• NAVLE stands for the North American Veterinary Licensing Examination
  • Given by the International Council for Veterinary Assessment, the ICVA
  • Passing the examination is required to practice veterinary medicine in the US and Canada
  • The NAVLE is designed to test the knowledge of a veterinarian entering into their first year of practice. This is an important tidbit.  The NAVLE is likely not going to ask you about the zebras of vet med.  Its goal is to make sure you have the knowledge of the average veterinary student graduating from veterinary school.  In other words, if you’ve passed veterinary school, you in theory should be prepared to pass this exam.


  • The NAVLE is a multiple choice only exam
  • administered on a computer and given at a 3rd party testing center.  There are approved testing centers in most metropolitan areas, so you very likely will not have to travel far to take the exam
  • The exam is comprised of 6 sections containing 60 questions each, for a total of 360 questions. 60 of those questions are considered “pre-test” questions and WILL NOT be counted in the scoring.  You will not know which questions are “pre-test” questions on the exam (they will be mixed in with the rest of the questions).


  • The NAVLE is only offered in November/December and again in April.
  • While the vast majority of students pass in either their first or second attempt, you may take the NAVLE up to 5 times,
  • but those 5 attempts must be completed within 5 years of the first attempt. The fourth and fifth attempts must be taken at least one year from the previous attempt.


  • You will have 65 minutes to complete the 60 questions in each of the 6 sections.
  • You will have 45 minutes of total break time to split between the 6 sections however you want.
  • Remember that if you finish a section early (before the 65 minutes of time allotted) you can add that time to your total break time. In other words, that about 6.5 hours of total test time allowed with 45 minutes of break time.


  • Sadly, it’s not exactly known what the minimum score is needed to pass the NAVLE. Great, right?  According to chatter on the internet, the presumed passing threshold is about 60-70%.
  • Keep in mind that your score will be reported in a 3-digit number, ranging from 200-800, where a 425 is the minimum passing score.
  • Here is the official verbiage from NAVLE regarding the passing scores:

“The NAVLE passing standard is determined by a panel of veterinarians who are experts in the content areas assessed by the NAVLE. This panel reviews the NAVLE and makes judgments as to the test performance required of entry-level veterinarians. The collective judgments of the panel members are used to establish a NAVLE score representing the lowest acceptable passing score on the examination. Candidates who achieve a score equal to or higher than this criterion-referenced passing score receive a “pass” classification.“


  • Now I mentioned in the first part of the podcast that the NAVLE is designed to be passed by any graduating veterinary student. But we all know that just passing veterinary school does not set you up to automatically pass the NAVLE.  For most, months of prep is required to make sure you’re ready to pass the exam.
  • There are 2 big players when it comes to NAVLE prep: Zuku Review and VetPrep. I encourage you to check out both review products and see which is best for you.  Both are fantastic.
  • As you get closer the exam, ICVA offers a few other ways to get prepared:
    • First there are 60 sample questions along with an answer key on the ICVA website. These sample questions are free to access.
    • And then, there are self-assessments available on the ICVA website. Each self-assessment consists of 200 questions and costs $50 for each assessment.  From what I’ve heard from past graduates, these assessments, while they do cost money, are a great way to forecast your performance on the NAVLE. Taking at least one of these assessments has been highly recommended to me.

Remember, you can find more about the NAVLE on the ICVA website at www.icva.net/navle.

NAVLE question breakdown by number
NAVLE question breakdown by percentage
NAVLE question type breakdown