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NBOME

Frequently Asked Questions

UPDATED MAY 28, 2020

Thank you for joining us on Thursday, May 21st. We appreciated hearing your questions directly and gaining a stronger understanding of the very real impact the pandemic has on your #RoadtoDOLicensure.
Webinar FAQs | PART I | COVID-19 Challenges for Assessment

Thank you for joining us on Thursday, May 21st. We appreciated hearing your questions directly and gaining a stronger understanding of the very real impact the pandemic has on your #RoadtoDOLicensure.

As there were so many questions that focused on similar issues, we have compiled this list of frequently asked questions to provide the best information we can, given the uncertainty that exists in this ever-changing landscape. In addition, we are hosting a follow-up session on Friday, May 29th at 1 pm ET. Hope to “see” you there!

Finally, if you have questions that relate to a personal situation, we encourage you to contact the NBOME at 866-479-6828 or Clientservices@nbome.org to see how we may help.

Computer-Based Testing (COMLEX-USA Levels 1, 2-CE, and 3)

How can I verify my examination date?
You can verify your exam dates through the Prometric website. You will need to provide the confirmation number you received when you initially scheduled your exam. If you do not have your confirmation number, please contact the Prometric customer service center. If you are unable to reach Prometric, or need additional assistance, please contact the NBOME at 866-479-6828 or Clientservices@nbome.org. Client Services Representatives are available between 7am and 7pm ET, excluding weekends and holidays, and are here to support you to the very best of their ability.

How can I reschedule my examination?
Prometric continues to make additional technological and process changes to ensure they can successfully support candidates seeking assistance for their appointments. This includes working toward automated rescheduling, providing phone support for candidates in all regions, and streamlining all email inquiries through their Contact Us page.

Are current registrations for July and August safe from being canceled or is cancellation still a possibility as time goes on?
Unfortunately, as we have all learned, anything is possible during a pandemic. That said, however, if the current health situation continues to improve, we anticipate that your current testing sessions will proceed as scheduled. In the coming months, there may be even more sessions opening up if it is safe for larger groups to be accommodated in some geographic areas. The NBOME is also exploring options for alternate test delivery of COMLEX-USA outside Prometric test centers.

Is the NBOME adding more testing dates? Is Prometric adding more testing dates?
The NBOME has requested from Prometric that additional test dates be added. Currently, we have added 60+ testing dates to each level between May and December 2020:
  • (61) Level 1 dates have been added
  • (67) Level 2-CE dates have been added
  • (68) Level 3 dates have been added
An additional (14) Level 1 dates and an additional (13) Level 2-CE dates are also being planned for September 5th to 20th.

What is the contingency plan if there is a second wave of COVID-19 in the fall?
The NBOME has 2 dedicated task force teams working to develop solutions for COVID-19 issues related to candidate examinations. They are evaluating all feasible short- and long-term solutions, including plans in the event of a second COVID-19 wave, provided the solutions are aligned with our mission to protect the public. The NBOME COVID-19 microsite will continue to provide the most up-to-date information available about the NBOME’s strategy for managing these challenges.

Can you provide any further insight in regards to the possibility of medical schools proctoring COMLEX-USA exams to help alleviate the backlog of testing at Prometric centers?
The NBOME has been exploring alternate delivery options for computer-based examinations since March. Our goal is to keep our stakeholders updated without making predictions we cannot substantiate. The universal, hard-earned trust that state medical and osteopathic medical boards have in the COMLEX-USA licensure examination to assist with medical licensure decisions requires an extremely careful approach to maintain the program’s integrity. The first phase of evaluating alternate administration options for COMLEX-USA Level 1 and Level 2-CE includes identification of technical and security requirements to protect the validity, reliability, and fairness of the examinations. This first phase is currently underway and also includes proof-of-concept testing of alternate proctoring solutions. The NBOME continues to explore several potentially viable delivery options, each with different levels of risk, but all in proctored environments, including:
  • Satellite Test Centers at COMs (small number of COMs)
  • Remote Proctored Exams at COMs
  • Test Events at existing testing centers with simultaneous, web-based delivery (numerous COMs)
  • Remote Proctored Exams available anywhere

The NBOME is currently surveying all COMs to identify those who can demonstrate the necessary technical and other requirements and have the ability to participate in on-site pilot testing. The NBOME will partner with select COMs in early June for pilot testing. After evaluating the results of these pilot tests, we anticipate implementing one or more alternate test delivery options as early as mid to late July.

Since only a small sample size (586) of candidates tested from May 4th to 22nd, how will computer-based examinations affect the curve and validity of scores? How will this particularly affect COMLEX-USA Level 2 since the exam was only available until May 14th?
The COMLEX-USA computer-based examination forms for the entire testing cycle (e.g. June 2019 – May 2020 for Level 2-CE) are all scored and equated to ensure scores across exam forms for the entire testing cycle are reliable and valid regardless of the testing window within which candidates take the examination. An examination date of May 14th, for example, is included in the 2019-2020 testing cycle.

Clinical Skills Testing (COMLEX-USA Level 2-PE)

If COMLEX-USA Level 2-PE is continued as is starting July 1st, how can we be sure that there will be appropriate safety measures to maximize social distancing guidelines and prevent COVID-19 transmission in a center where students from all over the country will be gathering?
Staff at the NBOME’s National Centers for Clinical Skills Testing are following heightened safety measures to ensure the safety of candidates and staff. Masks are required to be worn by everyone at the testing site. All candidates and staff are screened upon arrival. Thermal temperatures are taken, and social distancing is strongly enforced. Increased cleaning and disinfecting measures are also being followed. We encourage any candidate with symptoms to not come to the exam; the NBOME will assist in rescheduling. To help ensure the safety of all test takers and staff, you will not be permitted to test if you have been sick within the past 2 weeks or were recently exposed to someone who tested positive for COVID-19. Please contact NBOME Client Services for assistance with rescheduling your exam. We realize that travel is an issue and encourage any student who is uncomfortable traveling at this time to look for later dates to test.

Has there been any consideration for changing how the COMLEX-USA Level 2-PE exam will be administered in the future? Are virtual visits being considered?
Decisions regarding the COMLEX-USA Level 2-PE examinations are made based on the role the exam plays in the NBOME’s mission to protect the public. The examination is valid and reliable in assessing minimal competence in the clinical skills deemed necessary to enter GME. Assessing physical exam skills and OMT skills are an integral part of the examination and deemed essential for this process. Being mindful of a potential viral resurgence in the fall, we have not yet released all of the potential fall and winter dates. We will closely monitor the changing situation and will add additional sessions as necessary.

Is the NBOME planning to open more testing dates for the COMLEX-USA Level 2-PE in 2020?
Yes. We expect to release more 2020 seats as the exam resumes, however, we encourage students to schedule seats now.

I’ve rescheduled into a 2021 test date, but I need to take my COMLEX-USA Level 2-PE exam in 2020 (before the ERAS deadline). Will I receive rescheduling preference from the NBOME if I give up my 2021 test date? Will more dates be added for COMLEX-USA Level 2-PE before the new ERAS deadline?
At this time, if you have an examination scheduled, you should keep your testing date. We know many students feel an optimal time to take COMLEX-USA Level 2-PE is early in PGY-4. With this in mind, we will be adding additional seats in the fall, once we resume testing.

Why is COMLEX-USA Level 2-PE a necessary exam for students that have already successfully completed 2 years of standardized patient simulations (during didactic years) and 1 year of clinical rotations? Why are we required to pay $1300+ traveling to IL or PA for an exam? Do we not trust COMs to appropriately prepare students for patient interaction?
The American public relies on a medical credentialing system that requires physician candidates to be evaluated against a common standard. While osteopathic medical students are evaluated by their schools and on clinical rotations, there is significant variation among the osteopathic medical colleges in assessment of clinical skills. As such, state medical licensing boards and the public rely on the NBOME and COMLEX-USA for independent assessment of medical competencies. In the interest of reducing medical errors and medical malpractice, many incidences of which are directly related to deficiencies in clinical skills and doctor-patient communication, the NBOME developed the COMLEX-USA Level 2-PE to assess these skills for licensure. Finally, numerous studies in medical education document the lack of actual verification of clinical skills and even the lack of direct observation of these skills. More information on the development and validity of these types of clinical skills examinations can be found on our website:

Residency Program – Applications (for Level 2-PE/-CE) and Advancement (for Level 3)
How can the NBOME guarantee that students who take COMLEX-USA and/or receive scores after rank order lists are due will not be at a disadvantage?
The NBOME has worked with ERAS, OPDA, AACOM, AOA, ACGME, NBME and the Coalition for Physician Accountability to remind Residency Program directors that in this unusual application cycle, many medical students (DO, MD, and IMG) will not have all of the usual metrics that they are accustomed to using for interview selection and even Match lists.
My program recommends that 1st year residents take the exam as soon as possible before fall 2020 because there is an expectation of a second wave of COVID-19. Are GME directors and program directors being notified of mass cancellations of exams?
DOs are already the minority of total applicants. What are your thoughts regarding DO residency applicants who will have incomplete applications when ERAS opens up? It has been made clear that program directors do not review applications until they are complete. Residency programs are aware of the unique challenges to the residency applications process and modified timeline this year and want to provide students with a fair and equitable application process. A recent set of recommendations from the Coalition for Physician Accountability, a cross-organizational group of medical education stakeholders, provides guidance to medical schools, residency programs, and others involved in medical education on the application timeline, away rotations, and virtual interviews. In addition to the Coalition’s member organizations, a number of specialty organizations have issued statements in support of these recommendations. In order to help with some of the delays this year, ERAS has moved the date for residency programs to gain access to applications and release MSPEs to programs ‒ see ERAS 2021 Residency Application Timeline.
Not receiving passing COMLEX-USA Level 2-PE scores or Level 2-CE scores prior to ERAS submission places DO students at a significant disadvantage compared to MD students who have completed all of their requirements. Why has the NBOME been so inflexible with assisting students in completing these exams through alternative methods?
This year all students, DO and MD (US and IMGs), are experiencing challenges in providing COMLEX-USA Level 2 and USMLE Step 2 licensing exam scores when applying to residency. To improve the situation for DO students, the NBOME has added almost 70 new exam dates for the Level 2-CE exam. By the end of May, most 2021 graduates were re-scheduled to take the Level 2-CE exam between June and August. In addition to expanding testing opportunities, the NBOME is pursuing alternate test delivery methods with plans to begin pilot testing in June 2020 ‒ read more here. Additional 2020 and 2021 test sessions have also been added for COMLEX-USA Level 2-PE. For the latest information on Level 2-PE, click here.

Prometric FAQs | COMLEX-USA | Level 1, Level 2-CE, and Level 3
Will ALL Prometric testing centers be opened on May 1st?
As permitted locally, Prometric intends to reopen US and Canada testing centers on May 1.  However, individual test centers may have different re-open dates based on ordinances from local, state, and federal governments, as well as recommendations from the CDC and WHO.

What examinations are considered "essential"?
Prometric has worked with test sponsors (including both NBOME and NBME) to determine which programs meet the criteria for "essential workforce" as defined by the US Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency. COMLEX-USA is considered an essential testing program.

Why was my scheduled COMLEX-USA exam cancelled if we are considered “essential  test takers?”
To comply with social distancing guidelines and ensure the safety of candidates and staff, Prometric has reduced testing capacity by at least 50% at all sites.  These seats are only being offered to candidates who are considered “essential,” but are still limited by social distancing guidelines.

My friend and I were scheduled to take our COMLEX-USA examination on the same day, at the same Prometric location.  Why was my exam cancelled and not hers?
To comply with social distancing guidelines and ensure the safety of candidates and staff, Prometric has reduced testing capacity by at least 50% at all sites.

I haven’t received a cancellation notification, does that mean my COMLEX-USA examination will be delivered as scheduled?
Prometric will notify all impacted candidates scheduled for May or June exam dates as to their status.  Candidates still scheduled to take their exam as planned will be notified of new Prometric test site safety procedures.  Please note that not all scheduled candidates are impacted.  You have the option to wait to see if your examination date is impacted, or reschedule yourself now for an examination later in the year, with no additional fees.

I received a cancellation notification from Prometric. Why do I see an appointment in the system?
When visiting the Prometric website or the NBOME portal, it may appear a candidate’s examination has NOT been cancelled, or there may appear to be misalignment between the information provided on the two sites. These issues are temporary and directly related to the on-going rescheduling process. While communication to candidates is automated, rescheduling individual candidates is a manual process by Prometric. Schedule updates are uploaded to the NBOME portal overnight from Prometric, and are not available in the NBOME portal until the following day.

How do I reschedule my COMLEX-USA examination?
If your test has been cancelled or rescheduled due to our COVID-19 preventative measures, Prometric will send you an email as soon as possible with further instructions regarding your exam—including a new test date based on when we expect to resume normal testing and steps on how to make changes to this appointment utilizing our website’s self-service function.
  • Option 1:  You can go online and proactively reschedule your appointment
  • Option 2:  You can wait for Prometric to reschedule you to the next available test date.  The Prometric team will be processing and rescheduling appointments in priority of the scheduled exam date.  If you need to make changes to this date, you can call or email Prometric or go online and reschedule to another date (without fee).

Can I reschedule my examination on my own?
If a candidate has been automatically rescheduled by Prometric and needs to make further changes, they can do so through the Prometric site. All rescheduling MUST take place through the Prometric site.

Can I cancel my examination?
Cancellations may be executed through the NBOME portal. However, all rescheduling MUST take place through the Prometric site.

When should I reschedule my COMLEX-USA examination to ensure I’m not “bumped?”
Due to the tremendous impact and unpredictability of this virus, we’re unable to predict the best time to reschedule. Current information suggests candidates consider dates after June 30, but seat availability will continue to be impacted by how the situation evolves and changing government regulations.

What is being done to help ensure all COMLEX-USA candidates get to test?
While the safety of our candidates is our number one priority, we also understand your desire to continue your progression toward your educational goals.  As such, NBOME has added additional examination dates for all levels between May and December 2020.  Click here for the full list of COMLEX-USA examination dates.  Additionally, NBOME is extending the eligibility window through December 31, 2020.  Prometric is also extending its hours to 9pm, and adding select Sunday test dates.

Will the added seats be reserved for candidates who were bumped or are they open to anyone?
Examination seats will be available to any test-taker who is eligible to take an examination at Prometric.

Will new seats all be made available simultaneously?
Prometric will add new dates to its calendar and seats will be opened based on test center availability. As new seats will become available, candidates are encouraged to monitor the Prometric website for updates.

What about re-scheduling fees?
All rescheduling fees are waived through December 31, 2020

Do I have to wear a mask?  Will masks be provided?
Prometric requires all test takers to bring and wear their own face mask during the entirety of their time at the test center. Both medical masks and cloth face coverings are acceptable. Any test taker that comes to the test center without a mask will not be allowed to test, marked as a “no show,” and will not be eligible for a free reschedule. Click here for the full list of requirements from Prometric.

Will Prometric send the “mask requirement” along with confirmations?
Prometric will send a test-day protocol which includes further details about mask requirements.

Additional information can be found on Prometric’s website, or in their FAQ.

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