ECFVG - Basic and Clinical Sciences Examination Candidate Bulletin

Updated January 2023

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
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.

The computer-based BCSE consists of 225 questions that must be completed within a 220-minute test session. The format of the BCSE questions consists of multiple-choice and alternative formats; such as matching, drag-and-drop and hot spot. 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. You are encouraged to visit the BCSE practice test session in the BCSE bulletin to review the general tutorial of Prometric’s testing system before you take the BCSE.

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, ecfvgatavma [dot] org (please contact the ECFVG Testing Manager )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 is based on the results of a Job Task Analysis conducted to determine the minimum level of knowledge, skills, and tasks expected of a veterinarian entering the workforce in the United States and Canada.  The most recent Job Task Analysis was conducted in 2012 and the following report is made available for candidates and other stakeholders to view the basis of the structure and content of the examination.

2012 Job Task Analysis

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 10, 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 10, 2014.


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

1. Anatomy
2. Pharmacology, Physiology, and Toxicology
Pharmacology, physiology, and toxicology
3. Pathology
Anatomic pathology, clinical pathology, and pathophysiology
4. Medicine
Etiology, pathophysiology, diagnosis and treatment
5. Anesthesia
6. Surgery
7. Diagnostics
Diagnostic techniques and diagnostic imaging
8. Animal Welfare
Euthanasia, species appropriate behavior, abnormal animal behavior, pain assessment and management, signs of abuse, species specific husbandry, and restraint techniques
9. Preventive Medicine
Disease prevention, epidemiology, nutrition, public health, and regulatory programs
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 International Council for Veterinary Assessment (ICVA; is the owner and administrator of the NAVLE. You must check with the ICVA 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 ICVA.

Application fee for the BCSE

The fee to apply for the BCSE is $220.00. 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.

The examination fees for taking Step 3 of the program requirements – the Basic and Clinical Sciences Examination –  increased to $220. ECFVG candidates who register for the BCSE on or after January 1, 2018, will be required to register using the new fee structure. Candidates who register for the BCSE prior to January 1, 2018, irrespective of the actual date of their BCSE, will register at the old fee structure of $210 for BCSE registration.

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 is offered via computer at Prometric testing sites throughout the year on a continuous testing basis. 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

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).

In addition, beginning August 1, 2016, all ECFVG candidates who fail the BCSE are required to wait about 4 months (or about 120 days) between BCSE attempts (i.e., from date of previous BCSE attempt) in order to apply for a BCSE retake. For example, if a candidate took the BCSE on August 1, 2016, then the candidate will be able to pay retake exam fees and apply for an Authorization to Test (ATT) letter no earlier than December 1, 2016. Once the submitted retake application is processed and the ATT letter is recieved, the BCSE retake candidate can then schedule a testing appointment directly with Prometric as before.

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, the ECFVG Testing Manager 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 ecfvgatavma [dot] org (contact the ECFVG Testing Manager )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 Manager. 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 6778.

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

September 2021

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. Accommodations may also be approved for examinees with documented qualifying medical conditions that may be temporary or are not otherwise covered by the ADA, including those that require the use of medical devices or medication during the examination.

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 Manager, 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 You may also call the Prometric Candidate Services Call Center at 800-864-5312 during regular weekday business hours. For a complete list of Prometric Testing center locations, please check the Prometric Web site at 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

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 or, during regular weekday business hours, 800-864-5312, 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 here

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. Additional fees* (subject to fee increases check Prometic website) for international testing centers are as follows:

Location Additional Fee*
APAC – (Asia Pacific) $44.29
Japan $20.60
China $44.29
EMEA (Europe, Middle East, and Asia) $44.29

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 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

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, ecfvgatavma [dot] org (contact the ECFVG office )immediately (before your test appointment) at 800-248-2862, ext 6682 or 6778.

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

The format of the BCSE questions consists of multiple-choice and alternative formats; such as matching, drag-and-drop and hot spot but does not include typing short answers or essay. Click here to go directly to a general tutorial of Prometric's testing system. This site will 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 may not be fully available on the tutorial and sample questions. Some question types may not have a direct example, either.

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.

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 Manager 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 Manager (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 used 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 nine 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. ECFVG candidates who fail the BCSE are required to wait about 4 months (or about 120 days) between BCSE attempts (i.e., from date of previous BCSE attempt) in order to apply for a BCSE retake.

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.


Should a candidate wish to file a concern regarding the BCSE testing experience, they may do so by notifying the ECFVG office (ECFVGatAVMA [dot] org (ECFVG[at]AVMA[dot]org)) by email within three weeks of the candidate's test date.


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
ecfvgatavma [dot] org (ECFVG Testing Manager)
  • Phone: 800-248-2862, ext. 6682
  • Fax: 847-285-5732
  • Address: 1931 N. Meacham Rd, Suite 100; Schaumburg, IL 60173-4360
  • Scheduling and confirming your testing appointment
  • Directions to test centers
  • Web site:
  • Call center number: 800-864-5312
  • 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:
    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 Manager
1931 N Meacham Rd, Suite 100
Schaumburg, IL 60173-4360

Appendix 1—ECFVG policy on testing accommodations

September 2021

Introduction—ECFVG provides accommodations for examination of qualified candidates with a documented disability or other qualifying medical condition. The decision as to whether a medical condition that is not covered by the ADA is a "qualifying medical condition" for purposes of an ECFVG examination is at the sole discretion of ECFVG. The candidate is still required to have and demonstrate the skills and knowledge of veterinary medicine. Accommodations are provided on an individual basis and depend on the nature of the disability or medical condition and documentation provided. ECFVG will make reasonable efforts to provide the requested accommodations to examinees provided the functional impairment has been demonstrated through documentation, the accommodations do not fundamentally alter the measurement of the skills or knowledge the examination is intended to test, do not jeopardize examination integrity and security, and do not result in an undue burden to ECFVG. Approved accommodations to Basic and Clinical Sciences Examination (BCSE) candidates with a qualifying disability or qualifying medical condition will be provided at no cost.

The Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 (ADA) defines 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. An individual is not substantially limited in a major life activity if the limitation does not amount to a significant restriction when compared with the abilities of the average person. Non-specific diagnoses such as individual learning styles, learning differences, academic problems, computer phobias, slow reading, and test difficulty or test anxiety in and of themselves do not constitute a disability or impairment. The candidate has the responsibility to demonstrate the presence of a qualified disability, as well as documenting how the disability manifests in a functional limitation that, without accommodation, would impair the candidate's ability to best demonstrate the candidate's knowledge and skills on the BCSE. The more comprehensive the information provided especially regarding the disability and related functional limitation as supported by qualified professionals, the better ECFVG with its consultants can make a decision regarding the need for and appropriate accommodation to be provided. A full range of available accommodations are considered to assist candidates with disabilities or qualifying medical conditions. 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. 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. Accommodations cannot be made to the actual content of the examination. It is essential that the documentation submitted with an accommodations request provide a clear explanation of the functional impairment and a rationale and an objective basis for the requested accommodation. Candidates who receive accommodations are subject to the same policies as all other candidates.

The determination of a disability by ECFVG is an individualized inquiry and will be made on a case-by-case basis, per individual and per examination administration. ECFVG reserves the right to make final judgment regarding testing accommodations. If a candidate's request for testing accommodation is denied, the candidate may take the examination at the time originally scheduled or may schedule another test date acceptable to the candidate and ECFVG. Candidates Who Require Additional Break Time - Candidates with physical or health conditions, such as lactation (to express breast milk) and diabetes (to monitor/treat blood glucose), may apply for additional break time.

Confidentiality—Except where necessary to make a determination of appropriate accommodations, the ECFVG does not disclose names of candidates 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, who are required to maintain confidentiality. All requests for examination accommodations are strictly confidential, and documentation submitted in support of the request will be used solely for the purpose of evaluating the request or addressing a challenge to a denial of an accommodation Entities receiving verification of certification are not advised of any accommodations provided to the subject candidate.

When to Request Test Accommodations for the BCSE—After being notified of eligibility for the BCSE, submission of the on line application and testing fee, the candidate may submit the completed BCSE Test Accommodation Request Form (available on line). The completed BCSE Accommodations Request Form must be submitted to the ECFVG office at least 60 days prior to the desired test date. 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 candidates to provide detailed and complete responses and accompanying documentation to the request for test accommodations.

How to Request Test Accommodations for the BCSE—All requests for testing accommodations must be in writing from the candidate for each examination. A candidate may request more than one accommodation; however, supporting documentation is required for each requested accommodation.

Accommodation requests by a third party (such as an evaluator or veterinary school) cannot be honored. Candidates should read and comply with the following six steps to request accommodations:

  1. Complete and sign the BCSE Accommodations Request Form or as applicable the BCSE Retake Accommodations Request Form (also online).
  2. Attach documentation of the disability or medical condition and of your need for accommodation. Untimely, incomplete or inadequate documentation will delay processing of your request and may affect the preferred date.
  3. Attach a personal statement describing your disability and or medical condition and its functional limitations, including on your ability to take the BCSE. If you are currently a practicing veterinarian, also describe any current workplace accommodations.
  4. Submit documentation from your treating or assessing medical professional(s), as follows:
    1. Documentation of a disability or qualifying medical condition from a qualified medical professional must be submitted to ECFVG. A qualified professional is someone with the credentials, training, and expertise to diagnose the reported disability or medical condition. The primary relationship of the attesting professional to the individual must be that of a treating medical professional to a patient; there must be no familial, intimate, supervisory or other close relationship between the qualified professional and the individual requesting the accommodation(s).
    2. The documentation must:
      1. Be on letterhead, typed in English, dated and signed and include the name, title, and professional credentials of the qualified medical professional. The professional credentials of the professional must qualify the professional to make the particular diagnosis, and the identified credentials should include information about licensure or certification and specialization in the area of the diagnosis. The medical professional should present evidence of comprehensive training and direct experience in the diagnosis and treatment of adults in the specific area of disability. The candidate is responsible for providing certified English translations of foreign-language documentation.
      2. Contain contact information including address, telephone number, and/or e-mail address of each professional providing documentation.
      3. Include the date of assessment upon which each professional's report is based.
      4. Include the name of the specific disability or medical condition and a description of the specific impact on daily life activities and day-to-day functional limitations to major life activities including a history of the impact of the disability on academic functioning if the disability is due to a learning disability or attention deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADD or ADHD). A professionally recognized diagnosis for the particular category of disability is expected.
      5. Include a detailed description of relevant medical, psychological, educational, and/or cognitive functioning tests that were conducted, the results of those tests and a comprehensive interpretation of the results. The description should 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. To the extent relevant to the accommodation request, 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). Diagnostic methods used should be appropriate to the disability or medical condition and consistent with 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.
      6. Identify the specific examination accommodations and/or assistive devices that are recommended and how each will compensate for the candidate's limitations and reduce the impact of identified limitations. Accommodation requests for the BCSE and their justification must be specific.
    3. ECFVG reserves the right to request further verification, if necessary, of the evaluating professional's credentials and expertise relevant to the diagnosis.
    4. In addition to the referenced required supporting documentation above, if you have received prior examination accommodations in an educational setting or for other standardized examinations, documentation of these should be submitted to ECFVG. If no prior accommodations have been provided, you and/or the medical professional should include a detailed explanation as to why no accommodations were given in the past and why accommodations are needed now. While documentation of prior approved accommodation(s) in an educational or academic institution or by other testing organizations will be considered, past accommodations granted to a candidate do not guarantee approval of the requested accommodation(s).
    5. If the medical professional's assessment was performed more than 12 months prior to submission, you must submit supplemental documentation from a treating medical professional who has examined you within the past 12 months, unless the prior documentation attests that no improvement in your disability or medical condition can occur. The supplemental documentation must attest that the earlier assessment remains unchanged or identify any changes and whether they impact the request for testing accommodations.
  5. Retain a photocopy of all Request Forms and documentation submitted.
  6. Send your completed BCSE Accommodations Request Form and documentation via email to ECFVGatAVMA [dot] org (ECFVG[at]AVMA[dot]org) or via a traceable or return-receipt method to:
    Attn: Testing Manager
    1931 N. Meacham Rd. Suite 100
    Schaumburg, IL 60173

The candidate will be sent a notification of ECFVG's decision regarding the requested accommodation(s). If the request for accommodation(s) has not been approved, the candidate will be notified of the basis for that decision.


Adverse Decision: A candidate dissatisfied with a decision not to provide an accommodation or with the accommodation approved may appeal the decision pursuant to the following ECFVG appeal process:

  1. Appeals must be filed in writing within 20 days of the date of the denial of the request for accommodation. The written appeal must state why the adverse determination is incorrect.
  2. Appeals must be submitted to the ECFVG at the AVMA ECFVG office as follows: via E-mail to ecfvgatavma [dot] org (ecfvg[at]avma[dot]org); via US or Express Mail to 1931 N. Meacham Rd, Suite 100, Schaumburg, IL, 60173-4360, USA; or via fax 847-285-5732.
  3. ECFVG in addition to reviewing the file materials and written appeal may, in its discretion, present the candidate an opportunity to present additional information and arguments.
  4. Based on the information provided in the appeal, a decision will be made by the Chair of the ECFVG. The candidate will be provided with written notification of the decision and the reasons for it.


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.