What is the Veterinary Educational Assessment?

The VEA® is a 240-item web-based multiple-choice examination covering basic veterinary medical sciences.  The five main content areas are anatomy, physiology, pharmacology, microbiology, and pathology.  This examination was previously known as the Qualifying Examination (QE).

What is the purpose of the VEA®?

The VEA® offers veterinary schools a comprehensive, standardized, independent assessment of knowledge in basic veterinary medical sciences.  It allows schools to track the performance of their students in the above content areas over time, and to compare the performance of their students to that of students from other veterinary schools.

How does the VEA® help students prepare for the NAVLE?

A study conducted in 2011 to determine the relationship among several common measures, prior to and during veterinary school, revealed that the VEA® was the strongest predictor of how a student would perform on the NAVLE.  The VEA® tests students on knowledge that is foundational to the clinical practice.  If students have a strong understanding of these content areas, there is a high probability that they will score well on the NAVLE.  Educators can utilize the results from the VEA® to make cirriculum changes that improve student's knowledge in the basic sciences.

How are VEA® items developed?

Items in the VEA® item bank are written by basic science faculty members and other content experts.  To date, a total of 75 item writers have submitted items, representing 29 veterinary schools in North America. 

Who administers the VEA® Program?

The VEA® is administered by the International Council for Veterinary Assessment (ICVA), in cooperation with the National Board of Medical Examiners (NBME).  The same two organizations are responsible for the North American Veterinary Licensing Examination (NAVLE).  The VEA® is developed using the same procedures and standards as the NAVLE.

How is the VEA® given?

Candidates access the examination by logging into a secure web site, and the test administration is supervised by proctors.  The examination may be given using school or student computers that meet the technical requirements for delivery of the web-based examination, and can be done as a group on-campus or individually if students are off-campus.  The VEA® is delivered in two blocks of 120 items in 132 minutes, with an optional break of up to 45 minutes between the two blocks.  This includes both 200 scored items and 40 pretest items being considered for use in future VEA® testing cycles.

How much does the VEA® cost?

The ICVA will charge a per-candidate fee of $75, payable by the school, starting with the September 2022 administration.  Schools may decide whether to pass this fee on to their students.

Can faculty review the VEA® for free?

To give faculty a better understanding of the assessment, ICVA offers two complimentary faculty reviews per school, per year (July 1 - June 30). Originally available only during the testing windows, the VEA Faculty Review can now be completed any time of the year. ICVA requires a two-week timeframe to process the request and the school has a 60-day window to complete the faculty assessment. The updated VEA Faculty Review form has been streamlined to 100 items, allowing for a simpler, more efficient review process.

Schools are under no obligation to purchase the test after the faculty review.  However, schools that intend to administer the VEA® to their students may choose to have these faculty members reviewing at the same time as their student administration, or prior to the testing window of their students.

For more information on the VEA Faculty Review please email us at

ICVA Examination Dates

The VEA® will be administered during the following testing windows:


Practice Versions of the VEA®

Download a Printable PDF

Web-based Practice Test

VEA® Technical Reports

2022 - 2023 Technical Report

Archived VEA® (QE) Technical Reports

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Contact The ICVA