VTNE enters computer age

This month marks the beginning of a new era for the Veterinary Technician National Exam (VTNE). For the first time, the VTNE is being administered using the new computer-based testing (CBT) format.

For many years, the American Association of Veterinary State Boards (AAVSB) has offered the paper and pencil version of the VTNE twice a year to candidates wanting to become veterinary technicians. With the new format, the test will be offered much more often, allowing candidates the flexibility to schedule test times convenient for them at almost 400 test sites across the United States and Canada.

Daphne Tabbytite, assistant director and VTNE program manager for the AAVSB said the response to the change has been positive so far.

“The main reason for the positive response is that under the previous paper and pencil format, there were only two specified testing dates available each year,” Tabbytite said. “Under the new CBT format, there will be a total of 90 available testing dates each year; 30-day ‘testing windows’ offered three times a year.”

Tabbytite said the first electronic test features questions that are very similar to those on the written exam. But future versions of the test may have different types of questions.

“AAVSB’s volunteer item writers work extremely hard in creating new questions for the exam and are eager to incorporate multi-media questions now that there will be different options available for questions through the computer that were not possible on the paper VTNE,” she said.

In addition to the increased number of test dates, other advantages of the new format include improved access and convenience for candidates, more flexibility with question types, improved security and more efficient scoring. Tabbytite said that one of the most attractive benefits of the computerized system is the fact that candidates will be able to see their preliminary results immediately. After the test is completed, the word “pass” or “fail” will appear on the screen. Previously, test-takers had to wait up to eight weeks for results. Under the CBT system, official results will be emailed within 3-4 weeks.

The switch to the CBT system included a general upgrade to the AAVSB website and database.

“As part of the technology enhancements approved by the AAVSB Board of Directors, a web-based data transfer component was built to accommodate the application process, and a log-in system was created which improves the application, eligibility, communication and score reporting processes for all users,” Tabbytite said.

The AAVSB anticipates about 7,000 people will sit for the test this year, an increase of 16 percent over last year. According to AAVSB data, a 15-17 percent increase in the number of applicants is fairly typical.

The cost for taking the VTNE is now $300, which includes the “seat fee” for the computer testing center, Prometric. The next testing window in 2010 is Nov. 15-Dec. 15. See the AAVSB website for more information.