March 9, 2015


The Special Purpose Examination, or SPEX, is a comprehensive and wide-ranging assessment for physicians. A number of jurisdictions in the United States and its territories use the test to determine whether candidates are qualified to practice medicine.

This assessment is only open to persons who hold or have held a license to practice medicine in the past. Prospective candidates who currently hold a license to practice medicine in the United States or Canada can nominate themselves for the examination. Otherwise, candidates must be sponsored by the licensing board of the jurisdiction in which they seek to practice.

There are two ways to consider the content of the SPEX: in terms of disease category and in terms of physician task. The disease categories covered within the exam include general principles and disorders of the blood; the nervous system and special senses; the mind; skin; musculoskeletal system; respiratory system; cardiovascular system; gastrointestinal system; renal and urinary systems; male and female reproductive systems, including pregnancy; the endocrine system; and the immune system.

There are three primary physician tasks addressed by the SPEX: applying scientific concepts, formulating a diagnosis, and managing patient care. The application of scientific concepts entails an understanding of the underlying principles beneath a condition and a familiarity with the clinical findings related to the condition. In order to formulate a diagnosis, a doctor must take an effective patient history and physical examination, must perform appropriate laboratory and diagnostic studies, must craft a proper diagnosis, and must establish an appropriate prognosis. Management of patient care encompasses health maintenance, clinical intervention, clinical therapeutics, and application of legal and ethical healthcare systems.

The SPEX exam consists of seven blocks of 48 questions. Each block requires one hour and four minutes to complete. The questions on the SPEX exam are multiple-choice with five possible answers. Some of the answers may be partially correct; it is the test takers job to select the best answer for each question. The exam is offered throughout the year at special testing centers.

SPEX Study Guide

Start learning how to be successful on your SPEX exam. Our SPEX study guide is guaranteed to help you get the results you deserve on your SPEX test. Some test takers prefer to study using flashcards and so we have created the best SPEX flashcards that cover everything you need to know for the SPEX exam. Note that using multiple study aids will help you maximize the benefit from your study time.

SPEX Study Guide
SPEX Flashcards

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