Frequently asked questions
Can I pay for the examination in instalments?
No, payment in full is required with your completed registration form.
I have already paid a fee. Why do I have to pay again?
The amount you paid previously was the assessment fee for credentialing purposes. The registration fee is a separate fee that must be included with the registration form.
I am repeating the examination this year. Do I get a discount?
No, the full registration fee is required at each attempt.
Examination schedule and sites
Where can I access information about the examination dates, times and sites?
For spring examination dates, times and sites, please refer to the Royal College webpage here.
Fall examination dates, times and sites are published here. Note: Fall 2019 exams will be held at Touchstone Institute in Toronto.
When will I receive my schedule for the oral examinations?
The appointment letter outlining your schedule will be mailed to you about a month before the examination.
Is there a map and/or directions to the written and oral examination sites available?
Yes, please refer to the directions page. List of centres for written examinations will be updated periodically as it becomes available.
Is there parking at the examination centres?
Parking is not available at the Royal College headquarters site. Please use another mode of transportation.
Paid parking is available at La Cité site in the red parking lot, which is accessible using the Aviation Parkway entrance. The daily fee is $17.50 (or $4 hourly) and it is payable with credit card only. Parking in any other lot may result in a ticket. The Royal College will not reimburse you for this expense.
Public parking is available within walking distance of the Touchstone Institute. However, public transit is often easier and less expensive.
What should I study for the examination?
It is suggested that candidates carefully review all the pertaining documents under the Information by Discipline webpage, which include the objectives of training for the discipline as well as the format document which describes the examination.
Can I get copies of past examination questions?
Past examinations are not available for distribution. For several disciplines, examples of written examination questions can be found on the Information by Discipline webpage.
How can I find out about the type of questions that are used on the examination?
For the written examinations, please refer to the links below for information about the Short Answer Questions (SAQ) and Multiple Choice Questions (MCQ).
Should I use an online “ghost bank” or “question bank” to study for Royal College exams?
Online “ghost banks/question banks” are not endorsed nor condoned by the Royal College. They do not contain official Royal College questions and there is no guarantee that the information in these banks is correct. The Royal College provides the same preparatory materials to all candidates, including information about the format of each specialty examination, what candidates need to know about writing their exams, and recommended study tools. It is recommended that you use these official materials.
Is there a code of conduct for candidates?
Yes, there is a Code of Conduct.
How do I dress for the examinations?
There is no official dress code, but business attire is the norm.
Should I bring my lab coat?
There is no need for a lab coat. If you choose to wear one, it must not identify you or your institution (e.g. university hospital crest, etc.).
What do I need to bring to my examination?
All candidates should bring a government issued photo ID with signature (i.e. passport, driver’s license or provincial health card). Please refer to your candidate appointment letter for discipline-specific requirements.
Everything that is required will be provided at the examination centre including calculators, scrap paper, ear plugs and clinical laboratory test references values. Pencils will only be provided for the MCQ. Pens will be provided for those writing the SAQ. Please note that for the SAQ examinations, you are allowed to bring your own pen, if you prefer.
Beyond discipline-specific materials outlined in your appointment letter, all other materials required including pens, pencils and/or paper will be available in the examination room. You are permitted to bring your own pen.
What I am not allowed to bring to my examination?
All electronic devices including cellphones and digital/smart watches will be collected during registration and are not permitted in the examination rooms. Candidates who wish to wear a watch for their own timekeeping purposes are encouraged to wear a quartz or mechanical movement watch. Digital and/or smart watches are prohibited.
If study materials, laptops or tablets are securely packed in a suitcase or laptop bag, the candidate may be permitted to leave them in the designated area for personal belongings. Electronic devices will be supervised at all times and returned to the candidate at the end of the examination. For the SAQ examinations, whiteout stripes or liquid paper are not permitted. In the event that you need to cross out your initial answer, you can rewrite your new answer below.
Is lunch provided for the written, OSCE, oral and practical examinations?
For the written examinations, lunch is not provided. Although candidates may bring a small snack in a clear plastic bag, please be considerate and avoid strong scented foods and noisy packages. For the OSCE, oral and practical examinations, lunch is not provided for candidates unless otherwise stated in your candidate appointment letter.
If your examination is at the Royal College site, you may visit one of the local restaurants that is within walking distance.
If your examination is at La Cité site, there is a cafeteria but local restaurants are at some distance. Please note that snacks, coffee, tea, juice, soft drinks and water are available on the oral examination floor. However, these are not permitted inside the examination rooms.
If your examination is at Touchstone, you may visit one of the local restaurants and food courts that is within walking distance.
Am I allowed to use the washroom facilities during the examinations?
Should you need to use the facilities during the written examinations, please raise your hand and an invigilator will escort you.
Should you need to use the facilities during the oral examinations, you may do so during the appointed break station, if applicable, or before the information session. Should you need to use the facilities during the examination, please advise the examiner(s) in your station. Any time lost during the station will NOT be added at the end.
Can I breastfeed while participating in a Royal College exam?
The Royal College recognizes how challenging it can be to balance new parenthood with the examination schedule. While candidates cannot bring their babies to the examination, we will attempt to find a private space at the examination centre where they can
- pump milk before/after the three hour written examination, and/or
- before/after the Oral/OSCE examination.
Please contact firstname.lastname@example.org by January 13, the year of the intended examination, to inquire/request use of this space.
If I pump breast milk before/after the exam, is there somewhere onsite where I can store the milk?
Yes. Pumped breast milk can be stored at any of our current exam locations in Ottawa (e.g. the Royal College and La Cité) and in Toronto (e.g. Touchstone Institute). All buildings have easy access to refrigerators. Candidates can speak to anyone at registration, the Exam Lead or the Team Lead, Exam Logistics. A Hall Monitor will escort the candidate from the exam floor to the designated room.
What is your policy on access to menstrual products during a Royal College exam?
Candidates may bring menstrual products to the exam. Alternatively, a hall monitor can temporarily store these products in their vest pockets and provide them to the candidate, when needed.
I require more accommodations for my exam. Whom do I contact?
Where can I read all the policies and procedures relating to Royal College exams?
Our complete exams policies and procedures document is downloadable as a PDF.
What does a typical oral examination day look like?
- At registration, you will be asked to present a piece of government issued photo ID and all electronic devices (cellphones, digital/smart watches) will be collected. Wallets, keys and other loose belongings will also be collected. All other personal belongings, such as purses, bags, suitcases, can be placed in cabinets provided at the reception on the examination floor. Please note that study materials are not permitted in the waiting room after you have registered.
- After registration, you will be shown to the waiting room. Royal College staff will give you a 5-10 minutes warning before orientation is scheduled. Washrooms will be available at this time.
- A candidate orientation information session will take place with the Chair or Director of the Examination Board and the Royal College Exam Lead.
- After the information session, you will be escorted to the examination floor by Royal College staff and will be placed in front of your 1st examination room.
- All personal belongings will be returned to you upon completion of the examination or at the end of the sequestering period, if applicable.
When is sequestering required?
Sequestering may be required following the examination in order to ensure that candidates do not communicate the content of the examination to others preparing to take the examination. Please note that all personal belongings including electronic devices will not be accessible until the sequestering period is finished. Respect the registration times on the appointment letter to ensure the sequestering period is as short as possible for all candidates.
How and when will I get the results online?
Instructions on how to access your results and the date that these will be published are provided on the Royal College website here.
Can I provide feedback about my experience with the examinations?
Yes, a post examination survey will be sent out to you via e-mail. You will receive the survey within 24 hours following the completion of each examination component. The results will be kept confidential and anonymous.