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Pre-exam: Registration

  • What are the eligibility requirements to become a qualified candidate?

    Learn more about residency eligibility requirements.

    Learn more about practice eligibility requirements.
    If you are applying for the first time via the practice eligible route, you must complete the Pearls.ce pre-certification program before taking the exam to qualify as a candidate. This program is not included in the examination application and costs an additional fee. Someone from the examination department will contact you by email four to six weeks after the practice eligible examination registration deadline with details on how to proceed with Pearls.ce registration.
     
  • What should I know before applying for the examination for the first time?

    Only College of Family Physicians of Canada™ (CFPC) members in good standing are allowed to take the examination.

    First-time residency eligible applicants
    You may already have a CFPC profile as a resident member. To check whether you have a CFPC account, please search the Member List.

    During your first year of residency, your program provides the CFPC Membership Department with details used to create your CFPC profile. You should have received an email from [email protected] with instructions on how to log into the CFPC portal. Your username is the email address provided by your program at that time.

    If you have not yet accessed your CFPC profile, please click on “Forgot password” to reset your password. If you still cannot access your profile, please contact [email protected]. Do not create an account unless instructed to do so by the membership department.

    First-time practice eligible candidates
    Full membership with the CFPC is required. If you already have a non-member Mainpro+® CFPC account, you may upgrade to full membership through your profile. If you do not have an account, you may apply for full membership.

    Please ensure your email and mailing address are updated through your CFPC portal prior to the start of your application.

     

  • How do I apply for the examination?

    You will not have access to the exam application if you are not a full member of the CFPC or if you have outstanding membership fees. Please note membership payments can take up to 72 hours to process.

    All applicants must log into the CFPC portal, click on the “Home” tab and scroll down. The link “Certification Examination in Family Medicine” will be on the right-hand side.

    Please ensure your email and mailing address are updated through your CFPC portal prior to the start of your application.
     
  • Will I be able to choose the date and time of my examination?

    For the written SAMPs, dates and times for examinations are available on a first-come, first-served basis
    1. Approximately four to six weeks before the date of your written examination, you will receive an email from the CFPC with information on how and when to select an in-person or virtual seat on Prometric’s (our written examination provider) web portal. The CFPC sends the email to the address on file in your member account.
    2. When the Prometric web portal opens, you will be able to select either an in-person or virtual seat on a day and time of your choosing. Dates and times are on a first-come, first-serve basis.
    3. Within 24 hours of scheduling your examination through Prometric, you will receive a confirmation email from Prometric. Remember to check your spam folder if you do not receive one.
    4. You must make sure your name on the confirmation email matches exactly with your government-issued ID. Failure to do so may result in you being turned away from the examination. Contact us at [email protected] if your name on the confirmation email and your government-issued ID does not match.
    For the virtual SOOs, you are assigned the date and time
    1. Approximately four to six weeks prior to the oral examination, you will receive an email from the CFPC with your assigned date. The CFPC will use the email address on file. Remember to check your spam folder.
    2. About two weeks prior to the examination, you will receive an invitation email from risr/ (our virtual examination provider). This email will invite you to log into the examination system (Practique) and complete important system checks on the computer and in the location you intend to take the virtual SOO. This is to ensure you have adequate connectivity and access to the Practique system. Only a desktop or laptop computer are allowed.  
    3. Five days prior to the examination, you will receive an email from the CFPC with your log-in credentials and start time.
    4. As an added safety measure, we strongly recommend you perform a second system check on your computer and in the location you intend to sit the virtual SOO at some point within five days of your examination date.
  • How will testing fairness be maintained for candidates now that the SOO examination is only offered online?

    From a testing perspective, there are no advantages to taking an exam online versus in person. Any advantages/disadvantages are purely logistical or based on individual preference.

    All candidates have equal opportunity to ensure appropriate testing conditions and to become familiar with the testing format and practice materials before the exam.
     
  • Will I receive a confirmation email from the CFPC once my application to take the examination is submitted?

    Yes. You will receive a confirmation email with instructions regarding next steps. Should we need further information from you, we will contact you via email.
     
  • Will I receive a confirmation email from the CFPC once my application to take the examination is approved?

    No. Confirmation emails are not sent once your application is approved. Should we need further information, we will contact you via email.
     
 

Pre-exam: Test Accommodation

  • Can I breastfeed while taking a CFPC exam?

    If you are taking the written SAMPs at home or participating in the virtual SOO examination
    These examinations are proctored and generally require you to remain on screen for the duration of the examination. Off-screen breaks are allowed in both the SAMPs and the SOOs, but you will need to obtain approval from the proctor or examiner prior to leaving the screen and may have to repeat the ID verification process upon returning.

    For the SAMP examination: Depending on your personal lactation schedule and the length of your examination session, we will work with you to determine what arrangements (additional break time) will best suit your individual situation. Typically, if your SAMP exam session is four hours or more in duration, we provide 30 minutes of optional break time in addition to the standard break allowance of 15 minutes.

    For your SOO examination: The SOO examination lasts about 2.5 hours, but the rotation from one examiner to the next happens automatically for everyone and cannot be altered. Each SOO station is composed of one minute reading time, plus a 15-minute encounter with an examiner, plus 12 minutes waiting time while the examiner marks. You may take an optional break during the waiting time once approved by the examiner. We cannot make any of the SOOs waiting times longer.

    If you are taking the written SAMPs in-person at a Prometric test centre
    The CFPC recognizes how challenging it can be to balance new parenthood with the examination schedule. While you cannot bring your baby to the test centre, some locations offer secluded spaces where you can express breastmilk.

    Breast pumping devices of all types, including the wearable silicone ones, must be pre-approved by CFPC to be allowed into any of the computerized test delivery examination sites and are only admitted into the secluded test accommodation area. Depending on your lactation schedule and the length of your examination session, we will work with you to determine what arrangements (private space, electronic outlet, additional break time) will best suit your situation. Typically, if your exam session is four hours or more in duration, we provide 30 minutes of optional break time in addition to the standard break allowance of 15 minutes.
     
    Please contact [email protected] to request these arrangements.

    Please note: secluded areas are subject to availability and are not guaranteed at every test centre location. This means that a candidate who wishes to have access to a secluded area may be required to travel to another centre that may not be a convenient location.
     
  • If I am onsite in a test centre and I pump breast milk, is there somewhere onsite where I can store it?

    No. Access to a refrigerator to store expressed milk is not available at any of the test centres. If you wish to store your expressed milk, you must bring your own portable cooler. Please note the cooler will be inspected as part of the security protocol.

    Space: Not all in-person examination test centres are equipped with secluded areas, or they may have limited secluded spaces available. Demand may be greater than supply, so prior arrangements are required to ensure all those who need secluded space are appropriately accommodated.

    Time: Both SAMP and SOO examination delivery platforms are precisely coded for the standard examination timing. Additional time for optional breaks is possible, but it must be pre-arranged and pre-assigned to the specific individuals who require it. It is not possible to add additional time to the examination on exam day.
     
  • I have a medical condition that requires text reading software during my exam. Can I still take a remote proctored exam and receive this type of accommodation?

    No. The testing platform does not support text-reading software.
     
 

Pre-exam: Resources

 

Exam Day

  • What is the format of the examination?

    The Certification Examination in Family Medicine has two components:
    1. The written component consists of computer-based short-answer management problems (SAMPs). SAMPs can be taken remotely or in person at a Prometric test centre. For the seat selection process, please refer to the Pre-exam: Registration section.
    2. The oral component consists of five virtual 15-minute simulated office oral (SOO) stations. A testing date and time will be assigned to you. Please refer to the Pre-exam: Registration section for details.
    The SOO and SAMP components of the examination may be scheduled on weekdays or weekends.
     
  • How long is the examination?

    1. The written examination consists of one section and is four hours long. An additional 15 minutes are added to the clock to allow for an optional break you can take if and when you wish. Please note that no additional time will be added to your examination if you take longer than the 15-minute optional break.
    2. Everyone starts the written SAMP examination with a mandatory 15 minute orientation, which means the time you will spend in front of a computer is 4 hours and 30 minutes (15 minutes orientation, 4 hours answering questions and a 15 minute break).
    3. The oral examination consists of five virtual simulated office oral (SOO) stations administered consecutively as follows:
    • Each candidate will test for 2 hours and 30 minutes with an additional 20 minutes at the start of the exam for logging into the system and ID validation
    • Each virtual SOO is 28 minutes long and is broken down as follows:
      • One minute for reading time
      • Fifteen minutes for administration time when you and the examiner interact
      • Twelve minutes for marking time. You may take an optional break during this time once approved by the examiner.
      • Automatic switching to the next SOO
    The timing of the SOOs transition cannot be altered as everyone switches virtual rooms at the same time.
     
  • What should I expect on exam day?

    1. SAMP:
      If you selected to write the SAMP at a Prometric test centre, please watch this video on what to expect on test day. Note, the CPFC is not responsible for any lost, stolen, or broken personal property.
      If you selected to write the SAMP virtually through ProProctor, please watch the video to learn what to expect.
    2. Virtual SOO examination:
      Please watch this video to learn what to expect on exam day.
  • Can I get information about my performance on the virtual SOO exams from the examiner?

    No. Examiners won’t provide information regarding your performance during the exam administration portion or during the marking/candidate break portion. You will receive your examination results approximately eight weeks after taking the examination.
     
  • What should I do if I have a concern about my experience during the examination?

    If, during your examination, you feel an irregularity of examination administration has occurred, please let us know immediately.

    If something concerning happens while in a Prometric in-person testing centre
    1. Notify the onsite examination coordinator or proctor. This allows the coordinator or proctor to initiate an immediate course of action to correct the process error and/or to provide a written report to the CFPC.
    2. Please send a detailed account of your experience to [email protected] as soon as reasonably possible once your examination has finished.
    If something concerning happens while taking your written exam via remote proctoring
    1. Notify the proctor who is observing while you are taking your SAMP examination by speaking into your computer’s microphone. The proctor will be able to speak with you. You must keep your computer camera, microphone, and speakers on the entire time you are writing your examination.
    2. Please send a detailed account of your experience to [email protected] once your examination has finished.
    If something concerning happens during your SOO exam
    1. Use the chat bubble in the bottom right-hand side of your screen to initiate a typed conversation with the exam team. While you must keep your microphone, camera, and speakers on for the duration of your SOO exam, the examiner will not interact with you outside of the actual encounter (administration time).  An administrator may speak to you, but you will not see them visually.
    2. Please send a detailed account of your experience to [email protected] once your examination has finished.
  • What is the dress code on examination days?

    Business casual.
     
  • Do I need to wear a white lab coat?

    No. A lab coat is not required. A stethoscope is not required.
     
 

Post-exam

 

Scoring the Exam

  • Does the day on which I take each component of the exam impact my results?

    No. After each examination, multiple statistical analyses are conducted to determine whether candidates taking the examination on a particular day demonstrate evidence of being advantaged or disadvantaged.

    These analyses are presented to and reviewed by the Board of Examinations and Certification prior to approving examination results. Consistently from year to year, our analyses have demonstrated no significant impact on test results related to which day you take your examination. This is for both the SAMPs and the SOOs.
     
  • Is there a minimum number of SAMPs and SOOs that I need to pass to get a successful result on the exam? If yes, what is the passing score for each?

    You are scored on your overall performance on the SAMPS and the SOOs. You must pass both to be successful on this examination. There are no predetermined minimum number of SAMP cases or SOO stations you must be successful on to pass the exam.
     
  • Is each question scored on the bell curve?

    No. Each question is scored by assigning marks according to a pre-determined, fixed answer key for that question.
     
  • How is the exam scored and what comprises a "passing" score?

    Each candidate obtains a single total aggregate score on the SAMP component and a single total aggregate score on the SOO component. To pass a section, the candidate’s total aggregate score must be higher than the minimum passing score for that component. The minimum passing score applies to all candidates and is calculated relative to the performance of a group of reference candidates. This reference group is made up of graduates of Canadian family medicine residency programs who are sitting the examination for the first time. Candidates must obtain a passing score on both the SAMP and SOO components to receive certification in the CFPC. The minimum passing score for each of the two components is different for each sitting of the exam and, in each case, is approved by the Board of Examinations and Certification.
     
  • Will marks or the passing grade be calculated differently for the SOO now that the examination is held virtually?

    All marks will be calculated using the same methods as in previous examinations. The only thing that has changed is the delivery process.
     
  • Is it better to answer parts of a question that we know, or should we go to the questions that we can answer in full first?

    We recommend you try to answer every question the best you can. If you leave a question blank, you cannot get any marks for that question. If you write something down, you might get some parts right, and score some points.
     
  • What is the best way to do well on the SAMPs?

    The best advice is to read the questions carefully. Make sure you understand what is being asked. Because these are short-answer questions, they are constructed to be targeted and to lead to specific answers rather than to general answers on the topic. If you read the scenarios and questions carefully, they should lead you to the correct answers.

    We recommend you read each question twice before entering your answer, and make sure you give the answer that fits best with the case and the question. Follow the instructions for each question carefully and always supply the number of answers requested by each specific question.
     
  • How do I know which guidelines to study? Will I be penalized for staying current (e.g., if the latest guidelines are published really close to my examination date)?

    The answers to each exam are determined by the Committee on Examinations – Family Medicine before each examination and are based on the best current clinical experience and evidence available at that time. Marks on each question are determined by how well your answers match the established answer keys. In the unlikely event that the “best” answers lose currency between the time the examination was set and the time the examination was delivered, appropriate adjustments are made in the marking stage.

    You should always answer according to what represents the best practice in family medicine at the time of the examination. You will never be penalized for staying current.
     
 

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