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What Do I Need to Know to Prepare for Web-based Testing?

Can programs choose between a paper-and-pencil or Web-based exam?
  • No, only the Web-based exam will be offered.
Does the IM-ITE have to be administered in a computer lab?
  • No, registered institutions can test examinees in the same location they used for paper-and-pencil testing, including computer labs, testing rooms, or lecture halls. Because residents can use their own laptops, programs can administer the exam in any rooms set up to function as testing rooms as long as they are equipped with sufficient access to power strips or electrical outlets and meet the required bandwidth. Testing can also occur at a neighboring institution’s testing room or computer lab. However, the IM-ITE cannot be given in commercial testing sites owing to prohibitive logistical and cost issues.
How will I ensure sufficient access to electrical outlets during the exam to accommodate both institutional PCs and examinees’ personal laptops?
  • Contact your institution’s maintenance/facilities staff in advance of test day to ensure the room in which your program will be testing has appropriate access to electrical outlets and/or power strips and that they are configured and functioning properly by test day.
Should our program have extra computers available, just in case?
  • Yes, programs should run the workstation certification process on a few “extra” computers, which should be available in the testing room(s) in the event any computers malfunction during testing.
How should testing rooms be configured, and will this configuration prohibit us from testing a sufficient number of examinees during the time frame our schedule allows within the examination window?
  • Each program should create an arrangement designed for its testing room according to its needs. These are some key issues to consider when planning testing-room configuration:
    • All examinees forward-facing
    • Bandwidth of 256 kbps per examinee to support the number of examinees to be tested in each room.
    • A sufficient number of electrical outlets or power strips to accommodate all of the computers and/or personal laptops that will occupy each testing room.
    • A dedicated computer workstation or personal laptop for the Chief Proctor for the entire test session near the doorway to check in examinees more efficiently.
    • Other technical requirements, such operating systems, are listed in the technical requirements below.
When I configure my seating arrangements, how much should I worry that an examinee could copy from another’s exam?
  • The Web-based testing experience offers increased security during the test session because each examinee’s test questions are scrambled, meaning that the order in which the questions appear will be different for each examinee. Because no two tests will appear the same, the risk for copying is minimized.
What materials will be made available to chief proctors to help them prepare for test day?
  • In August, ACP will be emailing information enabling implementation of the workstation certification process, the chief proctor’s manual, the chief proctor’s login information, examinee instruction sheets, and a link to the examinee practice exam. Programs can view the chief proctor’s video tutorials now. In addition, programs that want to launch a practice exam to test their institution’s technical configuration can do so by accessing the exam compatibility check URL and selecting the “Before Test Day” option once inside the utility. However, the formalized workstation certification process (for institution-based computers) and computer compatibility check (for examinees’ computer laptops) will still need to be done in August prior to testing.
What does the workstation certification process and exam compatibility check involve?
  • Workstation certification testing for institution-based computers is required prior to the examination. This process takes only minutes to perform and requires an active Internet connection to determine whether the computers to be used in testing meet the basic system requirements. At the end of the check, the secure browser is launched and the computer connects to a short practice exam. Exam compatibility testing performs the same type of check for examinee-owned personal laptop computers and may be done remotely 1-2 days before the examination.
What are the dates of the chief proctor’s Webinars?
  • NBME will be hosting Webinars that will demonstrate the Chief Proctoring software on August 12, 13, and 14, 2014, at the following times:

    • August 12, 2014: 2:00 pm EST (USA, Canada & the Caribbean)
    • August 12, 2014: 7:30 pm EST (Asia)
    • August 13, 2014: 2:00 pm EST (USA, Canada, and the Caribbean)
    • August 14, 2014: 9:00 am EST (Europe and the Middle East)
    The Webinars are held closer to exam day rather than further in advance of the exam to allow for better retention of the steps that chief proctors will need to complete in the 2 weeks prior to the examination.
How do I know whether the bandwidth in our testing room(s) will be adequate?
  • A bandwidth of 256 kbps per examinee is required. Your institution’s technical staff can confirm the adequacy of the bandwidth within the room you will be using for testing. In addition, your technical personnel can launch a sample exam to determine the efficacy of your technical specifications. Programs can administer the exam to smaller groups of examinees on multiple days of the 17-day testing window (September 2 through September 18) rather than testing all of the examinees on 1 day.
What are the System Requirements? Is the requirement to secure technical staff from my institution mandatory?
  • Yes, procuring IT staff to assist with technical issues in the weeks prior to and on test day is mandatory. However, IT staff do not need to be present for the duration of testing but must be available if needed.
Will NBME technical assistance be available on test day?
  • Yes, the NBME will be available by phone on test day to address technical issues should they arise.
Will NBME technical assistance be available for international programs considering the time differences between the United States and these international sites?
  • Yes, the NBME will be on call to provide support to our international programs 24-7. Each institution must procure dedicated technical support staff with administrative privileges prior to and on test day(s) to assist with technical issues.
Will the registration process change now that the IM-ITE will be Web based?
  • No, the registration process will remain the same as it has always been except for the addition of two data requirements: examinee dates of birth and proctor information. Programs that have participated in the examination within the past 2 years can access the registration site beginning June 2, 2014. Programs that are registering for the first time or for which it has been more than 2 years since last administration should contact Valerie Dangovetsky (vdangovetsky@acponline.org, 215-351-2553) for instructions on how to register your residents online. Registration costs $100 per examinee. An additional fee of $30 is charged for late registrations. Program directors must make payment to the American College of Physicians, using the Program Account form provided at the registration site.
What is the cost of examination?
  • The cost of the exam is $100 per examinee, the same cost as for the 2013 paper-based exam.
If I register a candidate to take the exam on one date, can I switch the date as long as the candidate tests during the examination window?
  • Yes, you can switch the date on which an examinee takes the exam as long as he/she takes the exam during the examination window of September 2, 2014, through September 18, 2014.
Can the exam window be extended beyond the approved exam dates?
  • No, the exam cannot be extended beyond the approved exam dates of Tuesday, September 2, 2014, through Thursday, September 18, 2014.
Will the IM-ITE be offered on Sundays?
  • Yes, the exam will be administered in a Web-based format on September 2 through September 18, 2014, including Sundays.
How much exam time will be allotted for answering questions and how much time will be allotted for breaks?
  • The IM-ITE consists of 340 questions, and 8 hours are allotted for answering all of the questions (the same time allotted for answering questions in the paper-and-pencil IM-ITE). There are optional 10-minute scheduled breaks after examinees complete sections 1, 2, 3, 5, and 6, and an optional 30-minute lunch break after examinees complete section 4. Examinees should be encouraged to take a break during the allotted time scheduled for breaks. The exam day could last as long as 9 hours and 35 minutes.
What happens if an examinee chooses to take a break during the examination when a break is NOT scheduled?
  • If an examinee takes a break when the exam is being administered (that is, an unscheduled break), he or she will lose testing time because the timer on the exam will continue running.
Do examinees have to take breaks?
  • While examinees can determine whether they want to take all of their breaks and how long they take for each break, they are encouraged to take breaks so that they do not experience exam fatigue and to avoid the need to take an unscheduled break, during which the exam timer continues to run.

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