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What to Expect on Exam Day

The National Board of Osteopathic Medical Examiners (NBOME) strives to provide you with a positive testing experience on your exam day. Pearson VUE and the NBOME have taken steps to protect the security and the integrity of your exam, and we appreciate your patience and understanding by following our procedures and guidelines.

Please read on to learn more about what you can expect at a Pearson VUE center on Exam Day. For more examination details, refer to the COMLEX-USA Bulletin of Information or the COMLEX-USA Computer-Based Testing FAQs.


Please visit home.pearsonvue.com/coronavirus-update for current information.

Pearson VUE Testing Center Tutorial

What to expect in a Pearson VUE Testing Center

Arrival and Check-In

Plan to arrive at least 30 minutes before your examination start time. You will be greeted by a test administrator (TA) who will review candidate rules and security protocols before checking you into your exam. Once you are seated for your exam you will be observed by the TA or proctor, who will move around the testing center to routinely monitor testing activity and observe and report any irregular behavior. TAs prepare each workstation for the next candidate after it has been used, which in some cases may be every two hours.

Contact the NBOME Client Services team at clientservices@nbome.org with any policy questions—TAs will not be able to answer them.

Testing Accommodations

Candidates with disabilities should refer to our application for testing accommodations. Please refer to the COMLEX-USA Bulletin of Information for eligibility and the NBOME test accommodations page for further instructions.


Be sure to bring one unexpired form of government-issued identification that includes your picture and signature. Please visit https://home.pearsonvue.com/Policies/1/English for detailed identification (ID) requirements. All other ID policies specific to the program still apply. Acceptable forms of identification are:

Important notice: In order for you to take the exam, your first and last name must match what the NBOME has on record. You can verify this information by logging into your NBOME online account. If the information does not match, contact clientservices@nbome.org at least two weeks before your examination date to update your profile.

Personal Belongings

The TA will assign you a secure locker in which you will be required to store all of your personal belongings, including food, water, and electronics. You will receive a locker key with a tag. You may keep only your identification and locker key with you in the testing room. You may also choose to store these items in your car. If you refuse to store your personal items, you will be unable to test and you will forfeit your test fee.

Personal items prohibited in the testing room include:

Enhanced Security

Pearson VUE has implemented enhanced security measures in order to inspect for camera devices that could be used to capture examination content. You will need to remove eyeglasses for close visual inspection by a TA. These inspections will take a few seconds and will be done at check-in.

Food and Drinks

Food and drink are not permitted in the testing room and will need to be stored in your assigned locker. You may access them during the scheduled breaks. If you have a medical need and require food or drink during the testing period, you must submit the request in writing to the NBOME Test Accommodations team at testacc@nbome.org for consideration at least ten (10) business days in advance of the examination.

Comfort Aids

Certain items, such as medicines or medical devices, mobility devices, headphones, or earplugs, are considered comfort aids and do not require pre-approval. For a full list of approved aids, visit here.

Biometric Check-In

Once you have placed any unapproved items in a test center locker, the TA will take a digital photo of you, and you will be directed to provide a palm vein scan. The palm vein scan will collect your palm vein image to digitally verify your identity and to protect the security and integrity of the exam. After completing the check-in process, you will be escorted into the testing area, where a proctor or TA will confirm your identity and ask you to provide another palm vein scan. You will be required to provide a palm vein scan each time you enter and exit the testing room.

Examination Hours

The COMLEX-USA Level 2-CE exam lasts approximately nine hours and includes a brief tutorial and designated break times.

You are allotted 60 minutes of “pooled” break time. This time can be utilized during each scheduled break however you see fit (and includes time for lunch). However, please note that if the entire 60 minutes is used before the end of the examination, any time spent on subsequent breaks will decrease the available remaining examination time.

Your workstation computer displays a timer indicating the remaining amount of available break time you have to use between each exam section and deducts the time you take during each designated break. For example, if you have 60 minutes of break time and decide to take a 10-minute break after section one, you will have 50 minutes of break time remaining.

Break time will not be deducted from the time allotted to take the examination. You are responsible for monitoring your available break time; if you exceed your break time, the excess time will be deducted from the remaining exam sections.

This break time provided to all candidates is separate from any additional break time that may be provided to candidates with disabilities who have applied for and been approved to receive accommodations by the NBOME.

Please note that time taken outside of the designated breaks between each section will be deducted from the exam time and not from the 60 minutes of pooled break time. For all breaks, you will need to leave the testing room. Remember that when you re-enter the testing room after any break, you will need to show a valid ID, and your biometric information will be taken again. Please allow sufficient time to check in and be seated.

If you exceed the pooled-break time, the next section will begin, regardless of whether you are seated at the workstation or not. You may choose to forego all or part of any break, but unused break time will not be added to your examination time.

Examination Features

COMLEX-USA examination features include a built-in standard calculator and lab values with reference ranges (where applicable) embedded directly into test questions.

Confirmation Screen

Once you are seated at your station, a screen will appear, asking you to confirm your name and asking you to confirm your name and the exam you are taking. If the information is not accurate, no not proceed and inform the TA.


Following a non-disclosure agreement, there is a 14-minute tutorial and instruction section before you begin your examination. You are strongly encouraged to view the tutorial. It contains important information about the examination format and features that will help you throughout your test day. You will need to begin your examination as soon as the tutorial has ended. If you delay, the examination will begin and the time will count against the time you will have to take the exam.


Upon completion of your examination, you will sign out and return your locker key.

Video/Audio Monitoring

Please be aware that you will be monitored by video and audio recording throughout the duration of your examination.

If you experience adverse testing conditions (ATCs) and believe that those conditions have substantially affected your performance, you must do the following:

  1. Promptly report any interruption of the examination to the TA or proctor on the day of the examination, AND
  2. Within 10 calendar days following the date of the examination, provide the NBOME with credible and verifiable written evidence of the incident

Please note that simply making a comment in the post-examination survey regarding any possible ATC does not qualify as written notification. If you do not report your concerns according to NBOME guidelines, you waive any objection to the testing conditions and will not have any recourse at a later date or when scores are released. Please refer to the COMLEX-USA Bulletin of Information for more details on adverse testing conditions.


Need information or help? Please contact the Client Services department Monday – Friday, 8:00 am – 5:00 pm Central time, at 866.479.6828.

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