Clinical Exam Statistics

Statement on North Carolina’s Clinical Examination and Recent Pass Percentages

July 6, 2021


From time-to-time candidates share with the Board the urban legends about the North Carolina Clinical Exam. Some of the stories we have heard:


  1. The exam is almost impossible to pass

  2. The pass rate is below 50%

  3. You must know someone on the Board to pass

  4. It depends on what school you went to

  5. Passing depends on where you intend to practice – with whom or what town


These are the facts:

  1. Your identity, including your name, educational history, personal or social background, etc. are hidden from the Board members and clinical examiners. You are identified by a random number. In fact, your anonymity is maintained throughout the exam and only revealed after the final exam results are validated and recorded.

  2. Should a Board member or clinical examiner know a candidate prior to the exam, that individual must recuse himself and cannot take part in any aspect of the exam scoring.

  3. The following are the Board’s recent pass rates:

Summer 2021: 82%

Winter 2021: 85%

Summer 2020: 70%

Winter 2020: 83%

Summer 2019: 78%

Winter 2019: 83%

Summer 2018: 84%


If you find some motivating factor or personal value in believing and continuing the urban legends about the North Carolina Clinical Exam, the Board has no problem with you doing this. However, be aware, our exam is a psychometrically structured and validated exam and every effort is made to assess your critical thinking skills in a fair and unbiased manner.


William B. Rafferty, OD

Executive Director