International Foundations of Medicine® (IFOM®) - Common Questions
IFOM Basic Science Examination (BSE) and Clinical Science Examination (CSE) both comprise 160 multiple-choice questions. Examinees have four hours to complete the exam.
IFOM Basic Science Examination (BSE) and Clinical Science Examination (CSE) are available in English and Spanish. IFOM CSE is also offered in Portuguese. Additional languages may be added based on demand.
NBME wishes to work with medical schools and other organizations (for example, ministries of health, residency programs and hospitals, and other healthcare agencies) whose programs and goals could benefit from high-quality comprehensive assessments. Generally, medical schools should be eligible to apply for ECFMG certification—see the ECFMG Information Booklet for more information. We require that all institutional users be able to comply with our test administration standards, including security protocols.
Individuals may apply to take the International Foundations of Medicine (IFOM) exams if they are currently enrolled in or have graduated from medical school. For more information about taking an IFOM exam as an individual, see.
The IFOM exams are offered at participating Prometric test centers in approximately 50 countries around the world.
The exams are also offered under the auspices of eligible medical schools and other organizations, at their sites, either over the web or as a paper and pencil exam.
NBME does not set a minimum passing score for the IFOM examinations because they are used for different purposes (both low and high stakes) and in different healthcare and educational contexts around the world.
NBME psychometric staff can work with schools and other institutions that use the IFOM exams to recommend a passing standard for a particular school or institution.
The IFOM Clinical Science Self-Assessment Examination is an 80-question web-based exam built to the same content blueprint as the IFOM CSE. The self-assessment is available in English and Spanish. Performance feedback includes a total score and a list of every question on the assessment, with the correct answer displayed. A conversion table allows examinees to translate their self-assessment score to an approximate IFOM score.
NBME also offers free, 20-question web-based assessments for the IFOM BSE and CSE, which allow examinees to familiarize themselves with the web-based testing format, in either timed or untimed test administration conditions. The short assessments are not intended to assist examinees in preparing for the content of the exam, only to familiarize examinees with the style and format of test questions they are likely to see on the IFOM web-based exams.