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::October 19, 2017
Registration for the June 2018 ACMO® examination is now available.

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::October 6, 2017
Scores for the August 2017 Part III CSE® and ISE examinations have been posted online.
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::October 3, 2017
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::September 8, 2017
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::August 4, 2017
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::July 6, 2017
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::June 30, 2017
2017-2018 Candidate Evaluation Forms and Guide are now available online.
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::June 30 , 2017
CSE® and ISE Orientation Videos for 2017-2018 have been posted online.
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::June 15, 2017
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::June 7, 2017
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::May 8, 2017
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::May 5, 2017
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::May 5, 2017
Scores for the March 2017 Part III CSE® and ISE examinations have been posted online.
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::April 27, 2017
Instructions to Candidates for the December 2017 Part II PAM® and TMOD® examinations have been posted online.
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::April 18, 2017
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::February 15, 2017
Part III CSE® registration is now available for the Class of 2018.
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::February 3, 2017
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::November 18, 2016
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Part III CSE®\ISE FAQ

Questions Regarding

Registration, Reschedules, Withdraws

WHEN DOES REGISTRATION FOR THE UPCOMING YEAR OPEN?

Registration usually opens by February 15th of each year.

I AM A CURRENT STUDENT, WHEN CAN I TAKE THE CLINICAL SKILLS EXAM (CSE®)?

Students who will be in their final year of school (as verified by the individual school) may register to take the CSE® exam beginning on August 1st or later. Please review eligibility by clicking HERE.

THERE AREN'T ANY DATES OPEN WHEN I NEED TO TAKE THE EXAM. WHAT DO I DO?

On occasion, additional exam sessions can be opened. This is not a guarantee and is dependent upon schedules and resources. You can send an email to NCCTO@optometry.org with dates that you are requesting to take the exam to see if anything can be opened. But remember, there is no guarantee that your preferred date/time will be an option.

I FAILED PART III. WHEN CAN I REGISTER TO TAKE IT AGAIN?

There is no wait-time to register after taking the exam but candidates cannot take the exam twice in the same month. So if you took CSE® in October, you could take it again in November.

I REGISTERED FOR AN EXAM AND WANT TO REGISTER FOR AN ADDITIONAL DATE, BUT THE SYSTEM WON'T ALLOW ME TO DO SO?

Candidates can only have one registration for CSE® in the system. Once you have completed the initial scheduled exam, you can register again, as long as it is not within the same month as the previous registration.

WHAT HAPPENS IF I HAVE A LAST MINUTE EMERGENCY AND CANNOT MAKE MY EXAM DATE?

Call 800-969-EXAM and press option 2. If no one answers, leave a message. In addition, please send an email to NCCTO@optometry.org. Someone will contact you as soon as possible.

I REGISTERED FOR PART III BUT NEED TO CHANGE MY EXAM DATE

  • Candidates may reschedule their exam without incurring any rescheduling fees 31 or more days before the scheduled exam date
  • This change can be done online, by the candidate, by accessing their NBEO® account at: https://www.optometry.org/check_registration.cfm

WHAT HAPPENS IF I HAVE TO RESCHEDULE AND IT IS LESS THAN 31 DAYS PRIOR TO MY EXAM DATE?

  • Candidates who want to reschedule their exam date 31 days or less before the scheduled exam date cannot make the change themselves.
  • Any changes within 31 days of an exam date will incur a $150 rescheduling fee.
  • The rescheduling fee can be paid online at https://www.optometry.org/appeal/.
    • Select "CSE" for Exam Type
    • Select "Reschedule Exam" for Appeal Type
    • In justification, list the reason why the exam needs to be rescheduled
    • In requested action, list the preferred date and time to reschedule the exam to (exam dates/times not guaranteed - if the date/time selected is not available, Staff will work with the Candidate to coordinate a date/time).
  • After the fee is paid, NBEO®/NCCTO® staff will contact the Candidate to confirm the rescheduling of the exam date.

ARE THERE EXCEPTIONS TO THE ADMINISTRATIVE FEE FOR CHANGING AN EXAM DATE?

There are exceptions for paying the fee. These exceptions are typically situations that occur which are outside of the control of the Candidate or the NBEO®. With these types of situations, acceptable documentation would be required as proof to avoid the fee. Please call/email prior to registering for a change in exam date.
 
An example of an acceptable reason would be:
  • Unexpected Accident
  • Illness
  • Death or Illness of Immediate Family Member
  • Flight Cancellation
  • Weather-Related Incidents (ie: blizzard, storm that grounds transportation, etc)
  • Military Orders

I WANT TO WITHDRAW FROM CSE®, HOW DO I DO THIS?

Send an email to NBEO@optometry.org outlining the following information:
  • Candidate Name:
  • OE Tracker #:
  • Date Scheduled:
  • Exam Scheduled: CSE®
  • Site Location: Charlotte
  • Statement requesting a full withdraw from CSE®

  • The exam fee less a $150 service charge will be refunded if written notice of withdrawal is received by the National Board 30 or more days prior to the scheduled exam date

I AM A SPONSORED CANDIDATE. AM I REQUIRED TO PASS PARTS I AND II BEFORE TAKING PART III?

Yes. Sponsored candidates must pass Parts I and II before taking Part III. Please review eligibility by clicking HERE.

I AM A CURRENT STUDENT. DO I HAVE TO PASS PARTS I AND II BEFORE TAKING PART III?

No. Graduates and current students of an accredited institution do not have to take the examinations in order so you can take Part III before taking Parts I and/or II. Please review eligibility by clicking HERE.

Which states require Part III CSE®?

All 50 States require a passing score on the Part III CSE® exam. Florida and North Carolina do require a specific number of raw points for certain skills. Candidates are encouraged to contact their individual states to determine state-specific requirements.


NCCTO® / Test Center / Exam Information

HOW LONG IS THE EXAM?

Candidates should plan on being at the test center for approximately 4 hours. This timeframe includes the registration, orientation, exam and post-exam processes. Keep in mind these times are approximate and depend on the routine execution of an exam. In the event there is an unexpected situation that occurs, the exam may run longer.
  • The 8:30 AM report time candidates should be finished by 12:30 PM.
  • The 12:00 PM report time candidates should be finished by 4:00 PM.

CAN I TOUR THE NCCTO® AND SEE THE EXAM ROOMS AND EQUIPMENT?

No. The test center is not accessible to Candidates until their scheduled time. Candidates will have access to the equipment during the Candidate Orientation. Additionally, the NCCTO® has posted a list of the equipment used during the exam, as well as photos to assist Candidates in familiarizing themselves with the exam room and equipment.

I MIGHT NEED SPECIAL ACCOMMODATIONS DURING MY EXAM, BUT I'M NOT SURE IF IT IS A TRUE ADA REQUEST. HOW CAN I GET GUIDANCE ON WHETHER TO SUBMIT AN ADA REQUEST?

Candidates who believe they may need Special Accommodations for the exam, but aren't sure if their request warrants a true ADA submission are encouraged to email NCCTO@optometry.org with an overview of their situation. NCCTO® Staff will then advise whether an official ADA request needs to be submitted. Additionally, when possible, Candidates are encouraged to submit their emails BEFORE registering for CSE®. This helps to avoid rescheduling the exam if a true ADA accommodation is required.

WHAT ARE RECOMMENDATIONS FOR PREPARING FOR THE EXAM?

 
Study the evaluation forms!
  • Everything you need to know is online. The evaluation forms highlight exactly what will be scored.
  • The evaluation forms are processed through a simple "yes/no" grading system. Either the item is completed in entirety or it is not. Items not fully completed are marked No.
  • Pay attention to multiple criteria items. For instance, if the evaluation form says "Did the Candidate properly examine the fovea and macula" and a Candidate examined the fovea, but did not examine the macula, then that item was not completed in its entirety and would be marked No.
  • Study the Candidate Guide - it contains all of the information you will need to prepare for your exam experience.
 
Make sure you have a view!
  • Candidates are strongly encouraged to make sure their views are visible for recording purposes for all Slit Lamp and BIO skills.
  • For Slit Lamp skills, the video camera is mounted on the left ocular of the slit lamp. By checking this ocular, you can ensure your views are being recorded as you obtain them.
  • For BIO, the camera is mounted centrally for both oculars. As long as an image is present in one ocular, the camera will record the image as it is obtained.
  • Candidates are also encouraged to confirm the presence of a view with their Proctor. As a reminder, when a Proctor states they have a view, this only indicates that they see something on the monitor. It does not indicate the clarity or quality of the view, or whether the view meets the minimum criteria. However, Candidates can be assured that their views will be recorded exactly as they obtain them, so long as the view is not obstructed.
 
Watch your time!
  • Candidates are responsible for monitoring their own time during the exam.
  • A wall mounted clock is in each exam room. Candidates are encouraged to write the time down when the exam rotation begins. Additionally a countdown clock is avalible on the computer in the exam room (see the "Candidate Guide" and "Site and Equiptment Information" for more guidence
  • By monitoring your time, you will know if you have enough time to repeat a Skill or more time to focus on a particular Skill.

WHEN CAN I ARRIVE FOR MY PART III CSE® EXAM?

You should arrive at the time listed on your registration as Candidate Registration and Orientation will not begin until that time (i.e.: 8:30 AM or 12:00 PM). The earliest Candidates should arrive to the test center is 5 minutes prior to their exam time.
 
If you find you have arrived to the building early, the 3rd Floor of the BB&T building has an Overstreet Mall which contains shops, cafes, and restaurants where you are welcome to wait before your registration time begins.

WHAT EQUIPMENT CAN I BRING WITH ME?

The only equipment Candidates are allowed to bring to the exam is their own Retinoscope. All other equipment is prohibited, including any PD Rulers, Fixation Targets, Lenses, etc. These items will be confiscated if brought to the exam.

WHAT EQUIPMENT WILL THE NCCTO® BE USING?

For (August 2016 - July 2017) examination click HERE to view the equipment list & room photos.
For (August 2017 - June 2018) examination click HERE to view the equipment list & room photos.
 
Candidates are required to bring and wear white lab coats during their time at the NCCTO®. Dress code is Business Casual.

CAN I TAKE ANYTHING ELSE WITH ME THROUGH THE EXAM?

Candidates are allowed to have a "reasonable" items with them during the exam. Examples of reasonable items are:
  • Bottled water/Gatorade (labels must be removed, must have a lid/cap)
  • Cough Drops, Gum, Mints
  • Chapstick, Hair Ties/Hair Clips, Sanitary Products
  • Granola Bar or other individually wrapped item
  • Eye Patch
 
All items will be inspected by NCCTO® Staff for approval to take with you during the exam. Pens and pencils will be provided for Candidates in each exam room.

MY LAB COAT HAS MY NAME OR SCHOOL NAME EMBROIDERED, IS THIS OKAY?

Yes. We will provide you with white tape during registration at the NCCTO® to cover any identifying information on your coat to ensure anonymity.

I FORGOT MY LAB COAT, WHAT SHOULD I DO?

The NCCTO® has lab coats that Candidates can use in emergency purposes. But to all extents possible, Candidates should make every effort to bring and wear their own lab coats.


Travel / Charlotte Area

WHEN SHOULD I SCHEDULE MY RETURN FLIGHT FOR?

The 8:30 AM candidates should be finished by 12:30 PM.
If you are taking the AM exam, we recommend scheduling a flight after 2:30 PM
 
The 12:00 PM candidates should be finished by 4:00 PM.
If you are taking the PM exam, we recommend scheduling a flight after 6:00 PM.

WHERE SHOULD I STAY IN CHARLOTTE?

Hotel information can be found HERE. Discounted rates are limited so we recommend booking early.

HOW CAN I GET TO THE TEST CENTER?

Transportation information is available HERE.
For information on getting to the NCCTO® (located in the BB&T building) click HERE.

IS IT EASY TO FIND A CAB AFTER MY EXAM?

Yes - there are several cab pick-up areas located near the test center location. Candidates rarely have issues obtaining a cab.

HOW MUCH IS A CAB TO THE AIRPORT FROM THE TEST CENTER?

Cabs are $25.00 for a trip from the test center to the airport. Additionally, Uber and other ride share services are avaliable in the area.

WHAT IS THE "SPRINTER" BUS THAT GOES TO THE AIRPORT?

The Sprinter is a city-run bus that goes from the uptown area to the airport.
The fee for the Sprinter is $2.20 - the bus only accepts cash.
The bus usually runs every 20 minutes on the weekdays.
Following your exam, you can pick-up the Sprinter at the Charlotte Transportation Center.
You can view the Sprinter schedule at Wirelesscats.RideTransit.org


Scores, Appeals

WHEN ARE PART III SCORES RELEASED?

Month exam taken     Scores released in the first full week of
August     October
September     November
October     December
November     January
December     February
January     March
February     April
March     May
April     June
May     July
June     August
July     September
 
Although candidates will be able to view their scores online within a couple months of taking Part III, the state board will not have access to scores until after verification of graduation and board approval. The state board score report is a cumulative score report (i.e., Part I, Part II, Part III, TMOD®, Injections).

I FAILED CSE®, BUT PASSED ISE - DO I HAVE TO TAKE ISE AGAIN?

Candidates are encouraged to take ISE again with their Clinical Skills Exam. The ISE portion does factor into the overall CSE® score. By opting not to take ISE, you will receive a 0 for the ISE portion of the exam, thus lowering your overall CSE® score.

I PASSED THE OVERALL CSE®, BUT FAILED ISE...?

DO I HAVE TO TAKE CSE® OVER AGAIN?

No. ISE is provided as a stand-alone exam, if you need to retake ISE, you can take it alone, without CSE®.

DO I HAVE TO RE-TAKE ISE?

If you fail ISE and pass the overall Part III CSE®, you will need to re-take the ISE exam only if your state requires ISE for licensure. Contact your State directly to confirm their requirements in the event there was a change that was not updated on our website.

MY STATE REQUIRES 75% OR BETTER ON BIO, I PASSED CSE® BUT OBTAINED BELOW 75% ON BIO; DO I HAVE TO TAKE THE ENTIRE CSE® AGAIN OR CAN I JUST TAKE BIO?

The only stand-alone skill offered to Candidates is ISE. Candidates wishing to obtain a certain percentage on CSE® skills due to a state requirement would need to take the entire CSE® over again. Contact your state board for more information on the requirements for licensure.

WHEN ARE ISE EXAMS AND HOW DO I REGISTER?

The NCCTO® does keep dates open for ISE registration. However, the NCCTO® also allows additional ISE sessions to be opened on an as-needed basis. If none of the dates on the ISE schedule work for you, send an email to NCCTO@optometry.org for information on requesting an ISE exam date and please include multiple exam dates that would work for you.

HOW LONG IS THE APPEALS PROCESS?

CSE® appeals can take 6 to 8 weeks.

IF I APPEAL MY FAILED CSE® SCORE AND WANT TO SIGN-UP TO TAKE THE EXAM, CAN I DO SO BEFORE THE APPEAL RESULTS ARE IN?

Yes. However, it is recommended that you select a testing date that will allow enough time for you to receive a decision on your appeal. If you re-take CSE® before a decision has been made on your appeal and the Board does not uphold the appeal, the Board will report both scores. If you re-take CSE® before a decision has been made on your appeal and the Board does uphold the appeal, the Board also will report both scores and your appeal fee will be refunded.

I DON'T UNDERSTAND WHAT THE CATEGORIES AT THE TOP OF MY SCORE REPORT ARE FOR (COMMUNICATION, AFFECTIVE, PSYCHOMOTOR, CLINICAL OBSERVATION) OR HOW THEY FACTOR INTO MY EXAM SCORE?

These Categories are disciplines within the content matrix and are provided for informational purposes only. To better explain, each item in the exam is assigned a dual value. For instance, items requiring you to state your findings in binocular indirect ophthalmoscopy (BIO) would be classified both in that skill (BIO) and the discipline of Clinical Observation and Reporting Skills category. The overall pass/fail decision is based on your performance across all of the categories, rather than specific scores within each category. The items listed on the evaluation form are what determine your overall score.

WHAT DOES EACH DISCIPLINE MEAN?

  • Communication Skills: providing and obtaining information in a clear and concise manner to include avoiding medical jargon and thereby providing information the patient needs to understand their condition and the procedures being performed.
  • Affective Skills: interacting with the SP in an organized, professional, and empathetic demeanor.
  • Psychomotor Skills: performing the physical tasks of the various skills in a proficient and efficient manner.
  • Clinical Observation & Reporting Skills: accurately reporting your obtained findings.

DOES MY SCHOOL RECEIVE THIS INFORMATION?

Yes - it is provided for informational purposes.

DOES MY STATE BOARD RECEIVE THIS INFORMATION?

Yes, however, licensing decisions are made based on the overall pass/fail results instead of the individual discipline categories.

DOES THIS INFORMATION FACTOR INTO WHETHER I PASS OR FAIL?

The overall pass/fail decision is based on your performance across all of the categories, rather than specific scores within each category.

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