Personal Item Exceptions (PIEs)

Personal Item Exceptions (PIEs)

The personal items listed below are permitted in the secure testing area subject to inspection by test center staff. If you have a medical need for one or more of these items during your USMLE Step 1, Step 2 CK, or Step 3 examination, you do NOT need to make a request or submit documentation to NBME for approval. Please show the item to test center staff when you check in for your examination.

If you have a medical condition that requires use of an item NOT on the list below, contact or 215-590-9700 for additional information on how to request a personal item exception. *Please note any devices that have external communication capability such as cellular, wireless, Bluetooth, etc., require approval and may not be authorized in the secure testing room. This also applies to devices that may sound audible alerts, vibrate, or otherwise emit sounds.

Medicine and Medical Device

  • Arm/ Shoulder Sling
  • Bandages
  • Braces (Neck, Back, Wrist, Leg or Ankle)
  • Cast/Cervical Collar - Including slings for broken/sprained arms and other injury-related items that cannot be removed.
  • Cough Drops Must be unwrapped and not in a bottle/container
  • Ear Plugs Foam with no string
  • EpiPen
  • Eye Drops
  • Eye Patches
  • Eye Glasses Without case
  • Glucose Monitor* Includes test strips and lancets to pierce finger
  • Glucose Tablets
  • Handled Magnifying Glass Non-electric, no case
  • Ice Pack
  • Inhaler
  • Insulin Pen
  • Medical Alert Bracelet
  • Non-electrical Heating Pad
  • Nitroglycerin Tablets
  • Pillow/Lumbar Support
  • Pills Must be unwrapped and not in a bottle/container. Candidates may bring pills that are still in the packaging only if the packaging states they MUST remain in the packaging, such as nitro glycerin pills that cannot be exposed to air. (Note: Packaging will be inspected by a Test Center Administrator and a Center Problem Report will be submitted if compliance standards are not adhered to)
  • Stool for Elevating Limb Candidates may bring a medical foot stool for the purpose of supporting an injured leg or foot. 
  • Surgical Facemask
  • Tissue/ Kleenex Must be provided by the test center 
  • Walking Boot Casts Crutches if needed

Medical Device Attached to a Person’s Body

All devices in the testing area must be on silent mode. If your device cannot be silenced, and makes any noise, including vibration, please contact Disability Services before you test.

  • Catheter
  • Colostomy Bag
  • Continuous glucose monitor Including testing strips and packaging
  • Heart rate monitor
  • Insulin Pump
  • Oxygen tank Must be self-contained and silent. If the oxygen makes noise, or if power is required, then an approval is required 
  • Spinal Cord Stimulator
  • TENS Units
  • Urine Drainage Bag Including cleaning supplies

Communication Aids

  • Hearing aid/cochlear implant without Bluetooth/wireless enabled
  • Vocal cord magnifiers

Mobility Devices

  • Cane
  • Crutches
  • Walker
  • Wheelchair

Other Permitted Items

  • Court Ordered Ankle Monitor
  • Head Coverings Typical head coverings may include, but are not limited to, hats, turbans, hijabs, scarves, and yarmulkes. Head Coverings claimed to be worn for medical reasons are also permitted. Typical medical head coverings may include scarves or ball caps.
  • Kirpan The Kirpan must not exceed 7 inches in total length, including the sheath. If upon inspection, the Kirpan exceeds 7 inches, Prometric retains the discretion to exclude the Kirpan from the testing center. The Kirpan should be tightly secured to the Gatra (cloth strap that keeps the Kirpan tight next to the body and makes the Kirpan difficult to remove). It should be worn on a Gatra (cloth strap) underneath clothing so that it is not readily visible.
  • Lip Balm / Chap Stick
  • Religious garments (e.g., face veil or burka/ burqa)
  • Religious objects / jewelry (e.g., Rosary beads, Kabbalah & Kara bracelets)
  • Water Effective May 1, 2023, candidates are permitted to bring water into the test room during their exam. All water must be in a clear or transparent container with a lid or cap. All labels must be removed, and the container will be inspected. For additional details visit