CORE Exam Tips for Exam Day

To help candidates prepare for a smooth exam day experience, the ABD compiled these tips. 

General Tips
Online Proctor Tips
Test Center Tips

General Tips

Cancellation Policy
Candidates who wish to cancel an exam appointment must contact Pearson VUE or access their online Pearson VUE account to cancel the appointment at least 48 hours prior to the appointment time. Exams cannot be cancelled less than 48 hours in advance.

Failure to cancel your Pearson VUE appointment before the 48-hour mark, or failure to appear for an appointment, will result in the forfeiture of the fee paid to cover the number of module(s) planned for the appointment. To avoid forfeiting the fee for the scheduled modules, please cancel your appointment with a minimum of 48-hours notice.

To ensure the ABD has a proper record of your cancelled exam appointment, please cancel your appointment with Pearson VUE first and then contact Kara Fuller in the ABD office to update your application status.

Exam Confirmation Email
After scheduling your Pearson VUE appointment, you will receive an email confirmation. Review this carefully and make note of your appointment time. Pearson VUE cannot accommodate candidates who arrive late for appointments. 

Dermatopathology Module 
Sample Items
Approximately 30 items within the Dermatopathology module use a virtual dermatopathology (VDP) viewer. The ABD website has a set of 5 sample items to allow residents to practice with the VDP viewer prior to the exam. Residents are encouraged to access this exercise to practice navigating within the virtual pathology viewer. For best results when accessing the sample items, and to simulate the exam day experience, use a CHROME or FIREFOX browser. Do not use other browsers or access the exercise from a mobile phone or tablet.

Dermatopathology Viewer User Tips
Refer to our Dermatopathology Module Tips for more details about using the VDP viewer during the exam. 

Exam Interface
Candidates have access to an on-screen calculator and tool to flag questions to review later and add notes.

Online Proctor Tips

Online proctor candidates are responsible for providing the appropriate environment, computer equipment, and internet connection on exam day.  If any of these are faulty, the exam may be canceled or invalidated, and the candidate may have to wait until the next cycle to take the exam. Please read these guidelines and tips carefully to ensure you are aware of all requirements.

System Check
To reduce the likelihood of technical snags on Exam Day, perform another System Check in advance! This ensures your computer remains compatible with the OnVUE Online Proctoring system. Changes to your browser, updates to your Operating System and the installation of new programs since your last System Test could create unexpected conflicts. Discovering and resolving such issues prior to Exam Day is strongly advised.

Be Aware of Forbidden Programs
If the OnVUE Online Proctoring system detects usage of a forbidden program during your exam, it will immediately stop your exam and your exam cannot be restarted. Forbidden programs include messaging apps, screen sharing mechanisms, video chats, security software and secondary monitors. Your Exam Day System Test will detect such programs and will require you to close them before starting. However, you should also temporarily disable such programs to prevent them from inadvertently activating during your exam. Since forbidden program detection is a fundamental function of OnVUE online proctoring, the ABD is unable to make exceptions for exams that stop due to a forbidden program.  

Minimize Network Traffic
To reduce the likelihood of network interruptions which can disconnect your exam, minimize other activities happening on your network during your exam. For example, if others in your home are streaming movies, downloading large files or conducting video calls during your exam, your network may not be able to seamlessly manage the demand. Take all reasonable measures to ensure your exam is the only bandwidth-intensive activity happening on your network.

Prepare Your Space
To ensure you pass the Exam Day room scan, tidy your space in advance. Remove notebooks, paper, pens/pencils, books and food/drink from your work surface.

Arrive On Time
You are encouraged to check in up to 15 minutes prior to your appointment start time to leave plenty of time to complete the system check, ID capture and room scan. Arriving more than 15 minutes after your appointment start time will prevent you from accessing the exam. You must contact Pearson VUE during their regular business hours (Monday – Friday, 8 am – 8 pm eastern) to reschedule your appointment. The ABD cannot override this policy or schedule an appointment on your behalf under any circumstance, so prompt attendance is imperative.

Bring Your ID and Cell Phone
To ensure a smooth check-in process, have your photo ID and cell phone available.

Agree to Exam Rules
On Exam Day, you will be presented with the exam rules and must agree to them before starting the exam. Violations of these rules will cause revocation of your exam:

  • No one is permitted in your work area for any reason
  • You must not leave your work space for any reason
  • You must not speak or cover your mouth
  • You must not record or photograph any part of your test
  • Mobile devices must remain out of arm’s reach unless Pearson VUE contacts you

Breaks Between Modules
The CORE Exam is configured with 15-minute breaks between modules. In the online proctor environment, you must click the BEGIN BREAK button before stepping away from your computer to take a break. Clicking BEGIN BREAK alerts the proctor that you are on a planned break between modules. If you step away from your computer without clicking BEGIN BREAK, the Pearson VUE proctor will disconnect your exam and you will not be permitted to resume the exam to complete the remaining module(s). This is a universal Pearson VUE online proctor policy to ensure security and fairness in all exams they proctor. 

Technical Support
If you experience technical issues while launching or taking your exam, access the Pearson VUE ‘Live Chat’ feature for assistance. Do not call Pearson VUE Customer Support. The Pearson VUE staff members who monitor ‘Live Chat’ have the technical expertise to guide you through troubleshooting or resolving your issue. There is a button to access ‘Live Chat’ from the bottom of the OnVUE start page. Additionally, you may use the ‘Raise Your Hand’ button during the exam to signal to your live proctor that you need assistance. Your proctor can communicate with you through your webcam to help address common technical snags. Keep in mind, however, that the Proctors are not the technical experts on the platform. The staff available on ‘Live Chat’ provide the most in-depth support.  Also be aware that if your exam has started and you request technical support, the clock continues to count down.

Test Center Tips

When checking in at the Test Center, Pearson VUE staff will ask for two forms of identification: a photo ID and another ID with your signature. Please have both available when you arrive.

Emergency Test Center Closures
If there is an emergency, such as a severe weather event, that forces your Test Center to close on Exam Day, you will receive an automated email from Pearson VUE advising you of the exam cancellation and directing you to the Pearson VUE website’s scheduling system to book another Test Center appointment. If you are unable to find a suitable alternate appointment, you must call Pearson VUE during their normal business hours (Monday – Friday, 8 am – 8 pm eastern) to discuss further options. Pearson VUE scheduling staff is not available on the weekends.

COVID-19 Safety Regulations
Please be aware of the COVID-19 regulations in place at all Pearson VUE Test Centers:

  • Candidates must acknowledge that they meet health requirements and will follow health and safety guidelines while testing.
  • Candidates must bring and wear a face mask while at the test center and throughout the exam. A surgical or cloth face mask, including a homemade face mask, is acceptable as long as the nose and mouth are fully covered.
  • Candidates may be asked to stay > 6 feet away from other people in the waiting area.
  • Candidates may wear disposable gloves during testing.
  • Depending upon local requirements, some test centers perform a temperature check upon arrival.
  • Candidates must abide by travel restrictions in the state where they intended to test to ensure they are not turned away upon arrival.

Case Reports
If you experience any adverse circumstances during your exam, such as suboptimal image display or poor computer performance, please report the matter to your proctor during the exam. Ensure a Case Report is logged in the Pearson VUE system so the ABD can obtain verification of the issue, should the need arise.