Phased Elimination of Paper-based Subject Examination Program Services

Posted May 8, 2015

The NBME transitioned all basic science and clinical science subject examinations to a web-based format in 2012. In October 2014, all schools were advised to transition to web-based testing for the upcoming 2015-2016 academic year.

Plan to Eliminate Paper-based versions of the Clinical Science Subject Examinations

The paper-based versions of the Clinical Neurology, Medicine, Obstetrics and Gynecology, Pediatrics, Psychiatry, and Surgery subject examinations are at the end of their useful lives as measures of current knowledge and practice. During the upcoming 2015-2016 academic year, NBME staff plan to actively manage the reduction and ultimate depletion of existing inventories of these outdated paper exams. It is projected that the current stock of these examinations will begin to run out after the end of the 2015 calendar year.

Beginning in January 2016, the paper-based versions of these examinations originally developed in 2010 will be retired. As this will further limit the inventory of paper examinations in rotation, there will be increased likelihood that schools may receive a recently administered form. As long as stock remains in these Clinical Science disciplines, we will continue to provide schools with these examinations in paper-based format through June 2016.

Reminder about Eliminating Paper-based Subject Examination Program Services

As a reminder, the first phase of the discontinuation of paper goes into effect August 1, 2015, when the following examinations will no longer be available for administration via paper-based format:

  • Introduction to Clinical Diagnosis (added)
  • Family Medicine
  • Comprehensive Clinical Science
  • Behavioral Sciences
  • Biochemistry
  • Gross Anatomy
  • Histology and Cell Biology
  • Microbiology
  • Neuroscience
  • Pathology
  • Pharmacology
  • Physiology

Also effective July 23, 2015, expedited score reporting (a.k.a. "Rush Score Reports") for paper-based examinations will no longer be offered.

If you have any questions, please contact the NBME Subject Examinations team at

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