What are the eligibility requirements to become a qualified candidate?
Learn more about our eligibility requirements for both residents and practicing physicians.
When can I apply for the examination?
Learn more about our application dates, fees, and deadlines.
I can’t find the application page. How do I apply for the examination?
You will only be able to access the application page if you:
- Hold an active Certification in Examination in Family Medicine (CCFP) designation
- Are a member in good standing with the College of Family Physicians of Canada™ (CFPC)
- Have no outstanding membership fees owing. Please note it takes up to 72 hours to process any membership payments
To access the examination application, please log into the CFPC portal, click on the “Home” tab, and scroll down. The link “Examination of Added Competence in Emergency Medicine” will be on the right-hand side.
You need to ensure your CFPC portal email, mailing address, and cellphone number are up to date prior to starting your application.
Will I be able to choose the date and time of my examination?
For the short answer management problem (SAMP), dates and times for examinations are available on a first-come, first-served basis.
- 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 this notification to the email address on file in your member account. Please refer to our FAQs About Remotely Proctored Exams to determine which testing option is right for you.
- When the Prometric web portal opens, you can select either an in-person or virtual test seat on a day and time of your choosing. Dates and times are on a first-come, first-serve basis.
- 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 it.
- Your name on the Prometric confirmation email must match exactly with the government-issued photo ID you will be using to identify yourself on exam day. Failure to do so may result in your inability to schedule the examination. Contact us at [email protected] if your name on the confirmation email and your government-issued ID does not match.
For the structured oral component
- Approximately four to six weeks prior to the structured 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.
- Five days prior to the examination, you will receive an email from the CFPC with your log-in credentials and start time.
- 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 oral examination at some point within five days of your examination date. Instructions on the system check will be included in the email that contains their login credentials.
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.
How do I withdraw from the examination if necessary?
Learn more about our cancellation policy.
Pre-exam: Test Accommodations
Can I breastfeed while taking a CFPC exam?
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. This is the reason we ask anyone who is breastfeeding to contact us so an appropriate location can be arranged. If you wish to take this exam via the remote proctor option, we ask you to still please contact us to determine if extra examination time is needed.
Breast pumping devices of all types, including the wearable silicone ones, must be pre-approved by the CFPC before being 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.
Please click here for information on how 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 at a convenient location.
If you are taking the written SAMPs at home or participating in the virtual oral 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 orals, but you will need to obtain approval from the proctor or examiner prior to leaving the screen.
Depending on your lactation schedule and the length of your examination session, we will work with you to determine what arrangements will best suit your individual situation.
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 oral 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 individuals who require it. It is not possible to add additional time 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.
Do you hold any workshops to help me prepare for the examination?No, the CFPC does not hold or endorse any examination preparation courses or workshops.
What is the format and duration of the examination?
There are two components of the examination:
- The written component consists of computer-based SAMPs. Each testing appointment is 7.5 hours in length, which includes time for administrative procedures, two three-hour testing windows, and a one-hour optional break. 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 above.
- The structured oral component consists of four 12-minute stations. Candidates will be assessed by four different examiners on four different topics. The four oral exam stations will be delivered virtually through Practique (our virtual oral examination system, soon to be known as risr/assess).
What should I expect on exam day?
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 damaged personal property.
If you selected to write the SAMP virtually through ProProctor, please watch this video on what to expect on test day.
- Structured oral:
May I bring a drink into my exam?
If you selected to write the SAMP at a Prometric test centre, you may bring water into the examination room. No other beverages are permitted. All water must be in a clear or transparent container with a lid or cap. All labels must be removed, and the container will be inspected for notes or other test aids during the security check. You will need to remove the lid/cap for visual inspection by the Test Center staff. Should the container not meet the requirements outlined, you will be required to put it in your assigned locker and will not be allowed to take it into the test room. If you have a medical condition that requires further action, please ensure you have submitted, and received approval for, a testing accommodation request.
If you selected to write the SAMP virtually through Proproctor, you may have a clear glass of water on your desk while testing. No other beverages or containers are permitted. If you have a medical condition that requires further action, please ensure you have submitted, and received approval for, a testing accommodation request. Please review our FAQs About Remotely Proctored Exams.
You may have a drink with you, visible at the location of your computer, provided it is in a clear container.
What should I bring to the examination?SAMP and Structured oral:
You will need a valid government-issued photo identification (i.e., driver’s license or passport) regardless of where and how you are taking the examination. You will not be able to take the examination if you do not pass the identity check.
What am I NOT permitted to bring to the examination?For both SAMP and structured oral components:
- You are not permitted to wear watches or electronic bracelets of any kind (i.e., digital, analogue, or smartwatches) on exam day. There is a clock on all computer examination interfaces; time remaining on your exam is clearly indicated on your computer screen.
- No personal items are permitted in the space where you will be taking your examination, whether at a test centre or remotely in a location of your choosing.
- Food should not be consumed during the examination. For candidates with special dietary requirements, arrangements should be made with the College at the time of application in accordance with our Test Accommodation policy. If approved by the College, the food must be in a clear plastic bag.
Can I get information about my performance on the oral exam from the examiner?No, examiners are not permitted to provide information to you.
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
- 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.
- Please send a detailed account of your experience to [email protected] as soon as possible once your examination has finished.
If something concerning happens while taking your written exam via remote proctoring
- Notify the proctor who is observing you during the SAMP examination by speaking into your computer’s microphone. The proctor will be able to converse with you. You must keep your computer camera, microphone, and speakers on the entire time you are writing your examination.
- Please send a detailed account of your experience to [email protected] once your examination has finished.
If something concerning happens during your structured oral exam
- If you are connected to the platform, use the chat bubble at 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 oral exam, the examiner will not interact with you outside of the actual encounter (assessment time). An administrator may speak to you, but you will not see them visually.
- If you have lost connection, you may use your mobile phone to contact the CFPC. Your phone can be located in the same room but it is not permitted on or immediately adjacent to your person, chair or computer work surface during the exam. It can only be accessed in the event you require login or technical support. It is advisable that you ensure your cell phone is fully charged and that you disable notification alerts to avoid any unwanted distractions during the exam. 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 also not required.
When will I receive my exam results?
You will receive an email approximately eight weeks after the examination indicating your exam results are available and can be viewed by logging into the CFPC portal. Please note your examination results will only be available via the CFPC portal for three months from the date of publication.
The CFPC will also mail you an official result letter. Please ensure your address on the CFPC portal is up to date.
Can I receive my exam results over the phone?No. Results are never released by telephone, fax, or email.
What information will I receive about my performance on the exam?
Results are reported as pass or fail. You will receive a result on each of the two components (written and structured oral) and an overall result. You must be successful on both the written and the oral components to achieve the Certificate of Added Competence in Emergency Medicine or CCFP (EM) designation.
If you are unsuccessful on the examination, you will receive a Candidate Feedback Report approximately six to eight weeks after the CFPC has released the results.
When will I receive my certificate?
Certificates will be mailed approximately 12 to 16 weeks after the certification date.
Please note you will be mailed only one CCFP (EM) certificate. The CFPC does not provide digital copies.
Can I request a rescore of my examination or a reconsideration of my awarded result if I suspect there was an error in my exam process?
- You may request a review of marks if you believe there was a potential miscalculation of your total score.
- You may request a reconsideration of your awarded result if you believe there was a significant procedural error in the administration of your examination (e.g., interruption in the flow of the examination or malfunctioning equipment and/or emergent circumstances such as sudden medical or environmental situations). This option includes a review of marks of your examination.
For instructions on how to proceed, please refer to the Reconsideration and Appeal policy.
Scoring the exam
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 structured oral 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 Canadian medical graduates who have been recommended by a CFPC-accredited Emergency Medicine residency training program to take the examination for the first time. Candidates must obtain a passing score on both the SAMP and structured oral components to receive a Certificate of Added Competence in Emergency Medicine. 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.
Is it best to answer parts of a question I know, or should I go to the questions that I can answer in full first?
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.
What is the best way to score good marks on 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 the questions carefully, 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 to each question carefully and give the number of answers requested.
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?
The answer keys to each exam instrument are determined by the Committee on Examinations — Emergency Medicine 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.
Language quality assurance
How does the CFPC ensure the quality of the translation of examination content?
- After a rigorous process of question development, the content is translated by an experienced certified medical translator.
- The translated content then goes through an independent review by a native French-speaking bilingual physician who has been involved in the development of the cases, is familiar with the context of the questions, and employs the French medical terminology that Canadian French-speaking physicians use in their everyday practice.
- Once the French-speaking physicians are satisfied with the translation, the content is then reviewed by the CFPC translation team to correct any typographical or grammatical errors.
- The translated content is reviewed again after it has been transferred into the software that delivers the examination. This step is taken to ensure accurate presentation on the day of the examination.
What is the process of post-exam quality assurance of the translated content?
Candidates’ written comments produced during and after the examination are analyzed to detect potential issues with questions.
All French answers are scored by French-speaking physicians who are also able to identify potential quality issues with questions.
As with the English questions during the marking process, any French questions, for which quality issues are raised, are reviewed individually and decisions are made as to whether those questions will be excluded from the examination. If a question is excluded because of performance concerns in one language, it is automatically excluded from the examination in the other language.
Psychometric analyses ensure the questions included in the examination meet the expected performance standards. Specific attention is paid to any question where there is an inconsistency between English- and French-speaking candidates’ performance metrics or scoring patterns.
If an identified error or flaw in a question in either language is determined to have a potential effect on candidate performance, that question is removed from the examination content and the above-mentioned psychometrical analyses are re-done.
What is the process of quality improvement?
The Committee on Examination – Emergency Medicine reviews feedback from four main sources to identify areas for improvement:
- Examination results and results of post-examination analyses
- The report and recommendations from the examination coordinators post-administration of both components of the examination detailing any incidents or problems that occurred
- Written feedback from candidates
- Written feedback from examiners
All candidate comments regarding translation are shared with the CFPC translation team.