Licensing Examinations For Optometry Students
An optometrist has completed pre-professional undergraduate education in a college or university and four years of professional education at a school or college of optometry, leading to the Doctor of Optometry (O.D.) degree. In addition to the academic requirements, as a legislated profession, optometrists must complete both national and state licensing requirements to practice in the United States. The following link provides direct information through the National Board of Examiners in Optometry (NBEO) website on licensing requirements by state.
At the national level, the NBEO administers comprehensive and special examinations. The comprehensive examination is comprised of three parts and designed primarily for different stages of a candidate's optometric education and training. All 50 states, the District of Columbia, and Puerto Rico require Parts I, II and III for state licensure. Also, 47 states plus the District of Columbia require the Treatment and Management of Ocular Disease (TMOD) examination as one step toward therapeutic privileges.
Comprehensive Part Examinations
Part I, “Applied Basic Science” (ABS), will consist of a blend of Basic Science test items, and Clinical Science test items. The ABS examination is four sessions in length, each session 3½ hours long containing 125 items, for a total of 500 items. Student candidates must be in the spring of their third academic year to take the Part I exam.
Part II, entitled “Patient Assessment and Management” (PAM), consists of 60 simulated patient cases and is administered over two sessions, each 3 ½ hours in length. Patient cases for the PAM examination generally focus on either typical presentations of relatively high-frequency conditions or conditions with low-frequency but high-criticality. The eligibility requirements are those students midway through the fourth academic year. Therefore, the targeted administration (i.e., the administration that most students take when they become eligible) will be in December.
Part III named "Clinical Skills" (CSE), consists of a 4-station Clinical Skills Examination. In CSE, the candidate examines a different patient at each of four 30-minute stations, in the performance of 20 clinical skills including the Injections Skill Examination. The CSE is administered in one 3.5 hour session at the National Center of Clinical Testing in Optometry in Charlotte, North Carolina. Student candidates are permitted to take Part III starting August of the year prior to graduation.
Further information, examination schedules and fees may be found at the following web address: http://www.optometry.org/.
Licensing Examination Preparation at UIWRSO
UIWRSO is committed to providing our students with a challenging curriculum, robust academic resources and the supportive environment needed to be successful on licensing examinations. As a result of comprehensive academic and clinical preparation, students enjoyed success with competitive passage rates on all parts of NBEO. In 2015, the pass rate for Part I was 83.3%, Part II 98%, and 95% on Part III, with the top half of the class passing national boards at 100%. Thus, the data continues to support that the UIWRSO professional curriculum prepares our interns for successful completion of licensing examinations.
We conduct ongoing evaluations of the curriculum and licensing performance to enhance our student’s board preparation strategies. In addition to the rigorous curriculum, UIWRSO offers a dynamic board preparation program. The supplemental board preparation program includes:
- Our faculty complete basic science topic reviews during the 3rd Professional Year to help integrate clinical relevance leading up to the licensing exams.
- Our faculty and administration coordinate ExamSoft (online) routine quizzes to assist our students in assessing their progress with the material leading up to licensing exams.
- Our faculty and administration have implemented a mock exam in preparation for Part I, Applied Basic Science, to pace our students through what the exam environment is like, help our students assess their progress towards preparation for national boards and build endurance so our students are prepared to take a two day exam.
- Our faculty and administration coordinate team-based activities to encourage peer to peer support, motivation and group study.
- Our faculty coordinates an ‘Optometry Challenge’ trivia game in an effort to make studying interactive and fun for our students.
- Our faculty and administration have implemented social media strategies for motivation.
- UIWRSO also works with a third party vendor who provides multiple resources both in person and online to assist our student’s with review and organization of the high volume of study material. UIWRSO supplements the cost for our students to participate in the third party vendor programs for both Part I and Part II
- UIWRSO offers four clinical exam rooms built out as exact replicas of the clinical exam rooms students will have to demonstrate their clinical skills in for Part III. This helps students practice and prepare for Part III using the same equipment within the same lane dimensions they will find at the North Carolina testing center.