Personal Item Exceptions (PIEs)

The personal items listed below are permitted in the secure testing area subject to inspection by test center staff. If you have a medical need for one or more of these items during your USMLE Step 1, Step 2 CK, Step 2 CS, or Step 3 examination, you do NOT need to make a request or submit documentation to NBME for approval. Please show the item to test center staff when you check in for your examination.

Medicine and Medical Devices

  • Arm/shoulder sling
  • Bandages
  • Braces – neck, back, wrist, leg, or ankle
  • Casts/cervical collar
  • Cough drops (must be unwrapped and not in a bottle/container)
  • Earplugs (foam with no strings) Step 1, Step 2 CK, and Step 3 only
  • Epi-Pen
  • Eye drops
  • Eye patches
  • Eyeglasses (without the case)
  • Glucose monitor
  • Glucose tablets
  • Handheld magnifying glass (non-electric, no case)
  • Ice packs/heating pads
  • Inhaler
  • Medical alert bracelet
  • Nitroglycerin tablets
  • Pillow/lumbar support
  • Pills (must be unwrapped and not in a bottle/container)
  • Stool for elevating a limb
  • Surgical face mask Step 1, Step 2 CK, and Step 3 only
  • Walking boot casts

Medical Device Attached to a Person’s Body

  • Catheter
  • Colostomy bag
  • Heart rate monitor
  • Insulin pump
  • Oxygen tank
  • Spinal cord stimulator
  • TENS units
  • Urine drainage bag

Communication Aids

  • Hearing aid/cochlear implant without Bluetooth/wireless capability
  • Vocal cord magnifiers

Mobility Devices

  • Cane
  • Crutches
  • Walker
  • Wheelchair

If you have a medical condition that requires use of an item NOT on the above list, contact the NBME Personal Item Exception (PIE) Coordinator at pie@nbme.org or 215-590-9700 for additional information on how to request a personal item exception.