North American Veterinary Licensing Examination (NAVLE®)
Frequently Asked Questions...
Updated December 1, 2016
...about the NAVLE in general
When is the NAVLE given?
The NAVLE is given during testing windows in the fall and spring. The 2016 - 2017 windows are November 14 - December 10, 2016 and April 10-22, 2017. Candidates can take the NAVLE on any day during the testing window, subject to availability of space. Testing centers are open Monday through Friday, and many are also open on Saturday.
Where is the NAVLE given?
The NAVLE is given at testing centers operated by Prometric. There are about 300 centers in North America. Look for sites listed for the "National Board of Veterinary Medical Examiners" and then select "NAVLE" or "NAVLF (French version)." The NAVLE is offered at Prometric centers in the US, Puerto Rico, Guam, the US Virgin Islands, and in Canada. The NAVLE is also offered at selected testing centers overseas, including sites in countries throughout Europe, Latin America, Asia, the Middle East, and Africa, and also at Prometric testing centers in China, India, Indonesia, Japan, Korea, Thailand and Taiwan. Additional information on testing locations can be found on the NAVLE Information and Application page of this site, and on the Prometric website.
What are the testing centers like?
Prometric testing centers typically consist of a small office complex with 6 to 12 individual computer testing stations. One or more Prometric staff members will be on hand to register candidates and supervise the testing session. Candidates will have their photograph taken at the center, and the sessions will be monitored by video camera. Prometric administers a variety of educational, certification, and licensure tests, so NAVLE candidates may be at a Prometric center along with candidates taking other computer based tests.
When are students eligible to take the NAVLE?
To be eligible to apply for the NAVLE, the ICVA/NBVME requires that veterinary students must have an expected graduation date no later than 10 months from the last date of the applicable testing window. Some state licensing boards have other requirements.
Who may take the NAVLE?
In order to take the NAVLE, candidates must be approved to do so by a licensing board in the United States or Canada. Generally, this means that candidates must be senior students at or graduates of AVMA-accredited schools or colleges of veterinary medicine, or candidates enrolled in or who hold certificates issued by the Educational Commission for Foreign Veterinary Graduates (ECFVG) program or the Program for the Assessment of Veterinary Education Equivalence (PAVE). ECFVG and PAVE candidates must have passed the step 3 examination of their respective program before the application deadline to be eligible for the NAVLE. In the United States, candidates apply through a state or territorial licensing board. In Canada, NAVLE applications are submitted through the National Examining Board in Ottawa.
Licensing boards forward lists of eligible candidates to the our office. We will send a master list of approved candidates to its testing coordinator, the National Board of Medical Examiners, where Scheduling and Admission Permits are generated and posted to an on-line server for access by candidates. We will then e-mail each approved candidate instructions on accessing and downloading their Scheduling and Admission Permit approximately 45 days prior to the opening of the testing window. The candidate prints or accesses their Scheduling and Admission Permit online for use in making an appointment at a testing center, and for entrance into the examination. The candidate must either print and take their NAVLE Schedule and Addmission Permit, or present it electronically (e.g. via smartphone) to the Prometric Testing Center on their test administration day.
How many times can I take the NAVLE?
Once during each testing window. Some licensing boards restrict the number of retakes. Beginning with the November-December 2007 testing window, the ICVA's policy is to limit candidates to 5 attempts at the NAVLE in a 5 year period from the first attempt, unless the individual licensing board permits more than 5 attempts, or restricts an applicant to fewer than 5 attempts, in which case the state law prevails. Attempts made prior to the November-December 2007 testing window do not count toward the 5 attempt limit. Additional information on the retake policy can be found here.
Is the NAVLE given by the licensing boards?
Boards are not involved in the administration of the NAVLE. They only approve candidates to take the NAVLE.
Is there a practice examination available?
Are other study materials available?
We do not endorse or recommend study materials produced by third parties. The content coverage of the NAVLE is outlined in the NAVLE Test Specifications. The NAVLE Job Analysis is the basis for development of items on the NAVLE.
How can I get a copy of the NAVLE Candidate Bulletin?
The NAVLE Bulletin of Information for Candidates is available in pdf format on this website. If you applied for NAVLE approval through a U.S. state licensing board, the ICVA will e-mail you a copy of the NAVLE Candidate Bulletin when your NAVLE application is received in our office.
What's a NAVID and what is it used for?
We assign each NAVLE candidate a NAVLE identification number (NAVID) to uniquely identify their candidate record. The NAVID is used when you correspond with our office, when you request a score transfer through the AAVSB to another licensing entity, when reapplying for the NAVLE (if you have taken the NAVLE before and need to repeat the examination), and to access and download your NAVLE Scheduling and Admission Permit on-line. You may also need your NAVID to access your NAVLE score report after a testing window has closed.
If my address has changed since I applied for the NAVLE, what should I do?
If you have a change of address, you must notify the ICVA in writing or via e-mail. You should also notify the licensing board through which you applied to take the NAVLE (or their designated NAVLE application processor).
How can I get my NAVLE scores transferred to another state licensing board?
We do not process score transfers. Licensing boards will require an official score report, which can be requested through the Veterinary Information Verifying Agency (VIVA), operated by the American Association of Veterinary State Boards (AAVSB). A score transfer request can be submitted through the AAVSB website.
How can I obtain more information on the NAVLE?
This website is updated periodically, so be sure to check back from time to time for the latest information.
...about the NAVLE application process
How do I apply to take the NAVLE?
If you wish to be licensed in Canada, you must contact the Canadian National Examining Board (NEB) in Ottawa for application instructions, and you will submit your application materials directly to the NEB by their deadline.
If you wish to be licensed in the U.S. or U.S. territories, you must submit two applications - the NAVLE application, submitted to our office (application #1), and an application through a state/territorial licensing board for approval to take the NAVLE, submitted through the board or their NAVLE processor (application #2). A NAVLE Application Procedure Chart listing state application instructions can be found on the NAVLE Information and Application page of this site.
Candidates can submit their NAVLE application #1 directly to our office. Candidates are able to complete the NAVLE application on-line and pay the fee by VISA or MasterCard. A link to the on-line NAVLE application #1 can be found here during the NAVLE application periods.
The application form asks for my agency of application.
Do I have to apply for NAVLE approval through the state where I live?
No. The state board through which you apply for NAVLE approval (your agency of application) should be the board where you intend to apply for licensure to practice veterinary medicine. When scores are reported for a testing window, the board you applied through for NAVLE approval will receive a copy of your NAVLE Score Report. For example, if you are a student at Iowa State University but you intend to apply for licensure and work in Montana after you graduate, you should list Montana as your agency of application, because the Montana Board will receive your initial score report, which they will require relative to your Montana veterinary licensure application. If you listed Iowa as your agency of application, the Iowa Board would receive your initial score report, and you would have to submit a request through the AAVSB VIVA division asking that your score be transferred (for an additional fee) to the Montana Board of Veterinary Medicine.
Should I submit my state or national NAVLE application first?
The NAVLE application #1 can be submitted at any time during the application period. Candidates do not have to wait for NAVLE approval from their licensing board before submitting the national application (application #1). If you submit an NAVLE application #1, but are not approved by a licensing board to take the NAVLE, our office will refund your NAVLE application #1 fee.
Our office processes state NAVLE applications (application #2) and approves candidates on behalf of many state licensing boards. For these states, we have made available on-line state NAVLE applications. If you are applying through one of these state boards and you want to submit your state NAVLE application on-line, you must submit your national on-line application #1 first. Click here for additional information on the state NAVLE application #2 procedires.
All candidates are encouraged to submit both their national application #1 and their state/territorial application #2 early, to allow time to resolve any application issues before the deadline dates.
What is the deadline for application?
The NAVLE application #1 receipt deadline is August 1 for the November-December testing window and February 1 for the April testing window. No state/territorial licensing board has a NAVLE application #2 receipt deadline after August 1 and February 1, and some state licensing board NAVLE application deadlines are earlier. You should contact your chosen board (or its designated NAVLE processor) to determine their exact application requirements and deadline dates. In order to be on the master candidate eligibility list and be issued a Scheduling and Admission Permit, we must have your NAVLE application #1, you must submit a state NAVLE application #2 and your name must be on a list of approved candidates sent to us by a licensing board (or by their NAVLE processor), and we must have received full payment for the examination.
When and how do I pay for the NAVLE?
All U.S. state/territorial licensing boards allow candidates to submit the ICVA NAVLE application #1 and fee directly to the organization. The November-December NAVLE application #1 is available on the ICVA website starting in early June, and the April NAVLE application #1 is available on our website starting in early December. Click here for information on submission of your national NAVLE application #1.
State/territorial NAVLE application #2 procedures and deadlines vary. Click here for information on submission of your state/territorial NAVLE application #2.
The Canadian National Examining Board (NEB) prefers to collect all candidate fees themselves. Candidates applying to take the NAVLE in order to obtain a license to practice veterinary medicine in Canada must contact the NEB and follow their NAVLE application procedures and deadlines.
A chart listing the application and fee payment preferences of each licensing board can be found on the NAVLE Information and Application page. Check with your licensing board (or their designated NAVLE processor) early, so you do not miss their state/territorial NAVLE application #2 deadline.
How much does the NAVLE cost?
The NAVLE fee for the 2016-2017 testing cycle is $620, in U.S. funds. There is an additional $290 fee for overseas testing.
Can you explain the Testing Region Location section on the NAVLE application form?
When completing the NAVLE application #1, you must indicate the country/region where you will take the examination. The NAVLE is offered at Prometric Testing Centers in the U.S., U.S. Territories and Canada, and at overseas locations in Europe, Latin America, Asia, the Middle East, Africa, China, India, Indonesia, Japan, Korea, Thailand and Taiwan. There is an additional fee of $290 for overseas testing. You must select your testing region carefully when you submit your application, because if you have to change your testing region after you apply, there may be an additional fee to do so. Additional information on testing locations can be found on the NAVLE Information and Application page of this site, and on the Prometric website.
Why do you need my e-mail address?
Candidates are provided important NAVLE information on an ongoing basis via e-mail correspondence from our office. Information regarding accessing and printing NAVLE Scheduling and Admission Permits on-line is also provided via e-mail. You should ensure that any spam filters installed on your computer allow incoming e-mail messages from e-mail addresses ending in "nbvme.org".
What about candidates with disabilities?
Candidates with documented disabilities must request specific accommodations prior to, or at the time of their initial application to the licensing board (or to their board's designated NAVLE processor). The licensing board (or its designated processor), in cooperation with our organization and the testing coordinator, will work to provide accommodations that are appropriate for a candidate's disability. It takes time to review the documentation necessary to approve test accommodations, so submission of application and accommodation materials early is encouraged. Click here for additional information on requesting testing accommodations for the NAVLE.
Can you explain the score reporting consent statement on the ICVA application form?
Does that apply to all candidates?
The consent statement only applies to NAVLE candidates who are senior students at AVMA-accredited veterinary schools. If you grant consent, you are authorizing the ICVA to report your score, and diagnostic report if applicable, identified by name, to the Associate Dean of Academic Affairs at your veterinary school (or his/her designee). These reports for consenting students will be sent to veterinary schools after scores are reported to licensing boards and candidates. Schools are required to keep this information confidential, the information will not be made a part of your academic record, the veterinary schools can use the information only for internal purposes, and your decision whether to release your score will not affect your student status. You are under no obligation to agree to the consent statement, and if consent is not granted, your score information will not be reported to your school. Once the testing window has opened, you cannot change your consent status.
How can I change the licensing board I'm applying through for NAVLE approval?
You must notify our organization in writing via e-mail so your NAVLE application #1 record can be updated with the correct licensing board information. You must also submit the required NAVLE application #2 and documentation to the state/territorial licensing board through which you are seeking NAVLE approval (or to their designated processor) before their application receipt deadline.
After the application deadline has passed, licensing boards send their list of approved NAVLE candidates to the our office. We compare the state approvals to the state of application listed by the candidate on their NAVLE application #1. These listed states must match, or your opportunity to take the NAVLE could be delayed.
Can I get a refund of my NAVLE application fee if I change my mind about taking the exam?
The NAVLE fee is nonrefundable and cannot be transferred to a future testing window. If you do not take the examination during the testing window for which you applied, you must submit a new application and pay the full fee to take the NAVLE during a subsequent window. If there are extenuating circumstances that make it impossible for you to take the NAVLE once you have submitted your application and paid your fee, contact our office for guidance. Please note, if the payment method selected by you results in a dishonor or a later dispute as to the validity of the payment, your NAVLE eligibility may be suspended, your scores may be withheld and any scores that have been reported may be rescinded pending resolution of the dishonor or dispute and the payment of additional fees by you arising from such dishonor or dispute.
Can I apply for the NAVLE if I've taken the BCSE and will have my score before the testing window starts, but after the application deadline date?
No. If you are enrolled in the ECFVG program, you must have passed the BCSE in order to be approved to take the NAVLE. The licensing board through which you apply to take the NAVLE will require verification from the ECFVG that you have passed the BCSE, and that state/territorial NAVLE application #2 and supporting documentation must be submitted prior to the application deadline date. Thus, you will have to wait until the BCSE scores are released, and if you do receive a passing score, you can apply for the NAVLE in the next testing window.
If I failed the NAVLE how do I reapply for the next testing window?
All candidates, regardless of whether they have applied for and taken the examination previously, must submit two applications for the NAVLE; the NAVLE application #1, and a state NAVLE application #2, submitted through a state or territorial licensing entity (or through their designated NAVLE processor). Your application will need to be approved by a licensing board in order for you to be eligible to take the NAVLE. This information is outlined on the NAVLE application section of this site.
...about your NAVLE Scheduling and Admission Permit and scheduling your examination
What's a Scheduling and Admission Permit?
The NAVLE Scheduling and Admission Permit is issued to approved candidates and is used to schedule your examination with Prometric. It is also required for entrance into the testing center the day you take the NAVLE. Candidates who submit the required applications and fees and who are approved by their licensing board to take the NAVLE will receive an e-mail message from the NBVME with instructions on how to access their permit on-line, about 5 weeks prior to the start of the testing window. You must print, or access electronically (e.g. via smartphone) your permit because it contains a unique scheduling number that allows you to schedule your testing appointment with Prometric. You should also save a pdf copy of your permit on your computer for quick access. You must have your Scheduling and Admission Permit with you and present it to the Prometric testing center on the day you take your examination. You will not be admitted without it.
You can access and reprint your on-line permit, but you must print it prior to your testing appointment because you cannot print your permit at the Prometric testing center, and the NBVME will not provide a faxed copy. Click here for a sample Scheduling and Admission Permit.
Can you explain all the different Prometric identification numbers?
The scheduling number is used to schedule your testing appointment with Prometric.
The confirmation number is provided to you by Prometric when you schedule your examination, and you should record this number in the specified area on the bottom of your permit. You will need this number to confirm and/or reschedule your testing appointment.
The Candidate Identification Number (CIN) is used on the day you test, to access your examination.
A sample NAVLE Scheduling and Admission Permit can be found here.
What should I do if my name on my Scheduling and Admission Permit doesn’t exactly match the name on the ID I plan to use for entrance to the NAVLE?
You should contact us immediately to have your record corrected, because a revised Scheduling and Admission Permit will have to be issued for you. The only acceptable name difference is the presence of a middle name, middle initial or suffix on one document and its absence on the other. In the meantime, you can still use the scheduling number on your original permit to contact Prometric to schedule your examination. You will be notified by e-mail when your revised permit is available for you to download and print. You must bring your revised printed permit with you to the Prometric center on the day you test.
If my name has changed since I applied for the NAVLE, what should I do?
You should contact our office immediately. The name on your Scheduling and Admission Permit must match the name on the government-issued, signed, photo ID you plan to use for admittance to the Prometric test center. If your name has changed and your ID has been updated to reflect that name change, a new Scheduling and Admission Permit will have to be issued for you.
Some candidates have had a name change, but have not updated their ID. If you do not plan to update your ID prior to taking the NAVLE, your original Scheduling and Admission Permit should be OK. Remember, whatever name appears on your ID is the same name that must appear on your Scheduling and Admission Permit or you will not be allowed into the testing center.
Name changes or corrections cannot be made within 7 days of your scheduled testing date.
When can I schedule my examination?
You should contact Prometric (on the website: www.prometric.com/NBVME; or by telephone) to schedule your examination as soon as possible after you access and print your Scheduling and Admission Permit. Candidates who wait too long may not be able to test on the date or at the location they prefer. Do not try to schedule until you have received the instructional e-mail from our office on how to access and print your permit on-line, because you must have the scheduling number on your permit to schedule your testing appointment through Prometric.
Do I have to take the NAVLE at a specific testing center?
You can schedule your NAVLE at any available testing center located within the testing region you selected when you submitted your NAVLE application #1. When you download and print your Scheduling and Admission Permit, you can schedule on-line through the Prometric website, or call Prometric and schedule your examination on the date and at the location you prefer, subject to availability of space at the testing center on that date. Candidates who may be away from their primary residence during the testing window (on vacation or on an externship, for example), can schedule the NAVLE at a testing center convenient to their location at that time, as long as it is located within their chosen testing region. You do not have to take the NAVLE at a testing center located in the same state that approved you to take the examination. Once you have scheduled your testing appointment, you must take the NAVLE at the testing center you selected.
Why won't the Prometric website allow me to schedule my examination even though I have my Scheduling and Admission Permit?
Make sure you have accessed the National Board of Veterinary Medical Examiners page of the Prometric website: www.prometric.com/NBVME.
Make sure you are using the scheduling number located on your Scheduling and Admission Permit, and not one of the other listed numbers. Also, do not enter your NAVID (NAVLE identification number) when scheduling with Prometric.
Can I write on my Scheduling Permit?
The bottom of your permit has a designated area where you should record your Prometric confirmation number at the time you schedule your testing appointment. You should not make any other notes on your permit.
Can you provide me the confirmation number Prometric gave me when I scheduled my exam?
No. We do not have access to your confirmation number. You will need to have your confirmation number to confirm and/or reschedule your testing appointment, so you should record the number at the time of scheduling. There is a special area on the bottom of your permit where you can note this information. If you schedule your appointment on-line through the Prometric website, Prometric will e-mail your testing appointment information and confirmation number to you.
Can I change my testing appointment?
Yes, but your testing options may be limited, depending on the availability of seats at the testing centers. The request must be made by noon local time (for the region where you are taking the examination) at least two business days before your scheduled appointment. You can reschedule on-line through Prometric, or if rescheduling by telephone, you must speak directly with a Prometric representative to reschedule (leaving a voice mail message is not sufficient). You will need to provide your Prometric confirmation number.
If you need to reschedule but cannot provide at least two business days' notice, you must contact our office to discuss your options. A rescheduling (reset) fee will be charged in these situations, and you will have to wait until your eligibility has been reset to reschedule your appointment. The reset fee is non-refundable, and there is no guarantee a seat will be available after your eligibility has been reset.
My Scheduling and Admission Permit says I need an ID with a photo and signature, but when I renewed my driver's license online, it was issued without a photo. Can I use it when I sign in at the Prometric testing center?
No. You will need a current government-issued ID that contains both a recent photograph and your signature. NAVLE candidates may use their passport for identification. Information regarding an expedited passport application is available through the U.S. Department of State's website at: http://www.travel.state.gov/passport/processing/processing_1740.html
What happens if I forget my Scheduling and Admission Permit when I appear for the NAVLE?
You must have your print your Scheduling and Admission Permit before contacting Prometric. You must either print and take your Scheduling and Admission Permit, or present it electronically (e.g. via smartphone). If you forget your permit, contact the NBVME office regarding the possiblity of rescheduling your examination. If rescheduling is possible, there will be fees involved in resetting your testing eligibility and reactivating your permit.
I am scheduled to take the NAVLE on the last day of the testing window and wonder what will happen if I am sick that day?
If you are unable to take the examination as scheduled on the last day of the testing window, you may have to wait until the next testing window to take the NAVLE and will have to submit the application and fee again. That is one reason the NBVME encourages candidates not to schedule on the last day the examination is offered.
...about the examination
What kind of examination is the NAVLE?
The NAVLE consists of 360 multiple choice questions (items), administered one at a time on the computer. Sixty of the items are unscored pretest items, but the identity of these items is not apparent, and they are dispersed throughout the test. Approximately 15%-20% of the items on the NAVLE include graphic or pictorial information relevant to the item (photograph, radiograph, drawing, chart, etc.). All NAVLE items are relevant to entry level private clinical practice.
What does the NAVLE cover?
The NAVLE is based on an examination blueprint. The blueprint has two dimensions: activities and animal species. Activities are tasks performed by entry-level veterinarians in private clinical practice. The NAVLE covers all animal species commonly seen by entry level practicing veterinarians.
How much time will I have to take the NAVLE?
You will have a total of 7.5 hours at the test center. This will include a 15 minute orientation and tutorial, 6.5 hours of testing time divided into 6 blocks of 65 minutes each, and 45 minutes of break time, including lunch. Breaks may be taken only between blocks. Each 65 minute block will contain 60 items.
Does each candidate get a different length test?
No. Each NAVLE form consists of 360 items.
Can I use a calculator when I take the NAVLE?
Although any calculations required to answer a NAVLE item are intended to be simple, the NAVLE contains an on-screen calculator for candidates who would like to use it.
Do I need special computer skills to take the NAVLE?
No. The NAVLE uses a simple, proven computer interface, that requires only routine mouse or cursor movements, and the use of the mouse or enter key to record the option chosen to answer the question. The NBVME recommends that you practice with the computer-based practice NAVLE before you take the actual examination, so that you are familiar with the computer interface. More information on the computer-based NAVLE tutorial, and NAVLE self-assessments can be found on the NAVLE Preparation Tools page of this site.
Will I be able to skip items during the exam and go back to them?
The software allows candidates to skip and/or mark items for later review, within each block. Once a block is completed, however, you will not be able to go back and review or change your answers to items in that block.
What is done to prevent a candidate from taking the NAVLE early in the testing window, and then telling his or her classmates what the questions are?
First of all, each candidate must agree to a security statement that they will not disclose any portion of the examination to any other candidate or anyone else. Second, multiple forms of the NAVLE are used, each form balanced with respect to content and difficulty. Third, each form is scrambled as it is administered, so candidates taking the same form do not see the items in the same order.
Can I review my study notes or use my cell phone to access reference materials while I am on a break or between blocks?
No. Candidates may not use a telephone or other communication device at any point during their examination, including breaks, for any purpose related to test content. You should not bring any reference materials or study notes with you to the testing center. If you do, you must place them in a locker, and must not review them during breaks.
What is the passing score?
NAVLE scores are expressed on a scale where the passing point is set at 425. If the licensing board requests the score to be reported on another scale (where 70 or 75 is passing) that will be done, with the scaled pass point of 425 equivalent to different local scores. The actual passing standard is the same in all jurisdictions. The NAVLE uses a fixed, criterion-referenced passing score, and is not graded on a curve. This means that each candidate's performance is measured against a fixed standard, and the passing point does not vary based on the performance of other candidates. For additional information refer to the Scoring and Score Reports section of the NAVLE Bulletin.
How is the passing score determined?
The passing score is developed using a content-based, or criterion-referenced standard setting procedure. Members of a committee composed of veterinarians representing the various content areas covered by the NAVLE work individually and collectively to determine the minimum score that a candidate has to achieve in order to be judged minimally competent to enter private clinical practice. The passing standard is approved by the NBVME, and is applied to each form of the NAVLE using a procedure called equating. Equating ensures that the passing standard remains constant in spite of minor variations in item difficulty from one form of the NAVLE to another. Raw scores (the number of items that candidates answer correctly) are converted to scaled scores (see above) and the scaled scores are reported to licensing boards and candidates. More information on NAVLE standard setting can be found on the NAVLE page on this website.
Are NAVLE scores reported on-site?
No. The NAVLE is scored after the close of each testing window. Scores are reported to licensing boards and to candidates about 4 weeks after the close of each testing window. Beginning with the November-December 2015 NAVLE, licensing boards and candidates will access their score information through a secure on-line web portal.
How are NAVLE scores reported?
Your initial score report is reported to you and to the licensing board through which you applied to take the NAVLE. If you need your score reported to additional boards, you must submit a score transfer request through the Veterinary Information Verifying Agency (VIVA), operated by the American Association of Veterinary State Boards (AAVSB).
Can I access my NAVLE score on-line when scores are released?
Yes, all NAVLE candidates will be able to access thier NAVLE Score report by logging into the NBVME NAVLE Score Portal after NAVLE results have been released to boards. An email will be sent to all NAVLE candidates with instructions on how to access their NAVLE score report. A link to this Portal will be activated on our website within 24 hours of release of scores.