What to Expect on Certification Exam Day (2023)

This section provides you with information on what to expect at computer-based testing centers during the administration of a certification exam.

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What is the Schedule for Exam Day?

Exam day schedules vary depending on the exam and the specialty.Select your Initial Certification specialty and view the detailed exam day schedule.

When Should I Arrive? / What if I Arrive Late?

  • Arrive 30 minutes prior to the appointment time specified on your confirmation e-mail.
  • If you arrive after your appointment time, you may not be admitted to the exam.
  • Familiarize yourself with the location of the Pearson Professional Center, parking and nearby restaurants prior to exam day.
  • Your confirmation e-mail will provide driving directions to the Pearson Professional Center. You should use these directions as they could contain specific instructions.

What Identification Will I Need?

When you arrive at the Pearson Professional Center, you will need to present primaryandsecondary identification. Candidates without both valid primary and secondary ID may not be admitted to the exam.

  • Primary ID: A current government-issued form of ID that contains both your signature and a recent photograph. A valid driver's license, passport or state identification card is acceptable.Note:Any form of ID issued by the following governments cannot be used as a primary ID, per U.S. government regulations: Cuba, Iran, North Korea, Sudan, and Syria.
  • Secondary ID: A form of ID that includes either your signature or a photograph. For example, a Social Security card, valid credit card or ATM card is acceptable.

You will not be allowed to take your exam with expired or invalid ID.

Important:The name that appears on your ID must be the same as the name that ABIM has on record for you or you may not be admitted to the exam.

How Is a Pearson Professional Center Set Up for Testing?

Every computer testing center offers a quiet, professional testing environment, with eight to 25 private workstations. Each center has:

  • An administrator workstation, waiting room, proctor workstation and testing room
  • At least two certified test administrators

Note:Test takers other than ABIM candidates may be present at the test centers.

What Happens When I Arrive at the Pearson Professional Center for my exam?

  • Present your personal identification.
  • A palm vein recognition scan (see description below), digital signature and photograph will be taken. This is required to take the exam.
  • Palm vein recognition technology works by scanning the veins inside of your hand to create a digital template that represents your vein pattern. The palm vein reader uses a safe, near-infrared light source, similar to a television remote.
  • Personal items, including your cell phone, electronic devices, watch, wallet and/or purse are not permitted in the testing room. You will be required to leave all personal belongings outside the testing room. A secure individual storage locker will be provided for these items. Storage space is limited, however, so plan accordingly. The testing center assumes no responsibility for candidates' personal belongings.
  • While the temperature in the exam room should be comfortable, dressing in layers is recommended. Outerwear (jackets, coats, etc.) are not permitted; however, sweaters are permitted.
  • You will be asked to read the "ABIM Candidate Rules Agreement" and agree to the security terms of the administration of the exam.
  • The test administrator will give you a short orientation and escort you to a computer workstation in the testing room. If you are left-handed, you may request that the mouse be moved to the left side of the computer monitor and reset to operate as a left-handed mouse.
  • You may request instructions to adjust the height and contrast of your monitor. You also may request that the monitor be moved from the top of the computer.
  • An erasable notepad will be provided by the test administrator. You also will be able to type and save notes in a pop-up box that accompanies each exam question.
  • If you are easily distracted by noise, including keyboard noise, you may request earplugs and headphones from the test administrator. Your own earplugs, headphones or other personal devices are not permitted in the test centers.
  • At the start of the exam, you will see several screens with instructions about taking the exam and about exam security. You will be asked to agree to a Pledge of Honesty affirming that you will follow ABIM and the testing vendor rules.

What Is Not Permitted in the Testing Room?

To assure exam security, the following are prohibited:

  • Electronic devices, including cell phones, cameras, recording devices, PDAs, calculators and pagers.

In addition, the following are not permitted:

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  • Wallets and purses
  • Jackets, coats, etc.
  • Watches. The time of day will be displayed on a clock in the testing room and the time remaining in the exam session will be displayed on your computer screen.
  • Calipers, nomograms or other interpretive aids.
  • Study materials, books, notes, scratch paper, etc.
  • Pens, pencils, highlighters and other writing instruments. The test administrator will provide erasable noteboards that will be replaced as needed. Noteboards may not be removed from the testing room and must be turned in to the test administrator when you complete each exam session. In addition, you may type and save notes in the "Notes" section available for each exam question. Noteboards and the "Notes" section are provided for your convenience and are not considered in the evaluation of your exam.
  • Tobacco products.
  • Food and drinks. You may bring lunch to the test center, but there is no access to refrigeration or lounge facilities. Water fountains are available at most test centers. You may also bring bottled water to store in your secure locker.
  • Certain essential medical items (e.g., nitroglycerin anddiabetic supplies) may be brought into the testing room with prior approval of ABIM. You should submit your request to ABIM by sending an email toaccommodations@abim.org.

Friends or relatives who accompany you to the test center will not be permitted to wait inside the test center and cannot contact you while you are taking the exam.

Note:Candidates who fail to adhere to these policies are subject to disciplinary action which could lead to dismissal from the exam, invalidation of the exam, disqualification from future exams, or other sanctions deemed appropriate by ABIM.

What Is the Structure of the Exam?

The exams are given in modular format with a maximum of 60 multiple-choice questions per exam session. Answer every question because your score will be determined by the total number of questions answered correctly. There is no penalty for guessing. For each question, there is one best answer. Be sure to check the Review Screen in the exam for any unanswered items, which will be indicated as “incomplete.” Continue to work until you have answered all questions or time for the test session has expired. When you have five minutes remaining, a message box will appear on the screen as a reminder.

Are Certification Exams Open Book?

No. All certification exams are entirely closed book.

What Do I Need to Know About Exam Sessions and Scheduled Breaks?

Exam structure:

The exams are given in modular format withup to60 multiple-choice questions per exam session.

Exam time:

You will have up to two hours to complete each session. The time remaining for each session will appear in the upper right-hand corner of the computer screen. The time of day will be displayed on a clock in the testing room.

Assistance during an exam session:

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You must remain in your seat during an exam session, unless authorized to leave by a test center administrator. Raise your hand to notify the administrator if you:

  • Have a problem with your computer
  • Need a clean noteboard
  • Need to leave the testing room for any reason
  • Have inadvertently brought any personal belongings into the testing room
  • Need earplugs or headphones if you are easily distracted by noise, including typing noise
  • Need assistance for any other reason

Leaving the testing room during an exam session:

If you need to leave the testing room during the exam session, the clock will continue to count down the time remaining. The test administrator will set your computer to "Unscheduled Break" mode. The screen will display the session time with the clock counting down, and the display screen you are working on will be hidden. You should exit the testing room as quietly as possible. You may not leave the immediate vicinity of the testing room or restrooms while an exam session is in progress.

Returning to the testing room during an exam session:

You must provide a palm vein scan each time you enter and exit the testing room. When you return to your workstation, the test administrator will reset your computer so that you may continue the exam.

Five-minute notification:

A message box will appear on your computer screen as a reminder when five minutes remain in a session. If you are still working at the end of the two-hour session, the computer screen will turn gray, a message will state that your time has expired, and no further keyboard and mouse responses will be recorded.

Taking breaks:

Scheduled breaks occur at the completion of each session. Taking scheduled breaks is optional and the available time will appear on your screen. You can decline a break and immediately begin the next exam session. You can choose to use some or all of your break time.View break time schedule.

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Returning from a scheduled break:

You must provide a palm vein scan each time you enter and exit the testing room. Because you must be at your seat before the end of a scheduled break, allow sufficient time (as much as10 minutes) for checking back in. At the end of a scheduled break, the clock on the computer will automatically start the next exam session.

Technical or computer problems:

In the event of a computer or other technical problem, the computer system will ensure that no testing time is lost and all your answer choices are saved. Raise your hand to notify the proctor if there is a problem. The proctor will follow established procedures to resolve the problem.

When do I receive my exam results?

You will receive an email regarding when your score report is ready in approximately 3 months. Come to the Physician Portal after you receive the email to view your score report.

What About Lodging and Travel?

You are responsible for making your own travel and hotel reservations. Recommendations for overnight accommodations are not available from ABIM or the test vendor.

What Are Examples of Irregular Behavior?

Test administrators are required to report to ABIM any irregular or improper behavior by a candidate. Examples of irregular or improper behavior include giving or obtaining information or aid, looking at the test material of others, removing examination materials from the test center, taking notes, bringing unauthorized items (see above) into the examination, failing to comply with time limits or instructions, talking or other disruptive behavior. Test administrators may intervene to stop any of the foregoing. In addition, as part of its effort to assure exam integrity, ABIM utilizes data forensic techniques that use statistical analyses of test-response data to identify patterns of test fraud, including cheating and copyright infringement. ABIM investigates all irregularity reports.

Irregular or improper behavior in examinations that is observed, made apparent by data forensics, statistical analysis or uncovered by other means will be considered a subversion of the certification process and will constitute grounds for invalidation of a candidate’s examination. In addition, ABIM may at its discretion suspend or revoke certification, exclude candidates from future examinations and inform program director(s), licensing bodies, impaired physicians advocacy groups or law enforcement agencies of ABIM’s actions.

If you see cheating or other inappropriate behavior before, during and after an examination, please contact ABIM's Exam Integrity Hotline at 1-800-884-ABIM (2246) or e-mailsecurity@abim.org.Note:the Exam Integrity Hotline should be used ONLY to report irregular behavior.

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How Do I Contact ABIM With Questions Regarding Exam Day?

If you have any questions regarding exam day, call ABIM's ABIM's Customer Experience Department at 1-800-441-ABIM (2246), Mon. - Fri. 8:30 a.m. - 6 p.m. ET orsend us an email.

Copyright and Examination Non-Disclosure Policy

All ABIM materials are protected by the federal Copyright Act, 17 U.S.C. § 101, et seq. Access to all such materials, as further detailed below, is strictly conditioned upon agreement to abide by ABIM's rights under the Copyright Act and to maintain examination confidentiality.

ABIM assessments are confidential, in addition to being protected by federal copyright and trade secret laws. Candidates and diplomates who undertake assessments agree that they will not copy, reproduce, adapt, disclose or transmit assessments, in whole or in part, before or after taking an assessment, by any means now known or hereafter invented. They further agree that they will not reconstruct assessment content from memory, by dictation, or by any other means or otherwise discuss assessment content with others. Candidates and Diplomates further acknowledge that disclosure or any other use of ABIM assessment content constitutes professional misconduct and may expose them to criminal as well as civil liability, and may also result in ABIM's imposition of penalties against them, including but not limited to, invalidation of assessment results, exclusion from future assessments, suspension or revocation of Board Certification and other sanctions.

With respect to ABIM's Maintenance of Certification (MOC) products, including its medical knowledge modules and ABIM PIMs Practice Improvement Modules®, candidates agree that they will not copy, reproduce or make any adaptations of such materials in any manner; and will not assist someone else in the infringement or misuse of these or any other ABIM-copyrighted works.

External Relationships

ABIM recognizes the potential value of many types of relationships between health care experts and the healthcare-related industry. To help ensure the independence of all ABIM policies, programs and products, ABIM requires that those who serve on ABIM boards and committees provide detailed disclosures about their relationships with healthcare-related companies, including research, educational activities, intellectual property and service on healthcare-related company boards. Leadership roles with and grant funding or other compensation from other non-profit healthcare-related organizations are also disclosed. This information is shared among members of each board or committee, enabling open discussion about the nature of the work involved and any possible influence on the work of ABIM.

We welcome questions about our Conflict of Interest (COI) policies and processes. Please contact us at ABIM Governance Services if you have any questions.

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How do you prepare for a certification? ›

Consider these test-taking strategies:
  1. Prepare in advance. Avoid cramming. ...
  2. Make a study schedule. ...
  3. Be selective about what you study. ...
  4. Quiz yourself periodically. ...
  5. Create a study group. ...
  6. Read each item carefully. ...
  7. Attempt to answer every item. ...
  8. Skip questions if you need to.

What should I do on exam day? ›

Online exam day tips
  1. Start your day relaxed. Allow plenty of time to get yourself ready to start your exam on time.
  2. Eat something. Enjoy a healthy meal before your exam. ...
  3. Communicate positively. Avoid reading about other students' worries on social media as this may reduce your confidence. ...
  4. Dress for success.

What day of the week is best to take an exam? ›

You're likely not fatigued from a week's worth of meetings, challenges, projects run astray, or other perils of modern office life. Tuesdays also work well because they follow Monday. Monday evenings may be the most important element in making Tuesday the best day for taking a certification exam.

What should I bring to Cambridge exam? ›

Bring your identification (ID), for example a passport or national ID card. It must be the original document with your photo and it must be valid on the day of your exam. Bring pens and pencils with erasers. Your centre will give you extra pens and pencils if you need them.

How can I pass my certification exam? ›

What are The Best Tips for Passing a Certification Exam?
  1. Understand the Objectives, Exam Questions, and Exam Format. ...
  2. Importance of Thorough Preparation. ...
  3. Use Multiple Resources. ...
  4. Create a Study Plan. ...
  5. Practice Makes Perfect. ...
  6. Take the Exams the Right Way. ...
  7. When the Exam Day Arrives.

How long should I study for a certification exam? ›

Most certification exams cover a lot of topics. You'll need anywhere from a few weeks to a few months to study depending on the exam you're taking and the time you have available.

What should you not do on exam day? ›

What Should You NOT Do Before An Exam?
  • Putting off studying until the last minute.
  • Over-cramming the night before the exam.
  • Over-caffeinating the night before the exam.
  • Not taking adequate notes during lectures.
  • Studying by myself.
  • Walking in blind to the exam.
  • Go to sleep at different, inconsistent times every night.

What should I do 5 minutes before an exam? ›

Make a list of important details. Depending on the subject, make a quick list of important dates, characters, plot points, or formulae. Anything that you can take from memory will be a helpful review in five minutes.

What are 5 things you can do to prepare for an exam? ›

Top Exam Preparation Tips
  1. Start your revision early. ...
  2. Organise your study time. ...
  3. Look after yourself during study and exam time. ...
  4. Vary your revision techniques. ...
  5. Vary your locations. ...
  6. Take regular breaks. ...
  7. Know your exam. ...
  8. Make sure you know the practical details about your exam.

Is it better to take exam in morning or afternoon? ›

A new study suggests that to help students succeed, educators should schedule exams in the morning. Does your mind feel more "fresh" in the morning? That's because early in the day, you're at the height of your cognitive abilities. And new research shows that's also when you're likely to perform best on an exam.

What do you do in an exam in the afternoon? ›

How to survive an afternoon exam?
  • Succumb to a nap. A 10 to 20 minutes cap nap can work wonders, restoring alertness, enhancing performance, and reducing mistakes. ...
  • Get some fresh air. ...
  • Eat right. ...
  • Mellow music. ...
  • Caffeine (but not too much!) ...
  • Switch off.

Should you study the morning of an exam? ›

The most important point to remember is this: don't use this day (or night) as an intense study session. Assuming you've already done the bulk of your studying beforehand (especially if you're taking the SAT or ACT), you should feel pretty prepared by this point and shouldn't need an entire day to review.

Which Colour pen is best for exams? ›

When you are appearing for your paper exam or which generally takes time to declare result ,the answer sheets are kept here and there for a long period of time in which it may happen that the colour may fade. That's why prefer black ball pen. Always use BLUE GEL PEN to highlight the points or underline them .

How long does a Cambridge exam take? ›

Time allowed:1 hour 30 minutes
Number of parts:2
Number of questions:Part 1: one compulsory question Part 2: one question from a choice of three
Task types:A range from: essay, letter/email, proposal, report, review.

Can I use a dictionary in Cambridge exam? ›

In the exam, you can't use a dictionary, so it's important to be able to read without stopping to look up all the words.

What does passing a certification exam mean? ›

Certification Exam means a proctored examination intended, if passed, to attest to the competence of the Examinee with respect to the subject matter thereof.

What is a certification exam? ›

According to the U.S. National Council on Measurement in Education, a certification test is a credentialing test used to determine whether individuals are knowledgeable enough in a given occupational area to be labeled "competent to practice" in that area.

Is the tips exam hard? ›

It was a great test it was a little hard but quiz wasn't as hard as the reading and studying for the test. But it was educational. The test took about 3 to 4 hours depending how much you soak in and then take the quiz. The quiz was easier than I though would be.

How fast can I get A+ certification? ›

Some classroom training covers all of the CompTIA A+ material in one week, and others stretch it out over several months. If you choose to learn on your own, you may be able to acquire the necessary knowledge within a few days, weeks or months – depending on how much knowledge and IT experience you already have.

What is CompTIA Network+ salary? ›

The average certified CompTIA Network+ salary is $62,000 per year in the United States. While the average freelance CompTIA Network+ salary would be $21 per hour, according to Payscale.

How do I study for a professional exam? ›

Read our list of study advice to help you to do your best in an exam.
  1. 1) Revision timetable. A great place to start your study strategy is to devise a routine. ...
  2. 2) Learning maps. ...
  3. 3) Spaces and places. ...
  4. 4) When and how. ...
  5. 5) Past papers – do a lot! ...
  6. 6) Make summary notes. ...
  7. 7) Group study. ...
  8. 8) Rest, eat, exercise.

What is a certification exam? ›

According to the U.S. National Council on Measurement in Education, a certification test is a credentialing test used to determine whether individuals are knowledgeable enough in a given occupational area to be labeled "competent to practice" in that area.

How do I study for a professional exam? ›

Read our list of study advice to help you to do your best in an exam.
  1. 1) Revision timetable. A great place to start your study strategy is to devise a routine. ...
  2. 2) Learning maps. ...
  3. 3) Spaces and places. ...
  4. 4) When and how. ...
  5. 5) Past papers – do a lot! ...
  6. 6) Make summary notes. ...
  7. 7) Group study. ...
  8. 8) Rest, eat, exercise.

Is the tips exam hard? ›

It was a great test it was a little hard but quiz wasn't as hard as the reading and studying for the test. But it was educational. The test took about 3 to 4 hours depending how much you soak in and then take the quiz. The quiz was easier than I though would be.

What is the criteria required for sitting for ahima's CCA examination? ›

Candidates must have a high school diploma or equivalent to sit for the CCA examination. While not required, at least one of the following is recommended: 6 months coding experience directly applying codes; Completion of an AHIMA approved coding program (PCAP Program);

Are certification exams multiple-choice? ›

A: No matter what certification exam you take, all share one thing in common: multiple-choice questions. Some certification exams, such as ANCC, also include multiple response, drag and drop, and hot spot questions, however, the greatest number of questions on certification exams are multiple choice.

What are the three types of certification? ›

There are three general types of certification. Listed in order of development level and portability, they are: corporate (internal), product-specific, and profession-wide. Corporate, or "internal" certifications, are made by a corporation or low-stakes organization for internal purposes.

What is the purpose of certification? ›

Certifications are designated credentials earned by an individual to verify their legitimacy and competence to perform a job. Your certification is typically displayed as a document stating that as a professional, you've been trained, educated and are prepared to meet a specific set of criteria for your role.

Should I study the day of an exam? ›

Cramming just before an exam can (in theory) allow you to remember information in the short term and enable you to take in enough information for the exam. However, this may will most likely mean that you'll have no lasting connections to the knowledge, and you won't develop any deep understanding of the information.

What are the 3 secret study tips? ›

3 Secret Study Tips
  • Know what your lecturers want. Before you start studying a topic, write down your lecturer's learning objectives for that topic. ...
  • Make a study plan. Many people waste time when they study because they don't have a plan. ...
  • Use effective study techniques.

What is exam strategy? ›

Use past exam papers to direct your study and take notes

A good strategy is to practice writing responses to past exam questions throughout the semester. When you finish a topic, check to see if there is a related past exam question. It will be easier to prepare a response while the topic is still fresh in your mind.


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