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What to Expect on NBEO Part I Exam Day

Posted by Amanda Dexter on Feb 25, 2016 12:00:00 AM


With NBEO Part I fast approaching, we want to ensure that you are completely prepared for what to expect during the ABS (Applied Basic Science) exam so that there aren’t any surprises come testing day!

We want you to know what to expect on NBEO Exam Day!


To be admitted to the test center, candidates will be required to show a valid form of picture identification that includes both a photograph and a signature. When checking into the test center, you will be required to sign your name as further proof of identification. Also, the NBEO requires you to leave your identification card in front of you on the desk for period proctor inspection during the exam. The only acceptable forms of identification that may presented include:

  • A valid driver’s license or an official photo ID issued by the government of the state or province in which the candidate resides
  • A valid passport
  • A valid student identification card from an accredited optometry school (provided this ID card includes both a photograph and signature imbedded in the card)

In order to be considered valid, the ID must exactly match the name used to register for the exam. If you do not present proper identification, or the name on your ID doesn’t match the name you registered with, you may be denied admission to the exam.

What to Bring

  • Pencils: Candidates will be provided #2 pencils at the Part 1 ABS test locations. No other writing utensils will be permitted in the testing room.
  • Calculators: All candidates will be provided with a standardized 8-function (addition, subtraction, multiplication, division, memory, plus/minus, percent, and square root) calculator for use on the Part 1 ABS exam. No other calculators will be permitted.
  • No watches will be permitted in the examination rooms. It is suggested that watches not be brought to the testing center to avoid loss or theft. Large wall clocks will be provided within view of the candidates that that they are able to time their exam progress. 
  • Cell phones are also not permitted in examination rooms. Candidates are advised not to bring cell phones to the venues to avoid loss or theft.  
  • No other electronic devices of any kind are permitted in examination rooms, except for those necessary to assist disabled candidates. Any assistive devices that are deemed necessary must be approved by the NBEO prior to the testing date. 
  • Non-compliance with any aspect of these policies will be reported to the National Board and may be subject to the consequences associated with cheating (including withholding of scores and various legal consequences). 

Session Lengths/Breaks

  • The Part I (ABS) exam consists of four, 3 and 1/2 hour sessions split between 2 testing days (each session consisting of 125 items).
  • There is a mandatory break between the sessions. Candidates will have 90 minutes between sessions for lunch.  
  • Food and drink are not permitted in the exam room, but may be consumed during the breaks.
  • Candidates with special dietary/nutritional needs relating to a medical condition should make prior arrangements with the National Board prior to the testing date. 
  • Candidates are allowed restroom breaks during the examination although no additional testing time is allotted. If you need a break, raise your hand and a proctor will escort you out of the testing room.


Scores will be available for Candidates to view no later than May 4th, 2016. Once scores are released and available to be viewed online (https://www.optometry.org/scores/), the NBEO will immediately post an announcement on their homepage (http://www.optometry.org/) under “News and Notes.” Scores will not be available until this announcement is made.

If you wish to have further information or clarification on any of these points, please refer to the NBEO website www.optometry.org

-Dr. Dexter

Topics: NBEO, Testing, NBEO Part I



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