Prometric Comp Exam

5/24/2015 8:40:28 PM
I would appreciate if someone could share how the breaks work for a Step 1 NBME comp exam at a Prometric Center. I cannot seem to find any information about this. I believe this exam has four blocks, 50 questions each, 1 hour per block. Is that still correct? And how many breaks are given or how much time allotted? Do we get to choose when we take our breaks like with Step 1? Thanks in advance for the information.
edited by on 5/24/2015
edited by on 5/24/2015

5/29/2015 1:03:07 AM
Hey. Ive taken the NBME comp before and the breaks are actually nonexistent. The exam consists of 4 blocks of 46 questions each. Each block is 1 hour. The annoying thing about the exam is that the question counter continues to roll with each block. For example once you finish block 1 and start block 2 the top left corner will tell you you are on question 47 of 184. I know it may not seem as big of a deal but when you are in the middle or close to the end of a block you can get tripped up by the count. I suggest writing out each number of questions in each block on your laminated sheet they give you before the exam begins.

Now in terms of breaks, the proctor will tell you that if you take any sort of break your test exam time continues. If you are someone like me who needs a break, as you will on step 1 too, you will want to take a break at least half way into the exam. The unofficial way of taking a break without the clock running is to finish a block and a box will pop up prompting you that if you press ok you will move onto the next section. Do not do anything and get up from your seat. When the computer notices inactivity for a minute or two it will automatically sign you out. When you come back to your seat after a break, you will see your picture and a box for you to enter your CIN #. You will enter your CIN number, the same one when you first signed onto the computer at the beginning of your test day. You will then immediately be pushed into the next block and NO TIME WILL HAVE LAPSED. I know you may feel uneasy about this particular approach but it has worked for me and trust me the break was well needed. Its just unfortunate NBME has no official breaks or they don't clear cut tell you this method without you figuring it out yourself. But don't worry you are not doing anything illegal by taking a break. Everything was fine for me. Hope this helps. Private message me in case you have any questions.

6/4/2015 5:52:00 PM
Thanks for all the information. I took the exam and it was exactly as you said. I also found it annoying that the question counter rolls on, instead of just listing how many questions I have left in a block. Anyway, I hope your information will help others prepare. Thanks again!

6/5/2015 3:33:53 PM
Oh, another question: I noticed there was no calculator on this exam. I now cannot remember if actual Step has a calculator or not. Does anyone know? Thanks again.

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