The Special Purpose Examination (commonly known as the SPEX exam) is a general test of medical knowledge. It is most often used to evaluate already-licensed professionals or individuals who are applying to be re-licensed after not practicing for a time.
There are two different content areas on the SPEX exam: Clinical Encounter Categories and Physician Tasks.
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The Clinical Encounter Categories include:
- Well-care/Preventive Medicine
- Acute, Circumscribed Problems
- Ill-defined Presentations or Problems
- Chronic or Progressive Illness
- Emergency Conditions
- Critical Care
- Behavioral/Emotional Problems
The Physician Tasks include
- Data Gathering
- Diagnostic Assessment
- Managing Therapy
- Applying Scientific Concepts
There are four kinds of multiple-choice questions on the SPEX exam: single-item sets (five answer choices, only one best answer); multiple-item sets (several questions based on the same set of information); matching items (in which treatment options and conditions must be paired); and extended matching sets (a situation is presented and you have to choose the best diagnosis, though some wrong answers may be partially correct).
The SPEX exam is divided into eight blocks of 50 questions, each of which takes 52 minutes. The exam is administered by computer in a single day at the test site. The SPEX is a timed test with the test taker being aided by an on-screen prompt displaying a box indicating the amount of time remaining. Before the SPEX exam begins, you will be given a brief tutorial on the testing program procedures. Even those inexperienced in the use of computers should have little trouble navigating the SPEX program.
SPEX Study Guide
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by Mometrix Test Preparation | Last Updated: May 24, 2019