NBME Subject Exam Information

Excused Absences

The following protocol applies to ALL students – and pertains to excused absences from NBME subject exams during their medical education at the University of Kentucky College of Medicine:

Clinical subject exams:

  • Any student unable to sit for a clinical subject exam in blocks 1-5 due to an excused absence must take that subject exam at the start of the winter break.
  • Any student who must retake an exam per clerkship protocol in blocks 1-5 may retake that subject exam at the start of the winter break or immediately after third year ends.
  • Any student who is unable to sit for a clinical subject exam in blocks 6-12 due to an excused absence or who must retake an exam per clerkship protocol in blocks 6-12 must retake that subject exam immediately after third year ends. Until a final clerkship grade can be calculated, the student will receive either an “Incomplete” or other grade per the clerkship grading policy.

Test-Taking Protocol

NBME examinations are now web-based, and accessed thru a secure server and start-up code provided at each exam administration.  NBME requires detailed instructions be read by a proctor prior to each exam; however, a few brief guidelines to note:

  • If you arrive after instructions have begun, you are not allowed to sit for the exam.
  • No study materials, electronic devices, or food/drinks are allowed in the testing area and all personal belongings (e.g., backpacks) must be secured in an area specified by proctors during the exam.
  • Once the exam has started, restroom breaks are permitted for one student at a time.

Further information regarding the content areas tested in each subject exam, along with sample items, can be obtained through the NBME:

http://www.nbme.org/PDF/SubjectExams/SE_ContentOutlineandSampleItems.pdf

For Clerkship subject exams, NBME will release scores within 2-4 business days following an exam administration.  Reporting student's performance will be decided upon by the clerkship director(s), although Assessment and Quality Management strongly encourages clerkships to use the individual reports provided by the NBME with each rotation’s exam data.

For questions about NBME subject exam protocol or scheduling, contact Amy Murphy-Spencer, 859-323-1196.