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Computer Based Testing Policy

MSUCOM utilizes a “bring your own device” computer-based testing model for examinations, using the software applications approved by MSUCOM and the Department of PA Medicine. Students will be provided with instructions and access to download the software to their device.

The following policies apply to all computer-based examinations associated with MSUCOM courses:

Electronic Devices and Examination

It is the responsibility of each individual examinee to ensure that the correct examination has been downloaded to his/her personal electronic device no later than 1:00pm the business day before the exam.

All technology-related issues including device functionality, battery power, and compatibility with testing platforms are the examinee's responsibility.

Arrival and Check-in at the Exam

The examination proctor reserves the right to request photo identification prior to beginning the examination, if there are any concerns regarding examinee identification. Failure to comply with this request will prohibit an examinee from being able to take the exam, and they will be directed to the excused absence policy in the course syllabus.

Personal Belongings

Examinees are only allowed to possess their testing device, computer mouse and mouse pad, keys, writing utensils, a piece of blank 8.5” x 11” scratch paper (provided by the examination proctor), power cord, battery power pack, device charger and soft earplugs at their seat. Every effort will be made to provide a quiet testing environment, but students are encouraged to bring earplugs to assist with these efforts.

Examinees are not permitted to bring into the room or access any unauthorized items during the examination, which include, but are not limited to bookbags, handbags, books, notes, study materials, calculators, smart watches, electronic paging devices, recording or filming devices, radios, cellular phones, outerwear, or food and beverages (see exceptions in Food and Beverage section).

Nothing may be worn on an examinee’s head other than for religious purposes.

Any of the above items, or an item deemed by the proctor as inappropriate or unnecessary for exam completion, should be left at the front of the examination room.

Food and Beverage

There is no food allowed in the testing room. Any food brought into the testing room should be left at the front of the examination room. Water in a sealed spill-proof container is the only approved beverage allowed in the testing room. Any exceptions to this rule will require documentation of need from the Resource Center for Persons with Disabilities or a medical provider.

Test Time

Examinees must be in their seat and be ready to start prior to the scheduled examination start time. If an examinee arrives after that time, or if an examination is missed, the course syllabus will define the consequences and procedures for obtaining an excused absence.


If a student is not in the examination room before the examination room door closes, they will be considered absent from the exam. This includes late arrivals.

Students who are absent may request an excused absence as defined by the Excused Absence Policy and related procedures.

If an excused absence is granted, the student will be permitted to take a make-up examination at a date, time, location, and in a format determined by the Course Coordinator.

If an excused absence is not granted, the student will be permitted to take a make-up examination (if available, see course syllabus) but with a penalty as defined below. If more than one course has items on the examination, the penalty will be applied to the score for each course.

  • On the first unexcused absence, there will be a 5% deduction in the score(s).
  • On the second unexcused absence, there will be a 10% deduction in the score(s), and a face-to-face meeting with the COM PA Medicine Course Coordinator will be required.
  • On the third or more unexcused absence, there will be a 10% deduction in the score(s), and the student ­will meet with the Promotions Committee for unprofessional behavior.

These unexcused absences are cumulative and will be tracked longitudinally across the curriculum, beginning with a student’s first day of matriculation. (Example: If a student receives an unexcused absence in semester 1 and then again in semester 7 , the absence in semester 7 will count as their second unexcused absence.)


Examinees can take breaks during examinations that exceed one (1) hour. No breaks are permitted for examinations less than one (1) hour in duration unless documentation of need is provided.

The examination proctor will determine the number of examinees allowed on break at one time. There must be at least one proctor in the exam room. The examinee is responsible for managing their break time. No additional time will be added to the examination period to compensate for breaks taken by examinees.

During examination breaks examinees are not allowed to access any personal items. Items not permitted include cell phones, personal digital assistants, computers, exam notes, books, study guides, or other materials deemed inappropriate by the examination proctor.

Examinees may have access to medication or food during breaks, which has been previously approved by the examination proctor and documentation of need from the Resource Center for Persons with Disabilities or a medical provider.

Exam Completion

Upon completion of the exam, each examinee must show the final confirmation screen to the examination proctor to verify that the answer file has been successfully uploaded.

Once the successful upload has been verified, the examination proctor will then allow the examinee to exit the exam room.

A failure to demonstrate a successful upload of the answer file will result in the examinee being required to stay in the assessment room until completion of the allotted examination time.

Each examinee must return all proctor administered materials (including scratch paper with the examinee’s name) to the examination proctor before exiting the room.

Unexpected Technology Issues

If a student experiences a technology failure with their personal device or the testing platform software, the examinee must immediately inform the examination proctor.

If the failure occurs before the examination begins, the examination proctor will provide a substitute device, if available, for the totality of the examination. If no substitute device is available, the examinee will complete the examination via paper test.  Upon completion of the examination, the substitute device or paper examination must be returned to the examination proctor.


All communication between examinees during the examination is prohibited.  The examination proctor will not answer questions regarding examination content.  If the examinee believes there is an error on an examination item, the examination proctor will instruct the examinee to answer the item to the best of their ability with the information provided.

When testing platform software allows examinees to comment on specific items, this feature should be used by examinees to raise concerns or questions. If the option is not available, examinees should use the piece of scratch paper provided to make comments on specific questions.

Academic Integrity

All examinees must adhere to the policy listed above and any additional instructions provided by the examination proctor. A failure to do so may be considered a violation of MSU, MSUCOM, and The Department of PA Medicine policies on academic integrity and may result in disciplinary actions up to and including receiving no credit for the examination, being required to end the examination immediately, and/or sanctions imposed as outlined in the “Medical Student Rights and Responsibilities” document, including dismissal from the College.

The Department PA Medicine faculty approved this student handbook and policies on March 16, 2020.
Revised and approved by the Faculty of the Department of PA Medicine on 3/19/2021, 3/15/2022, 4/18/2023.