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Beginning spring 2020, we are changing some of the logistical aspects of how the Short Answer Management Problem (SAMP) component of the Certification Examination in Family Medicine is going to be delivered. The format and length of this component remains the same as Spring 2019. Only the delivery schedule and the number of delivery sites are changing.

In the spring 2020 examination session, SAMPs will be delivered over a newly expanded three-day window from Wednesday April 15 through to Friday April 17, 2020. This expanded examination window will involve more new locations all across Canada with multiple daily sittings. The SOOs will be delivered nationally at 17 sites on Saturday April 18 and Sunday April 19, 2020.

We are pleased that our SAMP examination company, Prometric, has access to many computerised examination facilities nationally and we are endeavouring to allow candidates to have the option of writing the SAMP component in their home (or as close to their home) community as possible. This change allows us to take advantage of established Prometric computer-testing centers existing in the majority of Canadian urban centers. It increases the overall seat capacity nationally and minimizes the need for using temporary examination sites where candidate experience may not be the same as in established testing centers. It should hopefully decrease travel time and costs for many candidates as most will be able to write their SAMP component in or close to their home community.

Depending on the site, SAMPs will be offered from one to three times each day over this three-day window. Through the registration process, candidates will first be advised of their assigned SOO location and testing-day, so each candidate may then self-select their SAMP location, testing-day, and time of day they themselves determine to be most convenient. (Candidates requiring testing accommodation will still be dealt with on a case-by-case basis and may be assigned by us to a specific SAMP site that is able to meet their accommodation needs.)

The SAMP sitting-at-the-computer time remains 4.5-hours. Once registered and the exam platform is launched, there are 15 minutes dedicated to confirming the candidate’s identity, agreeing to the candidate code of conduct and orienting the candidate to the structure and features of the examination platform. Once the candidate passes through these mandatory orientation screens, the examination writing time of 4 hours and 15 minutes (255 minutes) will begin. The examination has been designed with enough extra time to allow candidates to step away from the examination to use the washroom or stretch, if and when they choose, but the examination clock does not stop.

In order to address perceived concerns about the potential day effect of SAMPs being delivered over three days, additional test-forms will be utilised. Candidates writing the examination on days two and three will be presented with different cases from those who take the examination on day one. The forms will be equivalent in terms of difficulty so the day on which candidates take the examination will not advantage or disadvantage any cohort.

We continue to require candidates to sign their acceptance of the College’s expectations of confidentiality of all examination content multiple times (i.e., at registration, immediately before launching of the examination). The Board of Examinations and Certification takes confidentiality of the examination process very seriously and has awarded Denied Standings to candidates who have shared or received examination content.

I trust the changes outlined above will serve to both further improve the CFPC’s already high-quality assessment of exam candidates and increase the level of candidate convenience


Brent Kvern, MD, CCFP, FCFP
Director, Certification and Examinations | Directeur, Certification et examens
The College of Family Physicians of Canada | Le Collège des médecins de famille du Canada

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