Primary Certification

What We Know: ABPMR Computer-Based Testing in 2020

As we prepare for upcoming computer-based examinations, we have been working closely with Pearson VUE to understand their current limitations and procedures in place due to COVID-19 and how it may affect our candidates. For the latest information, please refer to Pearson VUE's COVID-19 update page.

Here are the highlights, based on the latest information provided to the ABPMR:

Mask Policy
As of May 12, 2020, face masks or facial coverings are required in Pearson VUE-owned testing centers.

  • Please plan to bring a mask or facial covering to your exam appointment.
  • If you do not have a mask and you are unable to get one, or if you refuse to wear one, you will be denied testing services.
  • All candidates are expected to wear their mask for the duration of their examination, with the exception of briefly removing the mask during check-in for identity verification and inspection.

Pearson VUE Capacity
Pearson VUE is currently operating at 50% candidate capacity to allow for social distancing, and are prioritizing candidates based on whether they are deemed "essential services."

Because the ABPMR certifies physicians, ABPMR candidates are categorized as essential. However, in some states or cities, local designations of "essential" may override this; Pearson VUE is keeping the ABPMR updated regarding whether local, county, or state designations affect ABPMR candidates.

In addition, keep in mind that individual centers may be subject to closure if a Pearson VUE employee tests positive for COVID-19, for example.

What the 50% capacity rule means for ABPMR candidates with examinations in August - November 2020 remains to be seen. Please bookmark this page and come back for updates; you may also be contacted directly by Pearson VUE to alert you of any issues with your center or your seat.

Seat Availability
Due to capacity restrictions, candidates may have to expand their search for an available exam seat beyond their local city — sometimes far beyond. If you plan to take a subspecialty exam this year, we recommend that you apply now and schedule your seat as soon as possible, even if it's at a location farther away from home than you prefer.

Seats may open up in locations closer to you as your exam date nears; we recommend continuing to check back on available seats even after you schedule your seat.

Stay Tuned
Rapidly changing news on the virus globally and nationally, as well as changing local orders and Pearson VUE safeguards, means that this information may change quickly. We invite you to bookmark this page and check Pearson VUE's COVID-19 update page regularly for the latest information.

Originally Published: May 19, 2020