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SPEX FAQ

Frequently Asked Questions

  1. Am I eligible to take the SPEX?
  2. What if I fail? Can I retake the exam?
  3. How do I register for the SPEX?
  4. Where and when is SPEX offered?
  5. What is the SPEX fee?
  6. What kind of exam is SPEX?
  7. What is the best way to prepare for the SPEX?
  8. I'm a specialist - will I be able to pass the SPEX?
  9. How long do I have to take the exam?
  10. Can I extend my 90-day eligibility period?
  11. Can I reschedule my appointment during my eligibility period?
  12. Is break time available during the exam?
  13. When will scores be available?
  14. If I take the SPEX for one licensing board or by self-nomination, can I later use those scores for licensure in another jurisdiction?
  15. What if I need special arrangements to accommodate my disability?

 

1.

Am I eligible to take the SPEX?

 

You must hold, or have held at some point, an active, unstricted medical license in the U.S. or Canada in order to apply for SPEX. 

If you have a current, active, unrestricted license to practice medicine in the U.S. or Canada, you can take the SPEX via the self-nominated process or the board-sponsored process. 

If you do not have a current, active, unrestricted license in the U.S. or Canada, you must take SPEX through the board-sponsored process. The sponsoring board may have additional eligibility requirements that you must meet in order to take SPEX. 

 

2.

What if I fail? Can I retake the exam?

 

The following rules apply to retakes:

  • You may take SPEX no more than three times within a 12-month period
  • You can retake the exam after your first attempt with no waiting period
  • A third attempt requires a mandatory 90-day waiting period from the previous attempt
  • Any attempts after the third require a one-year waiting period from the initial attempt

Board-sponsored examinees, at the sponsoring board's discretion, may not be subject to the same waiting periods. Any additional reexamination eligibility requirements and procedures for unsuccessful examinees are established by the individual licensing boards, pursuant to their statutes and regulations.

 

3.

How do I register for the SPEX?

 

Submit an application using the SPEX online application and mail in a completed Certification of Identity (CID) form. Allow one to three weeks for the processing of your application. We will email you once your application is approved. Three to five days later you will receive another email with a link to access and print your Scheduling Permit; you must use the SPEX ID provided in the approval email to access your permit. 

 

4.

Where and when is SPEX offered?

 

The SPEX is administered at Prometric Testing Centers in the U.S. The test can be scheduled Monday through Friday throughout the year; some locations have Saturday hours. Test site information is available on Prometric's website.

 

5.

What is the SPEX fee?

 

The SPEX exam fee is $1300 per application, $650 of which is non-refundable. Your application fee must be paid by American Express, MasterCard or Visa.

 

6.

What kind of exam is SPEX?

 

SPEX is a one-day, computer-administered examination that focuses on a core of clinical knowledge and relevant underlying basic science principles deemed necessary to form a reasonable foundation for the safe and effective practice of medicine. Content of the SPEX is intended to reflect the knowledge and cognitive abilities of all practicing physicians, regardless of specialty practiced. The exam consists of seven blocks of 64 minutes each (48 questions in each block).

 

7.

What is the best way to prepare for the SPEX?

 

The FSMB provides the SPEX Information Bulletin and a free, paper & pencil practice test that should provide familiarity with the formats used in the exam. A computer-based Comprehensive Clinical Medicine Self-Assessment (CCMSA) is also available for a small fee and helps you become familiar with how to navigate the examination.

 

8.

I'm a specialist - will I be able to pass the SPEX?

 

Every physician, regardless of specialty, is expected to be familiar with a core of clinical principles that are essential for safe and effective patient care. Examinees who have stayed current with the general medical literature are unlikely to encounter many questions on the SPEX with which they are totally unfamiliar. SPEX content is constructed around two primary dimensions reflecting experience in medical practice - disease categories and physician tasks - not by specialty areas. A complete description of the examination content is outlined in the SPEX Information Bulletin.

 

9. How long do I have to take the exam?
 

Your scheduling permit will include the beginning and end dates for a 90-day eligibility period in which to take the exam. If your eligibility expires before you take the exam, you must submit either an eligibility extension request (see below) or a new application and fee.

NOTE: Scheduling Permits are only available electronically. You must provide your email address on your application in order to receive the email notice that your Scheduling Permit is available. This email will include a link for accessing and printing your permit. 

 

10.

Can I extend my 90-day eligibility period?

 

Yes, if you are unable to take the test within your eligibility period, a one-time contiguous 90 day extension to your eligibility period is possible. Requests can only be submitted after your original scheduling permit is available and must be received no later than 25 days after the end of the original eligibility period.  You can apply for an eligibility extension here.  

 

11.

Can I reschedule my appointment during my eligibility period?

 

Yes, but with certain restrictions. In order to reschedule within your eligibility period, Prometric must be notified at least 5 business days in advance of your test date. To reschedule your examination, you must call the 800-telephone number provided on your scheduling permit. To cancel your application, you must submit a letter, with your signature, to the FSMB at:

SPEX
Federation of State Medical Boards
400 Fuller Wiser Road
Euless, TX 76039

Fax: (817) 868-4098
Scan and email: spex@fsmb.org

 

12. 

Is break time available during the exam?

 

Forty-five minutes is allotted for break time and can be divided in any manner you prefer. For example, you can take a short break at your seat after you complete a block, or you can take a longer break for a meal outside the test center after you complete a few blocks. If you complete a block of the test or tutorial section early, the remaining time will be available for breaks. It will not be available to complete other blocks of the test. As you progress through the blocks of the test, you should monitor how many blocks are remaining and how much break time is remaining. If you take a long break and exceed the allocated or accumulated break time, your time to complete the last block(s) in the testing session will be reduced. When section time runs out, you will not be able to move to any new screens. The computer will close the section.

 

13. 

When will scores be available?

 

Scores are mailed out approximately two to four weeks after the exam has been taken. Scores are reported by mail on official transcript paper and will not be given out over the telephone, by fax, or by email.

 

14.

If I take the SPEX for one licensing board or by self-nomination, can I later use those scores for licensure in another jurisdiction?

 

Generally, passing SPEX scores are accepted by a licensing board regardless of the jurisdiction for which the exam is taken. However, because each board establishes its own pass/fail score requirements as well as other specific requirements for licensure, it is recommended that you contact the board from which you desire licensure to confirm the acceptance of the SPEX.

 

15.

What if I need special arrangements to accommodate my disability?

 

The SPEX program provides reasonable accommodations to examinees with documented disabilities as defined by the Americans with Disabilities Act as amended in 2008, together (ADA). Disabled applicants who are covered under the ADA and require test accommodations should click here for information regarding the application process and documentation requirements. Requests for test accommodations must be made in writing at the time the SPEX application is submitted.