FAQs for the Examination of Added Competence in Emergency Medicine

Pre Exam

Q. What is the earliest time that I can book my return flight?
A. You should not arrange your flight to depart before 8 p.m. on the final day of the examination, unless you have been informed otherwise.

Q. Will I receive a registration card for admittance to the examination centre?
A. You will receive an entrance letter (one letter for each day of the exam) in the mail about 4 weeks before your scheduled exam date. Please bring this letter with you, along with government issued identification, (i.e., driver’s license or passport).

Q. Do you provide any resources to help me prepare for the examination?
A. You can find suggested resources to help you prepare for the examination on the College’s website.

Q. Do you hold any workshops to help me prepare for the examination?
A. No, the CFPC does not hold or endorse any examination preparation courses or workshops. You may wish to contact the emergency medicine programs at the Universities or the Provincial Chapters of the College to inquire about any upcoming workshops they may have scheduled.  

Exam Days

Q. What is the format of the examination?
There are two components of the examination.

  1. A written component consisting of short-answer management problems (SAMPs) and
  2. An oral component that consists of two structured oral stations: one triple or triage case and one case in which two patients are seen sequentially.

Q. How long is the examination?
Candidates will be involved in testing over two days of a three day schedule. The written examination is six (6) hours in length and takes place on day one. The oral component takes place on either day two or day three.

Q. What do I do with my personal belongings at the examination site?
A. Please DO NOT bring personal belongings to the examination site. The College is not responsible for any lost, stolen, or broken personal property.

Prohibited Items:

  • All electronic devices including, but not limited to cell phones, personal digital assistants, pagers, calculators, voice recorders/players, etc.
  • Food should not be consumed during the examination. However, for candidates with special dietary requirements, arrangements should be made with the College prior to the examination. If approved by the College, the food must be in a clear plastic bag.

Q. Can I get information about my performance on the oral exams from the examiner?
A. No, examiners are not permitted to provide any information to you.

Post Exam

Q. When will I receive my exam results?
A. You may access your results online approximately eight weeks after the examination. You will receive email notification when the results are available. You will also receive formal notification of your results by mail.

Q. Can I receive my exam results over the phone?
A. Results will not be released by telephone, fax or email.

Q. What information will I receive about my performance on the exam?
A. Results are reported as pass or fail. You will receive a result on each of the two components (written and oral) and an overall result. You must be successful on both the written and the oral components to achieve CCFP(EM) certification.

Q. When will I receive my certificate?
Certificates will be mailed approximately 12 weeks after the certification date.

Q. How is the exam scored and what comprises a "passing" score?
A. Each candidate obtains a single total aggregate score on all the SAMPS and a single total aggregate score on all the structured oral stations. These two scores are subsequently considered entirely separately and candidates must obtain a passing score on each of the two components. The minimum passing score is determined from a statistical analysis of the aggregate scores of a group of reference candidates. This reference group is made up of graduates of Canadian residency programs in family medicine who are sitting the examination for the first time. All candidates are compared to this group. The statistical analytic approach used and the minimum passing score for each of the two components are approved by the Board of Examiners for every session of examination.  

Q.  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?
A. It is better to answer all the questions as 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.

Q.  What is the best way to score good marks on SAMPs?
A. The best advice is to read the questions very 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 carefully, and the questions, they should lead you to the right answers. You should read each question twice before choosing your answer, and make sure you give the answer that fits best with the case and the question. Follow the instructions in each question very carefully, and give the number of answers requested.

Q. How do I know which guidelines to study? Will I be penalized for staying current (i.e., studying the latest guidelines that were published after the examination content was set)?
A. The answer keys to each exam instrument are determined by the examination committee and other peers shortly before each examination, and they are based on the best current clinical experience and evidence available at that time. Marks on each question at the time of correction are determined by how well the candidate's answers match the established answer keys. In the unlikely event that the "best" answers lose currency between the time of setting and the time of the examination, appropriate adjustments are made automatically in the marking stage. Therefore, candidates should always answer according to what represents the most accepted good practice of family medicine at the time of the examination. They will never be penalized for staying current.

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