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.

If you have a medical condition that requires use of an item NOT on the list below, contact disabilityservices@NBME.org or 215-590-9700 for additional information on how to request a personal item exception.

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)
  • Heating pads (non-electric)
  • Ice packs
  • 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

All devices in the testing area must be on silent mode. If your device cannot be silenced, and makes any noise, including vibration, please contact Disability Services before you test.

  • Catheter
  • Colostomy bag
  • Continuous glucose monitor (CGM) and receiver (smart phones and app are not permitted)
  • Heart rate monitor
  • Insulin pump
  • Oxygen tank
  • Spinal cord stimulator
  • TENS units
  • Urine drainage bag

Communication Aids

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

Mobility Devices

  • Cane
  • Crutches
  • Walker
  • Wheelchair