 items

Exam Content

Click on each Comprehensive Subject Exam below to view content outlines and sample test questions.


Administration

The Comprehensive Subject Exams are available for web-based administrations at both your school and Prometric test centers.

All Comprehensive Subject Exams are available for administration at your school. Web-based exams must be administered in a secure, proctored setting. NBME provides a web-based utility that checks both hardware and software configurations and downloads a plug-in that secures the browser.

The computer is locked down, preventing the examinee from accessing applications such as e-mail or notepad. It also includes a function designed to detect any recording applications and programs that may be running on workstations or examinees’ personal laptops prior to the start of the exam.

The Comprehensive Subject Exams can also be administered at Prometric’s worldwide network of secure test centers.

Prometric testing may be preferred for students serving on clinical rotations in a distributed hospital network or for those located at a site without web-based test delivery capability. It may also be useful for makeup tests. This option requires advance planning to allow students sufficient time to schedule testing appointments.

Learn More

2022 Score Report Changes

Comprehensive Clinical Science

Beginning on December 5, 2022, NBME will update how we report scores for the Comprehensive Clinical Science Exam (CCSE). Learn more about this update below.

Updated Sample Score Reports

Tour the New Score Report

 

View Answers to Common Questions About the Changes

If you have any additional questions or concerns regarding the changes, please submit a request here.


Comprehensive Basic Science

Beginning in late February of 2022, the Comprehensive Basic Science Subject Exam (CBSE) score reports will include an equated percent correct score. Learn more about this update below.

Updated Sample Score Reports

Interview with NBME Specialists About Score Report Changes

 

Tour the New Score Report

 

    View Answers to Common Questions About the Changes

    If you have any additional questions or concerns regarding the changes, please submit a request here.

    How to Purchase

    The Comprehensive Subject Exams are available to purchase through the online ordering system on the MyNBME Services Portal.

      NBME Executive Chief Proctors at medical schools and those with parallel responsibilities at residency programs or other organizations will have access to this portal.

      The following information must be provided in the web-based exam order:

      • Test date
      • Expected number of examinees
      • Number of any examinees who need extra testing time and the corresponding exam length (1.5x or 2x the standard time limit allocated for other examinees)
      • Test session start and end times

      Score Reports

      All scoring feedback, norms, and grading guidelines for the Comprehensive Subject Exams can be accessed through the MyNBME Services Portal.

      A brief description and samples of the various types of score reports and associated downloadable text files is provided below.

      • Provides detailed information about the computation of scores, the contents of each type of score report and the contents of downloadable data files.
      • It is included with the Roster Report and can also be accessed separately on the portal under the Score Reports tab.

      View Sample (Basic Science)

      View Sample (Clinical Science)

      • Provides the total score for each examinee and descriptive statistics for the administration. A downloadable roster text file includes the total score and content area scores for each examinee.

      View Sample (Basic Science)

      View Sample (Clinical Science)

      • Available for any Subject Exam administration with at least 5 examinees and for which equated scores are available.
      • Provides information on the performance of your examinees and a national group of examinees on the major content areas on the exam.

      View Sample (Basic Science)

      View Sample (Clinical Science)

      • Available for any Subject Exam with at least 5 examinees testing during a single form administration and for which equated scores are available.
      • Provides information on the performance of your group of examinees and a national group of examinees on each item.
      • Helpful in determining the extent to which your examinees have learned the content of individual items.
      • Provided for institutional use in assessing the performance of examinees. The written authorization of NBME must be obtained prior to any additional use of the data (e.g., in research papers).

      View Sample (Basic Science)

      View Sample (Clinical Science)

      • Provides information about overall performance and performance on major content areas on the exam for each examinee.
      • Intended for distribution to examinees as an aid in self-assessment.

      View Sample (Basic Science)

      View Sample (Clinical Science)

      • Provides information on the performance of each examinee and a national group of examinees on each item.
        • Available for any Subject Exam administration with at least 5 examinees and for which equated scores are available.
      • Intended for distribution to examinees as an aid in self-assessment.

      View Sample (Basic Science)

      View Sample (Clinical Science)

      • Provides information enabling you to compare your examinees’ performance with a nationally representative group of examinees from LCME-accredited medical schools at the same stage of training.
      • The most recent norms for each exam are included with the score reports and can also be accessed separately on the MyNBME Services Portal along with earlier norms (when available) under the Score Reports tab.

      Related NBME Products

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      Self-Assessment Services

      Purchase self-assessment vouchers to support your students practicing and evaluating their readiness for the USMLE® Step 1 or Step 2 CK 

      Interested in learning more about the Comprehensive Subject Exams or another NBME product?

      Complete the consultation request form to get in touch with NBME staff.