A Super Proctor Sets the Stage for a Successful End of Curriculum™ Exam

After several years of development, the PAEA End of Curriculum™ exam launched in January 2020. The 300-question evaluation is an objective, standardized evaluation of a student’s medical knowledge as one component of their readiness for graduation — and it’s being adopted by more programs every day.  

Though its proctoring guidelines are similar to those of other PAEA exams, the End of Curriculum exam is longer and more comprehensive than other exams. To ensure successful administration, the Assessment Team has created a video to help you become a Super Proctor. 

Pre-Exam: Be Prepared 

Install the lockdown application and check internet connectivity. At least a week before the exam, determine whether your program will provide computers to students or if they will bring their own. You should consider inviting someone from your IT department to provide support. These computers will need the lockdown application Safe Exam Browser downloaded and installed.  

This browser works like any other browser, except students can’t access anything else on their computer while it’s running. Inform the students that the exam will stop if they view other content, make an inappropriate keystroke (pressing “Print Screen” or switching screens), or attempt to exit the browser. Recommend that they keep the Safe Exam Browser on their desktop for easy access on exam day. 

Prepare for students who need accommodations. Exam Driver has built-in features to assist students: a triple-zoom for text, color inversion, and time accommodations. For students who need additional time, PAEA allows one-and-a-half or double time to take place over two consecutive days. We’ve provided a guide so that a proctor can easily set up an extra time accommodation. Programs may establish other accommodations for frequent breaks (the proctor’s “pause” button can do this), private rooms, and live readers as their policies and facilities allow. 

Schedule breaks for students and proctors. As previously noted, this is a longer and more comprehensive test. By default, there are no breaks between sections. However, this can be updated during the planning stage. Think through your exam schedule to ensure that both students and proctors can perform at their best. Proctors should also take advantage of these breaks or consider working in shifts.  

These suggestions should help you prepare for a seamless exam. 

Exam Day: Be Aware 

Be fully present on exam day. PAEA developed a script template for proctors to use on exam day, but they should also have their own checklist to ensure that everyone is prepared and informed of their responsibilities: 

  • Check the list of students scheduled to take the exam. Are they all present? 
  • Remind students to turn off and stow their devices (phones, tablets, smart watches, etc.). 
  • Confirm that all programs but the Safe Exam Browser are closed if students are using their own computers.
  • Restate your program’s honor code policy. 
  • Be an active proctor. 

You may also consider inviting someone from your IT department to attend on exam day in the event of technical issues. 

Being an active proctor means being focused on the exam itself. Your presence ensures a secure and harmonious testing environment. Be available to answer questions about this exam — not answers to questions on the exam, but questions concerning the overall process. 

Keep your eyes on either the students or the proctor screen during the exam. Take a walk around the room to look for notes being passed, devices connected to the internet, and any other unauthorized material. Be prepared to investigate suspicious activity. If you need to pause an exam, please do so within the proctor application. This will halt the exam in place and save the student’s data. 

The exam depends on everyone acting with integrity, and active proctoring helps to guarantee this. This isn’t a time to read, answer emails, search the internet, or complete other work — only you can facilitate this process for your students. Your program appreciates your time, and so do the students. 

Post-Exam: Release the Student 

Once  a student has finished their exam, we suggest the following: 

  1. Ask whether the student submitted their exam completion in Safe Exam Browser. 
  2. Ask for all notes and scratch paper to ensure the exam content is secure. 
  3. Scan their workspace. 

Your eyes and presence are the most critical. If there is a concern, document it and discuss it with your program director and then with PAEA.  

If you have questions about the End of Curriculum exam, PAEA Assessment is here for you at