Fall 2020 Subspecialty Exam FAQs

(updated June 17, 2020)

Timing and format of fall subspecialty exams

What are the new dates for the fall subspecialty exams?

The Royal College is committed to delivering all exams originally scheduled for fall 2020 between Sept. 22 – Oct. 14, 2020. We will be monitoring progress on COVID-19 and making the necessary logistical adjustments, if needed.

Where can I write my exams?

The number of examination sites has been expanded so candidates can take the exam closer to work or home. All examination sites will adhere to ongoing physical distancing protocols.

Regional exam centres in Canada:
Victoria, Vancouver, Kelowna, Calgary, Edmonton, Saskatoon, Winnipeg, London, Hamilton, Thunder Bay, Sudbury, Toronto, Kingston, Ottawa, Montreal, Sherbrooke, Quebec City, Halifax and St. John’s

Regional exam centres in the US:
Atlanta, GA; Boston, MA; Dallas, TX

International exam centres:
Paris, France; London, United Kingdom; Sydney, Australia; Auckland, New Zealand

  • Atlanta, GA
  • Boston, MA
  • Dallas, TX

Why did the fall subspecialty exam dates change?

Prior to the COVID-19 pandemic, the Royal College administered subspecialty exams on two dates across multiple sites with up to 100 candidates taking the exam per test centre. During the COVID-19 pandemic, the Royal College is complying with Public Health Agency of Canada and provincial guidelines, including physical distancing requirements, and has adopted a standard of a maximum of nine candidates and one invigilator per room. Logistically, this meant the Royal College had to secure multiple test centres and increase the number of exam dates in order to implement this standard to deliver subspecialty exams safely.

Will the format of the written fall subspecialty exam change?

For candidates in subspecialty disciplines with a comprehensive exam (a written component and applied component), the Royal College has decided to eliminate the applied component for fall 2020 exams; the written will be modified to augment essential content that was originally blueprinted to the applied components. Published written exam length and format (i.e. multiple choice questions and/or short answer questions) will be unchanged.

For candidates in subspecialty disciplines with a written-only component, there are no changes to the exam length, content, or format.

Withdrawals, deferrals and refunds

With the decision to remove the applied component of the examination for fall 2020 candidates, will I be getting a refund for the part of the exam fee I paid?

Yes, for those who have already registered and paid, we will reimburse your applied exam fee as quickly as possible. We will expedite these refunds to get the $2,215 fee back to you within the next 60 days (as of April 27), which will be refunded to your credit card. For those who have not yet registered, the equivalent reduced fee for written-only exams will be applied.

Do I have to apply to receive my refund for the applied examination component?

No. All candidates that were registered and paid for the fall 2020 comprehensive exams will be automatically refunded.

What happens if I withdraw from the fall 2020 examination process?

If you decide to withdraw from the fall 2020 exam process for any reason related to COVID-19, including feeling too overwhelmed by the situation, you will be granted a FULL refund. This withdrawal will not count as an exam attempt and will not alter your exam eligibility.

If I don’t elect to defer my written sub-specialty examination and I am unsuccessful at my final attempt, will the Royal College grant me another year of eligibility due to the COVID-19 pandemic?

Fall 2020 subspecialty candidates wishing to defer their Royal College written exam in 2020 may withdraw at any time, at no cost and for any COVID-19 related reason. In the case of withdrawal, it will not be considered as an exam attempt. Candidates who do present to the exam but are unsuccessful will not be eligible for certification this year, and will need to apply again next year; however, you will not exhaust an attempt in sitting this exam. We have extended everyone who was exam eligible in fall 2020 an extra year of eligibility.