Royal College Spring 2021 Exams: Frequently asked questions

Last updated December 18, 2020

We are open to other ideas for what frequently asked questions would be most helpful. Please email your suggestions to communications@royalcollege.ca.

What do exam candidates in Canada need to know about written exams?

  • Written exams can be taken online remotely (home/office) following mandatory checks of your computer system and completion of online registration to facilitate remote proctoring.
  • If you choose to write online remotely (home/office), you must complete your system readiness check on the computer you will be using for the exam in the location you will be writing it to avoid any issues with the online delivery of your exam.
  • If you experience technical issues remotely (home/office) on your end and cannot complete the exam, this will be considered an unsuccessful attempt and the next available sitting of the exam will be in 2022.
  • Hotel exam centres offering Royal College computers and technical support will only be available in Canada. Candidates can choose one of 17 hotel centres (located in each city with a university medical school to limit the need for air travel).
  • Candidates will be surveyed in mid-December to choose between taking the exam online remotely (home/office) or online at a hotel exam centre. Following confirmation, switching from hotel to remote locations (home/office) will only be granted for a medically documented accommodation, including a sudden need to self-isolate or quarantine following a COVID-19 exposure.
  • For logistical reasons, following your confirmation , switching locations cannot be granted from remote locations (home/office) to hotel exam centres, as we will have a confirmed number of hotel rooms and computers at hotel exam centres.
  • There will be no paper-based exams in 2021.
  • Candidates can withdraw from the written exam up to 24 hours before the start of the exam with a full refund for any COVID-19 related reason, including concerns of transmission.

What do exam candidates in Canada need to know about applied/oral exams?

  • Candidates must have taken the written exam in the discipline before taking the oral exam.
  • All candidates must take the oral exam in one of the 17 Canadian hotel exam centres where they will be provided with: a computer that has been tested and compatible with the examination system; and on-site technical support to assure completion of their oral exam.
  • Candidates with medically documented accommodations will be considered on a case-by-case basis to take the oral exam online remotely (home/office) with an in-person proctor.
    • Considerations for approval to take oral exams online remotely (home/office) depend on the nature and extent of the requested medical accommodation.
  • If the medical accommodation is granted for a remote (home/office) oral exam, the candidate must arrange for a Fellow of the Royal College of Physicians Surgeons of Canada (in good standing) to proctor/invigilate their exam at their remote location (home/office). The Royal College must be notified 6 weeks in advance of the exam to verify the Fellow invigilator’s standing in the Royal College, and provide them with materials to support the candidate through their exam.
  • If you are required to be under quarantine or isolation in the days preceding the exam, you will be required to provide documentation to the Royal College at examaccommodation@royalcollege.ca up to 48 hours of the exam start time. Accommodations will be managed on a case-by-case basis.
  • Candidates can withdraw from the applied/oral exam up to 24 hours before start of the exam with a 50% refund for any COVID-19 related reason, including travel restrictions and concern of transmission.

What do exam candidates outside of Canada need to know about written exams?

  • Written exams can be taken online in your country following mandatory checks of your computer system and completion of online registration to facilitate remote proctoring.
  • Hotel exam centres offering Royal College computers and technical support will only be available in Canada.
  • There will be no paper-based exams in 2021.
  • The start time of written exams in countries outside of Canada will be synchronized to Canadian start times based on Canadian time zones to uphold the validity and reliability of the exam.
  • You will be scheduled to write your exam in a time zone selected by the Royal College.
  • Candidates can withdraw from the written exam up to 24 hours before the start of the exam with a full refund for any COVID-19 related reason, including concerns of transmission.

What do exam candidates outside of Canada need to know about applied/oral exams?

  • Candidates must have taken the written exam in the discipline before taking the oral exam.
  • All candidates must take the oral exam in one of the 17 Canadian hotel exam centres where they will be provided with: a computer that has been tested and compatible with the examination system; and on-site technical support to assure completion of their oral exam.
  • There will be no test centres for the oral exam located outside of Canada.
  • Candidates with medically documented accommodations will be considered on a case-by-case basis to take the oral exam online remotely (home/office) with an in-person proctor.
    • Considerations for approval to take oral exams online remotely (home/office) depend on the nature and extent of the requested medical accommodation.
    • Mandatory quarantine upon arrival in Canada as ordered under current Public Health Agency Canada guidelines does not constitute a medical accommodation.
  • If the medical accommodation is granted for a remote (home/office) oral exam, the candidate must arrange for a Fellow of the Royal College of Physicians Surgeons of Canada (in good standing) to proctor/invigilate their exam remotely (home/office). The Royal College must be notified 6 weeks in advance of the exam to verify the Fellow invigilator’s standing in the Royal College, and provide them with materials to support the candidate through their exam.
  • If you are required to be under quarantine or isolation in the days preceding the exam, you will be required to provide documentation to the Royal College at examaccommodation@royalcollege.ca up to 48 hours of the exam start time. Accommodations will be managed on a case-by-case basis.
  • The start time of written exams in countries outside of Canada will be synchronized to Canadian start times based on Canadian time zones to uphold the validity and reliability of the exam.
  • You will be scheduled to write your exam in a time zone selected by the Royal College.
  • Candidates can withdraw from the applied/oral exam up to 24 hours before the start of the exam with a 50% refund for any COVID-19 related reason, including travel restrictions and concern of transmission.

What if I can’t travel to a Canadian hotel exam site to take my Royal College applied/oral examination in 2021?

  • Please be advised that certification by the Royal College requires successful completion of all components of the exam (written and applied/oral) as outlined in discipline exam format documents.
  • There will be no hotel exam sites for the applied/oral exam located outside of Canada.
  • Candidates with medically documented accommodations will be considered on a case-by-case basis to take the applied/oral exam online remotely (home/office) with an in-person proctor.
    • Considerations for approval to take applied/oral exams online remotely (home/office) depend on the nature and extent of the requested medical accommodation.
    • Mandatory quarantine upon arrival in Canada as ordered under current Public Health Agency Canada guidelines does not constitute a medical accommodation.
  • If the medical accommodation is granted for a remote (home/office) oral exam, the candidate must arrange for a Fellow of the Royal College of Physicians Surgeons of Canada (in good standing) to proctor/invigilate their exam remotely (home/office). The Royal College must be notified 6 weeks in advance of the exam to verify the Fellow invigilator’s standing in the Royal College and provide them with materials to support the candidate through their exam.
  • If you are required to be under quarantine or isolation in the days preceding the exam, you will be must provide documentation to the Royal College at examaccommodation@royalcollege.ca up to 48 hours of the exam start time. Accommodations will be managed on a case-by-case basis.
  • To uphold the validity and reliability of exams, the start time of written exams in countries outside of Canada will be synchronized to Canadian start times based on Canadian time zones.
  • You will be scheduled to write your exam in a time zone selected by the Royal College.

Refunds, withdrawals and deferrals

  • As the pandemic evolves, the Royal College recognizes that COVID-19 may suddenly have an impact on you presenting for an exam component, from unexpected illness (physical or mental), new travel restrictions, mandated testing or quarantining requirements.
  • If you are unable to take your exam, please contact the Royal College at candidates@royalcollege.ca up to 24 hours prior to the exam start time.
  • Following confirmed registration for the exams, candidates may withdraw anytime (up to 24 hours prior to the start of the exam) for any unexpected COVID-19 related reason, for a full refund prior to their written exam, and 50% of their fee in advance of the applied/oral exam. Their examination attempt will be deferred, and their eligibility will be extended by a year.

For those who fail or withdraw from the applied/oral exam

  • Royal College examinations with both written and applied/oral components are developed as a comprehensive examination each year. Written results do not carry forward to subsequent years.
  • Specifically, if you were successful at the written exam in 2021, but unsuccessful or unable to take the applied/oral exam for a COVID-19 related reason, you will need to take both the written and the applied/oral exam in 2022.
    • Exceptions to this rule are exams in the following disciplines that have transitioned to requiring a successful written exam result prior to entrance to the oral/applied component:
      • Internal Medicine
      • Pediatrics
      • Psychiatry
    • This means that if you pass the written component in only these three disciplines in 2021 but fail or are unexpectedly unable to take the applied/oral component, you only need to take the applied/oral in 2022.