Skip Navigation

NBME Subject Exam Policies

The National Board of Medical Examiners (NBME) Subject Examinations are an important part of the educational process, evaluating the performance of a large, representative group of examinees at the same stage of training.  These exams are used in the Foundation and Application Phases of the curriculum as one part of the evaluation process.  Students are required to take their NBME Subject Examination at the scheduled time and location.  Those students granted special accommodations for testing must present the  Director of  Medical Education & Student Affairs, Margo Kuisis,  a letter from the Office of Disability Services each semester outlining the student’s specific accommodations.  Individual arrangements will be made for the student at each exam in accordance with the letter.

To prevent additional charges, exam orders must be placed at least 22 days prior to the testing date. Therefore it is important for the Office of Medical Education and Student Affairs (OMESA) to know well in advance the number of students scheduled to test at every exam. Unexcused absences from NBME exams will result in the student being charged for any additional costs associated with rescheduling of the examination.

Students requiring a rescheduled NBME exam must obtain permission via email from the Associate Dean of Clinical Education or the Executive Associate Dean. Requests for rescheduled NBME exams will be considered only for the following circumstances:

  1. Medical or family emergency.
  2. Oral or poster presentation at a national meeting.
  3. Mandatory attendance at a meeting where the student will run for or serve as an officer in a national medical organization.

The Associate Dean for Clinical Education or Executive Associate Dean will submit a decision via email to the student and to the Director for Medical Education and Student Affairs. The Director for Medical Education and Student Affairs will coordinate with OMESA staff to order the required exams and communicate with the clerkship director, clerkship coordinator, and the student regarding the next available scheduled NBME testing date.

The NBME Exam Policy is that students MUST test within the normal testing schedule that occurs once a month and every six weeks. A published exam schedule is available through the OMESA Welcome Center or the student portal. To ensure the security of NBME materials and compliance with testing regulations, all subject exams must be administered by trained proctors in an NBME-approved testing site; the School of Medicine Building is the only approved testing site for Emory students.

Arriving Late for an Exam or Missing Examinations

It is considered part of professional behavior and the responsibility of the student to arrive on time for scheduled examinations. Late arrival disrupts the examination process and potentially has a negative effect on other students’ performance. Students who are late to an examination are subject to an Unprofessional Conduct Report being submitted to the Progress and Promotions Committee.

Emory designates a Chief Proctor for our NBME exams.  It is the responsibility of the Chief Proctor and his or her designees to assure that NBME exams are given in strict accordance with NBME policy.  As per this  policy,  a student may be admitted to a testing room up to 30 minutes after the exam has started, provided the student’s name is on the check-in roster and the Chief Proctor approves the late start.  Students arriving late for an exam will be expected to end the exam at the same time as other examinees; no extra time will be allotted to compensate for their tardiness.

For any student who is more than 30 minutes late for the exam, the NBME must be contacted by the Chief Proctor to seek approval for taking the examination.  The Chief Proctor and his or her designees are not required to allow any student to start an exam late if doing so will be excessively disruptive to the other students.