Part I ABS®

Applied Basic Science

The Part I ABS Applied Basic Science examination tests the underlying basic science concepts necessary to enter the clinical practice of optometry.

The Part I ABS examination consists of 350 scored items and 20 non-scored pre-test items. Candidates will not know which items are scored and which are pre-test. The exam is two sessions in length, each session consisting of 185 items. Candidates will have 4 hours to complete each session. The morning session includes an additional 15 minutes devoted to a tutorial and the reading and signing of a non-disclosure agreement (NDA). There is an optional break of up to 45 minutes between the morning and afternoon sessions.

Student candidates must be in the spring of their third academic year to take the Part I ABS exam. There will be three opportunities to sit for the exam prior to graduation.

Most items on the Part I ABS exam require candidates to choose the single best or correct answer. Approximately 10-15% of the items on the exam are multiple-response (MR) items; with MR items the required number of responses (2, 3, or 4) is indicated after the item stem. MR items are scored as completely correct or incorrect; there is no partial credit.

On the Part I ABS examination, drugs are referenced only by generic name. Candidates can see a sample version of this drug list by going to the "EXAM INFORMATION" tab. It is important that candidates note that the sample drug list is not intended to be a study guide, nor is it necessarily a complete list of drugs that may appear on the ABS exam. Candidates should also be aware that the drug list will include only those drugs that have commonly used trade names. Drugs such as penicillin will not appear on the list. Trade names are sometimes used on the Part I ABS exam when referring to preservatives since some preservatives cannot be identified by a single generic ingredient.

Candidates should note that the non-possessive form will be used on the Part I ABS exam for eponymous terms (e.g., Horner syndrome will be used rather than Horner's syndrome, and Descemet membrane will be used rather than Descemet's membrane). This usage is in accordance with the growing trend in medical and scientific writing to remove the possessive when using eponyms.

A tutorial for the Part I ABS exam can be found on the "EXAM INFORMATION" tab. Candidates are strongly encouraged to go through the tutorial prior to exam day so that they can become familiar with the mechanics of taking the exam by computer. Candidates will only have 10 minutes to go through the tutorial on the morning of the exam, and candidates may have difficulty completing the tutorial in that amount of time.

Links to the Part I ABS Content Matrix and the Part I ABS Content Outlines can be found in the "EXAM INFORMATION" tab.

Part I ABS® Practice Items Databank*

The National Board of Examiners in Optometry is pleased to offer candidates taking the Part I Applied Basic Science (ABS®) Examination an opportunity to test their knowledge using questions similar to those found on the actual Part I ABS Examination.

Administration and Features of the Part I ABS Practice Items Databank

The Part I ABS Practice Items Databank is administered by Test Run, an independent third-party organization whose exam prep solution software provides candidates with a detailed score report and resulting performance feedback designed to help them tailor their studying and analyze strengths and weaknesses.

Candidate Options with the Part I ABS Practice Items Databank

The Part I ABS Practice Items Databank was designed with candidates in mind. Candidates may choose to select practice items based on content OR may decide to complete an entire examination session (185 items).

Registration and Subscription

After registering to take the Part I ABS Examination, candidates may then register and subscribe to the Part I ABS Practice Items Databank by clicking here to go to the Test Run registration page and creating an account through Test Run. Using one of the following browsers is recommended: Google Chrome, Firefox, or Apple Safari.

The cost for a one-month subscription is $199, which is paid during the Test Run online registration process and provides the candidate with unlimited access to the Part I ABS Practice Items Databank for one month! For a discounted fee of $149, candidates may renew their subscription for one additional month at any time up until the date of that respective Part I ABS Examination administration.

More Information

Click here to see a list of Frequently Asked Questions.

You also may contact us at 800-969-EXAM or if you have additional questions.

Note: Subscription to and/or completion of items from the Part I ABS Practice Items Databank does not guarantee a passing score on any NBEO examination (including the Part I ABS Examination). The Part I ABS Practice Items Databank is a tool to help candidates prepare for the Part I ABS Examination. It should not be the only means of preparation for the Part I ABS Examination.

*Part I ABS Practice Items Databank questions constitute intellectual property owned exclusively by NBEO. All rights, including the copyright in these exam questions, are reserved.