Our plan for the 2021 APPLIED Exams
Updated July 9 @ 10:15 a.m. ET: It is with deep regret that the Board has cancelled APPLIED Exam Weeks 7.5-9. This decision was made in light of travel restrictions ordered by states and cities across the U.S. due to the rising number of COVID-19 cases and out of concern for the safety of our candidates, examiners and staff. In the coming weeks and months, we will continue the work we have already begun to adapt the APPLIED Exam to meet the challenges presented by the pandemic (e.g. risk-mitigation measures for in-person exams and a virtual administration). We will continue to share our 2021 exam plans as they progress.
All candidates whose 2020 APPLIED exam were cancelled will be automatically registered for a 2021 exam. Appointments will be assigned based on the order of this year’s exam weeks (e.g. 2020 Week 2 candidates will be scheduled for an earlier appointment than 2020 Week 7 candidates). For more information contact us at APPLIEDexam@theABA.org.
We recognize that cancelling Weeks 2-7 of the APPLIED Exam was an additional source of stress during an already stressful time. We appreciate the significance of this exam and its impact on candidates’ professional advancement. Our plans, detailed below, bear this in mind as we balance maintaining the integrity of the exam and the safety of everyone involved in its administration. Our intention is to examine all 2020 and 2021 candidates by the end of 2021, if we can safely do so.
Join us next week for a webinar, hosted by ABA Secretary David O. Warner, M.D., as we review our plan for next year’s APPLIED Exams.
Here’s what you need to know about next year’s APPLIED Exam administration:
- APPLIED Exam candidates will NOT have the option to select their preferred exam week due to the bolus of candidates whose exams were cancelled in 2020, the number of new candidates who will need to take the APPLIED Exam in 2021 and the uncertainty that still surrounds the pandemic.
- Candidates originally scheduled to take the APPLIED Exam during Weeks 2-7 will be automatically registered for a 2021 exam on July 1. All 2021 exam appointments will be assigned based on the order we cancelled 2020 exam weeks (e.g., 2020 Week 2 candidates will be scheduled for an earlier appointment than 2020 Week 7 candidates). This does not apply to candidates who voluntarily cancelled their exam appointment.
- Candidates who voluntarily cancelled their APPLIED Exam appointment prior to our cancellation of Weeks 2-7 or who cancel their exam appointment for Weeks 7.5-9 must register for a 2021 exam when registration opens on July 1. For these candidates, your 2021 APPLIED Exam appointments will be assigned based on the order we cancelled 2020 exam weeks (e.g. 2020 Week 2 candidates will be scheduled for an earlier appointment than 2020 Week 7 candidates).
- Candidates who did not take or were not scheduled to take the APPLIED Exam in 2020 must register for a 2021 exam when registration opens on July 1. For these candidates, your 2021 APPLIED Exam appointments will be assigned after candidates who took or were scheduled to take a 2020 APPLIED Examination.
- We will notify all candidates within approximately three months of their exam appointment, if not before then. Candidates who are unable to attend their assigned date may decline and request a new date without incurring any additional fee. However, doing so will effectively place the candidate at the back of the line.
- We plan to host the 2021 APPLIED Exams in our Raleigh assessment center with risk-mitigating measures in place. We are expanding our assessment center to double its capacity, which will help us assess displaced 2020 candidates and new 2021 candidates faster next year. We are not adding additional exam weeks in 2020 and are exploring the possibility of virtual SOE and OSCE exams for 2021 should the risk of in-person exams become insurmountable.
We’re proceeding with Week 7.5 of the 2020 APPLIED Exam as a pilot for future examinations; however, participation in this pilot exam is voluntary. We’ll be sharing the outcome of this pilot during a webinar on Aug. 6 at 8 p.m. ET hosted by David O. Warner, M.D., ABA Secretary.
Risk-mitigating measures for the APPLIED Exam include:
- Temperature checks at registration
- Contact tracing, tracking every person that every candidate/examiner comes in contact with during the exam administration so that if we learn that someone tests COVID-19 positive, we can inform others in the exam administration process who encountered the person
- Face masks will be required; candidates may bring their own, but the ABA will also provide them
- Extended daily administration schedules to operate at 50% of candidate capacity to exercise social distancing on shuttles, on elevators and in exam rooms
- Candidate wrist bands will be replaced with name tags
- Examiners and candidates will not shake hands during the SOE
- Candidates will wear additional, ABA-provided PPE for the application of ultrasonography OSCE station