Coronavirus (COVID-19): Assessment Information and Updates

Posted August 7, 2020

Across the globe, schools and workplaces have adopted social distancing policies and remote work and learning where necessary to mitigate the spread of COVID-19. NBME continues to prioritize investigations into alternative assessment delivery methods for physicians, medical school faculty, and students.

We are actively working with the medical education and regulation community to also help expand testing opportunities for examinees.

Below, learn about available options for continuing testing: 

  • Web-Conferencing with Remote Proctoring for Test Administrations during the 2020-2021 Academic Year
  • NBME® Subject Examinations, Customized Assessment Services (CAS), and International Foundations of Medicine® (IFOM)®
  • NBME Assessment Updates for Testing at Prometric Centers
  • New and Expanded Learning Resources available, including free NBME® self-assessments and added answer explanations
  • USMLE Program weekly updates and resources available in response to the changing environment
  • Additional Resources

NBME remains committed to supporting continuity of the medical education system for the duration of the COVID-19 pandemic. We will continue to share new information as it becomes available. 


Web-Conferencing with Remote Proctoring for Test Administrations available throughout the 2020-2021 Academic Year

One option available to medical schools is the delivery of NBME exams such as Subject Examinations, Customized Assessments and IFOM using Web-Conferencing with Remote Proctoring, which was introduced in early April. Educators' experiences are helping to identify opportunities to strengthen this pilot approach and potentially fold these capabilities into our standard services.

While the implementation associated with remote administration may evolve in different ways over the next several months, we anticipate its availability throughout the 2020-2021 academic year. We will continue to connect with educators, administrators, and clinicians to gather feedback and recommendations, share our findings, and discuss potential enhancements to this option. 

  • Executive chief proctors can access information about security and approved web-conferencing tools and obtain Web-Conferencing with Remote Proctoring instructions on the NBME Services Portal.
  • Read a story about how NBME psychometricians examined the potential effect of the proctoring setting on examinee performance during the COVID-19 pandemic here.


NBME Subject Examinations, Customized Assessment Services, and IFOM

Subject Examinations

NBME® Subject Examinations are available for ordering and administration through the Web-Conferencing with Remote Proctoring option with the following exceptions:

  • Ambulatory Care (Medicine is recommended as a potential alternative)
  • Histology
  • Introduction to Clinical Diagnosis

The ordering process remains the same.

Prometric test centers: Please check the Prometric website ongoing for updates.


Customized Assessments

For institutions subscribing to Customized Assessment Services, detailed information can be found on the NBME Services Portal.  



  • Web-based Examinations: Web-Conferencing with Remote Proctoring of IFOM's web-based Basic Science Examinations (in English only) and Clinical Science Examinations (in English and Spanish) has been available since April 2020.
  • Paper Examinations: Institutions considering IFOM exam administrations by paper anytime in 2020 must contact to discuss their interest before placing orders.
  • IFOM Individual Testing at Prometric: Please check the Prometric website for updates regarding test center closures and re-openings.

Registration for IFOM individual testing in 2020 has closed and will reopen in January 2021. Testing for both 2020 testing windows has been extended to Nov. 6, 2020.

For questions about Subject Examinations or Customized Assessments, please feel free to contact us at To learn more about IFOM, contact us at


NBME Assessment Updates for Testing at Prometric Centers

NBME® exam programs are considered essential services programs (listed below) for testing at Prometric centers. For updates on site openings, please visit Prometric's announcement page.

Essential Services Programs include (in no particular order):

  • USMLE (Step 1, Step 2 Clinical Knowledge, and Step 3)
  • North American Veterinary Licensing Examination® (NAVLE®)
  • Certification examinations
  • IFOM*
  • NBME Subject Examinations*

* NBME Subject Examinations and IFOM are considered essential. However, to ensure that examinees for licensure and certification have a better chance of scheduling, NBME requests that medical schools use Web-Conferencing with Remote Proctoring for NBME Subject Examinations and school-based administrations of IFOM. More information is available above and in the NBME Services Portal


Additional Resources

For information about USMLE, please visit the announcement site here

Questions? Contact NBME Customer Support at or 215-590-9700


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