Frequently Asked Questions

The ASCeXAM is the examination of special competence in adult echocardiography. The ASCeXAM (originally called the ASEeXAM) is intended for those who wish to demonstrate special competence in all areas of echocardiography. The ReASCE is the Recertification Examination of Special Competence in Adult Echocardiography designed specifically for those who have previously passed the ASCeXAM. The purpose of ReASCE is to promote continued excellence in all areas of echocardiography.

The Advanced PTEeXAM is the examination of special competence in advanced perioperative transesophageal echocardiography. This examination was originally called the PTEeXAM and is intended for those who wish to demonstrate special competence in advanced perioperative transesophageal echocardiography. [Scope of Practice: The application of an advanced perioperative TEE examination is to uti­lize the full diagnostic potential of perioperative TEE including direction of the perioperative surgical decision making process.] The RePTE is the Recertification Examination in Perioperative Transesophageal Echocardiography designed specifically for those who have previously passed the PTEeXAM. The purpose RePTE is to allow practitioners to renew their board certification in perioperative transesophageal echocardiography and thereby promote continued excellence in the application of cardiac ultrasound in the perioperative setting.

The Basic PTEeXAM is the examination of special competence in basic perioperative transesophageal echocardiography. This examination is intended for those who wish to demonstrate special competence in basic perioperative transesophageal echocardiography. [Scope of Practice: The application of a basic perioperative TEE examination is limited to non-diagnostic use within the customary practice of anesthesiology. Be­cause the goal of and training in basic PTE is focused on intraoperative monitoring rather than specific diagnosis, except in emergent situations, diagnoses requiring intraoperative cardiac surgical intervention or postop­erative medical/surgical management must be confirmed by an individual with advanced skills in TEE or by an independent diagnostic technique.]

Early Registration

Advanced PTE and RePTE- Monday, March 20, 2017 before 12:00 PM (Noon) EST
ASCeXAM and ReASCE- Monday, March 27, 2017 before 12:00 PM (Noon) EST

**Examination registration will end at 12:00 PM (Noon) EST on Monday, May 15, 2017**

Refund/Cancellation and Deferment Policy

*Please refer to the current year’s examination handbook for specific deadline dates at www.echoboards.org.

Candidates who wish to cancel their application for their 2017 examination MUST notify NBE in writing krussell@echoboards.org.

Cancellation options are as follows:

Candidates registered during the early registration period who wish to cancel/withdraw their application will receive a partial refund of the initial fee minus a $200.00 processing fee. All written requests (via fax, or email) to cancel/withdraw MUST be received in NBE’s office before the early registration deadline*. Any requests received after this deadline, even if postmarked by the deadline, will not be processed.

Please Note: Candidates that submit an application during the late registration period* are NOT subject to a refund. Withdrawal or cancellation will result in forfeiture of ALL exam fees.

OR

Candidates may defer, for any reason, their 2017 examination application and fee paid to the 2018 examination registration, as a one-time courtesy, if requests and payments are received before the deadline* for an additional fee of $200.00. Any requests received after this deadline* will not be processed.

Deferment process is as follows:

  1. A written request (via fax, or email) to defer MUST be received in NBE’s office before the late registration deadline.
  2. If an examination location and time has already been scheduled, cancel the appointment with Prometric. Upon cancelling the scheduled appointment with Prometric the candidate MUST provide the NBE with a copy of the cancellation confirmation that Prometric will provide
  3. Click on Deferment Request and Payment Formthis needs to be a hyperlink that takes you to the deferment request form (attached) and mail, fax or email the completed form to NBE’s office before 12:00 PM (Noon) EST on Monday, May 15, 2017.
    • The administrative fee payment of $200.00 is due at time the deferment is requested, deferment will not be processed until payment is made.
    • If the $200.00 fee is not received before 12:00 PM (Noon) EST on Monday, May 15, 2017 the deferment will not be processed. Candidates at this time will need to take the examination or forfeit ALL exam fees.

*IMPORTANT*

If an examination location and time has been scheduled with Prometric, it is the applicant’s responsibility to cancel the appointment at www.prometric.com. Upon cancelling the appointment with Prometric the candidate MUST provide NBE with a copy of the cancellation confirmation that Prometric will email you. Requesting to cancel or withdraw with NBE DOES NOT cancel your examination appointment with Prometric.

REFUND, CANCELLATION AND/OR DEFERMENT REQUESTS RECEIVED AFTER THE PROVIDED DEADLINES* WILL NOT BE PROCESSED.

For the online application you can pay by VISA or MasterCard

Should you wish to pay the examination fee by check or money please contact NBE's office at 919-861-5582 or email info@echoboards.org.

No. The NBE requires an original signature on the exam and certification applications. Please MAIL, FedEx, or UPS your application and supporting documentation to:

NBE
1500 Sunday Drive, Suite 102
Raleigh, NC 27607

The NBE recommends that if mail is used, you obtain proof of delivery.

Complete the online examination application, provide payment, and a copy of your valid unrestricted medical license. If you do not have a medical license, or have questions regarding the examination requirements please see the appropriate Examination Handbook or contact NBE by phone at 919-861-5582 ext. 1259 or email info@echoboards.org.

Yes. You only need to complete the online examination application, provide payment and submit the appropriate requirement(s). Documentation of your fellowship program is not required to sit for the examination.

No. You may submit the certification application and the supporting documents for certification at any time.

No, you cannot apply late for any of these examinations. The National Board of Medical Examiners needs to know candidate information and numbers for planning purposes.

Content outlines for the examinations are located in the examination handbooks. NBE does not endorse or recommend any course of study for the examinations.

ASCeXAM/Advanced PTE:

Block 1: Tutorial

  • Allotted Time-15 minutes
  • This tutorial illustrates how the computer-based testing works and gives an opportunity to practice the format prior to beginning the exam.
  • This tutorial is optional.
  • If you finish the tutorial early the remaining time will be added to the break time.

Block 2: Exam Section

  • Allotted Time-60 Minutes
  • 50 questions in Block

Block 3: Exam Section

  • Allotted Time-60 Minutes
  • 50 questions in Block

Block 4: Exam Section

  • Allotted Time-60 Minutes
  • 50 questions in Block

Block 5: Exam Section (Case Oriented)

  • Allotted Time-90 Minutes
  • 50 questions in Block

Breaks:

  • Allotted Time-15 Minutes
  • Break time may ONLY be taken between blocks.
    • If you finish the tutorial or a block early, the time remaining will be added to the break time.
    • Further explanation of break time is provided in the tutorial.

Totals for Day:

  • Allotted Time: 4 ½ hours for exam and 30 minutes for breaks and tutorial
    • A maximum of 5 hours
  • 200 total items
 

ReASCE/RePTE/Basic PTE:

Block 1: Tutorial

  • Allotted Time-15 minutes
  • This tutorial illustrates how the computer-based testing works and gives an opportunity to practice the format prior to beginning the exam.
  • This tutorial is optional.
  • If you finish the tutorial early the remaining time will be added to the break time.
  • Actual

Block 2: Exam Section

  • Allotted Time-60 Minutes
  • 50 questions in Block

Block 3: Exam Section

  • Allotted Time-60 Minutes
  • 50 questions in Block

Block 4: Exam Section (Case Oriented)

  • Allotted Time-90 Minutes
  • 50 questions in Block

Breaks:

  • Allotted Time-15 Minutes
  • Break time may be taken between blocks.
    • If you finish the tutorial or a block early, the time remaining will be added to the break time.
    • Further explanation of break time is provided in the tutorial.

Totals for Day:

  • Allotted Time: 3 ½ hours for exam and 30 minutes for breaks and tutorial
    • A maximum of 4 hours
  • 150 total items

The following pass rates are from the 2016 examinations administrations:

  • Examination of Special Competence in Adult Echocardiography (ASCeXAM)-80%
  • Recertification Examination of Special Competence In Adult Echocardiography (ReASCE)-92%
  • Examination of Special Competence in Advanced Perioperative Transesophageal Echocardiography (APTEeXAM)-80%
  • Recertification Examination of Special Competence in Advanced Perioperative Transesophageal (RePTE)-91%

The following Basic PTE pass rate is from the 2016 examination administration (Basic PTE is only administered every other year):

  • Examination of Special Competence in Basic Perioperative Transesophageal (Basic PTEeXAM)-92%

You must bring an unexpired, government-issued form of identification (such as a driver's license or passport) that includes both your photograph and signature. If your identification contains your photograph and not your signature, you can use another form of unexpired identification that contains your signature, such as social security card, employee ID, voter's registration card, ATM card, school ID.

The first and last names on your identification must exactly match the names on your permit. The only acceptable difference would be the presence of a middle name, middle initial or suffix on one document and its absence on the other.

All of your personal belongings, including watches, wallets, food, and beverages must be placed in a small, designated locker outside the testing room. Pagers and cellular phones must be turned off before placing them in the locker. No personal items may be brought into the examination room.

You may bring soft-foam earplugs into the testing room. However, they must be out of the packaging and ready for inspection by test center staff during check-in. Earplugs must be left at the workstation during all breaks.

Prometric will provide an on-screen calculator, laminated note board, dry eraser markers, and an eraser.

Enhanced security policies to take effect in all U.S. Prometric Test Centers

Prometric takes the role of providing a secure test environment seriously. Beginning in 2017, Prometric will be conducting stricter inspections of any and all eyeglasses, jewelry and other accessories to inspect for camera devices that could be used to capture exam content.

  • All candidates will be required to remove their eyeglasses for close visual inspection by the TCAs. These inspections will take a few seconds and will be done at check-in and again upon return from breaks.
  • Jewelry outside of wedding and engagement rings is prohibited. Candidates should be instructed to not wear other jewelry to the test center.
  • Hair accessories are subject to inspection. Candidates should be instructed to refrain from wearing ornate clips, combs, barrettes, headbands, and other hair accessories as they may be prohibited from wearing them in to the testing room and asked to store them in their locker.
  • If candidate is caught with a camera device prior to entering the testing room, we will confiscate and they won’t be able to test.
  • If a candidate is caught with a camera device while in the testing room, we will confiscate and the exam will be terminated.

Please contact the NBE immediately at (919) 861-5582 ext. 1259 if your first and/or last name is misspelled or differs from how it appears on your identification (i.e. hyphenated additional name). Middle names or initials will NOT be considered at the testing centers on examination day. Name changes or corrections CANNOT be made within 7 days of your scheduled testing appointment.

Approximately two months prior to the exam, dependent on when your application is submitted and completed, you will be sent, via email, instructions on how to download and print your scheduling permit. The instructions on how to contact Prometric and schedule your exam will be printed on the permit. You CANNOT contact Prometric to schedule your exam until you download your scheduling permit. A review of Exam Policies and Procedures can be found on the NBE website www.echoboards.org under the “Inside NBE” section.

After receiving your Scheduling Permit, via email, go to www.prometric.com (online scheduling available 24 hours per day, 7 days a week) select schedule my test then choose the Test Sponsor "NBE-National Board of Echocardiography" located under the N-Q tab. You should contact Prometric as soon as you receive the permit. Prometric schedules testing appointments on a first-come, first-serve basis. The sooner you schedule your appointment, the more likely you will receive your preferred test time and location.

Yes. One week prior to the exam, you must confirm your testing center location with Prometric either by phone or via the Prometric website.

You should arrive at the Prometric test center 30 minutes before your scheduled testing time on your testing date. If you arrive more than 30 minutes after your scheduled testing time, you will not be admitted.

In the rare event of a technical problem, testing software is designed to allow the test to restart at the point it was interrupted. In most cases, the test can be restarted at the point of interruption with no loss of testing time. Should it be found that the exam did not restart at the point of interruption or there is evidence of time lost a precise analysis will be conducted and NBE will remedy the situation as it is seen fit. NBE takes all formal complaints into consideration.

Yes. You should immediately notify NBE of all address and/or email changes in order to receive your Scheduling Permit or other important correspondence from NBE. You may notify NBE by logging into your account on www.echoboards.org, send an email to info@echoboards.org or call the NBE headquarters 919-861-5582.

The title of "Testamur" is designated for successfully passing the Examination of Special Competence. This designation was chosen since applicants were not requested to supply information regarding successful completion of training dedicated to the study of Cardiovascular Disease nor completion of special training in echocardiography. Physicians who are certified in Echocardiography have provided documentation of their education and level of service, and satisfy the other requirements set by the NBE in addition to passing the examination. The title of "Diplomate" is designated for physicians who are certified in echocardiography and certification is valid for ten (10) years from the year that the Examination of Special Competence was passed.

Due to the many advances that occur in any field during the span of a decade, the NBE has always recognized that a set of criteria to define special competence (certification/testamur status) would likely be valid for only 10 years. Therefore, recertification is recommended to demonstrate continued mastery of the knowledge base of echocardiography as well as familiarity with the techniques and applications that have appeared during the ten year period since taking the original examination. In addition to a recertification examination this includes evidence of continued clinical activity and post graduate medical education in echocardiography.

NBE recommends that due to the rapidly changing technology and advances in echocardiography, echocardiographers take an examination at least once every 10 years. The purpose of the ReASCE examination is to promote continued excellence in the performance and interpretation of cardiac ultrasound. The purpose of the RePTE examination is to promote continued excellence in the application of cardiac ultrasound in the perioperative setting. These examinations should be considered in conjunction with on-going continuing medical education in the field.

The NBE has developed a Recertification Examination that is similar in format to the Examination of Special Competence in Adult Echocardiography (ASCeXAM) but designed specifically for those who have previously passed the ASCeXAM. The case oriented section will be the same as the ASCeXAM, however the multiple choice sections are designed specifically for those who have previously passed the ASCeXAM and will be comprised of fewer questions. The Recertification examination has one case oriented block that is identical to the ASCeXAM. Additionally, the ReASCE has two multiple choice blocks while the ASCeXAM has 3 multiple choice blocks.

The NBE has developed a Recertification Examination that is similar in format to the Examination of Special Competence in Advanced Perioperative Transesophageal Echocardiography (PTEeXAM) but designed specifically for those who have previously passed the Advanced PTEeXAM. The case oriented section will be the same as the Advanced PTEeXAM; however, the multiple choice sections are designed specifically for those who have previously passed the Advanced PTEeXAM and will be comprised of fewer questions. The Recertification examination has one case oriented block that is identical to the Advanced PTEeXAM. Additionally, the RePTE has two multiple choice blocks while the Advanced PTEeXAM has 3 multiple choice blocks.

No. The requirements for Recertification are different from the requirements for initial certification. Testamurs would have to meet the requirements for initial Certification which are detailed in the Board Certification Application for the 2013 ASCeXAM. You can however apply for initial certification and recertification at the same time assuming you have passed the recertification examination.

No. The requirements for Recertification are different from the requirements for initial certification. Testamurs would have to meet the requirements for initial Certification which are detailed in the Board Certification Application for the Advanced PTEeXAM. You can however apply for initial certification and recertification at the same time assuming you have passed the recertification examination

Individuals who passed the ASCeXAM or PTEeXAM are eligible to take the ReASCE or RePTE in their 9th (early), 10th (on-time) and 11th (grace) year surrounding their examination expiration date. Individuals who passed the ASCeXAM or PTEeXAM in 2008 will have the opportunity to take the Recertification Examination in 2017, 2018 or 2019.

Diplomates and Testamurs who passed the ASCeXAM in 1998-2008 or passed the ReASCE in 2006, 2007, or 2008 and the PTEeXAM in 1998-2008 or passed the RePTE in 2006, 2007, or 2008 are eligible to take the 2017 ReASCE or 2017 RePTE examinations.

Since Certification is dependent on passing the Examination of Special Competence or the Recertification Examination, applications for Certification are reviewed after the examination has been satisfactorily completed. You should receive notification of the decision of the Certification Committee within a year.

You will receive an email notification containing instructions to retrieve your score report results approximately 10 weeks after you take the examination. Certificates for passing the exam will be mailed approximately 12 weeks after the score reports are released. NBE’s website should be updated within this same timeframe for verification purposes.

The examination committees review each question for validity after the exams are scored. Questions are discarded if they do not meet predefined performance criteria. If statistical evaluation raises a concern about the validity of a question (for example if a large number of people consistently answer with a different response), then these questions are individually reviewed again to make sure they are accurate. When inaccuracies are identified, these questions can be re-scored or discarded. This process does take some time, but it is worth it to get completely valid scores.

NBE’s examinations are administered on one day each year with the exception of Basic PTE which is offered one day every other year. The next Basic PTE examination will be offered in July of 2018.

Applicants may request that their exam be Re-Scored. There is a $100.00 charge and the process takes 4 to 6 weeks. Print the form for Re-Scoring. Once you have completed the form, please fax it to 919-787-4916 or scan and email it to krussell@echoboards.org.

Please visit www.echoboards.org to enter a physician’s name into the Physician Verification feature. This is NBE’s official and public verification page.

The NBE does not endorse any review courses for the examinations

No, the NBE does not extend CME credits for taking the examination.