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Date Updated: February 12, 2019

NBME Subject Examinations

The NBME provides subject examinations in the basic and clinical sciences for the purpose of assessing the educational achievement of individuals in specific subject areas. These examinations are provided to medical schools and other institutions with a legitimate interest in the education of physicians or other health professionals.

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The subject exams are used at virtually all LCME-accredited medical schools in the United States and Canada, many osteopathic medical schools, and approximately 25 international schools in the Caribbean, Mexico, Europe, the Middle East and Asia.

Subject examinations are primarily designed for use as final examinations after courses, clerkships, or other units of instruction. Scores achieved on NBME subject examinations cannot be used by examinees for credit toward the examination requirements for medical licensure in the United States.

Transition to Web-Based Examinations

The NBME has transitioned all Basic Science and Clinical Science Subject Examinations to a web based format. New forms of all subject examinations will be implemented only as web exams, and several new web-based subject examinations have already been introduced. Paper subject examinations will continue to be available; although it is likely that by 2015 this format of the examinations will be phased out. Examinations that have both a web and paper format are identical in content.

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.

Subject Exam References and Resources

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