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Exam results

Results dates

The addition of 14 new sites within Canada and internationally provides strong contingency options, but also results in added complexity in marking the 2020 exams. Please know that we are committed to sharing results with you as soon as they are available, however we do need to allow additional time for things like the shipment and receipt of the exams from our international exam sites and to allow enough time for our volunteer examiners to mark the exam.

November 30 is the absolute latest date that all primary exam results will be posted, however, if your exam is being written earlier in the cycle, you may expect your results earlier. All subspecialty exam results will be posted by December 21, at the latest.

Please note: Candidates must not contact the chair or members of the exam board for comments or to discuss their performance at the exam. Examiners must not convey to a candidate the result of exams, nor is it permitted for examiners to discuss the result or performance of a candidate with anyone other than exam board members.

How to access your results

Examination results will be available 8-10 weeks following the date of your examination. Please note that this time frame may vary due to factors related to unprecedented circumstances amidst the COVID-19 global pandemic. As a candidate, you will receive an email from the Royal College giving you 48 hours’ notice as to when your specialty’s examination results are to be posted.

Your results are posted on a secure, confidential server and can only be accessed using your unique identifier. If you DO NOT want your results posted on the website, you must inform the Credentials Unit (as soon as possible, and up to the day before your examination) by email at candidates@royalcollege.ca.

To login:

  1. Enter your six- or seven-digit Royal College identification number as it appears on the first page of your appointment letter, but without the initial 0 (if applicable).
  2. If you have already created a password, enter it in the password field.

If you do not have or forgot your password:

  1. Click on “Reset or create your password/Forgot your password?” You will be asked for your Royal College identification number and email address that is registered with the Royal College. Click “submit”.
  2. You will receive an email from no-reply@royalcollege.ca with instructions of how to create or reset your password.

To view or download:

  1. From the drop-down menu, select the exam year and speciality you wish to view or download*.
  2. Select View Results to preview your results in the web browser.
  3. Select Download Exam Result to download a pdf file which you can then print or email.

* Starting in fall 2018, all exam results will be available for five years.

Exam data verification

A thorough process of data verification and quality assurance of exam results is conducted during and after the exams. A dedicated data verification and quality assurance team carries out the following:

  • verification of multiple choice question (MCQ) answer sheets and data transfer
  • verification of short-answer question (SAQ) scores and data
  • verification of oral, OSCE and practical scores and data

As part of the quality assurance process for all exams a complete psychometric and performance analysis is conducted. During this process, questions that were overly difficult, non-discriminating, or for which new evidence emerged between the time of question writing and exam administration are reviewed. As a result of this review process, some questions may be deleted from the final exam score for all candidates.

Quality assurance of exam questions

A rigorous exam development and quality review process is followed to ensure the validity and quality of the exam questions. The exam blueprint is developed to correspond to the training objectives of the specialty. The questions on the exams are developed to correspond to the exam blueprint for the specialty.

A quality assurance process ensures that the questions are relevant (correspond to the blueprint), clear and that the items are accurate and of high quality. This process involves three steps: In the development of the questions a panel of exam developers, consisting of recognized specialists reviews each question. Once the questions for the exam have been compiled an exam quality reviewer reviews all of the questions for clarity.

Following the exam, a psychometric analysis of the questions is conducted and items that do not meet psychometric standards are removed from the exam and the exam is rescored without those items. In addition, any items that have been flagged during the exam administration are reviewed and if these items are deemed to be defective for any reason they are removed from the exam.

Release of exam results

An estimated 8-10 weeks are required to confirm results for each discipline. The dates by discipline for the examination results are posted on the Royal College website. We appreciate that candidates are eager to receive their exam results. However, we must allow sufficient time for validation. All efforts will be made to ensure that candidates receive their results before the end of the academic year, so that they can proceed with their applications for independent licensure.

Passed exam and certification dates

The date of certification is the date when all conditions listed below are satisfied:

  • You have met the Royal College credentials standards (including an acceptable medical qualification).
  • You have satisfactorily completed a defined period of specialty residency training in a program recognized by the Royal College.
  • The Royal College has received a document from your university confirming the satisfactory completion of your training.
  • You have passed the specialty exams.

Note: In addition to the conditions above, candidates in Cardiology, Geriatric Medicine and Pediatrics must successfully pass the Standardized Assessment of a Clinical Encounter Report (STACER) in their specialties.

You will receive a letter confirming your date of certification only when all the above conditions have been met. This means that the date of the exam may not necessarily be the date of certification.

In some instances candidates undergo the exam before completing their postgraduate training. In such instances, the certification date will be the last date of training. The official result letter will be sent to candidates a few days prior to this date. Licensing authorities will be notified of the new status.

The expected date of completion of each resident’s training is indicated by the program director and the postgraduate dean on the Confirmation of Completion of Training document and on the Final In-Training Evaluation Report (FITER).

If a resident will not satisfy the training requirements by this expected date, program directors and the candidate himself/herself must immediately inform the Office of Specialty Education — Credentials Unit at the Royal College, even if the candidate has successfully completed the exams.

Subspecialty Examination Affiliate Program (SEAP)

Please note that while the completion of the subspecialty exam through the Subspecialty Examination Affiliate Program (SEAP) does not result in Royal College certification, SEAP supports national standards for all subspecialists practicing in Canada. Those who choose to join as a Subspecialist Affiliate will receive an attestation suitable for framing, confirming successful completion of the exam in your subspecialty discipline.

How to become a Royal College Fellow

If you are a Royal College-certified specialist, you have achieved the highest standard for speciality medical education in Canada. To commemorate this important milestone in your career, we invite you to join the Royal College.

To become a Fellow, you will need to:

  • Accept the membership invitation from the Royal College

  • Commit to ongoing professional development through the Maintenance of Certification (MOC) program, and

  • Pay annual member dues

Fellowship allows you to use the designation FRCPC (Fellow of the Royal College of Physicians of Canada) or FRCSC (Fellow of the Royal College of Surgeons of Canada), which is recognized by the public and the entire health community as proof that you have trained to the highest national standard.

You will also be able to leverage the Royal College’s Maintenance of Certification (MOC) program to help you manage your continued professional development.

As a Fellow, membership in the Royal College will help you advance your career, showcase your expertise, support your development and advance specialty medicine and specialty medical education across Canada and abroad.

Learn more about the benefits of Fellowship and how to apply.

What happens if I fail my exam? (Formal Review Policy)

If you fail the exam, you will receive a brief summary of your performance. The intent of this report is to indicate where your performance did not meet the standards set by the exam board. The report will provide very general comments and will not include details on specific questions.

Formal reviews policy

Formal reviews of exams and practice-based assessments are conducted only on the basis of alleged significant procedural irregularities in the assessment process, not because of alleged errors in content.

The exclusion of errors in content applies to allegations of errors in either the questions and structure of the examination, or the evaluation and content of the responses provided by the candidate.

The review process is not a re-grading or re-scoring exercise. This scope of review is designed to act as a safeguard for the validity of the exam and assessment process. The distinction between content reviews and process reviews is of the utmost importance. Requests for reviews based on alleged errors in content will not be processed.

A request for a formal review will only be considered in the event of a procedural irregularity serious enough to materially affect the candidate's performance.

Examples of potential issues that do NOT constitute process irregularities include

  • Disagreements or concerns regarding the content and/or structure of the exam or practice based assessment;
  • Disagreements or concerns regarding the grading of the exam or practice based assessment;
  • Concerns regarding the extent of post-exam or post-practice based assessment feedback provided to candidates;
  • Requests for disclosure of Royal College documentation and/or records;
  • Mere fact of repeat examiners;
  • Requests for the Royal College to consider information not normally considered as part of the evaluation process.

Purpose of exam reviews

Formal reviews of exams and practice based assessments are part of the evaluation and quality improvement system used by the Royal College to grant specialist certification. They provide a means to investigate the circumstances of the written, oral or other type of exam or practice based assessment administered to one or several candidates, and to ascertain whether the process was carried out under conditions appropriate to the conduct of an exam or practice based assessment as determined by the Discipline Specific Examination Boards and approved by the Examination Committee of the Royal College.

Formal reviews of exams and practice based assessments involve candidates, Royal College examiners, the Examination Committee, the Assessment Committee and the Office of Specialty Education in an effort to identify any significant irregularities in the conduct of the examination process and any procedural unfairness materially affecting one or several candidates.

Principles of exam reviews

  1. Examiners in a given specialty are authorities on content. Their judgment relative to the correctness of a candidate's answers is not open to challenge, otherwise the review would become a content-oriented discussion between experts.
  2. An examiner’s decision with respect to the correctness or completeness of a response and their assessment of a candidate’s knowledge and/or skills is final. While a candidate may disagree with their decision, such disagreement does not constitute grounds for review.
  3. On occasion, deviations from the stated format or conduct of the exam may be unavoidable and irregularities may occur that do not result in any unfairness or significantly affect the performance of the candidate.

Options for exam reviews

There are two types of reviews that the Royal College conducts:

There are two options for formal reviews:

  • a review of marks
  • formal review of an examination

Formal exam reviews

Formal reviews are conducted only on the basis of alleged significant irregularities in the assessment process, not because of alleged errors in content. The review process is not a re-grading or re-scoring exercise. Requests for reviews based on alleged errors in content will not be processed. A request for a formal review will only be considered in the event of a procedural irregularity serious enough to negatively materially affect the candidate’s performance.

On occasion, deviations from the stated format or conduct of the examination may be unavoidable and irregularities may occur that do not result in any unfairness or significantly affect the performance of the candidates.

Review of exam marks

A candidate also has the option of requesting a review of their marks, which will be strictly limited to a review for potential mathematical or mechanical errors. A review of marks will NOT include any form of re-reading and/or re-grading of answers.

Exam review process

Below is a summary of the Royal College formal review process.
Review of marks All exam scores are subjected to multiple levels of verification and quality assurance prior to being reported to candidates.

Review of marks requests and payment must be submitted within 30 days of the date appearing on the Summary of Performance.
Marks reviewed Review of marks is strictly limited to a review for any potential mathematical or mechanical errors. A review of marks will NOT include any form of re-reading and/or re-grading of a candidate’s answers.
Decision by director of assessment Candidates will receive written notification from the director of assessment.
End of Review After the decision regarding Review of Marks, candidates have the option to proceed with a Formal Review.
Formal review Before submitting a request for a Formal Review, candidates must ensure that their concerns relate to one or more alleged irregularities in the evaluation process, not a content, grading or other non-process issue.

Formal review requests and payment must be submitted within 30 days of the date appearing on the Summary of Performance or, in the event that a review of marks was previously requested, within 30 business days of receipt of the Royal College’s response in that regard.
Written request to director of assessment The request must explain, completely and in detail, all of the circumstances surrounding the alleged process irregularity and its effect on the candidate’s performance.
Decision by Director of Assessment The director of assessment will, within 45 days of receipt of a complete request for a formal review, evaluate the request and conduct any enquiries, and provide a written decision to the candidate as to whether or not the grounds for a formal review alleged by the candidate are founded and, if so, what remedy should be accorded, if any.
End of review  
Review by panel If a candidate disagrees with the decision of the director of assessment the candidate may, within 15 days of the date appearing on the written decision, advise the office of the director of assessment, in writing, that he or she wishes for the decision to be reviewed by a formal review panel.

The candidate can choose either a paper review by panel or an oral review by panel.
Paper review by panel The formal review panel consisting of three members of the examination committee and/or the assessment committee shall be appointed.
Decision by panel Within 30 days of its deliberations, whether in the case of a paper review or oral hearing, the chair of the formal review panel shall issue in writing the panel’s decision and any other relevant information or recommendation to the office of the director of assessment.
End of review There is no provision for further review by the Royal College of the decisions of the formal review panel after a paper review or oral hearing, as the case may be, which are considered final.
Oral review by Panel The formal review panel consisting of three members of the examination committee and/or the assessment committee shall be appointed.
Decision by panel Within 30 days of its deliberations, whether in the case of a paper review or oral hearing, the chair of the formal review panel shall issue in writing the Panel’s decision and any other relevant information or recommendation to the office of the director of assessment.
End of Review There is no provision for further review by the Royal College of the decisions of the formal review panel after a paper review or oral hearing, as the case may be, which are considered final.
Cost
Options Price
Review of marks $300
Formal review by director $750
Paper review by panel * $1500
Oral hearing by panel* $1750

How to request an exam review

A candidate wishing to request a formal review or a review of marks must notify the Office of the Director of Assessment of the Royal College in writing to formalreviews@royalcollege.ca and include payment by attaching the credit card authorization form.

It is recommended that before electing for a formal review of an exam or a review of marks, the candidate should review the Policy & Procedures for the Formal Review of Examinations.

Apply to renew exam eligibility

If your eligibility for the exam leading to Royal College certification has expired (after three years for most candidates) through failing the exams or by failing to appear at the exams, you may apply for a renewal of eligibility.

  • Apply now for eligibility renewal

For further information on renewal of eligibility, please see Section 5.7 in the Policies and Procedures for Certification and Fellowship.

Contact us:
candidates@royalcollege.ca; 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!