On-Campus Web Based Testing (WBT)

This option is available to all NBSTSA recognized programs. The program must be an approved testing center and be set up through Applied Measurement Professionals (AMP) to participate. To be approved and set up through AMP you will need to make sure an Examination Administrator Request Form has been submitted to AMP.

Guidelines for utilization of the WBT testing service:

  • WBT is for currently enrolled students in the participating program.  Graduates from past classes may not test on-campus with the current graduating class.
  • Complete graduating groups must participate, with the exception of those who are approved for special accommodations.  Partial candidate groups are not permitted.  Partial candidate groups may utilize the AMP Computer Based (CBT) testing network post-graduation. 
  • Candidates may test by WBT no more than 30 days prior to graduation or 30 days post-graduation.

Please submit all exam applications together with the WBT Request Form and typed roster. All application information must reach our office at least 45 days prior to testing (regular days, not business).

Please be aware that any candidates who are approved for special accommodations will need to test at an AMP-approved computer based testing (CBT) center. AMP CBT centers are designed and inspected for ADA compliance which ensures candidates are provided appropriate accommodations.  The rest of the class may test on-campus without them.  If a student is denied special accommodations and they cannot provide further documentation to be reviewed, they may test with the rest of the class, but only if we receive written notice from the student at least one week prior to the exam date that they wish to forgo special accommodations and test on-campus.  NBSTSA sends special accommodations requests out to a third-party who is qualified to evaluate the documentation.  For this reason, if you want the student to still test on-campus if they are denied, it is recommended that you send all applications, the typed roster, the student’s Request for Special Examination Accommodations with documentation and the WBT Request Form roughly three months prior to the requested exam date.  If the third-party reviewer has not returned a decision yet or a student who is denied special accommodations does not notify us at least one week prior to the exam date that they wish to test on-campus, they will have to test off-campus post-graduation.


Guides to the process of administering an On-Campus Exam and a schedule to help you remember when steps must be completed:

Step 1: Notify AMP of your testing location and examination administrator/proctor (must be turned in for the first examination given on-campus and each time the administrator/proctor changes).

Step 2: If you are purchasing bundle packages from AST, you may print exam applications from this website.  NBSTSA will no longer be mailing applications to you.  If you are not purchasing bundles, payment must be provided with the exam applications.  Either mail in an application for each student along with the WBT Request Form and a typed roster of the students who will be testing, or have each student submit their application online and you submit a WBT Online Request Form and Roster (must be received no later than 45 days prior to the test date requested). 

Online Submission  (All forms and student examination applications must be submitted online within a one week time frame.)


Mail-in Submission (All forms and student examination applications must be submitted together by mail.)


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Preparing Your Students to Take the CST and CSFA Examinations

The CST and CSFA Examinations cover the knowledge and skills common to competent entry-level surgical technologists and surgical first assistants in varied settings and geographical locations within the United States. NBSTSA committee members design the examinations to assess the skills that comprise the core body of knowledge for all surgical technologists and surgical first assistants. The CST and CSFA Examinations examine practical knowledge and one night of studying will not lead to passing grades.


CST and CSFA Examination Content Area Outlines

All the areas listed may appear on the examination, which is a broad, knowledge-based exam that does not test in one specific subject area or surgical specialty.  Your students will need to know about specialties that they may not have been able to experience during the clinical portion of their training.  The outline is the best guide for knowing what to study. 


CST and CSFA Examination Study Evaluations

The Study Evaluation breaks down the number of questions in each section of the exam and asks candidates to think about their skills and knowledge to assign a level of competency score for themselves in each section.  You may want to have your students fill it out periodically to help them see where they are improving and where they still need to spend more time studying. 


CST and CSFA Reference Materials

This is the list of references used by the committee members to help create the exam questions.  Students do not necessarily need to purchase them all in order to pass the exam.  You will notice that there is no study guide on this list.  Study guides may be useful study tools; however, NBSTSA does not recommend making a study guide the only focus of study.  Students using study guides should be sure to supplement and cover all the material listed on the Examination Content Area Outline. 


CST and CSFA Practice Examinations

The CST and CSFA Practice Examinations follow the same outlines as the real exam and will give students the best representation of what it will be like.  Two vouchers for free practice exams are distributed to each program at the beginning of the test form year, which begins on August 1st of each year.  Without a voucher, the cost of the practice exam is $40 each, and there are two different versions for CST (Form A and Form B) and one for CSFA.  Candidates may log in and out of the practice exam for 30 days from the date of purchase, but may only grade it one time, at which time they will receive an analysis of individual questions and performance and be able to print it out for further review.  Click here to purchase or use a voucher for the Practice Examination.


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Obtaining Examination Results

We must have proof of graduation (one of the following: official notarized letter from the program director stating each student’s name, date of graduation and type of degree awarded, certificate of graduation or transcripts) in the NBSTSA office no later than 60 days after the test date. These items may be mailed, e-mailed (as long as it is not a type of document that may be altered) or faxed to the NBSTSA.  Students may submit graduation proof individually or the Program Director may provide proof for the entire class.  Pass/fail information will not be released to you or your students until we receive appropriate graduation verification. Please note, graduate information not provided within the 60 day period will result in invalidation of candidate examination results and forfeiture of all examination fees.  If a candidate’s results are invalidated, he/she will have to reapply, repay and retest to become certified.


If a Program Director provides proof of graduation, NBSTSA will e-mail them the pass/fail results for the class within about 3 business days of receipt.  It is up to the Program Director if they want to release the information to the students.  From receipt of graduation verification, NBSTSA will take approximately 4 to 6 weeks to get results processed, printed and in the mail to the students’ homes.  This timetable may vary due to staffing, office closures and the volume of test results to be processed and mailed.  The online verification system is only helpful for finding out results if the individual has passed and the results have been processed in the database.  Processed failed results and unprocessed results appear the same.


AMP School Portal Reports

The "School Portal" is available through Applied Measurement Professionals (AMP) to provide educators at NBSTSA-recognized surgical technology and surgical first assisting programs reports on student testing performance on the CST and/or the CSFA examinations. These reports provide individual candidate performance in all sections of the Examination Content Area Outline. These reports can be used to provide outcomes assessment data related to programmatic accreditation through the Commission on Accreditation of Allied Health Education Programs (CAAHEP) and the Accreditation Bureau of Health Education Schools (ABHES). Educational institutions can set up access to the School Portal by contacting Portal Support (portalsupport@psionline.com) to receive your confidential login ID and password.

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The Board of Directors of the NBSTSA is pleased to announce that we will be giving away two free practice examinations to every NBSTSA recognized program.

An $80 value, we encourage Program Directors to present these free practice examinations to students identified by the program as having a financial need.

Program Directors should have received vouchers that were e-mailed directly from Applied Measurement Professionals, Inc. (AMP) in August.

Please call Lia Byrd at (303) 325-2531 with questions.

*Two free practice examinations per year.