Take the

Qualifying Science Exam

1 Task: Download the candidate handbook

  • The QSE was designed and developed exclusively for the PAVE Program and is required for all PAVE candidates.
  • It covers basic science or pre-clinical subjects taught in the first three years of the curriculum of accredited veterinary schools.
  • The QSE is offered three times per year in January, May and September. The AAVSB utilizes PSI for examination development and administration services.
  • The QSE consists of 200 multiple-choice operational questions and 25 multiple-choice pilot questions derived from the test specifications. The QSE is delivered in a 220-minute, one single block session.

2 Task: Review the QSE Content Outline

The QSE content outline does not classify items by animal species or veterinary practice role. Many items on the QSE are not species specific or are applicable to more than one species. The examination includes items dealing with all animal species that might be encountered by veterinarians in private clinical practice in North America.

Qualifying Science Examination (QSE) Content Outline
Domain Content Area Domain %
Normal Structure and Function
  • Gross Anatomy
  • Physiology and Biochemistry
  • Histology and Embryology
  • Endocrinology
  • Immunology
  • Genetics and Breed Characteristics
  • Animal Behavior (i.e. individual, herd)
Concepts of Disease
  • General Pathology and Pathophysiology
  • Microbiology (e.g., virology, bacteriology, mycology, etiological agent, etc.)
  • Parasitology
  • Toxicology
  • Clinical Pathology (e.g., clinical chemistry, hematology, diagnostic cytology, etc.)
  • Anatomic Pathology (i.e., histopathology, necropsy)
  • Diagnostic Imaging
  • Examination (e.g., physical, neurological, etc.)
  • Other Diagnostics (e.g., ECG, abdominocentesis, etc.)
Therapeutic Intervention
  • Surgery
  • Anesthesia and Analgesia
  • Emergency and Critical Care
  • Clinical Pharmacology and Therapeutics
  • Basic Pharmacology (e.g., concepts, classifications, mechanisms, etc.)
  • Behavioral Interventions
Public Health and Disease Prevention
  • Zoonoses, Public Health, and Biosecurity
  • Preventative Health Care
  • Epidemiology
  • Nutrition (e.g., diet, disease management, etc.)
  • Regulatory Medicine (e.g., USDA, CFIA, etc.)
Professional Skills
  • Human-Animal Bond (e.g., animal welfare, hospice care, euthanasia, etc.)
  • Communication, Professionalism, Ethics, and Wellness
  • Practice Management (e.g., record keeping, regulations, controlled substances, workplace safety, etc.)
  TOTAL 100%

3 Task: Review candidate resources

4 Task: Eligibility/Scheduling

  • After your application is reviewed and approved, an eligibility/scheduling email will be sent from [email protected]. You’ll need to log into your MyAAVSB portal to access the PSI scheduling platform. Refer to Task #6 below for information about testing options.
  • Check your MyAAVSB portal for application status. The Scheduling button will be enabled and turn green if your eligibility has been approved.
  • Once approved, click the scheduling button to be redirected to the PSI site. You will need to create a PSI login to schedule your exam. Please have your VIVA ID available.
  • An individual score report will be auto-generated and emailed to you by PSI, approximately 4-6 weeks after taking the exam.
      • Your official score report will be posted to your MYAAVSB portal approximately 4-6 weeks after taking the exam.
      • You will be able to view/print your score report for one year. The score report will show your score and a pass/fail designation.

5 Task: Reschedule your Exam

  • You can make changes to your selected time and location through your PSI portal.

  • You may change your time and location for your LRP or Test Center exam as many times as you need to, at least 48 hours prior to your currently scheduled exam. You may not change the date.

  • Refer to the Candidate Handbook for information on cancelling a scheduled exam appointment to see if you are eligible for a partial refund.

    • You can cancel your scheduled exam appointment by using the Schedule link on your MyAAVSB portal to re-enter the PSI scheduling site.

    • You must also notify the AAVSB if you have cancelled an exam and think you are eligible for a partial refund, per the PAVE Candidate Handbook.

6 Task: Retake the QSE, if required

How do I retake the QSE? How much does it cost?

Refer to the PAVE Standards & Policies and the QSE Retake Guidelines before you apply to retake the QSE.

  • If a retake is necessary, you will be allowed 5 business days from when your results are emailed to apply for the next QSE, regardless of the posted application deadline. The fee to retake is $1,550 USD.
  • Remember to notify the AAVSB at [email protected] of any address or email changes, so you receive communication in a timely manner.

7 Task: Choose between a PSI Test Center or Live Remote Proctored (LRP) Exam

  • After your application is reviewed and approved, an eligibility/scheduling email will be sent from aavsb.org.
    • Log into your MyAAVSB portal.
    • Click into your Active PAVE Application box
    • Click on enabled Scheduling button and follow the prompts.
  • You can schedule your exam appointment up to 48 hours prior to the end of the exam window.

Live remote proctoring (LRP) is an available option through our vendor, PSI Exams. PSI has set up a seamless process for online scheduling and equipment testing, so you can take your exam safely and securely from home or another secure location.

While LRP is a convenient option, not everyone may meet the technical requirements to test at home. Approved, extended time is the only exam accommodation that can be administered in a LRP exam.

If you try to launch your exam on test day and have not met the following requirements,

  • you will not be able to test.
  • you will not be able to reschedule.
  • you will forfeit your exam application fee.

Live Remote Proctored (LRP) Requirements prior to and at exam time:

  • Hardware compatibility – PC /MAC only (iPad, Chromebook and other tablets will NOT work).
  • Operating System – Windows 7 and higher and MAC 10
  • Browser – Google Chrome 58.0 or higher. This is the only browser supported.
  • Other Requirements
    • Web cam
    • Microphone
    • Speakers
    • Stable Broadband internet connection (500 Kbits per second or higher)
  • Allowable Materials: Mini Whiteboard, dry erase marker, and eraser.
  • You MUST do a system check prior to your scheduled exam
    • The system check will not assess your operating system. Be sure your computer meets the requirements outlined above for Hardware Compatibility, Operating System and Browser.
  • Room scan – 360-degree scan of your testing environment and your work area.
    • This may require you to lift your laptop or PC if your webcam is not detachable.
  • If you experience problems during your exams, any of the following may be required:
    • another room scan
    • showing your ID
    • contacting PSI technical and/or customer support at 833.518.7459.
    • PSI may need to access your computer remotely to help resolve any technical issues.

When you’re ready, simply log into your MyAAVSB account, and select Remote Online Proctored Exam when scheduling your exam through PSI.

Informational Video

Still can’t decide if remote proctoring is for you? Start with Technology Requirements and System Checks below to walk through the specific requirements for a seamless exam experience. If you decide LRP is the right mode of delivery for you, watch the video below, "What to Expect on Exam Day" for information regarding check-in, taking breaks, violations and exiting your exam to receive your score report.


Am I Eligible for Live Remote Proctoring?

All candidates who meet the AAVSB’s eligibility requirements may choose live remote proctoring (LRP). LRP exams are by appointment only.

To test with LRP, you must meet technological requirements to ensure uninterrupted testing. Requirements include a strong Wi-Fi connection, a PC or Desktop computer, hardware requirements (see below for requirements), and a quiet, private testing environment.

Where Do I Take the Exam?

Choose a calm, quiet area of your home that ideally can be closed off from distractions and other people.

  • Children, pets and spouses should not be permitted in the testing area.
  • Be sure your testing location is free from excess noise and distractions.
  • Avoid public places like coffee shops or libraries, as well as workplace offices (as some may have firewalls that prohibit online testing).

LRP exams can be scheduled virtually any day or time (pending proctor availability and closures on US holidays).

How Do I Schedule a Live Remote Proctored Exam?

Ensure your contact information is correct in your MyAAVSB portal. If you need any contact information updated, please email [email protected].

Once you have received your eligibility/scheduling email:

  • Click on Schedule Exam button on your MyAAVSB portal homepage.
  • You will be redirected to PSI’s website.
  • Create a login with PSI to access their scheduling portal. You will need your Candidate ID.
  • Click on the Schedule button next to the applicable exam to select your live remote proctored exam date and time.

To schedule by phone:

  • Contact PSI customer service at 1.833.256.1419

After you schedule your exam, PSI will send a confirmation email listing your exam date and time.

What If I Need to Reschedule My Exam?

You may reschedule your live remote proctored exam as many times as you need if you are within your exam authorization window AND at least 48 hours prior to your currently scheduled exam.

You must log in to your MyAAVSB portal and click Reschedule My Exam for more information. You will then need to log in to your PSI portal where you will be able to reschedule to a different date and time. You will receive a new confirmation email from PSI, listing your new date and time.

If I’m Already Scheduled for an In-Person Exam, Can I Switch to a Live Remote Proctored Exam?

Yes, if you are scheduled with PSI, simply go to your MyAAVSB portal and click Reschedule My Exam for more information. You will need to login to your PSI portal to cancel your currently scheduled exam and reschedule your exam to Live Remote Proctoring. You will then receive a new confirmation email from PSI, listing your new date and time

How Do I Prepare for My Live Remote Proctored Exam?

Please perform a final compatibility check 72 hours before your scheduled exam time. You will receive a reminder email three days before your exam, providing the information and steps you need for online check-in.

Familiarize yourself with the instructions and contact us with any questions you may have. Prior to the exam, make sure your testing space is prepared. Eat well, get adequate rest and plan time to unwind after the exam.

What Can I Expect on the Day of the Exam?

Collect the items you will need for the exam, including an unexpired, government issued photo ID that matches the first and last name you used on your PAVE online application.

You may NOT have common office items in your testing space, including binders, reference materials and books, cell phones and chargers, sticky notes, plants, eyeglass cases or food. You may have a charger connected to your laptop for the duration of the exam.

NOTE: If you wear a religious head covering, you will need to notify PSI before scheduling your exam and request an accommodation to wear it while testing.

PSI Candidate Services for Special Accommodations – 800.367.1565 x6750, [email protected]

Before you begin taking your QSE either via test center or LRP, you will be asked to confirm the name of the exam you are taking and then asked to agree to the PSI and AAVSB-QSE Examination Rules and Regulations agreement regarding exam confidentiality.

Total seat time for the exam is 220 minutes. The timer begins counting when your exam begins.

What is the Process to Start the Exam?

It is suggested that you log into your PSI portal at least 30 minutes before the start time of your exam. This will give you adequate time to complete the necessary sign-in procedures. Please note that the exam cannot be launched until 15 minutes before the scheduled start time, and will not begin until your online proctor has logged in.

NOTE: If your proctor is late, please wait 5-15 minutes before contacting PSI.

Before the proctor can launch your exam, you will be asked to do the following:

  • Download the Secure Browser (if not already done)
  • Complete a system check of your computer microphone and web-camera
  • Complete a 360-degree scan of your testing environment and your work area. This may require you to lift your laptop or PC if your webcam is not detachable.
  • Submit a valid, correct form of ID
  • Have your photograph taken*

* You must agree to have your photograph taken as part of the admission procedure; if you do not agree, you will not be admitted for the exam.

What Happens if an Infraction Occurs?

The PAVE administration is heavily monitored and many restrictions have been put in place while taking the exam to ensure the integrity of the exam is upheld, similar to a testing center experience.

Please review this list of major and minor infractions prior to taking your exam. Candidates can make up to three minor infractions or one major infraction before the live remote proctor will end the exam.

  • If your exam is ended due to infractions, you will need to wait until the next PAVE online application window opens, before submitting a new exam application.
  • No refunds will be issued due to exam infractions.

Can I Take a Break?

You may take a break whenever you wish as long as you inform the proctor, however, your timer continues. Your exam is NOT paused during a break. During any break, you are not permitted to access personal items other than medication required at a specific time (unless you receive prior permission).

When Will I Receive My Score?

Your individual score report will be auto-generated by PSI immediately upon completion of your PAVE and emailed to you. Additionally, your individual score report will be posted on your MyAAVSB portal approximately 6 weeks after your exam.

What Type of Technical Requirements Do I Need to Meet?

Before your equipment is tested by PSI, please ensure you have:

  • Operating systems: Windows 7.0, 8.0, 8.1, 10.0; Macintosh 10 or Linux (Chrome Extension) NOTE: To have a more seamless process for taking the exam online, it is highly recommended to NOT use a Mac laptop or computer with the Catalina operation system for this exam. iPads, Chromebooks, and other tablet devices are not supported by PSI’s exam proctoring system.
  • Web browser: Google Chrome 58.0 and above
  • Javascript and Cookies Enabled
  • Webcam:
    • NOTE: if you use your computer’s built-in webcam, you will need to pick it up and move it around the room during the environment scan.
  • Microphone: enabled built-in or external microphone
  • Bandwidth: minimum connection speed of at least 500K bits per second
When Should I Test My Equipment?

  • Test your laptop and Wi-Fi connection before scheduling your exam
  • Once scheduled, retest your connection at least 72hours before your exam to ensure everything works correctly
  • Perform your compatibility check here.

What Do I Do if I Don’t Pass the Compatibility Check?
  • If you are using your work computer, please notify your IT department to review any security and privacy settings/restrictions in place; you may need to seek permission to lift or relax these settings in order to take your PAVE online.
  • Please contact PSI Technical Support if you or your IT department have any questions about your compatibility test results.
  • If you’re using your personal computer, contact PSI Customer Service for technical support at 833.518.7459.
  • Note that exam purchases are nonrefundable. If your computer is unable to support taking the LRP exam, you will need to take the exam at a physical PSI location. Exams must be rescheduled 48 hours prior to the currently scheduled date.
What If I Experience Technical Difficulties During the Exam?

If you have completed a successful compatibility check, technical issues are unlikely, but not impossible. Sluggish or overloaded Wi-Fi is the most common problem. If you experience an issue, make an attempt to inform your proctor via live chat. If you are unable to connect, contact PSI Customer Service on that day. Their staff will be able to analyze your issue and set up a new testing time, free of charge. If you wait until the following day, contact the AAVSB.