News

News From the NBEO

November 2021


NBEO to Open May Part III CSE and ISE Exam Slots


Released: November 22, 2021

The NBEO will open the Part III CSE and ISE exam slots for the month of May on Monday, December 13, 2021 at 9:00PM EST.

If you have any questions, please click here to contact NCCTO.

Click here to register.


July 2021


NBEO White Paper


Released: July 27, 2021

NBEO maintains a commitment to continuously evaluate current research and changes within the testing industry for their relevance and potential application to our examinations. We would like to share the following white paper describing the NBEO exam series, available research, and our perspective during the pandemic. This paper is the result of discussions and questions received from the Association of Regulatory Boards of Optometry (ARBO).

As we have previously announced, last fall NBEO worked with ARBO to form a Task Force to review alternative testing methodologies during COVID-19. We have taken every recommendation from the Task Force very seriously. In fact, we are extending that research beyond the temporary recommendations from the Task Force and are reviewing potential future delivery options.

We remain focused on conducting pilot studies and building a databank of scenarios for Part III Patient Encounters and Performance Skills Examination (PEPS). As we are continuing to evaluate delivery models for our future, we will not release the new examination in August of 2022. NBEO remains committed to providing updates as we have them and keeping you informed of our progress.


Six Time Limit Appeals Change


Released: July 14, 2021

After multiple discussions with the Association of Regulatory Boards of Optometry (ARBO), NBEO will be implementing a change to our six-time limit appeals process. Effective January 1, 2022, a member of a U.S. state or Canadian provincial regulatory board will no longer sponsor candidates who have exceeded the six-time limit. Sponsors must be a CAO or a CEO of an ACOE-accredited optometric institution. Members of NBEO’s Board of Directors will not serve as sponsors.

Click here to review the Six-Time Limit policy.

If you have any questions, click here to contact NBEO

February 2021


Part III CSE, ISE, LSPE Registration Now Open


Released: February 12, 2021

The National Board of Examiners in Optometry® (NBEO) will open registration for the August 2021 – July 2022 exam administrations for Part III CSE®, ISE®, and LSPE™ on February 12, 2021 at 4:00PM EST.

If you have any questions, please click here to contact NBEO.

Click here to register.

January 2021


October 2020

May 2021


Released: May 12, 2021

With the testing administrative year coming to a close, NBEO is taking time to reflect on the past year. There have been multiple positives amidst the challenges of the pandemic. NBEO has emerged from the last year with new knowledge gained through facing those challenges. NBEO’s mission is to serve the public and profession of optometry by developing, administering, scoring, and reporting results of valid examinations that assess competence. Our examinations are used by regulatory boards for licensure decisions. We remain fully committed to executing our mission while balancing ongoing and future challenges. The following is a summary of events from the last year, concluding with a look ahead.

Computer-Based Exams

In March 2020, NBEO faced an immense challenge due to the pandemic with the first mass closure of Pearson VUE testing centers throughout North America. This was a stressful time for our candidates who were only hours away from the Part I ABS examination. NBEO immediately began work with Pearson VUE leadership to identify examination windows for both the cancelled March Part I ABS and April Part II PAM/TMOD examinations. To provide testing options to candidates, NBEO offered multiple administrations and enhanced testing windows including two different three-week windows for Part I ABS. Changing from our standard four-day testing window represented a monumental pivot for NBEO, and required the development and deployment of a new exam security plan. Both the Part I ABS and Part II PAM/TMOD examinations have been offered multiple times over the last year.

Performance-Based Exams

After a two-month testing suspension, NBEO reopened the National Center of Clinical Testing in Optometry (NCCTO) on May 18, 2020. We wanted to protect the health and safety of our candidates and staff, but we also understood that being closed meant a delay in new graduates entering the optometric workforce. Because our candidates move directly into unsupervised, independent practice without a mandatory residency, there was no mistaking the impact closure would have on our candidate population and consequentially the public at large. NCCTO reopened with all rescheduling policies relaxed, so no penalty existed for any candidate who preferred to reschedule or move a testing appointment to a later time.

NCCTO has remained open since mid-May 2020. By the end of June 2020, all candidates from the Class of 2020 had the opportunity to take Part III CSE. Candidates from the Class of 2021 will be completing this testing administrative year on time. NBEO staff have worked hard to add additional testing windows, including additional evening and weekend testing sessions to provide opportunities to candidates through a difficult year. Although the pandemic continues and we must remain committed to safety, we have been able to operate the NCCTO with an impeccable safety record. We recognize that this is due to the extreme care of our NCCTO staff, standardized patients, and the candidates in our center.

Task Force

Last September, NBEO coordinated with the Association of Regulatory Boards in Optometry (ARBO) to convene a Task Force to review alternative testing methodologies during the COVID-19 pandemic. The complete report of this Task Force can be found here. All recommendations of the Task Force were taken very seriously by NBEO, including research to explore the development of a rapid response alternate testing site on the west coast for the Part III Clinical Skills Examination. The NBEO Board of Directors reviewed a detailed analysis including a location and plan for a temporary testing site. However, for multiple reasons including the timing in the administrative testing cycle, exorbitant costs to candidates, and continued need for travel, this plan was not accepted for execution. NBEO has remained committed to a continual review of exam delivery modalities and this research will continue. As described in the Task Force report, many factors play an important role in decision-making at NBEO.

Advancing Important Projects During COVID-19

Even with the challenges of the past year, NBEO has been able to advance important organizational projects. The Patient Encounters and Performance Skills Examination (PEPS) has entered the pilot study phase. To watch a video on our progress please click here. We are continuing to work with various subject matter experts to create case scenarios for the new PEPS examination. If you are interested in becoming a scenario author, please click here.

We have offered the Laser and Surgical Procedures Examination (LSPE) to those interested in proving competency in optometric laser and surgical care. NBEO has presented multiple times at the Association of Test Publishers conferences and we have continued our popular Item Writing Seminar to those interested in learning the art of question writing. Additionally, in October 2020, NBEO released a brand-new website, which had been under construction for many months.

Looking Forward

Our projects and future planning initiatives will continue, as will our commitment to developing and administering optometric examinations for licensure decisions made by regulatory boards. We wish to thank all individuals who worked closely with us over the last year to keep the examinations accessible to all candidates. The high standards NBEO put into place have allowed optometric candidates to continue in their career paths and to apply for optometric licensure. We are pleased that the Class of 2021 is on track to complete this testing year on time. NBEO looks forward to moving ahead, now armed with the knowledge and insights gained through facing the challenges of the pandemic. Though the previous year was difficult for all, it has strengthened NBEO by prompting us to closely examine our policies and practices and to develop strategies we can draw on in the event of any similar challenge in the future. Thank you for your contributions, patience, and continued support of NBEO as we transition into the next administrative testing year.

March 2021


March 2021 Part I ABS Administration and Pearson VUE Seating


Released: March 3, 2021

NBEO has been in continued contact with Pearson VUE regarding the impact of COVID restrictions and social distancing protocols in certain locations for our candidates scheduled for the Part I ABS examination March 16-19, 2021.

We are aware that some NBEO candidates scheduled for March 16th received cancellation notices from Pearson VUE last week. Upon receiving information of this issue, NBEO opened an alternate date of March 23rd to any candidate receiving this cancellation notice. Upon further discussions with Pearson VUE, if COVID restrictions in some areas are not lifted prior to March 15th, then we have additional candidates scheduled between March 17-19 that may lose their seat.

NBEO has now been able to obtain a list of candidates that are in danger of losing their seat if restrictions are not lifted before March 15th. We are communicating with those candidates directly. If candidates do not receive a direct notification from NBEO, then NBEO is not aware of any potential issues with their scheduled seat.

You might ask why this is an issue when restrictions in most places have been loosened or removed. It is because appointments made prior to any COVID restrictions are only cancelled close to the exam date by Pearson VUE if the restriction is still in place at that time. Because Pearson VUE has been managing capacity in their testing centers based on local restrictions, the situation has been constantly changing and they have tried to keep their centers as full as possible.

NBEO will continue to communicate information that we have from Pearson VUE. At the moment, we are directly contacting candidates that we have learned are in danger of losing their seat. We will continue to monitor this situation and will work to ensure that all candidates have access to the examination.

If you have any questions, please click here to contact NBEO.

February 2021


March 2021 Part I ABS Administration and Pearson VUE Seating


Released: February 26, 2021

NBEO is aware that some candidates scheduled for the Part I ABS® March 2021 administration have been impacted by COVID capacity restrictions.

NBEO has added an additional testing date of March 23, 2021 for any candidate who has received a cancellation notice from Pearson VUE. This additional date is available only to those candidates receiving a cancellation notice. Please note that if cancelled, you may reschedule within the planned testing window of March 16-19 or use this additional date of March 23, 2021.

NBEO remains focused on ensuring that our candidates maintain access to the examinations.

If you have any questions, please click here to contact NBEO.

January 2021


Additional Part II PAM and TMOD Testing in April


Released: January 21, 2021

NBEO has continued to work with Pearson VUE to identify more opportunities for our examinations administered at Pearson Professional Centers. We would like to inform you that the Part II Patient Assessment & Management (PAM) exam and the Treatment & Management of Ocular Disease (TMOD) exam will additionally be offered April 8, 2021. This provides an additional day beyond the previously announced date of April 6, 2021. As a reminder, registration for the Part II PAM exam and TMOD exam is currently open.

Candidates are encouraged to register and select their seat at a Pearson Professional Center as soon as possible.

If you have any questions, please click here to contact NBEO.

Click here to register.

December 2020

Updated: December 9th, 2020

NBEO would like to thank you for your continued patience. We have now finalized an alternate examination window for our November 30 - December 3, 2020 displaced candidates within Pearson VUE. The alternate dates for the Part II PAM /TMOD examination will be February 15 – 20, 2021.
Candidates who were registered for the November 30 - December 3, 2020 administration and missed the examination due to governmental restrictions or COVID related quarantining are eligible for these February dates. Eligible candidates will be able to select seats beginning today with Pearson VUE.

If you have any questions, please click here to contact NBEO.

November 2020

NBEO has learned that beginning Wednesday, December 2nd appointment capacity in Pearson VUE testing centers in St. Louis, Missouri will be reduced to 25%. Affected candidates will be receiving a notification directly from Pearson VUE. NBEO is continuing to actively work with Pearson VUE to find alternative dates for all candidates impacted by new governmental restrictions. We will continue to communicate information as it becomes available.

As new information becomes available, we will keep you posted. If you have any questions, please click here to contact NBEO.

Pearson VUE has informed NBEO that due to increased numbers of COVID-19 cases and changing governmental restrictions, seating capacity in several states is being restricted.
  • Colorado – reduced to 50% capacity
  • New Mexico – reduced to 25% capacity beginning November 25th and limited to essential services only
  • Washington – reduced to 25% capacity beginning November 25th through December 14th
  • California – reduced to 25% or 50% capacity based on county beginning November 25th
  • Michigan – reduced to 30% capacity beginning November 25th
  • Illinois – reduced to 50% capacity beginning November 30th and limited to essential services only

Note: NBEO candidates are considered essential services within Pearson VUE. However, this classification is not a guarantee to maintain your seat due to seating capacity restrictions.

Our understanding at this time is that some candidates scheduled for the November 30 through December 3, 2020 Part II PAM and TMOD examinations will be impacted by these new restrictions. Candidates impacted by these seating limitations will receive an email directly from Pearson VUE notifying them of the change. If you receive a notification from Pearson VUE, then you are encouraged to look for an opening within the testing window. However, NBEO is working with Pearson VUE leadership to schedule alternative dates for affected candidates. Once these dates are finalized, NBEO will both email affected candidates directly and post the dates on our website.

Additionally, if you are COVID positive, have a known exposure to someone with COVID, or have COVID symptoms, then you should contact NBEO immediately. With documentation, NBEO will allow you to test during the alternative testing window described above.

We will continue to keep you informed as we have additional information. If you have any questions, please click here to contact NBEO.


Pearson VUE to Reduce Capacity at Some Sites


Released: November 24, 2020

Seating Announcement

October 2020


Safety at the National Center of Clinical Testing in Optometry


Released: October 29, 2020

NBEO is committed to the safety of our candidates and staff during the COVID-19 pandemic. Consistent with that commitment, NBEO worked with EBI Consulting, Inc., an experienced consulting firm providing environmental risk and compliance management services, to review NBEO’s COVID-19 processes, protocols, and mitigation efforts. EBI Consulting’s services included a comprehensive assessment of the National Center of Clinical Testing in Optometry (NCCTO®) in Charlotte, NC.

NBEO is pleased to share the results of EBI Consulting’s assessment with you below.

NBEO COVID-19 Assessment

September 2020

August 2020

July 2020

June 2020

May 2021


Part III PEPS Video Update


Released: May 5, 2021



December 2020


Part III Restructure Video Update


Released: December 15, 2020



June 2020