The International Foundations of Medicine (IFOM®) exams help medical schools and other organizations around the world assess students’ knowledge and compare performance against an international standard.

Strengthen Your Application for Your Desired Training Program

The IFOM Basic and Clinical Science Exams are often used to assist in selecting candidates for exchange and training programs, for individual or curricular benchmarking, and to assess knowledge.

As a medical student or graduate outside the United States, taking an IFOM exam can help strengthen your application for your desired training program, so you can progress on your journey towards becoming a physician. 

The exams can also be used for practice and personal benchmarking, with an Examinee Performance Profile and Score Interpretation Guide that enable you to identify areas for improvement and determine a corresponding approximate Step 1 or Step 2 CK score.


While many administrations of the IFOM Examinations are arranged and conducted by schools and other institutions at their sites and on behalf of their examinees, NBME also makes the exams available for individual administrations two times per year.

To be eligible to take IFOM exams as an individual, you must be a current medical student or a medical school graduate. NBME and the Educational Commission for Foreign Medical Graduates® (ECFMG) will confirm your status with your medical school through a verification process. View the How to Apply tab to learn more.

Individuals can choose to take the exam for a variety of reasons, including:

  • Personal benchmarking or practice
  • They are applying to a residency program, exchange program, or other opportunity that accepts IFOM scores
  • Their school or program is conducting an on-site IFOM administration but the examinee is separated geographically from their institution

The IFOM Basic and Clinical Science Exams are available to individuals, in English only, at participating Prometric Test Centers located in approximately 50 countries around the world.

How to Apply

For complete and detailed information about IFOM exam individual administration, please read the Candidate Brochure.

  1. Confirm that the registration period is currently open by consulting the chart below.
  2. Log in to your MyNBME® Examinee Portal account (if you do not yet have an account, you can create one on that page).
  3. Purchase your exam (fees are listed below).
  4. Download the Status Verification Form, which will become available after purchase.
    • You will send this form to your medical school.
    • Officials at your medical school will then complete the form and send it directly to the ECFMG.
    • The ECFMG must receive the required paperwork no later than one week prior to the start of the test window or you will not be permitted to take the exam.
  5. After your eligibility is verified, you will receive a testing permit by email and can then visit the Prometric website to choose a test site and time.


2024 Exam Dates

Prometric 2024 Key Dates

  Window 1 Window 2
Registration Start January 2 July 5
Registration End January 31 July 31
Status Verification Deadline April 29 October 21
Examination Window Start March 20 August 21
Examination Window End May 27 November 4



Fee for Individual IFOM Examinations

at Prometric Test Centers (Per Exam)

IFOM Basic Science Exam - $200
IFOM Clinical Science Exam - $300

Exam Content

NBME offers both a Basic Science and a Clinical Science IFOM exam. Click the tabs below to learn about the content covered on each.

In addition, a Clinical Science Self-Assessment is available for examinees preparing to take the IFOM Clinical Science Exam.

The International Foundations of Medicine (IFOM) Basic Science Exam is a comprehensive examination designed to assess examinees’ knowledge of the basic medical sciences.

The exam comprises 160 multiple-choice questions, most of which are presented in clinical vignette style, in order to assess your ability to not just recall but also apply basic medical science knowledge.

The following content areas are covered:

  • Anatomy
  • Biochemistry
  • Histology and Cell Biology
  • Microbiology
  • Organ Systems
  • Pathology
  • Pharmacology
  • Physiology

The International Foundations of Medicine (IFOM) Clinical Science Exam assesses the medical knowledge and understanding of clinical science considered essential for the provision of safe and effective patient care.

The exam comprises 160 multiple-choice questions presented in clinical vignette style to assess your ability to not just recall but also apply knowledge in clinical contexts. 

The following content areas are covered:

  • Family Medicine
  • Medicine
  • Obstetrics and Gynecology
  • Pediatrics
  • Psychiatry
  • Surgery

The International Foundations of Medicine (IFOM) Clinical Science Self-Assessment assesses your knowledge of the clinical sciences in advance of taking the IFOM Clinical Science Exam.

It covers the same content as the Clinical Science Exam and includes 80 multiple-choice questions. 

Visit the Self-Assessment page to learn more.

Preparing for the Exam

Examinees can familiarize themselves with the IFOM Basic & Clinical Science Exam web-based format by using the free 20-question online practice exams. Both timed and untimed versions are available.

In addition to the IFOM Clinical Science Practice Exam, the IFOM Clinical Science Self-Assessment Exam is an 80-question web-based exam built to the same content blueprint as the IFOM Clinical Science Exam. Learn more on the Self-Assessment page

Note: The practice exams are NOT intended to assist examinees in preparing for the content of the exam; it is only intended to familiarize examinees with the style and format of test questions they are likely to see on the IFOM exams if administered on the web.

Performance Feedback

Students who take the IFOM Basic Science Exam or the Clinical Science Exam independent of a school or other organization receive an Examinee Performance Report, which includes the examinee’s total test score and performance profiles outlining areas of strength and weakness, as compared to the International Comparison Group, in each content area measured by the exam.

Those whose IFOM Basic Science Exam or the Clinical Science Exam score is at or greater than the corresponding approximate USMLE Step examination passing score (Step 1 for IFOM BSE, Step 2 CK for IFOM CSE) also receive a Certification in Basic/Clinical Science Knowledge.

Interpretation guides are provided with the Examinee Performance Report. These help examinees understand all aspects of their score and include a score table that allows examinees to compare their performance on the IFOM Basic Science Exam or Clinical Science Exam to USMLE Step 1 or Step 2 Clinical Knowledge.

Exam Rules & Conduct

The examination materials used in NBME examinations are the confidential, copyrighted property of NBME. If you reproduce and/or distribute examination materials, by any means, including reconstruction through memorization without the express written consent of NBME, you are in violation of the rights of the owners. Every legal means available to protect NBME examination materials and secure redress against those who violate copyright law may be pursued.

  • The confidentiality of examination content must be maintained at all times. You are prohibited from communicating, publishing, reproducing, or transmitting any part of your exam, in any form, or by any means, verbal or written, for any purpose.
  • If you become aware of any suspicious activity related to an NBME exam administration, notify the proctor or submit a report.
  • NBME reserves the right to discontinue examination services to an institution at any time in order to maintain the security and integrity of NBME’s examination programs.
  • Do not bring any personal/unauthorized items into the secure testing area. Such items include but are not limited to, outerwear, hats, food, drinks, purses, briefcases, notebooks, notes, pagers, watches, cell phones, recording devices, and photographic equipment.
  • You are not permitted to access any unauthorized items during the exam administration.
  • Do not make notes on your note board prior to entering your CIN or start up code. Once your exam begins, you are permitted to make calculations or notes ONLY on the erasable note board provided.
  • You must adhere to the instructions provided by proctors administering the examination.
  • Carefully review and agree to abide by any instructions provided or that appear at the start of the examination session.
  • Test proctors are not authorized to answer questions from examinees regarding examination content, testing software or scoring.
  • Do not leave the testing site at any time during your administration unless you inform and obtain permission from the testing proctor or are instructed to so do by test administration staff.
  • Failure to follow test day rules and procedures may result in the withholding or cancellation of your scores, and/or a bar from future exams administered by NBME.

If you are testing at a Prometric test center, please review the instructions on your scheduling permit and familiarize yourself with Prometric’s testing center regulations

NBME encourages you to provide information concerning any activity of which you are aware that may compromise the security and integrity of the NBME’s examinations. Please contact NBME using our contact form to report such information.