Certification Exam

The ASBMB is offering the 2016 certification exam to students in ASBMB-accredited programs. Registration instructions have been emailed to faculty contacts at all accredited schools.  If you are the coordinator of an ASBMB-accredited program and you have not received registration instructions, contact education@asbmb.org.

ASBMB Degree Certification
Once a program has been approved as an ASBMB-accredited program, its students become eligible for an ASBMB-certified degree.  To qualify for degree certification, students must:

  1. Be in their final year of study for their BMB degree and
  2. Exhibit a satisfactory performance on the ASBMB assessment instrument.

ASBMB Certification Exam
All students who are part of an ASBMB accredited program are invited to take the certification exam. Students are permitted only a single attempt at the examination during their undergraduate career. Therefore, any students who participated in the 2015 Certification Exam, irrespective of the outcome, are ineligible to take the 2016 Certification Exam.

 The certification exam has been designed to test students’ knowledge and understanding of the core competencies in Biochemistry and Molecular Biology developed by the ASBMB and its members. Questions have been structured to cover these concept areas at both lower and higher Bloom’s levels.

Preparing for the Exam
Please refer to the following for additional information on the format of the exam and the practice questions provided:

Exam Administration
Registration instructions have been emailed to faculty contacts at all accredited schools.  

If you are a student in an ASBMB-accredited program, contact your faculty coordinator for more information about registering for the exam. Students cannot register directly with the ASBMB.

Exam Fee
There is a fee of US$25 per student for the certification exam to help defray the costs involved in the preparation and scoring of the exam. Accredited departments/programs have the option of paying the exam fee on behalf of their students.

Exam Delivery
The 2016 exam will be delivered online, and participating students may either use on-campus computers or their own laptop to take the exam. Once payment is made and the details supplied by the exam administrator are entered into the system, students will be given access to a five-question practice exam. The practice exam is intended to familiarize students with the online platform, to identify any issues with the capacity of individual computers to interface with the site, and to acquaint them with the format of the official exam. Students have the option to repeat taking the practice exam up to two additional times to help familiarize them with the platform. Note: students must attempt the practice exam at least once before they can attempt the official exam.

The ASBMB expects that participating programs will take the same care in administering the certification exam as they would for any other high stakes examination, such as a midterm or final examination in a required course for their major. Participating programs are responsible for selecting an appropriate location or locations, such as an on-campus computer lab or classroom, for students to take the exam. If students are to use their personal computers to take the exam, it is essential that the room selected possess sufficient power sockets and either sufficient wired or Wi-Fi connectivity.

Normal proctoring practices are required; i.e. no access to electronic devices other than a calculator, no access to books or notes, and proctor available to assist students with questions seeking to clarify content. 

Detailed proctoring instructions and technical support information will be emailed to all course representatives by March 22, 2016. 

System Requirements
Microsoft Windows 7,8,10; Mac OSX 10.9+ and Chrome OS 40+ laptop and desktop devices are supported; however, mobile phones and iPads are not. The following web browsers are supported: Chrome 40+, Firefox 40+,Safari 9+, Internet Explorer 11+, Microsoft Edge 20+. It is highly recommended that students attempt the practice exam one week before the certification exam to confirm their chosen device is compatible.

Scoring and Results
Some questions on the exam will be scored automatically. Questions not scored automatically will be scored by a committee of ASBMB members using rubrics provided by the authors of the respective questions.  Each student response will be scored by three or more independent evaluators. Any questions exhibiting unusually disparate scores will be investigated by a team of two additional evaluators. The members of the committee will be selected to ensure both individual diversity as well as balance by region and institutional classification. Every evaluator will participate in a training experience to enhance uniformity of scoring.

The ASBMB will compile all scores, determine cutoffs for certification, and communicate this information to each student individually. In addition, each program will receive a report of the aggregate scores achieved by their students on each question.

If you are a non-ASBMB-accredited school and would like to help us beta test the current version of the assessment instrument, please contact Peter Kennelly.