NBME Practice Test

NBME Practice Test
National Board of Medical Examiners

What to know about NBME?

For students, professionals, educators, and institutions dedicated to the increasing demands of medical education and health care, NBME offers a diverse range of high-quality evaluations and educational services. Working with a diverse group of specialists to serve these communities, including test developers, academic researchers, scoring experts, practicing physicians, and medical educators.

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Excuse Absences

NBME helps health professionals across the care continuum enhance and demonstrate their knowledge—both in school and while practicing. We offer a portfolio of products that include assessment tools for every stage of the medical school journey, high-quality licensing exams, and a range of products and services for health professionals and educators.

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.

When assessing your students at the end of a course or clerkship, it helps to know how their performance compares to examinees on a national level. That’s why medical schools rely on our Subject Exam Program. It provides national normative data that reflects the performance of examinees from medical schools accredited by the Liaison Committee on Medical Education (LCME).

The Subject Exams are developed by committees of content experts and include score reports that deliver actionable performance feedback.


What is the exam all about?

The Subject Exams include:

  • The Basic Science and Clinical Science Exams, which are designed to assess basic and clinical science knowledge at the end of a course, clerkship, or other unit of instruction.
  • The Health Systems Science Exam, which faculty can use to support the implementation of health systems science curricula and education initiatives.
  • The Advanced Clinical Exams, which help measure the effectiveness of the fourth-year emergency medicine and internal medicine sub-internship experiences.
  • The Comprehensive Exams, which reflect the content of the USMLE® Step 1 and Step 2 Clinical Knowledge Exams and are typically used to identify areas of strength and weakness prior to taking the USMLE.

Select a subject area below to view specific exam topics and click Content Outlines button to access full content outlines and sample items.

What is the exam all about?

Applicants should complete a data request form along with a 3 to 4 page proposal that describes:

  • The purpose of the study
  • The specific research questions or research hypotheses
  • The variables to be included (e.g., predictor and outcome variables)
  • The proposed analyses
  • A timeline (e.g., start and stop date; major milestones)
  • A list members of the research team, along with their titles, and affiliations
    • A statement describing their roles in the proposed project

The proposal should also indicate the importance, value or implications of the research, and plans for disseminating results.

The applicant should submit a bio-sketch or CV.  For those proposals that require data from organizations other than NBME (e.g., AAMC; medical schools), the investigator must include a statement that such organizations have agreed to make data available.

Proposals can be submitted by any investigator with a genuine interest in conducting original research in the field of measurement or assessment in health professions education. Preference is given to those with an established record of research, or who show promise of being able to complete a publishable research project. 

Proposals may be submitted any time, but will be reviewed every February and June, with submission deadlines of December 1 and May 1