Test-Day Tips for COMLEX-USA Computer-Based Examinations
The National Board of Osteopathic Medical Examiners (NBOME) strives to provide you with a positive experience testing experience on your exam day. You will be taking your exam at a Prometric Testing Center. Prometric and 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. These Test Day Tips will help you prepare for your visit to the testing center and to familiarize you with what happens during the exam day. For more examination details, refer to the COMLEX-USA Bulletin of Information or the COMLEX-USA Computer Based Testing FAQ. Additional information about taking your examination at Prometric may be found on the Prometric website.
Arrival and Check-In
Plan to arrive at least 30 minutes before your examination start time. You will be greeted by a test center administrator (TCA) who moves around the testing center to routinely monitor testing activity and observe and report any irregular behavior. TCAs prepare each work station for the next candidate after it has been used, which in some cases may be every two hours. TCAs are unable to answer NBOME policy questions. Contact the NBOME Client Services team at firstname.lastname@example.org with any policy questions.
Be sure to bring one form of current, non-expired government-issued identification that includes your picture and signature. Acceptable forms of identification are
- Driver’s license
- Military ID (If you present a military ID, please present a secondary form of identification which includes your signature.)
Important Notice Your first and last name must match what we have in our registration records in order for you to be able to take the examination. To ensure that your identification matches the information we have on file for you, log on to your NBOME online account and check our records as soon as possible. If the name on your identification does not reflect what is on your registration, contact NBOME Client Services at email@example.com as soon as possible to update your profile.
The Test Center Administrator (TCA) will assign you a secure locker in which you will be required to store all of your personal belongings, including food, water and medicines. You will receive a locker key with a blue tag. You may only keep your identification and locker key with you in the testing room.
Prometric has recently 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 the TCAs. These inspections will take a few seconds and will be done at check-in and upon return from breaks.
Jewelry, except for wedding and engagement rings, is prohibited in the testing room. Hair accessories are subject to inspection. We advise you to not wear ornate clips, combs, barrettes, headbands, and other hair accessories. If you arrive wearing any of these items, you may be prohibited from wearing them in the testing room, and asked to store such items in your locker.
Food and drinks
You will not be permitted to bring food or drink into the testing area of the center. Food and drink will need to be stored in your assigned locker and you can access them during the optional 10- minute breaks and the 40-minute lunch break. If you have a medical need and require food or drink during the testing period, you must submit the request in writing to NBOME, firstname.lastname@example.org, for consideration in advance of the examination.
Noise reducing headphones are provided at each testing center.
You may also bring your own ear plugs to decrease distractions or noise level in the testing area. The TCA may request to inspect your ear plugs.
The TCA will complete your biometric-enabled check-in, which includes verifying your identification, signing in, taking a digital photo and scanning your fingerprint. Your fingerprint record will serve as your biometric identification each time you enter and exit the testing room.
The TCA will ask you to turn your pockets out and will use a handheld metal detector wand to ensure that you do not have any remaining personal belongings with you before entering the testing center. This procedure will be repeated each time you depart and re-enter the testing room. Please view this short video of the typical Prometric check-in process.
After you check in the total examination day will last approximately nine hours, consisting of a brief tutorial, two optional 10-minute breaks, an optional 40-minute lunch break and eight hours total exam time divided into two four-hour sessions of four sections each.
Once you are seated at your station, a screen will appear, asking you to confirm your name and other pertinent information. You will need to respond within two minutes. It is important to note if you surpass the allotted two minutes, the system will “time out”, preventing you from continuing. A timer will not be displayed on the screen.
There is a brief 10-minute tutorial 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 system will “time out” and prevent you from continuing. Optional
There are three (3) optional breaks you can choose to take during the course of the exam day: one (1) optional 40-minute lunch break and two (2) optional 10-minute breaks. 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 fingerprint will be taken. Please allow sufficient time to check in and be seated.
Optional 10-minute breaks
- COMLEX-USA Level 1
- Includes one optional 10-minute break in the morning between the second and third section, one optional 10-minute break in the afternoon between the sixth and seventh section. For all scheduled breaks, candidates will be permitted access to their lockers for food, drink, medicine and other stored items including electronic devices such as cell phones. Candidates may NOT access study materials or electronic devices during any unscheduled breaks. The 10-minute optional break time will not count against total examination time. However, if you exceed the allotted 10-minute break, the additional time will be deducted from the remaining examination time.
- COMLEX-USA Level 2-CE
- Includes one optional 10-minute break in the morning between the second and third section and one optional 10-minute break in the afternoon between the sixth and seventh section. For all scheduled breaks, candidates will be permitted access to their lockers for food, drink, medicine and other stored items including electronic devices such as cell phones. Candidates may NOT access study materials or electronic devices during any unscheduled breaks. The 10-minute optional break time will not count against total examination time. However, if you exceed the allotted 10-minute break, the additional time will be deducted from the remaining examination time.
- COMLEX-USA Level 3
- Day one includes one optional 10-minute break in the morning between the first and second section, and one optional 10-minute break in the afternoon between the third and fourth section. Day two includes one optional 10-minute break in the morning between the fifth and sixth section and one optional 10-minute break in the afternoon between the seventh and eighth section. For all scheduled breaks, candidates will be permitted access to their lockers for food, drink, medicine and other stored items, including electronic devices such as cell phones. Candidates may NOT access study materials or electronic devices during any unscheduled breaks. The 10-minute optional break time will not count against total examination time. However, if you exceed the allotted 10-minute break, the additional time will be deducted from the remaining examination time.
Optional 40-minute Lunch Break
The 40-minute lunch break will take place when the morning session is completed (after section 4). During the lunch break you will be able to access your locker for food, drink, medicine and other materials you have stored.
- The 40-minute break time will not be deducted from the time you will have to take the examination. If you exceed the 40-minute break time, the additional time will count against the time you will have to take the exam.
- After the 40-minute lunch break, your afternoon examination session (sections five through eight) will begin, regardless of whether you are seated at the work station or not. You may choose to forego all or part of your lunch break, but unused time will not be added to your examination time.
Any breaks in addition to the three optional breaks will be considered unexcused and will be reported to the NBOME by the TCA.
Beginning in 2017, COMLEX-USA examinations are enhanced with several new features to assist you as you take the exam. The new examination features begin for
- COMLEX-USA Level 1 on May 22, 2017
- COMLEX-USA Level 2-CE on June 14, 2017
- COMLEX-USA Level 3 on March 21, 2017
The new examination features include:
- a built-in standard calculator
- lab values with reference ranges (where applicable) embedded directly into test questions and clinical cases
Upon completion of your examination, you will sign out and return your locker key.
Please be aware that you will be monitored by video and audio recording throughout the duration of your examination.
If you believe you may require testing accommodations under the Americans with Disabilities Act, as amended, please refer to the COMLEX-USA Bulletin of Information. For more information on testing accommodations please consult the Request for Test Accommodation Instructions and Forms.
Adverse Testing Conditions
If you experience adverse testing conditions and believe that those conditions have substantially affected your performance, you will need to provide the NBOME written, verifiable evidence within 10 days of your examination day. 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, 7:00 AM– 7:00 PM Eastern Time, at 866-479-6828.