March 2008

For certification examinations, the time allotted for computer based tests varies due to the number of items and item complexity.  Although the time to take the exam varies among candidates, there is no identifiable pattern of candidates' who pass and those that fail in relation to the amount of time used.

Phil Higgins
Coordinator, Computer Based Testing

Time Usage and Candidate Outcomes on Multiple Choice Examinations

With the use of computer based testing, it is possible to keep a very accurate record of the amount of time used by candidates and their pass or fail outcomes.  These are certification examinations designed to measure candidate ability in a specific area of practice using specific content guidelines.  The table shows that passing or failing the examination does not depend on the amount of time a candidate uses to complete the examination.  Some candidates complete the test rapidly and pass, while others fail. Some candidates review until time runs out and still fail. These certification examinations are not meant to be speeded tests.  The actual amount of time it takes for a candidate to complete the test depends on his/her ability and work patterns.

Multiple Choice

Total testing time  - hours

Number of Items (time per item)

Min time used

Max time used

Mean time used


Percent Fail

Exam 1



(1.2 per)

2 hrs.

19 min.

4 hrs.

3 hrs.

49 min.



Exam 2



(1.2 per)

2 hrs.

3 min.

6 hrs.

4 hrs.

32 min.



Exam 3



(1.5 per)

2 hrs.

39 min.

7 hrs.

5 hrs.

27 min.



Exam 4



(1.2 per)

55 min.

3 hrs.

2 hrs

24 min.



Exam 5



(1.2 per)

1 hr.

28 min.


2 hrs.

48 min.



Time Allocation for Oral Examinations

Monitoring time usage for oral examinations is more difficult.  Time usage depends upon the examiner's ability to allocate time so that all of the pertinent cases and clinical tasks are covered.  These oral examinations are for certification.  Standardized cases provide the content for the examination, and within each case are clinical tasks on which the candidate is rated.  The number and type of tasks graded within each case depends on the field of practice.  The table shows how several oral examinations allocate time for each case, and the total oral examination. There is substantial variance among exams; however, examiners are trained to cover the pertinent tasks within the time allotted, so that there is complete data for all candidates.  The depth of the examiner discussion with the candidate undoubtedly relates to the time allotted.


Oral Exam

Total Exam Time

Time per case

Number of cases per candidate

Number of tasks tested in each case

Exam A

3 hours

30 minutes



Exam B

2 hours

20 minutes



Exam C

1.5 hours

30 minutes



Exam D

2 hours

12 minutes



Exam E 

1.3 hours

7 minutes




Measurement Research Associates, Inc.
505 North Lake Shore Dr., Suite 1304
Chicago, IL  60611
Phone: (312) 822-9648     Fax: (312) 822-9650

Please help with Standard Dataset 4: Andrich Rating Scale Model

Rasch Publications
Rasch Measurement Transactions (free, online) Rasch Measurement research papers (free, online) Probabilistic Models for Some Intelligence and Attainment Tests, Georg Rasch Applying the Rasch Model 3rd. Ed., Bond & Fox Best Test Design, Wright & Stone
Rating Scale Analysis, Wright & Masters Introduction to Rasch Measurement, E. Smith & R. Smith Introduction to Many-Facet Rasch Measurement, Thomas Eckes Invariant Measurement: Using Rasch Models in the Social, Behavioral, and Health Sciences, George Engelhard, Jr. Statistical Analyses for Language Testers, Rita Green
Rasch Models: Foundations, Recent Developments, and Applications, Fischer & Molenaar Journal of Applied Measurement Rasch models for measurement, David Andrich Constructing Measures, Mark Wilson Rasch Analysis in the Human Sciences, Boone, Stave, Yale
in Spanish: Análisis de Rasch para todos, Agustín Tristán Mediciones, Posicionamientos y Diagnósticos Competitivos, Juan Ramón Oreja Rodríguez

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