Apple has introduced macOS 11 “Big Sur” and new laptops based on the Apple designed M1 CPU

  • NBME SHELF and ExamSoft Examplify software are not certified for use with the Apple M1 CPU.
  • To maintain maximum compatibility with existing applications, HMS Information Technology strongly recommends against purchasing a new Apple computer with the M1 CPU until application developers have had time to complete their transition.

To use your own laptop to take an NBME exam online, the computer must first pass a certification. IT staff can help you do this prior to the exam day if you have trouble certifying it yourself.

If you have been locked out of the pre-certification due to "too many attempts", do not panic. If contacted in advance of exam day, HMS-IT can still certify your computer for use during the exams or provide a loaner if needed. 

Before exam day

Prior to taking the SHELF exam, you will need to have:

It is recommended that you have access to an alternate computer in case your laptop fails shortly before or during the exam. If your laptop fails during the exam, notify the Exam Proctor, who is the only person who can assist you with getting technical assistance or resuming the test on another computer.

Note: If you are not able to use your laptop for any upcoming exam, contact IT at least three days prior to exam day by sending email to or calling the Service Desk at 617-432-2000 to schedule a pickup of a loaner. 

No loaners will be given out on the day of the exam.

Follow the instructions for remote SHELF exam laptop certification