NBME Subject Exam Computing

The National Boards of Medical Examiners (NBME) Subject Examinations aka “Shelf Exams” are taken during the 3rd year and you are expected to use your own laptop.

Laptop requirements

As of January 2023, the NBME has released an iPad app for taking exams.
We expect to offer further guidance and plan to support using an iPad for NBME Subject Area Exams soon, but do not currently recommend it.  Information related to this can be found here.

Installation Instructions for the Secure Browser

  1. Go to nbme.org/exam to download the secure browser.
  2. Select “Continue” on the first page and then “Download”
  3. If you are on a Mac move the downloaded application called “MacSecureBrowser” to your applications folder. If you are on Windows move the “PCSecureBrowser” application to somewhere you will remember (pin to start or taskbar, put it on the desktop or documents folder).

Laptop Certification

The day before an examination you can use features within the secure browser to certify your personal laptop as suitable for the examination. Be aware that the NBME does limit the number of times that you can run the certification utility (3 times in 28 days).

Laptop Certification Instructions

1. Run the secure browser.

2. Select the “Workstation Certification”.

Step 1



3. Select “Examinee Personal Laptop Certification”.

Step 2


4. Select “I will be taking a web-based exam”.

Step 3


5. Select “Launch Sample Exam”.

Step 4

6. Your laptop is certified if you can get to the Web-Based Practice Test shown below.

Step 5

Laptop Certification Problems

If the certification is not successful, students must bring their laptop to the Meded IT staff for technical support. Email mededweb@virginia.edu to setup a time to meet. Please do this at least a day prior to the exam.

If the Meded IT staff is unable to fix a student computer problem, the student will be provided a loaner laptop on exam day. Loaner laptops must be returned once the student has finished the exam. In the event a loaner laptop is used, the student must bring their laptop back prior to the next scheduled exam so the Meded IT staff can spend more time diagnosing the problem.  Email mededweb@virginia.edu to schedule a time to meet.

On Test Day

In order to be ready to start the exam on time, please allow yourself an extra 10 minutes to get settled and ensure your computer is connected to an appropriate wifi network (eduroam, hscs-wireless, or wahoo). If you need a loaner because your laptop is broken please fill out this form.