ECFVG - Basic and Clinical Sciences Examination Candidate Bulletin

Updated December 2012

Table of Contents

Introduction to the Basic and Clinical Sciences Examination
BCSE test content outline
BCSE references
The BCSE and the NAVLE
Application fee for the BCSE
ECFVG program steps and BCSE eligibility
Basic and Clinical Sciences Examination schedule
Application for the BCSE and authorization to test
Application validity period
Testing accommodations for the BCSE
Scheduling your testing appointment
Location of test centers
Candidate identification and security at the test center
What to expect on the day of your BCSE
BCSE practice test
Irregular behavior and candidate misconduct
Score validity
Limitation of liability
Reporting test results
Score interpretation
Score reliability
Determination of passing scores
Verification of scores
BCSE retake policy
Copyright
Comments and complaints
Contacts
Appendix 1—ECFVG policy on testing accommodations
Appendix 2—Rules of conduct for the Basic and Clinical Sciences Examination

Introduction to the Basic and Clinical Sciences Examination


The Basic and Clinical Sciences Examination (BCSE) has been developed by the American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA) Educational Commission for Foreign Veterinary Graduates (ECFVG) as the third of four steps in assessing educational equivalency for purposes of ECFVG certification. It is designed to assess basic and clinical veterinary sciences knowledge. The knowledge level expected to receive a passing score on the BCSE is that of an entry-level US veterinarian (i.e., new graduate of an AVMA-accredited veterinary school).

The BCSE is a rigorous examination and reflects veterinary educational standards within the USA and Canada. ECFVG candidates are encouraged to review the BCSE blueprint and reference list found in this Candidate Bulletin to gain a better understanding of the content covered on this examination. Candidates are also encouraged to critically consider whether the veterinary education they received is sufficient to provide them with the necessary knowledge to perform at a passing level on the BCSE. For candidates who believe they need additional veterinary education, the ECFVG provides a list of postgraduate entry-level instructional opportunities at www.avma.org/ProfessionalDevelopment/Education/Foreign/Pages/ECFVG-postgrad-eduopps.aspx. Neither the AVMA nor the ECFVG endorse or have an opinion as to the usefulness of any of the listed opportunities for any given individual. Interested candidates will need to contact the program directly to determine requirements, costs, and restrictions. Candidates are also encouraged to contact the AVMA-accredited veterinary schools to determine whether they offer additional postgraduate experiences. Contact information for the accredited schools is available at www.avma.org/ProfessionalDevelopment/Education/Accreditation/Colleges/Pages/colleges-accredited.aspx.

The computer-based BCSE consists of 225 questions, many with graphics, that must be completed within a 220-minute test session. You should answer all of the questions because your score will be based on the number of correct answers you mark (one point for each question correct). No points will be deducted for wrong answers. Twenty-five of the 225 questions will be pretest items and will not be scored. These additional questions will be intermingled with scored questions. You will not be able to distinguish between the two.

In addition to the 220-minute test session, your four-hour testing appointment will include a brief tutorial to introduce you to computer-based testing and an exit evaluation at the end of the examination.

No candidate is expected to obtain a perfect score on the BCSE. However, in the opinion of the ECFVG, every candidate should have considerable familiarity with the subject matter of each question. A candidate should look for the best choice and not be misled by other choices that may be only partially true. Only one choice may be marked for each question.

Each candidate should read each test question carefully before attempting to answer the question. For each question, decide which answer is best. Be certain that you have answered all the questions on the test before exiting out of the test and leaving the test center. You may not re-access the test after signing out of your testing session and leaving the test center.

All ECFVG candidates are strongly encouraged to read this entire Candidate Bulletin, which is designed to ensure complete familiarity with application and scheduling procedures (including accommodation requests), examination fees, security and test behavior expectations, score reporting, and content for the BCSE. If questions remain after reading the Candidate Bulletin in its entirety, please contact the ECFVG Testing Coordinator at 800-248-2862, ext 6682.

In addition, policy and schedule changes impacting candidates taking the BCSE may occur at any time. It is the candidate's responsibility to monitor the ECFVG Web site for information about ECFVG program policies and changes.


BCSE content outline


The BCSE test content outline is based on the results of a Job Task Analysis conducted by the ECFVG in consultation with Prometric. The content outline of the BCSE administered prior to July 1, 2014, is based on the Job Task Analysis conducted in 2006, during which more than 3,500 veterinarians provided input related to the minimum level of knowledge, skills and tasks expected of a veterinarian entering the workforce in the United States and Canada. 

The table below provides an outline of the major domains or content areas and the subdomains tested in the BCSE administered prior to July 1, 2014. The number of questions to be expected in each domain is also listed. Please note that within each domain, the number of questions may not be uniformly distributed across all subdomains.

 

Content Outline of the BCSE administered prior to July 1, 2014.

 

Test Content Area/Domain Subdomains included within each area Number of Questions

1. Anatomy Anatomy 18-22
2. Pharmacology, Physiology, and Toxicology Pharmacology, physiology, and toxicology 24-28
3. Pathology Anatomic pathology, clinical pathology, and pathophysiology 22-26
4. Medicine Etiology, diagnosis and treatment of disease and dentistry 42-50
5. Principles of Surgery and Anesthesia Surgery and anesthesia 34-38
6. Diagnostics Diagnostic techniques and diagnostic imaging 26-30
7. Preventive Medicine Animal welfare, epidemiology, nutrition, public health, and regulatory programs 18-22

TOTAL

225 questions

The ECFVG conducted a Job Task Analysis in 2012 to update validation of the knowledge,  tasks and skills important for entry-level veterinarians entering the workforce in the United States and Canada, and to confirm or modify the content in the examinations used for critically assessing and evaluating ECFVG and NEB candidates.

The table below provides an outline of the major domains or content areas and the subdomains that will be tested in the BCSE administered on or after July 1, 2014. The number of questions to be expected in each domain is also listed. Please note that within each domain, the number of questions may not be uniformly distributed across all subdomains. 

Content Outline of the BCSE administered on or after July 1, 2014.

 

Test Content Area/Domain
Subdomains included within each area
Number of Questions

 
1. Anatomy
Anatomy
18-20
2. Pharmacology, Physiology, and Toxicology
Pharmacology, physiology, and toxicology
28-32
3. Pathology
Anatomic pathology, clinical pathology, and pathophysiology
20-23
4. Medicine
Etiology, pathophysiology, diagnosis and treatment
50-55
5. Anesthesia
Anesthesia
20-23
6. Surgery
Surgery
22-25
7. Diagnostics
Diagnostic techniques and diagnostic imaging
22-25
8. Animal Welfare
Euthanasia, species appropriate behavior, abnormal animal behavior, pain assessment and management, signs of abuse, species specific husbandry, and restraint techniques
6-7
9. Preventive Medicine
Disease prevention, epidemiology, nutrition, public health, and regulatory programs
14-15
 
TOTAL
225 questions

 


 

BCSE references

The knowledge level expected to receive a passing score on the BCSE is that of an entry-level US veterinarian (ie, new graduate of an AVMA-accredited veterinary school). Reference lists for curricula at accredited veterinary schools are extensive. The BCSE Reference List represents a relevant subset that appropriately covers the content of the BCSE.


The BCSE and the NAVLE


The BCSE is designed to help assess educational equivalency of graduates of non-AVMA/Council on Education accredited schools for the purposes of meeting the educational prerequisite for state licensure or certain types of employment. It is not designed to replace licensing examinations or other licensure or employment requirements as established by individual state veterinary regulatory boards licensure or employment requirements as established by individual state veterinary regulatory boards or employers.

You must complete all four steps of the ECFVG certification program to become certified and meet the educational prerequisite established by the veterinary regulatory board in those states requiring or accepting ECFVG certification.

Successful completion of the national veterinary licensing examination (currently the North American Veterinary Licensing Examination® [NAVLE®]) is NOT a requirement for ECFVG certification. However, successful completion of the NAVLE IS one requirement for licensure as established by all state veterinary regulatory boards. Please note—the National Board of Veterinary Medical Examiners (NBVME; www.nbvme.org) is the owner and administrator of the NAVLE. You must check with the NBVME to determine current NAVLE eligibility requirements. Each state board may also establish other licensure requirements, including state examinations. If you are seeking state licensure, you should contact the veterinary regulatory board in the state in which you anticipate seeking licensure as early as possible to determine all licensure prerequisites and requirements.

Questions regarding the four steps of the ECFVG program should be directed to the ECFVG; questions regarding licensure prerequisites and requirements should be addressed to the individual state regulatory board; questions regarding the NAVLE should be directed to the NBVME.


Application fee for the BCSE


The fee to apply for the BCSE is $90.00. The fee can be paid via credit card payment when submitting the application through ECFVG Online or in the form of a money order or cashier's check after completing the online application. The fee is good for one test administration only, and is nonrefundable and nontransferable.

The BCSE is offered at Prometric test centers in a number of different countries. Additional fees will apply for scheduling at centers outside the US, US territories, or Canada. Please see the Location of Test Centers section in this Candidate Bulletin for the current additional fee structure.


ECFVG program steps and BCSE eligibility


The ECFVG certification program includes the following four steps:

  • Step 1: Enrollment in the ECFVG program and proof of graduation from a non-AVMA/Council on Education accredited veterinary school or college
  • Step 2: Demonstration of English language competency
  • Step 3: Assessment of basic and clinical sciences knowledge
  • Step 4: Assessment of hands-on clinical veterinary skills

Candidates must recognize that enrollment into the ECFVG program does not automatically result in application for the BCSE. To be eligible to apply for the BCSE (ECFVG Step 3), a candidate must first register in the certification program and complete ECFVG Step 2 (English language assessment). Only then will a candidate have access to the BCSE application through ECFVG Online.

After you apply for the BCSE and submit the application fee, the office will confirm your eligibility to take the BCSE and will then forward you an Authorization to Test (ATT) letter. The BCSE will be offered via computer at Prometric testing sites throughout the year on a continuous testing basis beginning in April 2012. Candidates will be able to choose their test date after receiving the Authorization to Test letter. Please refer to subsequent sections in this Candidate Bulletin for complete details regarding application and scheduling procedures and eligibility period.


Basic and Clinical Sciences Examination schedule


Beginning in April 2012, the BCSE will be offered throughout the year on a continuous testing basis. You will be able to schedule your testing appointment directly with Prometric only after applying and paying for the BCSE through the ECFVG office and receiving an Authorization to Test (ATT) letter in return.

Although testing will be offered on a continuous basis, you may only test one time (one test attempt) with each submitted application. Additionally, you must take the test within 365 days from the date your BCSE application was received in the ECFVG office. If you do not take the test within this 365-day period, your application will become invalid, associated fees already paid will not be refunded, and you will be ineligible to test without reapplying for the BCSE (i.e., submitting a new BCSE application and fee).

If you fail the BCSE, you will be allowed two additional retake attempts within 12 months of your initial exam date. Prior to scheduling your retake testing appointment, you must submit a new BCSE application and fee and receive a new ATT letter. The eligibility period for each BCSE application is 365 days.


Application for the BCSE and authorization to test


Upon receipt of your completed BCSE application, any other required documents (including accommodation requests), and the testing fee of $90.00, the ECFVG Testing Coordinator will confirm your eligibility and issue you, via e-mail, an Authorization to Test (ATT) letter with a unique identification number. The ATT letter will provide you with information about scheduling your testing appointment and your eligibility period for taking the BCSE.

Please do not lose your ATT letter and unique identification number—both are required to schedule a testing appointment and to confirm your scheduled test on site. If you do misplace your ATT, please contact the ECFVG Testing Coordinator at 800-248-2862, ext 6682 ASAP for a duplicate ATT. Likewise, if you do not receive the ATT and unique identification number within 15 business days after submitting the BCSE application and fee, immediately notify the ECVFG Testing Coordinator. The ECFVG is not responsible for misdirected or lost ATTs or for ATTs that were not received by the candidate. Please note that ATTs and unique identification numbers cannot be issued via phone or fax.

Because of the importance of the ATT and unique identification number, and because both are forwarded to each candidate via E-mail, it is the responsibility of each candidate to keep the ECFVG office informed of any change in contact information. Changes in contact information can be made through ECFVG Online or can be made in writing to the ECFVG.

Please remember, your name as it appears on your BCSE application must match the name on your ATT and on your primary and secondary forms of identification. If your name listed on your BCSE application or your ATT is not correct, contact the ECFVG office immediately (before your test appointment) at 800-248-2862, ext 6682 or 6623.


Application validity period


Each application for an initial or retake examination attempt is valid for 365 days from the date it was submitted online. If you do not test/retest within the 365-day eligibility period, your application will become invalid. Please note, it is not sufficient to simply schedule a testing appointment within that 365-day period; you must actually take the BCSE within that 365-day period.


Testing accommodations for the BCSE


In accordance with the Americans with Disabilities Act and other applicable laws, the AVMA/ ECFVG provides equal opportunities for access to programs and services for individuals with documented disabilities. Accommodation requests for the BCSE must be indicated on the BCSE application and documentation must be provided to the ECFVG with sufficient time (i.e., at least 60 days prior to a candidate's preferred testing date) to review the accommodation request. An ATT letter will not be sent to candidates requesting accommodations until the ECFVG has completed its review and finalized its decision regarding requested accommodations. A BCSE Accommodations Request Form is available.

The ECFVG Policy on Testing Accommodations (see Appendix 1 in this Candidate Bulletin) provides individuals, schools, professional diagnosticians, and service providers with information regarding how to document a disability and a related need for accommodations for candidates for the BCSE. The information and documentation submitted should be as comprehensive as possible in order to allow the ECFVG to make an informed decision on the accommodation request and to avoid time delays in the decision-making process.


Scheduling your testing appointment


Your ATT letter does not guarantee you a testing appointment at the center of your choice or on the date or at the time you prefer. Therefore, once you receive your ATT letter and unique identification number from the ECFVG Testing Coordinator, you should schedule your testing appointment as soon as possible. Even if you do not plan to test for several weeks, it is preferable to schedule your appointment early. This will assure you maximum opportunity to schedule your appointment for the test center, date, and time that is most convenient for you. Waiting to schedule your testing appointment may affect the availability of an appointment at a test center of your choice.

When you are ready to schedule your testing appointment, please have your ATT letter and unique identification number available. You may schedule an appointment online 24 hours a day, seven days per week at www.prometric.com/AVMA. You may also call the Prometric Candidate Services Call Center at 800-864-5312; ext 4510 during regular weekday business hours. For a complete list of Prometric Testing center locations, please check the Prometric Web site at www.prometric.com. You may take your test at any Prometric location regardless of the state in which you currently reside or in which you wish to become licensed as a veterinarian. Additional fees, paid directly to Prometric, may result from testing outside the US or Canada.

Scheduling services are available for hearing-impaired candidates via telecommunications devices by calling 1-800-529-5390 (TTD).

When you schedule your testing appointment, you will be asked to specify your preference for a test center, date, and time. Test centers are generally open from 8:30 am to 5:30 pm but many have extended hours, including weekends. You may also obtain directions to the test center.

When you schedule your appointment you will be issued an appointment confirmation number, which you will need to bring with you on the day of your examination. Be sure to write that information down. You may also confirm and print your appointment information online at www.prometric.com.

Failure to keep an originally scheduled or rescheduled appointment will result in forfeiture of all test fees. You will have to reapply for the examination and pay all applicable fees. Be certain to schedule your testing appointment at a date and time that you will be able to keep.

The ECFVG does allow rescheduling, but NOT cancelling, a testing appointment once one has been made. Please also note that if you do reschedule your testing appointment, you must reschedule it so that it falls within your 365-day eligibility period. Rescheduling a testing appointment must be done through Prometric (not the ECFVG office) at www.prometric.com/AVMA or, during regular weekday business hours, 800-864-5312; ext 4510, and the following fees apply:

Rescheduling Period Rescheduling Fee
30 or more days before test appointment None
2 to 29 days before test appointment $25.00 to be collected by Prometric
Less than 2 days before test appointment $75.00 to be collected by Prometric


Candidates who schedule or reschedule an appointment and then do not keep that appointment will be required to reapply for the examination and pay all applicable fees. Only in extreme hardship situations (e.g., documented medical condition of the candidate or documented death in the immediate family) will the ECFVG consider allowing cancelled examinations (i.e., no shows) to be rescheduled to a later date without forfeiture of all fees paid. The ECFVG will make determinations of such exceptions allowed.

​From time to time test centers will close due to inclement weather or other unforeseeable circumstances. When test taker or employee safety is at risk, Prometric will proactively close test centers and contact the affected candidates to help them reschedule their exams. Candidates can view a list of test center closures online at https://www.prometric.com/en-us/pages/siteclosure.aspx.


Location of test centers


Prometric test centers for the BCSE are available throughout the US, US territories, Canada, and various other countries. You may schedule your appointment to test at any center regardless of the state in which you are currently residing or in which you intend to practice. However, there are additional fees, as determined by Prometric, for testing at a center outside the US, US territories, or Canada. These additional fees are payable directly to Prometric when scheduling your testing appointment. For 2012, additional fees for international testing centers are as follows:

Location Additional Fee*
APAC – (Asia Pacific) $43.00
Japan $20.00
China $43.00
EMEA (Europe, Middle East, and Asia) $43.00

Prometric test sites provide a standardized testing environment where each testing candidate takes an examination at a workstation with a computer terminal. Other candidates will be testing at the same time as your scheduled appointment and will be taking many different types of examinations. Please go online at www.prometric.com/avma to view the list of test centers available to you for your BCSE.


Candidate identification and security at the test center


Because of the importance of the BCSE, numerous security measures will be enforced when you arrive at the test center to register for the examination, during test administration, and when you complete testing, including direct monitoring during the test by a proctor; and videotaping, audio surveillance, and biometrics to include taking photographs and obtaining fingerprints. Examinees must read this and the following sections of this Bulletin carefully to understand all security requirements before arriving at the Prometric testing center. For additional information, please also refer to the Prometric Web site at www.prometric.com/TestTakers/FAQs/Regulations.htm.

Strict candidate identification requirements have been established at all test centers as follows:

  • You should always use the same form of your name. Do not change the spelling and do not change the order of your name.
  • Use the same form of your name that is on your ECFVG application.
  • When you arrive at the test center, you will be required to present a primary photo ID with a signature and your Authorization to Test (ATT) letter. A secondary signature-bearing ID will also be required. You will not be admitted to the examination without both proper forms of identification and your ATT letter.
  • Both pieces of identification must be signed and one must bear a recent photograph of you. The name on both forms of identification must be the same as the name that appears on your ATT letter.
  • Examples of acceptable forms of primary identification (which must include your signature and photograph) are a current (valid) government issued:
    • passport,
    • driver's license, or
    • state or federal identification card.
  • Examples of acceptable forms of secondary identification (signature required, photograph optional) include all those listed above under acceptable primary forms of identification plus a current (valid):
    • employee identification card,
    • student identification card,
    • military identification card,
    • citizenship card, or
    • credit card.

The following regulations and procedures are observed at every test center.

  • The test will be administered only on the day and at the time scheduled.
  • Candidates must arrive at the test center at least 30 minutes prior to their scheduled appointment.
  • No candidate will be permitted to continue the test beyond the established time limits unless accommodations have been requested and granted as per the policy in Appendix 1 of this Bulletin.
  • No questions concerning the content of the examination may be asked during the testing period.
  • No personal materials should be brought to the test center. Only identification will be allowed into the testing room. All other materials must be secured into small lockers that will be provided. Space within the lockers is limited. Test center staff assumes no responsibility for candidates' personal belongings.
  • The following items are prohibited: cell phones, PDAs, pagers, calculators, weapons, photographic devices, briefcases, computers, handbags, wallets, outerwear (coats, hats) food, beverages, tissues, books, reference materials, and any other items restricted by test center policies.
  • No smoking is allowed in the test center.
  • Visitors and/or family members may not accompany candidates to the test center. They will not be allowed to wait at the test center while testing is underway.
  • Scratch paper may not be brought into the test center. Should you need scratch paper, it will be provided to you.
  • A candidate who wishes to leave the room during the administration must obtain the supervisor's permission. Please raise your hand and wait to be dismissed. No breaks are scheduled during the examination. Test session time for candidates who choose to leave the examination for unscheduled breaks will continue to count down toward completion of your testing appointment. Please note that a candidate's test session and appointment will be terminated if he/she leaves the test center for any reason during the testing appointment.
  • A supervisor may dismiss a candidate from the administration for any of the following reasons:
    • using any unauthorized aids
    • committing misconduct, including, but not limited to, disruptive behavior, giving or receiving help, not following the regulations of the test center, or other unacceptable behavior
    • attempting to remove or reproduce test materials or notes from the examination room (See the copyright notice and following rules of misconduct)
    • impersonating another individual

Constant surveillance is maintained during the testing session. Candidates may be photographed as well as video and audio recorded. Test center personnel will maintain direct observation of candidates testing at all times.


What to expect on the day of your BCSE


Plan to arrive at the test center at least 30 minutes prior to your scheduled appointment to allow time for the check-in process. Most candidates will begin their testing session within 30 minutes of their scheduled appointment. On rare occasions, technical difficulties may occur at the test center. Every effort will be made to correct those problems and resume testing as soon as possible. If you are not able to begin testing within 30 minutes, you will be offered the opportunity to continue to wait or to reschedule your appointment without an additional fee. We regret that the ECFVG will not compensate for any expenses associated with appointments that need to be rescheduled due to acts of nature or technology-related issues.

If you arrive at the test center more than 30 minutes after your scheduled appointment time, you may be required to forfeit your appointment. While every opportunity will be made to accommodate the late arrival, you will not be guaranteed a testing appointment. If you forfeit your appointment, no refund or reschedule will be offered, and you will need to reapply for the BCSE.

At the test center, you will be required to present two (2) forms of identification. You must present a primary form of identification, which must be a current government-issued picture ID that includes your signature. A second form of ID must also be presented and must include your signature but not your photograph. The name on both forms of ID must match and must be the same as the name under which you registered for the BCSE, which is also the name that must appear on your ATT letter. Slight variations in name are acceptable, such as one ID that contains a full middle name while the second ID has only an initial. If you have had a legal name change since the time of registration for your examination, you must bring legal documentation (e.g., marriage certificate, divorce decree, court action) with you to the test center to assure that you will be allowed to test. Both forms of identification presented must be current, carry your signature, and the government-issued primary form must contain a photograph of reasonable facsimile to your current appearance.

Please remember, your name as it appears on your BCSE application must match the name on your ATT letter and on your primary and secondary forms of identification. If your name listed on your BCSE application or your ATT letter is not correct, contact the ECFVG office immediately (before your test appointment) at 800-248-2862, ext 6682 or 6623.

You will not be admitted to the test without proper ID. If you arrive at the test center without proper ID to gain admission to your testing appointment, your appointment will be forfeited and you will be required to reapply and repay the testing fee to take the BCSE.


BCSE practice test


Click here to go directly to a tutorial and sample questions for the Basic and Clinical Sciences Examination (BCSE). Your screen resolution should be set to 1024 X 768 to mimic the resolution of the actual examination. These sample questions represent the major domains tested on the BCSE but only a portion of its full scope.

This site will also familiarize you with the computer-based testing program used during the examination given at Prometric testing centers. However, because of different testing platforms, some of the program features are not fully available on the tutorial and sample questions. For instance, the sample questions will not be scored automatically, so if you wish to know how well you have done you will need to keep track of your answers and compare them to the answers found on the final screen of the practice examination. The "marking" function has also been disabled. You may review questions at any time, but the review will not show the questions you have marked for review.

In addition, the display method used for images found on some of the sample questions is slightly different than the display method that will be used in the actual BCSE. You are encouraged to review not only the practice examination tutorial at this link, but the entire tutorial available at the beginning of your actual testing appointment at the Prometric testing center. You will be given extra time to review the BCSE tutorial prior to beginning the actual examination, and it will provide you with all of the information needed to operate the testing program.

Finally, although a clock will be displayed in the practice examination as it will be in the actual examination, it will not keep track of elapsed time. In other words, there is no time limit to review the sample tutorial and sample examination questions.


Irregular behavior and candidate misconduct


The BCSE, prepared by the ECFVG and administered by Prometric, serves an important public function and NO misconduct will be tolerated. The ECFVG has established Rules of Conduct (see Appendix 2 in this Candidate Bulletin) to govern administration of the BCSE, which are designed to ensure that no examinee or group of examinees receives unfair advantage on the examination, inadvertently or otherwise.

At the beginning of the examination, you will be required to confirm that you have read and that you agree with the following confidentiality and conduct agreement:

I understand and acknowledge that I must abide by the Rules of Conduct of the ECFVG and not engage in any form of irregular behavior. My failure to do so may be sufficient cause for the ECFVG to terminate my participation in the examination, invalidate the results of my examination, withhold or revoke my scores or certification, bar my participation in future exams, or take other appropriate action.

Test Center Administrators monitor the BCSE. A monitor who observes a candidate violating the Rules of Conduct or engaging in other forms of irregular behavior or misconduct during a BCSE shall report such incidents to Prometric, who in turn will report to the ECFVG. In addition, one of the following actions may occur:

  1. A Test Center Administrator will file an irregularity report with Prometric describing his or her observations but may not advise the candidate of those observations during the examination.
  2. A Test Center Administrator may dismiss a candidate from the test and file a report with Prometric stating the action and the reasons for dismissal.
  3. A Test Center Administrator may choose to advise the candidate at the time of the observation but not dismiss the candidate from the test. Under such circumstances, the Test Center Administrator will file an irregularity report with Prometric describing his or her observations.

Regardless of action taken, when a Test Center Administrator reports to Prometric that a candidate might have committed misconduct during an examination, Prometric in turn reports to the ECFVG, and that candidate's test record is reviewed by Prometric and the ECFVG.

Each report of irregular behavior or misconduct shall be fully investigated, and if there is reason to believe that the integrity of the examination process has been jeopardized, the ECFVG may invalidate all or any part of a BCSE administration. Additionally, if information indicates that continued testing would jeopardize the security of examination materials or the integrity of scores, the ECFVG reserves the right to suspend or cancel any BCSE administration.

Candidates determined to have violated the Rules or Conduct or otherwise engaged in irregular behavior may appeal the decision by following the current ECFVG Appeal Procedure.


Score validity


The ECFVG reserves the sole right to determine whether or not an examination is valid or invalid. The acceptance of a candidate's application to take the examination, the scoring thereof, or the release of said examination results to any party shall not act in any way to amend the right of the ECFVG to determine whether such examinations or the scores achieved thereon are valid or invalid in whole or in part. A determination that an examination and the scores achieved thereon are invalid may be made at any time by the ECFVG. The ECFVG also reserves the right to cancel any scores that may already have been reported when subsequent information raises doubt of their validity.

Occasionally testing irregularities occur that affect a group of test takers. Such problems include, without limitation, administrative errors, defective equipment or materials, improper access to test content and/or the unauthorized general availability of test content, as well as other disruptions of test administrations. When group testing irregularities occur, Prometric will conduct an investigation to provide information to the ECFVG. Based on this information, the ECFVG may direct Prometric to either not score the examination or invalidate the examination scores. When it is appropriate to do so, the ECFVG will arrange with Prometric to give affected test takers the opportunity to take the examination again as soon as possible, without charge. Affected test takers will be notified of the reasons for the invalidation and their options for retaking the examination. Please note, the ECFVG Appeal Procedure does not apply to group testing irregularities.


Limitation of liability


In no case shall the AVMA, ECFVG, or Prometric be liable to any test taker or group of test takers, either in contract or tort, for cancelling, invalidating, withholding, or changing a test score or result, as provided in this Bulletin. When appropriate, the ECFVG and/or Prometric, at their discretion, may provide affected test takers with an opportunity to retake an examination or provide a refund of the testing fee paid.


Reporting test results


Candidates will receive test results approximately 20 business days following their examination date. Test results will be released by the ECFVG Testing Coordinator to the candidate via ECFVG Online and e-mail. Due to privacy and security stipulations, test results will not be released via telephone, or facsimile. Any inquiries regarding test results should be directed to the ECFVG Testing Coordinator (800-248-2862, ext 6682). The ECFVG does not approve of the use of test results for any purpose other than that for which the examination is developed and conducted; namely, as one factor in assessing educational equivalency for purposes of ECFVG certification. BCSE results are not to be presented as evidence of eligibility for employment. In addition, BCSE results are not to be use by any individual or institution for the purpose of comparing the quality of educational programs.


Score interpretation


Scores on the ECFVG examination are determined by converting the number of questions answered correctly out of the number of questions administered to a scale that ranges from approximately 300 to beyond 900. The scale passing score has been set by the ECFVG at 580, which corresponds to a level of achievement judged by ECFVG to represent minimum competency.

Candidates who fail the examination must retake the entire examination. Passing candidates will receive a score report with a "Pass" indicated; failing candidates will receive a report with a failing scale score (between 300 and 579). Also, failing candidates will receive diagnostic indicators for the domains included in the examination. The diagnostic indicators are intended to help identify areas of strength and weakness for failing candidates for further study; they are not to be used for pass/fail determination or any other use.

The diagnostic indicators for each of the seven domains (test content areas) on the BCSE will be reported to failing candidates as follows:

  1. Below the level of minimum competence
  2. At or above the level of minimum competence

Score reliability


Reliability refers to the consistency of test scores, the consistency with which candidates are classified as either passing or failing, and the degree to which test scores are free from errors of measurement. Errors of measurement may result from factors related to the test, such as the type of test given or the way it is scored, or from factors external to the test. A candidate's score will not be perfectly consistent from one occasion to the next.


Determination of passing scores


The ECFVG uses a criterion referenced method to determine the passing score for the BCSE


Verification of scores


Candidates failing any given examination may request a rescore of their test record for a fee of $50.00 per test. However, candidates should note that every BCSE record is scored twice before releasing the results. Therefore, the likelihood of misscoring is remote. Rescore requests must be made in writing to Prometric within two (2) months after the examination was administered. To request a rescore, write to Prometric at the address listed in the Contacts section later in this Candidate Bulletin. Include a cashier's check for $50.00 made payable to Prometric. No personal checks will be accepted.


BCSE retake policy


Candidates who fail the BCSE must retake the entire examination. There is no lifetime total limit on the number of times a candidate may take the BCSE. However, candidates will only be permitted to attempt the BCSE three times (i.e., the original test attempt and two retake attempts) within a 12-month period. Candidates must submit a BCSE application and the current application fee before each attempt.



All proprietary rights in the examinations, including copyright and trade secrets, are jointly held by the American Veterinary Medical Association and Prometric. In order to protect the integrity of the examination and to assure the validity of the scores that are reported, candidates must adhere to strict guidelines regarding proper conduct in handling these copyrighted, proprietary examinations. Any attempt to reproduce all or part of an examination is strictly prohibited by law. Such an attempt includes, but is not limited to: attempting to or removing materials from the examination room; aiding others by any means in reconstructing an examination in whole or in part; or selling, distributing in any form including electronic media, receiving in any form including electronic media, or having unauthorized possession of any portion of an examination. Alleged copyright violations will be investigated and, if warranted, prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law. It should also be noted that examination scores may be invalidated in the event of this type of suspected breach.


Comments and complaints


Should a candidate wish to file a concern regarding the BCSE testing experience, he/she may do so by notifying the ECFVG office in writing within three weeks of the candidate's test date. Concerns that are reported in this way will be investigated in accordance with the current ECFVG Complaints Procedure.


Contacts


Should you have questions, please use the following contact information:

Topic Contact
  • Eligibility to take the BCSE
  • Application Procedure
  • Special testing accommodations
  • Name and address change
ECFVG Testing Coordinator
  • Phone: 800-248-2862, ext. 6682
  • Fax: 847-925-9329
  • Address: 1931 N. Meacham Rd, Suite 100; Schaumburg, IL 60173-4360
  • Scheduling and confirming your testing appointment
  • Directions to test centers
Prometric:
  • Web site: www.prometric.com/AVMA
  • Call center number: 800-864-5312; ext 4510
  • Examination results
  • No results will be released by phone or fax. Results will be sent via e-mail within 20 business days of the exam.
  • Rescore requests
  • Forward written and signed requests with a $50.00 cashier's check to:
    Prometric
    Attn: AVMA Program Manager
    Canton Crossing Tower
    1501 South Clinton Street
    Baltimore, MD 21224

The ECFVG encourages candidates to share comments about your testing experience. At the end of your test you will be directed to an exit survey where you may add narrative comments. You may also send your comments via mail to the following address:

American Veterinary Medical Association
ATTN: ECFVG Testing Coordinator
1931 N Meacham Rd, Suite 100
Schaumburg, IL 60173-4360


Appendix 1—ECFVG policy on testing accommodations


Introduction—The Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 (ADA) and accompanying regulations define a person with a disability as someone with a physical or mental impairment that substantially limits one or more major life activities such as walking, seeing, hearing, or learning. The purpose of documentation is to validate that the applicant is covered under the ADA. Comprehensive information by a qualified professional is necessary to allow the ECFVG to understand the nature and extent of the applicant's disability and the resulting functional impairment that limits access to its examinations. Documentation also allows the ECFVG to provide appropriate accommodations for such a disability. Documentation submitted by an applicant in support of a request is reviewed by the ECFVG for consideration and may be forwarded to outside experts for impartial professional review.

The purpose of accommodations is to provide those with disabilities opportunities for equal access to take the Basic and Clinical Sciences Examination (BCSE). Accommodations "match up" with the identified functional limitation so that the area of impairment is mitigated by an auxiliary aid or adjustment to the testing procedure. Functional limitation refers to the behavioral manifestations of the disability that impede the individual's ability to function; that is, what someone cannot do on a regular and continuing basis as a result of the disability. For example, a functional limitation might be a visual impairment in reading words on a computer screen. An appropriate accommodation might be use of screen magnification. It is essential that the documentation submitted with an accommodations request provide a clear explanation of the functional impairment and a rationale for the requested accommodation.

The ECFVG will provide, without cost to the candidates, reasonable accommodations designed to facilitate opportunities for equal access to the BCSE for those candidates whose documentation supports such a determination. Accommodations will be considered on a case-by-case basis. In no case will accommodations be provided that would compromise the examination's ability to test accurately the skills and knowledge it purports to measure. Similarly, no auxiliary aid or service will be provided that will fundamentally alter the examination.

While the use of accommodations in the examination may enable the individual to better demonstrate his or her mastery of competency, accommodations are not a guarantee of improved performance, test completion, or a passing score.

When to Request Test Accommodations for the BCSE—Once the ECFVG office notifies a candidate who requires accommodations that he or she is eligible for the BCSE, the candidate should download a BCSE Test Accommodation Request Form. The completed BCSE Accommodations Request Form must be submitted to the ECFVG office at least 60 days prior to the desired test date and immediately following the submission of the online BCSE application and testing fee of $90.00. Appropriate documentation of the disabling condition and need for accommodations must accompany the BCSE Accommodations Request Form. In order to facilitate processing, the ECFVG encourages applicants to provide detailed and complete responses to the request for test accommodations and accompanying documentation.

How to Request Test Accommodations for the BCSE—If a candidate has a documented disability covered under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) and requires test accommodations, he/she must notify the ECFVG in writing each time he/she applies for accommodation and examination. The individual requesting accommodations must personally initiate a written request for test accommodations. Accommodation requests by a third party (such as an evaluator or veterinary school) cannot be honored. Candidates should read and comply with the following seven steps to request accommodations:

  1. Read the General Guidelines for Documenting Disabilities, Guidelines for Documenting Learning Disabilities, and Guidelines for Documenting Attention-deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder and share them with the professional who will be preparing your documentation. Your treating professional must provide the necessary supporting documentation as described in these guidelines.
  2. Complete and sign the BCSE Accommodations Request Form. Alternatively, if you are applying to retake the BCSE, complete and sign the BCSE Retake Accommodations Request Form, which may also be obtained at the ECFVG Web site.
  3. Attach documentation of the disability and your need for accommodation.
    1. Compare your documentation with the information listed in the General Guidelines for Documenting Disabilities, Guidelines for Documenting Learning Disabilities, and Guidelines for Documenting Attention-deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder to ensure a complete submission.
    2. Incomplete documentation will delay processing of your request. Documentation should be submitted in adequate time (i.e., no less than 60 days prior) to allow the accommodation to be considered before the candidate's preferred testing date.
  4. Attach a personal statement describing your disability and its impact on your ability to function in a clinical setting and in your daily life. If you are currently a practicing veterinarian, also describe any current workplace accommodations.
  5. Submit all documentation as outlined in the General Guidelines for Documenting Disabilities, Guidelines for Documenting Learning Disabilities, and Guidelines for Documenting Attention-deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder, including the following:
    1. Typed or printed letters and reports from evaluators on official letterhead.
    2. All documents in English. You are responsible for providing certified English translations of foreign-language documentation.
    3. Records from childhood if you are requesting accommodations based on a developmental disorder such as learning disorders (LD) or attention deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD).
    4. Documentation of your functional impairment in activities beyond test-taking.
    5. Verification of your functional impairment by impartial third-party individuals who have observed you in day-to-day functioning or in clinical situations.
  6. Retain a photocopy of all Request Forms and documentation submitted.
  7. Send your completed BCSE Accommodations Request Form and documentation via a traceable or return-receipt method with your BCSE application to:
    AVMA/ECFVG
    Attn: Testing Coordinator
    1931 N. Meacham Rd. Suite 100
    Schaumburg, IL 60173

General Guidelines for Documenting Disabilities—The following guidelines are provided to assist the applicant in documenting a need for accommodation based on an impairment that substantially limits one or more major life activities. To support a request for test accommodations, a candidate must please submit the following documentation from his/her testing professional:

  1. A detailed, comprehensive written report describing the candidate's disability and its severity and justifying the need for the requested accommodations. Documentation in support of requests for accommodations on the basis of a learning disability or attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder must also comply with the Guidelines for Documenting Learning Disabilities or Guidelines for Documenting Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder, respectively.
  2. The following characteristics are expected of all documentation submitted in support of a request for accommodations. Documentation must:
    1. State a specific diagnosis of the disability. A professionally recognized diagnosis for the particular category of disability is expected (e.g., the DSM-IV diagnostic categories for learning disabilities).
    2. Be current. Because the provision of reasonable accommodations is based on assessment of the current impact of the examinee's disability on the testing activity, it is in the individual's best interest to provide recent documentation. As the manifestations of a disability may vary over time and in different settings, in most cases an evaluation should have been conducted within the past three years. For example, low vision or neuromuscular conditions are often subject to change and should be updated for current functioning.
    3. Describe the specific diagnostic criteria and name the diagnostic tests used, including date(s) of evaluation, specific test results, and a detailed interpretation of the test results. This description should include the results of diagnostic procedures and tests utilized and should include relevant educational, developmental, and medical history. Specific test results should be reported to support the diagnosis. For example, documentation for an examinee with multiple sclerosis should include specific findings on the neurological examination including functional limitations and MRI or other studies, if relevant. Diagnostic methods used should be appropriate to the disability and current professional practices within the field. Informal or non-standardized evaluations should be described in enough detail that other professionals could understand their role and significance in the diagnostic process.
    4. Describe in detail the individual's limitations due to the diagnosed disability (i.e., a demonstrated impact on functioning on the BCSE) and explain the relationship of the test results to the identified limitations resulting from the disability. The current functional impact on physical, perceptual, and cognitive abilities should be fully described (e.g., the extent to which an examinee with macular degeneration and resulting reduced central vision is limited in the ability to read).
    5. Recommend specific accommodations and/or assistive devices including a detailed explanation of why these accommodations or devices are needed and how they will reduce the impact of the identified functional limitations. Accommodation requests for the BCSE and their justification must be specific.
    6. Establish the professional credentials of the evaluator that qualify him or her to make the particular diagnosis, including information about licensure or certification and specialization in the area of the diagnosis. The evaluator should present evidence of comprehensive training and direct experience in the diagnosis and treatment of adults in the specific area of disability.
  3. If no prior accommodations have been provided, the qualified professional expert should include a detailed explanation as to why no accommodations were given in the past and why accommodations are needed now.

Guidelines for Documenting Learning Disabilities—The following information is provided to clarify the documentation process for applicants submitting a request for accommodations based specifically on a learning disability or cognitive impairment.

  1. The evaluation must be conducted by a qualified professional. The qualified professional (diagnostician) must have comprehensive training in the field of learning disabilities and must have comprehensive training and direct experience in working with an adult population.
  2. Testing/assessment must be current. The determination of whether an individual is significantly limited in functioning according to ADA criteria is based on assessment of the current impact of the impairment. (See General Guidelines for Documenting Disabilities). A developmental disorder such as a learning disability originates in childhood and, therefore, information which demonstrates a history of impaired functioning should also be provided.
  3. Documentation must be comprehensive. Objective evidence of a substantial limitation in cognition or learning must be provided. At a minimum, the comprehensive evaluation should include the following:
    1. A diagnostic interview and history taking. Because learning disabilities are commonly manifested during childhood, though not always formally diagnosed, relevant historical information regarding the individual's academic history and learning processes in elementary, secondary and postsecondary education should be investigated and documented. The report of assessment should include a summary of a comprehensive diagnostic interview that includes relevant background information to support the diagnosis. In addition to the candidate's self-report, the report of assessment should include:
      • A description of the presenting problem(s);
      • A developmental history;
      • Relevant academic history including results of prior standardized testing, reports of classroom performance and behaviors including transcripts, study habits and attitudes and notable trends in academic performance;
      • Relevant family history, including primary language of the home and current level of fluency in English;
      • Relevant psychosocial history;
      • Relevant medical history including the absence of a medical basis for the present symptoms;
      • Relevant employment history;
      • A discussion of dual diagnosis, alternative or co-existing mood, behavioral, neurological and/or personality disorders along with any history of relevant medication and current use that may impact the individual's learning; and
      • Exploration of possible alternatives that may mimic a learning disability when, in fact, one is not present.
    2. A psychoeducational or neuropsychological evaluation. The psychoeducational or neuropsychological evaluation must be submitted on the letterhead of a qualified professional, and it must provide clear and specific evidence that a learning or cognitive disability does or does not exist. It must also have the following characteristics:
      • The assessment must consist of a comprehensive battery of tests.
      • A diagnosis must be based on the aggregate of test results, history and level of current functioning. It is not acceptable to base a diagnosis on only one or two subtests.
      • Objective evidence of a substantial limitation to learning must be presented.
      • Tests must be appropriately normed for the age of the patient and must be administered in the designated standardized manner.
      • Minimally, the domains to be addressed in the psychoeducational or neuropsychological evaluation should include assessment of:
        1. Cognitive Functioning: A complete cognitive assessment is essential with all subtests and standard scores reported. Acceptable measures include but are not limited to: Wechsler Adult Intelligence Scale-III (WAIS-III); Woodcock Johnson Psychoeducational Battery-III (WJ-III): Tests of Cognitive Ability; Kaufman Adolescent and Adult Intelligence Test.
        2. Achievement: A comprehensive achievement battery with all subtests and standard scores is essential. The battery must include current levels of academic functioning in relevant areas such as reading (decoding and comprehension) and mathematics. Acceptable instruments include, but are not limited to, the Woodcock-Johnson Psychoeducational Battery - Revised: Tests of Achievement (WJ-III); The Scholastic Abilities Test for Adults (SATA); Woodcock Reading Mastery Tests-III. Specific achievement tests are useful instruments when administered under standardized conditions and when interpreted within the context of other diagnostic information. The Wide Range Achievement Test-3 (WRAT-3) and the Nelson-Denny Reading Test are not comprehensive diagnostic measures of achievement and therefore neither is acceptable if used as the sole measure of achievement.
        3. Information Processing: Specific areas of information processing (e.g., short- and long-term memory, sequential memory, auditory and visual perception/processing, auditory and phonological awareness, processing speed, executive functioning, motor ability) must be assessed. Acceptable measures include, but are not limited to, the Detroit Tests of Learning Aptitude - Adult (DTLA-A), Wechsler Memory Scale-III (WMS-III), information from the Woodcock Johnson Psychoeducational Battery-III Tests of Cognitive Ability, as well as other relevant instruments that may be used to address these areas.
        4. Other Assessment Measures: Other formal assessment measures or nonstandard measures and informal assessment procedures or observations may be integrated with the above instruments to help support a differential diagnosis or to disentangle the learning disability from co-existing neurological and/or psychiatric issues. In addition to standardized test batteries, nonstandardized measures and informal assessment procedures may be helpful in determining performance across a variety of domains.
  4. Actual test scores must be provided (age-based standard scores where available) as well as identification of norms used to interpret the data. Evaluators should use the most recent form of tests and should identify the specific test form as well as the norms used to compute scores. It is helpful to list all test data in a score summary sheet appended to the evaluation.
  5. Records of academic history should be provided. Because learning disabilities are most commonly manifested during childhood, relevant records detailing learning processes and difficulties in elementary, secondary and postsecondary education should be included. Such records as grade reports, transcripts, teachers' comments and the like will serve to substantiate self-reported academic difficulties in the past and present.
  6. A differential diagnosis must be reviewed and various possible alternative causes for the identified problems in academic achievement should be ruled out. The evaluation should address key constructs underlying the concept of learning disabilities and provide clear and specific evidence of the information processing deficit(s) and how these deficits currently impair the individual's ability to learn. No single test or subtest is a sufficient basis for a diagnosis. The differential diagnosis must demonstrate that:
    1. Significant difficulties persist in the acquisition and use of listening, speaking, reading, writing or reasoning skills.
    2. The problems being experienced are not primarily due to lack of exposure to the behaviors needed for academic learning or to an inadequate match between the individual's ability and the instructional demands.
  7. A clinical summary must be provided. A well-written diagnostic summary based on a comprehensive evaluative process is a necessary component of the report. Assessment instruments and the data they provide do not diagnose; rather, they provide important data that must be integrated with background information, historical information and current functioning. It is essential then that the evaluator integrates all information gathered in a well-developed clinical summary. The following elements must be included in the clinical summary:
    1. Demonstration of the evaluators having ruled out alternative explanations for the identified academic problems as a result of poor education, poor motivation and/or study skills, emotional problems, attentional problems and cultural or language differences
    2. Indication of how patterns in cognitive ability, achievement and information processing are used to determine the presence of a learning disability
    3. Indication of the substantial limitation to learning presented by the learning disability and the degree to which it impacts the individual in the context of the BCSE; and
    4. Indication as to why specific accommodations are needed and how the effects of the specific disability are mediated by the recommended accommodation(s).
  8. Each accommodation recommended by the evaluator must include a rationale. The evaluator must describe the impact the diagnosed learning disability has on a specific major life activity as well as the degree of significance of this impact on the individual. The diagnostic report must include specific recommendations for accommodations and a detailed explanation as to why each accommodation is recommended. Recommendations must be tied to specific diagnostic test results or clinical observations. The documentation should include any record of prior accommodation or auxiliary aids, including any information about specific conditions under which the accommodations were used and whether or not they were effective. However, a prior history of accommodation, without demonstration of a current need, does not in and of itself warrant the provision of a like accommodation. If no prior accommodation(s) has been provided, the qualified professional expert should include a detailed explanation as to why no accommodation(s) was used in the past and why accommodation(s) is needed at this time.
  9. Problems such as test anxiety, English as a second language in and of itself, slow reading without an identified underlying cognitive deficit or failure to achieve a desired academic outcome are not learning disabilities and, therefore, are not covered under the ADA.

Guidelines for Documenting Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD)—For those applicants submitting a request for accommodations based specifically on Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD), the following additional information is provided to clarify the documentation process:

  1. The evaluation must be conducted by a qualified diagnostician. Professionals conducting assessments and rendering diagnoses of ADHD must be qualified to do so. Comprehensive training in the differential diagnosis of ADHD and other psychiatric disorders and direct experience in diagnosis and treatment of adults is necessary. The evaluator's name, title and professional credentials, including information about license or certification as well as the area of specialization, employment and state in which the individual practices should be clearly stated in the documentation.
  2. Testing/assessment must be current. The determination of whether an individual is "significantly limited" in functioning is based on assessment of the current impact of the impairment on the BCSE (see General Guidelines for Documenting Disabilities).
  3. Documentation necessary to substantiate the ADHD must be comprehensive. Because ADHD is, by definition, first exhibited in childhood (although it may not have been formally diagnosed) and in more than one setting, objective, relevant, historical information is essential. Information verifying a chronic course of ADHD symptoms from childhood through adolescence to adulthood, such as educational transcripts, report cards, teacher comments, tutoring evaluations, job assessments, and the like are necessary.
    1. The evaluator is expected to review and discuss DSM-IV diagnostic criteria for ADHD and describe the extent to which the patient meets these criteria. The report must include information about the specific symptoms exhibited and document that the patient meets criteria for long-standing history, impairment, and pervasiveness.
    2. A history of the individual's presenting symptoms must be provided, including evidence of ongoing impulsive/hyperactive or inattentive behaviors (as specified in DSM-IV) that significantly impair functioning in two or more settings.
    3. The information collected by the evaluator must consist of more than a self-report. Information from third party sources is critical in the diagnosis of adult ADHD. Information gathered in the diagnostic interview and reported in the evaluation should include, but not necessarily be limited to, the following:
      • History of presenting attentional symptoms, including evidence of ongoing impulsive/hyperactive or inattentive behavior that has significantly impaired functioning over time;
      • Developmental history;
      • Family history for presence of ADHD and other educational, learning, physical, or psychological difficulties deemed relevant by the examiner;
      • Relevant medical and medication history, including the absence of a medical basis for the symptoms being evaluated;
      • Relevant psychosocial history and any relevant interventions;
      • A thorough academic history of elementary, secondary, and postsecondary education;
      • Review of psychoeducational test reports to determine if a pattern of strengths or weaknesses is supportive of attention or learning problems;
      • Evidence of impairment in several life settings (home, school, work, etc) and evidence that the disorder significantly restricts one or more major life activities.
      • Relevant employment history;
      • Description of current functional limitations relative to a clinical practice setting and to the BCSE in particular that are presumably a direct result of the described problems with attention;
      • A discussion of the differential diagnosis, including alternative or co-existing mood, behavioral, neurological, or personality disorders that may confound the diagnosis of ADHD; and
      • Exploration of possible alternative diagnoses that may mimic ADHD.
  4. Relevant assessment batteries must be described. A neuropsychological or psychoeducational assessment may be necessary in order to determine the individual's pattern of strengths or weaknesses and to determine whether there are patterns supportive of attention problems. Test scores or subtest scores alone should not be used as the sole basis for the diagnostic decision. Scores from subtests on the Wechsler Adult Intelligence Scale - III (WAIS - III), measures of memory function, or attention or tracking tests or continuous performance tests do not in and of themselves establish the presence or absence of ADHD. They may, however, be useful as one part of the process in developing clinical hypotheses. Checklists or surveys can serve to supplement the diagnostic profile but by themselves are not adequate for the diagnosis of ADHD. When testing is used, age-based standard scores must be provided for all normed measures.
  5. Identification of DSM-IV criteria. A diagnostic report must include a review of the DSM-IV criteria for ADHD both currently and retrospectively and specify which symptoms are present (see DSM-IV for specific criteria). According to DSM-IV, "the essential feature of ADHD is a persistent pattern of inattention and/or hyperactivity-impulsivity that is more frequent and severe than is typically observed in individuals at a comparable level of development." Other criteria include:
    1. Symptoms of hyperactivity-impulsivity or inattention that cause impairment that were present in childhood.
    2. Current symptoms that have been present for at least the past six months.
    3. Impairment from the symptoms present in two or more settings (school, work, home, etc).
  6. Documentation must include a specific diagnosis. The report must include a specific diagnosis of ADHD based on the DSM-IV diagnostic criteria. Individuals who report problems with organization, test anxiety, memory, and concentration only on a situational basis do not fit the prescribed diagnostic criteria for ADHD. Given that many individuals benefit from prescribed medications and therapies, a positive response to medication by itself is not supportive of a diagnosis, nor does the use of medication in and of itself either support or negate the need for accommodation.
  7. A clinical summary must be provided. A well-written diagnostic summary based on a comprehensive evaluative process is a necessary component of the assessment. The clinical summary must include:
    1. Demonstration of the evaluators having ruled out alternative explanations for inattentiveness, impulsivity, and/or hyperactivity as a result of psychological or medical disorders or non-cognitive factors;
    2. Indication of how patterns of inattentiveness, impulsivity, and/or hyperactivity across the life span and across settings are used to determine the presence of ADHD;
    3. Indication of the substantial limitation to learning presented by ADHD and the degree to which it impacts the individual in the context for which accommodations are being requested (e.g., impact on the BCSE); and
    4. Indication as to why specific accommodations are needed for the BCSE and how the effects of ADHD symptoms, as designated by the DSM-IV, are mediated by the accommodation(s).
  8. Each accommodation recommended by the evaluator must include a rationale. The evaluator must describe the impact of ADHD (if one exists) on a specific major life activity as well as the degree of significance of this impact on the individual. The diagnostic report must include specific recommendations for accommodations. A detailed explanation must be provided as to why each accommodation is recommended and should be correlated with specific identified functional limitations. Prior documentation may have been useful in determining appropriate services in the past. However, documentation should validate the need for accommodation based on the individual's current level of functioning. The documentation should include any record of prior accommodation or auxiliary aid, including information about specific conditions under which the accommodation was used (e.g., standardized testing, final exams, etc). However, a prior history of accommodation without demonstration of a current need does not in itself warrant the provision of a similar accommodation. If no prior accommodation has been provided, the qualified professional and/or individual being evaluated should include a detailed explanation as to why no accommodation was used in the past and why accommodation is needed at this time.
  9. Because of the challenge of distinguishing ADHD from normal developmental patterns and behaviors of adults, including procrastination, disorganization, distractibility, restlessness, boredom, academic underachievement or failure, low self-esteem, and chronic tardiness or inattendance, a multifaceted evaluation must address the intensity and frequency of the symptoms and whether these behaviors constitute impairment in a major life activity.

Confidentiality—Except where necessary to make a determination of appropriate accommodations, the ECFVG does not disclose names of applicants with disabilities or information concerning the application or accompanying documentation. In that event, such information shall be disclosed only to outside experts and other consultants. Entities receiving verification of certification are not advised of any accommodations provided to the subject candidate.


Appendix 2—Rules of conduct for the Basic and Clinical Sciences Examination


By applying to take the Basic and Clinical Sciences Examination (BCSE), a candidate agrees to the following Rules of Conduct:

  • You are the person named on the BCSE application.
  • You will place in a locker or cubicle or other designated area all personal belongings, including cellular telephones, watches with computer communication and/or memory capability, pagers, personal digital assistants (PDAs), formulas, study materials, notes, papers, and your purse or wallet, before you enter the secure testing area.
  • You will not use a telephone at any time while you are in the secure area.
  • You will not give, receive, or obtain any form of unauthorized assistance during the testing session.
  • You will not have in your possession any formulas, study materials, notes, papers, or electronic devices of any kind unless you are out of the secure testing area of the BCSE site.
  • You will not remove materials in any form (written, printed, recorded, or any other type) from the secure testing area unless instructed to do so by the Test Center Administrators.
  • You understand and acknowledge that all examination materials remain the property of the ECFVG, and you will maintain the confidentiality of the examination content for the BCSE. You will not reproduce or attempt to reproduce examination materials through memorization or any other means, nor will you provide information relating to examination content that may give or attempt to give unfair advantage to individuals who may be taking the examination, including, without limitation, by posting information regarding examination content on the Internet.

Unless specifically authorized, candidates may not bring personal belongings into the secure testing area of the BCSE site. Failure to follow these rules shall constitute a violation of the Rules of Conduct for the administration of the BCSE and may lead to adverse action regarding a candidate's examination. For the BCSE, unauthorized personal belongings include, but are not limited to:

  • mechanical or electronic devices other than simple calculators, such as cellular telephones, personal digital assistants (PDAs), watches with computer communication and/or memory capability, electronic paging devices, recording or filming devices, radios;
  • outerwear, such as coats, jackets, head wear, gloves;
  • book bags, backpacks, handbags, briefcases, wallets; and
  • books, notes, study materials, or scratch paper.

If candidates bring any personal belongings to the BCSE site, they must store them in a designated locker or storage cubicle or other designated area as directed. All stored mechanical or electronic devices must be turned off. Upon reasonable suspicion, a candidate's personal belongings and their contents may be inspected.

Irregular Behavior—Irregular behavior consists of any action by BCSE candidates or others that subverts or attempts to subvert the examination process, including, without limitation:

  • Falsification of information on the application form, including additional documentation, or failure to provide the ECFVG with information material to your application.
  • Impersonating an examinee or engaging someone else to take the examination for you
  • Giving, receiving, or obtaining unauthorized assistance during the examination, or attempting to do so.
  • Unauthorized possession, reproduction, or disclosure of any materials, including, but not limited to, examination questions, before, during, or after the examination.
  • Making notes of any kind during an examination except on the writing materials provided by the BCSE for that purpose.
  • Disruptive or unprofessional behavior at a BCSE site.
  • Offering any benefit to any BCSE Test Center Administrator or agent of the ECFVG in return for any right, privilege, or benefit which is not usually granted by the ECFVG to other similarly situated candidates.
NOTE: Talking to another examinee during the examination may be reported as evidence of giving, receiving, or obtaining unauthorized assistance.

 

If a candidate is determined to have failed to abide by the Rules of Conduct of the ECFVG or otherwise to have engaged in any form of irregular behavior, the ECFVG may terminate the candidate's participation in an examination, invalidate the results of an examination, withhold or revoke the candidate's scores or certification, bar the candidate's participation in future examinations, and/or take other appropriate adverse action. In addition, such determination shall become part of the candidate's permanent ECFVG record and the fact of such determination may be provided to third parties that receive or have received verification of ECFVG status. Such information may also be provided to other legitimately interested entities.

Candidates also should understand that the ECFVG may or may not require a candidate to retake the BCSE if presented with sufficient evidence that the security of the examination has been compromised, notwithstanding the absence of any evidence of a candidate's personal involvement in such activities.

Appeal Process—Candidates determined to have violated the Rules or Conduct or otherwise engaged in irregular behavior may appeal the decision by following the current ECFVG Appeal Procedure.