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Exam day

What to expect on exam day: FAQs

Is wearing masks mandatory at hotel exam sites?

Candidates are encouraged to check with local public health authority guidelines and comply with any site-specific recommendations.

It is mandatory for all invigilators to wear masks at registration desks, when distributing exams and dealing with candidates' belongings. Invigilators can remove their mask when sitting at their posts but must put on a mask when speaking to candidates.

Masks will be provided to candidates if they don’t arrive with their own. Candidates are encouraged to bring/wear their own mask to the hotel exam site. Candidates must wear masks until they get to their individual exam room. Masks can be taken off once the exam has commenced and candidates and staff are seated. While writing, candidates do not need to wear one. Any interaction between staff and candidates must be made while wearing a mask. For example, if candidates are asking the invigilator a question, they must wear a mask. If they are in the common areas of the hotel exam site, they must also wear a mask.

Will each candidate’s desk space be sanitized between the morning and afternoon sessions? What other sanitation protocols will be followed?

All 17 Canadian hotel exam sites have implemented a cleanliness protocol. This involves:

  • providing dedicated staff who will clean surfaces with increased frequency
  • installing hand-sanitizing stations at hotel entrances, front desks, elevator banks, meeting spaces and other common areas,
  • having signage in public spaces to remind people to maintain physical distancing,
  • using linen-less tables for easy disinfection, and
  • sanitizing surfaces including tables, chairs, and all high-touch items between sessions, if the same room is being used for the afternoon.

What is the sanitation protocol for computers?

Computers will be sanitized by dedicated staff, who are wearing appropriate personal protective equipment, after each exam session.

Will the Royal College provide enough supplies to ensure no items are reused?

Yes, all supplies provided at the hotel exam sites will be one-time use only and will not be reused amongst candidates.

However, items such as back-up calculators or laminated copies of clinical laboratory test references values, will be wiped down after each use.

Will calculators be provided?

The online exam platform has a calculator. Back-up calculators will also be available in the event of a technical issue.

Will food and drink be allowed at the hotel exam site?

Yes, food and drinks will be allowed.

If I have been granted an exam accommodation, can I write my exam from my home/office?

No, candidates who have been granted an accommodation must come to one of 17 Canadian hotel exam sites to write their exam, unless exceptional circumstances apply.

Will the laptops provided at hotel exam sites have an external mouse or laptop touchpad? What is the monitor size?

When writing at hotel exam sites, each candidate will be provided with a Royal College laptop with a touchpad and an external mouse to write their exams. The monitor is 14 inches wide. Please note that candidates are not permitted to bring any items to use in the exam. Everything that is required will be provided at the hotel exam site, including calculators, scrap paper, ear plugs and clinical laboratory test references values.

Will washroom breaks be allowed?

Yes, washroom breaks are allowed for online written exams, whether you are writing at a hotel exam site or your home/office. Please advise an invigilator at the hotel exam sites or the remote proctor when you are writing from your home/office that you need to step away to use the washroom. We recognize you are professionals; you will not be followed by an invigilator or proctor into the washroom.

Please note that taking a washroom break is on your own time; you will not be granted additional time for your exam.

During the applied exams, you may take a washroom break up to 15 minutes before the start of the exam, during sequestration, if applicable, or after the exam ends.

How do I dress for the examinations?
There is no official dress code, but business casual attire for the written exam and business for the applied exam 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?
You must bring a government-issued photo ID with signature (i.e. passport, driver’s license or provincial health card).
What do I need for my written examination?
Everything that is required will be provided at the hotel exam site, including calculators, scrap paper, ear plugs and clinical laboratory test references values.
Is there somewhere for me to store my personal belongings?
Yes, there will be a designated area for you to store personal belongings.
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 you cannot bring your baby to the examination, we will attempt to find a private space at the hotel test site where you can pump milk before/after the three hour written examination, and/or before/after the Oral/OSCE examination.

In 2021, please contact by May 15, 2021 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 in a chilled cooler or the mini fridge in the individual hotel room (if available).
What is your policy on access to menstrual products during a Royal College exam?
You may bring menstrual products to the exam. Alternatively, a hall monitor can temporarily store these products for you and provide them to you, when needed.

not allowed

What am I not allowed to bring to my examination?
All electronic and recording devices, including cell phones and digital/smart watches, will be collected during registration and are not permitted in the exam rooms. If you wish to wear a watch for your own timekeeping purposes, please wear an analogue watch.

Personal belongings are not allowed in your exam hotel room but they can be left in a designated area. Electronic devices will be supervised at all times and will be returned to you at the end of the examination or sequestering period.

If I am travelling from out of town, when should I plan to arrive?
Do not book a flight the day of your exam. We do recommend allowing yourself grace time, in case you experience issues.

Identification requirements

You must bring a piece of government-issued photo identification with signature to your exam. Examples of acceptable identification include a passport, driver’s licence or provincial health card. Documents must be in either English or French.

An admission card will be presented to you at the exam site during your registration. A representative of the Royal College will ask you to sign it in his/her presence.

Conflict of interest

Alleged conflict of interest between a candidate and an examiner

If you perceive a conflict of interest with an examiner, you must report it immediately to Royal College personnel during the exam session.

Every effort will be made by the chair and the members of the exam committee to ensure that there is no conflict of interest between a candidate and an examiner. No one examiner has the ability to pass or fail a candidate. Only the Royal College exam committees are empowered by the Royal College Assessment Committee and by the Council of the Royal College to make final decisions on the exams of all candidates, following procedures approved by the Royal College Assessment Committee and the Council (Section VI, 6.14. Policies and Procedures for Certification and Fellowship booklet).

Royal College personnel will review the allegation with the chair of the exam committee, following the procedures approved by the Royal College Assessment Committee. Such allegations not reported before or during the exam session will not constitute grounds for review of the exam at a later time.

Candidate conduct

If a candidate is suspected of having violated the rules of conduct or of behaving in a fraudulent manner during an exam, the case will be dealt with by the Royal College official in charge of the exam, in accordance with the directives of the Office of Specialty Education. The candidate may be excluded from the exam, have his/her/their results invalidated and be subject to further action by the Royal College.

Exam confidentiality

During registration at the written exam site, each candidate signs a statement respecting the confidentiality of the exam. Candidates are warned that if this confidentiality is breached, exam results may be voided and the Canadian licensing authorities shall be fully informed.

The exam questions are protected by copyright and are the intellectual property of the Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons of Canada. Any reproduction or other disclosure of these exam questions in whole or in part is strictly prohibited. The Royal College will take all available disciplinary measures and legal actions against any candidate or others who violate this confidentiality provision.

Clinical Laboratory Tests – Reference Values

Contact us:; Telephone: toll-free 1-800-668-3740 ext. 278 or 419 or 613-730-6278; Fax: 613-730-8261

We recognize exams are a stressful experience and that we are in unprecedented times. The Royal College is committed to communicating with you in a respectful, professional and civil manner. Similarly, we ask the same courtesy is provided to our employees. Thank you!