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Accessing web resources during a high-stakes secure exam: Is an open-book exam feasible?

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Lipner RS, Bovell DK, Zhang J. — American Board of Internal Medicine

Cronje N, Bauman D. — Isabel Healthcare

Pascale P. — Pearson VUE

Presented: Association of Test Publishers, March 2015

Abstract: The American Board of Internal Medicine certifies general internists and subspecialists in 19 medical disciplines. Exams are currently closed book, mostly multiple-choice, at a secure testing center. This study investigated whether an open-book exam (OBE) is feasible in a secure setting. A pilot study was conducted to explore the possibility of an OBE; 23 physicians and non-physician staff members took three 20-question modules with access to external resources, and completed a follow-up survey. The pilot testers found it easy to use the resources during the exam; however, some technical issues remain (e.g., navigation issues, issues with copy/paste, etc.). In summary, an OBE was found to be a feasible option. Future research should look at additional factors such as the type and number of resources made available, the amount of testing time, and the question type.

For more information about this presentation, please contact Research@abim.org.