Technical Requirements

The standard Aquifer exam requirements outlined below apply to exams delivered over both wired and wireless networks. Students may use personal laptops, either Macs or PCs, to take an exam.

  • Windows 7, Windows 8, Windows 10, Windows 11
  • Mac OS X version v11 thru v13 (Ventura)
  • 1GHz processor or higher
  • 17” screen or larger monitor (Desktops)
  • 13” screen or larger (Laptops)
  • Minimum screen resolution of 1024×768 with
  • 32-bit color setting
  • Turn off Windows updates or virus scanner updates to avoid interruptions during the exam.
  • Virtual machines and applications are not guaranteed to work; prior testing on your system will be required.
  • Tablet devices are not currently supported devices. This includes iPads, Android tablets, phones, Windows touchscreen/tablet computer and Microsoft Surface. Touchscreen laptop computers may work, provided you use a mouse or a trackpad and the keyboard and do not use the touchscreen. You are strongly urged to test the use of the Secure Exam Browser on your device well ahead of your scheduled exam to ensure it will work. If it does not work, you may have to find another computer on which to take the exam.
  • Broadband (DSL, Cable or T1)
  • 256Kbps or higher per workstation

Some level of encryption must be in place for wireless networks while the exam is in progress. SSL can be supplemented with another security protocol, such as but not limited to WEP, WPA or WPA2.

A secure exam browser is required to administer the Aquifer Pediatrics, Aquifer Family Medicine, and Aquifer Radiology exams; this application “locks down” the computer and prevents students from accessing other software applications during the exam. The secure exam browser will also detect any programs running on the student’s computer that could compromise exam content.

The secure exam browser application requires administrator rights to install.

Schools must confirm that each computer has the secure browser installed prior to the exam.


Download the secure exam browser.

Students using personal laptops should be advised to arrive early to detect any problems with their local firewall.

Extra workstations/laptops should be available to replace computers that may malfunction during the test session. These spares should be enabled for wired and wireless LAN use.

* Adapted from the NBME Quick Start Guide to Web-Based Exam

Technical Support Staff Responsibilities

Individuals serving as technical support for an exam are expected to ensure that all computers being used for exam administration can deliver the exam securely and successfully.

In advance of administering the exam, we recommend…
  • Set up a dedicated workstation/laptop in each testing room that will used by the proctor in that room.
  • If you would like to run a sample test to verify the secure browser has downloaded and is working successfully, please contact to request a test login for your institution.
It is the responsibility of the technical support staff to…
  • Have knowledge of the operating system (OS), virus checker and browser version that reside on institutional workstations/laptops or examinee laptops.
  • Be knowledgeable about the network architecture of the testing rooms.
  • Verify that Internet connection speed is adequate (minimum T1) for the exam.
  • Be available to be onsite on the day of the exam to resolve technical problems that may arise.

Exam Support

If an issue arises during the exam:

    1. Contact your institution’s technical support staff.
    2. Access Aquifer Exam Troubleshooting Tips.
    3. If neither of those addresses the issue, contact Aquifer’s exam support staff weekdays 8 am – 5 pm ET, except federal holidays.

Contact or (603) 727-7002 ext. 2 with any questions about test administration activities.

Security Reminder

Please remind all faculty and students that all exam content is confidential and should not be shared with anyone, at any time, in any way.