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Testing at a Prometric Center is different from what you may have experienced in test-taking.

Please take a few moments to review the following information and guidelines in preparation for your upcoming specialist certification examination.

If you have any questions or concerns, contact the specialist certification staff at 800-999-2782, ext. 8520, or spec-cert@apta.org.

We wish you best of luck on the exam!

Important note: If you experience an illness, emergency situation, or other extreme circumstance on exam day or days leading up to it that you feel may jeopardize your ability to effectively take the exam, you may be eligible to postpone sitting for it until the following year. Contact the specialist certification office immediately if this happens. Be aware that if you choose to  sit for the exam and are not successful, this is not a basis for appealing the examination results, and your ability to sit again the following year at no additional cost may be in jeopardy.

The examinations will be administered at domestic and international testing centers between the assigned testing dates for the given year. The test dates are normally around the end of February through the middle of March.

Get and Keep Your Scheduling Permit

You are not eligible to schedule a session until you have paid your exam fee and received and printed your scheduling permit.

The Postprofessional Credentialing Division will notify you by email on or before January 1, when you may begin to schedule a date to sit for the examination. The email provides the access information and an identification number that you will need to provide when scheduling your test.

You must have your scheduling permit before you contact Prometric to schedule a testing appointment.

If you lose your scheduling permit, you can log into the URL provided to access and reprint it. You will not be able to take the test if you don't present your scheduling permit at the test center. You can either print and bring a paper copy or present it electronically, such as on your smartphone.

Check the deadlines webpage for exact dates.

Schedule an Appointment at a Testing Center

Determine where you're going to take your test. If you've been approved as a candidate, contact Prometric as soon as possible once you have your  scheduling permit to schedule a testing appointment. You may take the test on any day and at any Prometric location being offered during the testing window, as along as there is space at the Prometric Test Center.

Access available testing centers

Don't Delay! Schedule Your Appointment ASAP

Appointments are assigned first-come, first-served, so you should contact the testing center to schedule as soon as possible after you receive your scheduling permit. If you delay, you may not get an appointment at your preferred test site or for your preferred test date.

Problems?

Report any problems in scheduling a testing appointment to the Postprofessional Credentialing Division at least four weeks before the first day of the testing window to give ABPTS an opportunity to resolve the problem.

Be sure to record:

  • The test date/time.
  • Testing center address.
  • Phone number.
  • Exam confirmation number provided by Prometric after scheduling your appointment.

We recommend that you review the this video from Prometric to better prepare you for your test day.

Prometric also provides this fact sheet to prepare you for test day. 

Things Happen, and Here's What You Should Know if They Do

If you know that you will be unable to keep a testing appointment and want to reschedule:

You must contact Prometric by 12:00 p.m. local time of the second business day prior to your appointment. If you do this you will be permitted to reschedule without penalty. If you provide less than two business days’ notice, Prometric will charge you a $101 fee to reschedule your examination.

You must reschedule the test date within the testing window; if do you, fees from your previously scheduled test will be transferred to the rescheduled exam.

If you don't know ahead of time:

If you cancel your appointment within two business days or do not appear on your test date, you must contact Prometric Candidate Cares at the phone number listed in the permit and pay a fee to reinstate your eligibility record in order to reschedule your appointment within the testing window.

Be Prepared

Get ready the night before your exam.

Know where the Prometric Testing Center is located, what parking is available (and how much it costs), and your travel time. Consider the time of day that traffic might be heavier, or if construction might be in that area.

It's a good idea to call the testing center to ask them these questions. They are the ones most familiar with their location and can provide tips or other unique guidance on their testing center rules.

Have your scheduling permit.

Upon arrival at the test center, you must present your scheduling permit (hard copy or on a digital device), and — important! — the name on your scheduling permit must exactly match the name on your identification form. The only acceptable difference would be the presence of middle name or middle initial, or suffix on one document and its absence on the other. If you do not present your permit and required identification on exam day, you will be denied admission to test. In that event, you must pay a fee to Prometric to reschedule your test.

What constitutes proper ID? An unexpired, government-issued form of identification (such as a current driver's license, valid passport, or military ID) that includes both your photograph and signature. If your identification contains your photograph but not your signature, you can use another form of unexpired identification that contains your signature, such as student/employee identification card or a credit card, to supplement your photo-bearing, government-issued identification. If you are required to carry a Permanent Residency Card for identification, be sure to bring this card with you to the test center along with the other required unexpired form of identification as noted above.

Your scheduling permit will be retained at the Test Center Administrator's station. You may request access to the permit during the examination if it becomes necessary for you to rewrite the Candidate Identification Number on the laminated writing surface. 

Dress for success. 

As a security procedure, you will be photographed before you begin taking the examination. And that isn't the only reason to consider what to wear to your test:

  • You will be required to remove eyeglasses for visual inspection by the test center administrators. 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.
  • Hair accessories are subject to inspection. You should not wear ornate clips, combs, barrettes, headbands, and other hair accessories. Any examinee wearing any of these items may be prohibited from wearing them in the testing room and asked to store them in their locker.
  • You will not be allowed to bring any mechanical or electronic devices, such as cell phones, palm pilots, calculators, watches of any type, electronic paging devices, recording or filming devices, or radios with you into the test room.
  • Outerwear such as coats, jackets, head wear, gloves are not permitted during testing.
  • Book bags, backpacks, handbags, briefcases, and wallets will need to be stored in your assigned locker.
  • Books, notes, study materials, or scratch paper will also need to be stored.
  • You will not be permitted to bring food, candy, gum, or beverages with you into the testing room.

Report any problems immediately.

Once checked in and seated at a test station, if you have a concern or complaint about the test center environment, immediately report the problem to the Test Center Administrator.

If you feel that the problem was not resolved to your satisfaction, contact the Postprofessional Credentialing Division at 800-999-2782, ext. 8520, as soon as possible.

Be aware that others may be at the testing center for different exams. 

Prometric provides computer-based testing services for academic assessment, professional licensure, and certification. There may be test takers from other professions taking examinations during your test administration. Their exam schedule may differ from your schedule, and they may arrive and depart at different times.

These testing centers provide the resources necessary for secure administration of the examination, including video and audio monitoring and recording, and use of digital cameras to record the identity of candidates.

What happens after you provide proper identification.

You will also sign a test center log, be photographed, and then be given a locker to store your personal belongings.

You will be instructed to write your name and Candidate Identification Number on one of the laminated writing surfaces provided, along with dry-erase markers and an eraser.

The site provides noise-reducing headphones; however, you are encouraged to bring your own cordless soft-foam earplugs (subject to inspection).

Don't be surprised...

  • You will be asked to empty and turn your pockets inside out; you will be asked to repeat this process prior to every entry into the testing room after a break.
  • You may be asked to take off your shoes, lift your pants, and roll up any sleeves if you are wearing long-sleeved shirts.

Once you've passed inspection.

A test center staff will escort you to your assigned testing station and provide brief instructions on use of the computer equipment. You must enter your CIN to start the examination.

You may then take a brief tutorial prior to starting the first test block.

Test center staff monitor all testing sessions. Candidates must follow instructions of test center staff throughout the examination. Test center staff are not authorized to answer questions from candidates regarding examination content, testing software, or scoring.

If staff observes a candidate violating test administration rules or engaging in other forms of irregular behavior during an examination, the center staff will not necessarily tell the candidate of the observation at the time of the examination. Test Center Administrators are required to report such incidents to NBME; each is fully investigated.

Irregular Behavior During the Examination Process 

Irregular behavior includes any action by candidates or others when solicited by a candidate that subverts or attempts to subvert the examination process.

Test Center Administrators are required to report any irregular behavior by a candidate during the examination.

Irregular behavior may include, but is not limited to the following:

  • seeking and/or obtaining access to examination materials;
  • impersonating a candidate or engaging another individual to take the examination by proxy;
  • giving, receiving, or obtaining unauthorized assistance during the examination or attempting to do so;
  • making notes of any kind during an examination except on the erasable writing surface provided at the test center;
  • memorizing and/or reproducing examination materials;
  • failure to adhere to testing center regulations; possessing unauthorized materials during an examination administration (e.g., recording devices, photographic equipment, electronic paging devices, cellular telephones, reference materials);
  • or any other behavior that threatens the integrity of the specialist certification examinations.
  • looking in the direction of the computer monitor of another candidate during the examination may be construed as evidence of copying or attempting to copy, and a report of such behavior may result in a determination of irregular behavior.
  • candidates must not discuss the examination while a session is in process.

Test Center Administrators are required to report all suspected incidents of irregular behavior.

A candidate who engages in irregular behavior or who violates test administration rules may be subject to invalidation of their examination.

Computerized Testing

The specialist certification examinations are administered by computerized testing. The examination questions are presented on computers and candidates provide their responses using a mouse or keyboard. NBME works with Prometric to deliver these examinations domestically and internationally.

The official exam time begins the moment that you enter your Candidate Identification Number online (the CIN number is located on your scheduling permit).

There are approximately 200 questions on the exam. The seen-hour testing session consists of an online tutorial (up to 10 minutes), four 1 ½-hour test periods, an optional break after any section (up to 50 minutes), and a posttest survey if time is available within testing sessions.

No Returning to a Previous Section

If you finish a section early you may not use the extra time for a different section of the exam.

Posttest Survey

If you have remaining time, you will be asked to complete an on-line survey about the test administration. The purpose of the survey is to evaluate the test scheduling and delivery procedures. Your responses will be kept confidential, and the time you take to complete this survey will not detract from your allotted examination time.

Incomplete Examinations

After you start taking an examination, you cannot cancel or reschedule that examination unless a technical problem prevents you from completing your examination.

If you do not finish the exam for any reason you are not permitted to resume the incomplete sections of the test. You must reapply for the next regularly scheduled administration (see section on "Reapplication"). The examination fee is non-refundable for incomplete examinations.

As noted in section 6.5, if you experience a computer problem during the test, notify test center staff immediately. The testing software is designed to allow the test to restart at the point it was interrupted. In most cases, your test can be restarted at the point of interruption with no loss of testing time.

Cancelled or Delayed Exam Administration or Problems at the Testing Center

Exam administrations may be delayed or cancelled in emergencies such as severe weather, a natural disaster that renders a Testing Center inaccessible or unsafe, or extreme technical difficulties. If for any reason Prometric closes a testing center where you have scheduled a testing appointment, they will reschedule the examination appointment at no additional charge. If you experience an emergency on the day of your examination that you feel may jeopardize your ability to perform effectively on the examination, you may be eligible to postpone sitting for the examination until the following year. However, if you opt to still sit for the exam and are not successful, this is not a basis for appealing examination results, and your ability to sit again the following year at no additional cost may be in jeopardy.

Once you are checked in and seated at a test station, if you are delayed in taking the exam by more than 30 minutes because of technical difficulties then you are responsible for reporting the delay to the Specialist Certification Program staff at spec-cert@apta.org or by calling 800-999-2782, ext. 8520, as soon as possible. For such cases, you may be eligible to choose to reschedule your examination at no additional charge. Before deciding to reschedule, be sure that there is another appointment available during the testing period. The test administration will not be considered "irregular" if you choose to remain and test despite the delay. You will receive the maximum number of hours available to candidates to complete the exam even if the test is delayed.

Once checked in and seated at a test station, if you have a concern or complaint about the test center environment, immediately report the problem to the Test Center Administrator. If you feel that the problem was not resolved to your satisfaction, contact the Specialist Certification Program staff at spec-cert@apta.org or 800-999-2782, ext. 8520, as soon as possible.

Equipment Malfunction

If you experience any difficulty with the computer, notify the Test Center Administrator immediately. Do not wait until you have completed the exam to bring equipment malfunctions to the attention of the Test Center Administrator. Once again, if you feel that the problem was not resolved to your satisfaction, contact the Specialist Certification Program staff at spec-cert@apta.org or 800-999-2782, ext. 8520, as soon as possible.

Occasionally, a computer at the testing center may need to be restarted. Prometric has appropriate safeguards in place to ensure the integrity of candidate examination data. As soon as a candidate answers a test item, the response is immediately copied, and saved, on the candidate's directory on the server at a center. If there is a computer restart, the driver locates the results from the directory and picks up where the examinee left off. The system does not change or delete any responses. This way, the computer can be restarted, if necessary, without losing or corrupting examination data.

Examination results are shared by the end of June.

After ABPTS meets in May annually to make certification decisions, score reports will be prepared and released in June each year by the Postprofessional Credentialing Division.

Applicants are notified by email (from spec-cert@apta.org) and shortly after results are posted to the online portal. 

The score report specifies your examination score, the passing score on the examination, and feedback on your performance in the major competency areas tested.

What happens between my test completion and notification?

Although there is a time lapse between the close of the examination window and the availability of examination results, much is happening during this period of time. Key validation takes place after the exam window closes in March. Key validation is a process of preliminary scoring and item analysis of the exam data, followed by careful evaluation of the item-level data, to identify potentially flawed or incorrect items prior to final scoring. During April and early May, standard setting committees are convened at the NBME to participate in content-based standard setting studies. The outcome of each committee's standard setting meeting is the recommendation of a passing standard of each of the specialty examinations during their May meeting. NBME then scores the specialist certification examinations and candidates are notified of their exam results as soon as this information is received by the Postprofessional Credentialing Division.