Education

Certification exam

The ASBMB certification exam is open to undergraduate students currently enrolled in ASBMB-accredited programs. Registration instructions and proctoring guidelines will be emailed to faculty contacts at all accredited schools.

2022 exam results by the numbers

  • 1,052 exams administered at 76 ASBMB-accredited programs
  • 450 total students certified
    • 328 students certified
    • 112 students certified with distinction

ASBMB degree certification

Once a program has been accredited by the ASBMB, its students become eligible for an ASBMB-certified degree. To qualify for degree certification, students must:

  • Be in their final year of study for their BMB degree.
  • Exhibit a satisfactory performance on the ASBMB certification exam.

ASBMB certification exam

All students who are enrolled in an ASBMB-accredited program are invited to take the certification exam in their junior or senior year. Students can attempt the exam only once during their undergraduate career regardless of outcome.

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 assess these concept areas at different levels of cognitive skills and abilities.

Preparing for the exam

Beginning in 2021, the exam will be administered online using the ExamSoft platform. The exam includes 12 questions, primarily free response format, to be completed in 60 minutes. Please refer to the following for information on the learning goals and objectives around which exam content is built by a community of ASBMB education fellows and the practice questions provided:

Exam administration

Each January, registration instructions and proctoring guidelines will be 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 $45 per student for the certification exam to help defray the costs involved in the preparation, administration and scoring of the exam. Accredited programs must submit payment on behalf of their students.

Exam delivery

The 60 minute exam is administered within a three-week period in March. 

Scoring and results

A volunteer team of scientist-educators scores the exams using detailed rubrics. Every evaluator participates in a training experience to enhance uniformity of scoring. Each student's response is reviewed by multiple independent scorers. Answers exhibiting unusually disparate scores are investigated further to resolve the outliers. Learn more about our scorers and scoring process here.

The ASBMB compiles all scores and determines cutoffs for certification and certification with distinction. We communicate the results to each student individually via email. In addition, each program receives a report of the aggregate scores achieved by their students on each question.

Get involved

Each year, the success of exam development and scoring is largely dependent on a volunteer community of scientist–educators. In recognition of their time and efforts, volunteers are appointed ASBMB Education Associates. To find out more about what this work entails and to sign up to volunteer, see below:

Questions?

If you have any questions regarding the ASBMB certification exam, please contact certexam@asbmb.org.

2022 dates and deadlines

Jan. 5 2022 certification exam online registration opens
Feb. 4 Deadline for exam student registration (no changes after this date)
Feb. 18 Certification exam payment due date
March 2–27 Mock exam available to familiarize students with the ExamSoft platform
March 9–March 27 Exam administration
July 1 Exam results released to students

Dates and deadlines associated with the 2023 exam will become available in the fall.