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: Read general information

  • You will be asked to indicate your preferred testing location on your online application. The AAVSB and the exam vendor will establish test sites that are within a reasonable distance.
  • Upon completion of the application and approval of eligibility, a confirmation email will be sent by PSI from schedule@goamp.com. If you don't receive your confirmation email, contact PSI Customer Service at 1-877-519-9901.
  • Approximately 3-4 weeks after taking the exam, your official score report will be emailed directly to you. The score report will show your score and a pass/fail designation.

5 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 $1,500 USD.
  • Remember to notify the AAVSB at pave@aavsb.org of any address or email changes, so you receive communication in a timely manner.