Questions about examining? Contact the CFPC
Many family physicians throughout Canada have supported the examination process by volunteering their time to serve as examiners. There are many good reasons to get involved. Here are just a few:
- Set a good example for colleagues through interest and participation
- Help colleagues realize their goal of attaining Certification in the College of Family Physicians of Canada
- Meet and interact with colleagues from across the country
- Enjoy a sense of accomplishment in contributing to the process
- Earn Mainpro+® certified assessment credits
In order to participate in our exam process, examiners must be active members of the College with Certification in the College of Family Physicians of Canada (CCFP) designation.
Experience in examining is not necessary. Each examination team will be composed of both experienced and new examiners and training will be provided to orient all examiners to their task. Experienced examiners who have retired from active practice may continue to examine for five years after retirement, as long as they maintain Active membership with the College.
Examiner roles will be filled based on the age and gender requirements of the different SOO cases in the examination session. Some interested members may be selected to serve in a “back-up examiner” capacity. Others may not be selected if all requirements for their gender and age group have been satisfied. We encourage you to apply early for both the spring and fall sessions.
A reliable computer (laptop or desktop) and Internet connection are required as participation is done virtually from your home or workplace. A team of dedicated staff are available to support examiners along the way.
Some of the roles examiners will fill have age and gender restrictions, which means that in the selection process we cannot guarantee that all interested members will be selected for the examination team. Participation will be virtual from your home and by using your own computer. A dedicated staff team will be available to support you along the way.
Conflict of Interest Guidelines for the SOOsA candidate-examiner relationship may occasionally constitute a conflict of interest. Examples of conflict of interest are:
- being related to each other, including being a spouse
- being a close friend
- having a financial or business relationship with each other
- having an ongoing learner-supervisor relationship where a pass/fail decision is involved
The family medicine SOO candidate/examiner schedules are designed to avoid candidates being assessed by examiners from the same education institution. We ask examiners to identify their educational affiliations to aid in this planning. We also ask examiners to declare all conflicts of interest (i.e., a close personal or professional relationship) with the candidates they are scheduled to see.
During the Exam
If you enter an examination SOO station where you know the candidate, carry on with your examination.
If you enter a station and feel a conflict exists (refer to definition above), please inform the examiner. The examiner will notify the administrators, who will help you take this station with another examiner after completing other SOO stations. Stay in the current station and do not interact with the examiner.
After the Exam
Please notify the College of Family Physicians of Canada™ (CFPC) of any conflict of interest that may have occurred during your examination by sending an email to [email protected] as soon as possible after your exam.
All examiners will be paid an honorarium per day of involvement.
Examiner recruitment forms
The Certification Examination in Family Medicine is offered twice a year, in the spring and fall and consists of:
- Short-answer management problems (SAMPs) held on Thursday and/or Friday of the examination weekend, depending on the exam site
- Five Simulated Office Oral (SOO) interviews taking place on Saturday and Sunday
The CFPC is currently recruiting examiners to participate in the spring 2022 Certification Examination in Family Medicine that will be delivered virtually over two weekends: April 23 and 24, and April 30 and May 1. Examiners may choose to participate during one or both weekends.
Complete an examiner recruitment form (login required).
Virtual SOOs - FAQs for Examiners
Why has the CFPC moved to the virtual delivery of SOOs?The COVID-19 pandemic has prevented the College from delivering the SOOs in the traditional, in-person format. At the same time, the pandemic has provided an opportunity to review and improve the SOO experience for candidates and examiners by:
- Offering greater convenience and enhanced flexibility as candidates and examiners may not need to travel
- Avoiding sudden hindrances or limitations the pandemic or other unanticipated circumstances or environmental factors could cause
- Using optimal and progressive technology to support high-quality examination delivery
What will not change in the delivery of the SOOs?While the SOO examination will be delivered differently, the high-quality standards of evaluation remain in place to ensure candidates meet the necessary requirements. The SOO examination will continue to include:
- Extensive planning and the leveraging of internal and external subject-matter experts’ knowledge
- Structured development and design of SOO examination questions (cases) and approval by the Committee on Examinations – Family Medicine
- Oversight by the Board of Examinations and Certification
- Use of experienced examiners who serve an integrated role as patient and assessor
- Training sessions for examiners
- Exam calibration
What is a virtual SOO examination?A virtual SOO examination is administered through remote proctoring.
With remote proctoring, candidates, and examiners, who also play the role of the patient, participate in the examination online in a quiet, secure place of their choosing and at their own computer instead of travelling to an examination centre.
Exam proctors confirm candidate identity and monitor the examination. They have the ability to observe candidate sessions throughout the examination without disruption to the examiners or candidates.
What software is used to run the virtual SOO examination?The CFPC partnered with a reputable, international software company to facilitate the administration of the virtual SOO using a web-based platform called Practique. The vendor (Fry-IT) offers a robust examination management application with proven success in Canada and abroad. The software allows audio and visual interaction between candidates and examiners, and the use of other examination materials to assist with the oral simulation of clinical cases. The application, which was successfully used for the first virtual SOO in fall 2021, also allows for the use of proctors to facilitate examination security.
How is the virtual SOO delivered?As of the fall 2021 session, the SOO exam component is delivered in a fully virtual format through Practique, an examination delivery platform. This means that candidates and examiners interact via real-time video and audio feeds using computers in private, secure environments. To familiarize examiners with Practique’s features, the College provides several resources:
- Direct support for examiners, including technical support leading up to and on the day of the exam
- Information and instructional videos for examiners on examination logistics, platform navigation, exam-day expectations, a virtual SOO encounter demonstration, and opportunity for hands-on practice
- Live-stream information session and Q&A in both English and French to help with preparation and familiarization
Where will I participate in the SOO examination?Examiners participate from a place of their choosing (for example, home or work). Examination centres are no longer available.
As an examiner, you must ensure the location you choose is private, undisturbed, and appropriate for participating in a certification examination. You must be alone in the room for the duration of the exam.
You must also ensure you have a reliable laptop or desktop computer, as well as a reliable Internet connection that is not compromised by institutional firewalls, such as those commonly found in academic institutions and other major public and private organizations.
A room with adequate and appropriate lighting is also required to ensure candidates can see your face and facial expressions.
Will I be expected to travel to participate in the virtual SOO examination?Examiners participate in the examination from a location of their choosing where a private, comfortable, and confidential environment can be assured (e.g., home, work).
Exception: A smaller group of examiners assigned to a specialized role (SOO lead/assistant SOO lead) may be asked to travel to the examination Command Centre (Toronto area) to support the administration of the SOO sessions.
What is the exam day schedule?
SOOs are held Saturdays and Sundays in the spring and fall (generally in April and October). All examiners will participate in four sessions over the course of the exam weekend: two sessions on Saturday and two on Sunday. Each day will have a morning and afternoon session, with a 1.5-hour break between sessions.
Each session is a circuit of five SOO stations. Each station is a total of 28 minutes: one-minute reading time, 15-minute administration time (the candidate-examiner encounter), and 12-minute marking time.
A final copy of the exam day schedule will be available in ShareFile approximately one week prior to the exam. All times will be communicated in Eastern Time (ET); however, examiners can expect to start around 7:30 a.m. local time.
Situations may occur where we need to re-run a station, e.g., in the case of a conflict of interest, a candidate or examiner late arrival, or a system glitch. In such a case, an examiner may be required to run a 28-minute station at the end of the morning or afternoon session.
A more significant issue, technical or other, could result in the need to run an emergency third session for some candidates after the afternoon session on exam day. In those cases, some volunteers would be required to help administer this session.
What should I do to prepare for the exam day?
You will receive an email from Certification Assessment ([email protected]) providing you with a link to ShareFile and prompting you to create your ShareFile account and password. We encourage you to create your account as soon as possible.
All material you require to fulfill your examiner role will be accessible by you via your ShareFile account. These materials include but are not limited to: the full SOO booklet, recordings and SOO critiques for the recordings, exam day schedules, role descriptions, contact lists, non-disclosure form, and reimbursement form.
Examination materials will not all be uploaded to ShareFile at the same time. We upload materials as they become available, up to and including the Friday training day. We recommend you check your ShareFile account on a regular basis for new content.
Examiners are required to complete two to three hours of training on their own time prior to the live virtual training session scheduled for the Friday prior to the exam weekend. This asynchronous training is provided through a Learning Management System (LMS) and includes an orientation to the Practique exam platform, as well as patient-centered approach and assessor bias training.
To access the LMS:
- Log in from your CFPC portal
- Under Quick Links, click on Examiner Training
- Once the landing page opens, click on Browse Catalog
- Enroll and launch the following two courses:
- SOO Examiner Platform Orientation
- SOO Examiner Training
Live virtual training, which is mandatory for all examiners, will be held on the Friday before the exam via Zoom from 10:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m. Eastern Time (ET). We cannot overemphasize the importance of this training session, which will primarily focus on the standardization of marking. Examiners will also have an opportunity to practice their scenarios. The Zoom meeting login information will be provided to you closer to the training date.
As an examiner, am I reimbursed for my time?Yes. Examiners are paid an honorarium per day of involvement, i.e., for three days (Friday, Saturday, and Sunday) per exam weekend.
What equipment do I need?To participate in the examination, you must have a laptop or desktop computer that is equipped with a built-in or external webcam, speakers, and microphone. Multiple screens are not required. You must also have a reliable Internet connection.
Mobile devices such as smartphones and tablets will not work with the Practique platform.
A fully charged mobile phone is to be used for communication with examination administrators.
What software program is used to run the online SOO examination?We have partnered with a reputable, international software company to facilitate the administration of the SOO using a web-based platform called Practique. The vendor (Fry-IT) offers a robust examination management application with proven success in Canada and abroad. The software allows audio and visual interaction between candidates and examiners and the use of other examination materials to assist with the oral simulation of clinical cases. The application also allows for the use of proctors to facilitate examination security.
What are the technical requirements for participating in the virtual SOO?
The technical requirements necessary to ensure full functionality of the examination management application (Practique) can be found in the Practique Technical User Guide. The technical requirements are the same for candidates and examiners.
Is technical support available prior to and during the SOO examination?Yes. Technical support is available for examiners as they prepare for their role, prior to the examination, and on the examination days as they log in and participate.