Laptop Requirements

System Requirements

During their medical school careers, students use laptops for a number of required activities, including testing.  Each student is required to possess a laptop throughout their time in medical school that meets the minimum technical specifications (see below).  These specifications are updated annually and published in the VUSM MD Program student handbook.  For questions, please contact Education Design and Technology.


  • 1 Ghz processor
  • 13-inch or larger display, with minimum 1024×768 resolution
  • Wireless-g, -n, or -ac capability
  • Not supported: Chromebooks, Netbooks

Operating System:

  • Windows 7, 8, 10
  • Mac OS X 10.8 or higher
  • Not supported: Linux, virtual machines


  • Latest versions of Chrome and Firefox (recommended as default browsers)
  • Windows: IE 10 or higher
  • Mac: Safari 6 or higher
  • Cookies must be enabled
  • JavaScript must be enabled


Latest versions of:

  • Acrobat reader
  • Flash Player
  • Silverlight Player

Recommended, but not required:

  • Earplugs for exams
  • Earbuds or headphones
  • Tablet that supports the latest version of iOS or Android (these are not compatible for NBME exams, but should work for other online exams)
  • See also, apps highly recommended by current students (maintained by the VUSM Student Technology Committee)

Frequently asked questions:

Q: Why aren’t netbooks and Chromebooks supported?

A: The NBME (National Board of Medical Examiners) has a secure browser that must be installed on your laptop in order to take their exams, and they only support the versions of Windows and Mac OS listed above.

Q: I have an 11-inch MacBook Air, or other 11-inch laptop display. Why can’t I use this for exams?

A: You can, but some of the images on the exams may be cropped off. You might be able to scroll to see the full image.

Q:  Why are Chrome and Firefox recommended over Safari and Internet Explorer?

A: Chrome and Firefox perform better, more consistently, in our environment. Sometimes Internet Explorer and Safari have trouble displaying some of the web-based elements of our applications.

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