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The details of your education journey are as important as the big milestones. Whether you’re teaching, still in school, or developing your health profession, we know you have questions. Below is a good place to start to learn more.

ASSESSMENTS - International Foundations of Medicine® (IFOM®)

IFOM Basic Science Examination (BSE) and Clinical Science Examination (CSE) both comprise 160 multiple-choice questions. Examinees have four hours to complete the exam.

IFOM Basic Science Examination (BSE) and Clinical Science Examination (CSE) are available in English and Spanish. IFOM CSE is also offered in Portuguese. Additional languages may be added based on demand.

NBME wishes to work with medical schools and other organizations (for example, ministries of health, residency programs and hospitals, and other healthcare agencies) whose programs and goals could benefit from high-quality comprehensive assessments. Generally, medical schools should be eligible to apply for ECFMG certification—see the ECFMG Information Booklet for more information. We require that all institutional users be able to comply with our test administration standards, including security protocols.

Individuals may apply to take the International Foundations of Medicine (IFOM) exams if they are currently enrolled in or have graduated from medical school. For more information about taking an IFOM exam as an individual, see.

The IFOM exams are offered at participating Prometric test centers in approximately 50 countries around the world.

The exams are also offered under the auspices of eligible medical schools and other organizations, at their sites, either over the web or as a paper and pencil exam.

Individuals can take the IFOM Clinical Science Examination (CSE) up to three times per year and the Basic Science Examination (BSE) up to two times per year.

Scores from web-based organizational administrations are normally posted within 2 weeks of the test date; scores from paper exam administration are normally posted within 2 weeks of NBME’s receipt of answer sheets. The organization’s executive chief proctor will be notified by email when the scores have been posted.

Examinees who take an IFOM exam under the auspices of a school or other organization will receive their scores from the organization, not directly from NBME.

Scores from individual IFOM administrations are typically reported within three weeks of your test date. However, delays are possible for various reasons. Please allow up to six weeks to receive your score report. You will be notified by email when your scores are available for download.

NBME does not set a minimum passing score for the IFOM examinations because they are used for different purposes (both low and high stakes) and in different healthcare and educational contexts around the world.

NBME psychometric staff can work with schools and other institutions that use the IFOM exams to recommend a passing standard for a particular school or institution.

The IFOM Clinical Science Self-Assessment Examination is an 80-question web-based exam built to the same content blueprint as the IFOM CSE. The self-assessment is available in English and Spanish. Performance feedback includes a total score and a list of every question on the assessment, with the correct answer displayed. A conversion table allows examinees to translate their self-assessment score to an approximate IFOM score.

NBME also offers free, 20-question web-based assessments for the IFOM BSE and CSE, which allow examinees to familiarize themselves with the web-based testing format, in either timed or untimed test administration conditions. The short assessments are not intended to assist examinees in preparing for the content of the exam, only to familiarize examinees with the style and format of test questions they are likely to see on the IFOM web-based exams.

The IFOM exams are used by schools, hospital systems, ministries, and other organizations around the world for various purposes, including as an entrance requirement to graduate training programs (e.g., residencies) and as a certification exam, enabling one to practice medicine in that country.

Some organizations that use IFOM scores for training selection or certification require that examinees take the exam under their auspices, while others will accept IFOM scores from any administration.

NBME recommends that those considering taking IFOM in order to gain entrance to training or medical practice first contact the program or governing agency to confirm that their IFOM score will be accepted. NBME does not maintain a list of programs or countries that use IFOM for selection purposes.