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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

Get involved in the Certification Examination in Family Medicine

Written examination

There are opportunities to mark short-answer management problems (SAMPs), within two weeks after the examination. The time commitment required is from 10:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. Marking usually requires two days for the spring examination and one day for the fall examination. Markers must be comfortable using computers.

Simulated Office Oral Examination (SOOs)

Volunteers are needed at the spring and fall examinations on Friday, Saturday, and Sunday. Mandatory training occurs all day on Friday and includes calibration training and practice simulations. The SOOs take place on Saturday and Sunday with the time commitment varying depending on the number of candidates. The time commitment will be communicated in a confirmation letter.

  • SOO examiners will role-play the patient and score the candidate according to a standardized marking scheme. Each simulation is constructed so that only an interview is necessary to define and manage the problem; a physical examination is not required.
  • SOO lead and assistant SOO lead  are responsible for training the examiners, standardizing marking, and supervising and validating examiner performance throughout the examination days.
  • For more information, please view this helpful webinar on the SOO examiner role.

Examiner training video production (prior to examination dates)

During pre-examiner training, videos are used to demonstrate the case and marking scheme. Volunteers are needed to act as the candidates in order to create two recorded re-enactments of each SOO case. Recording occurs in Mississauga on a flexible schedule. The time commitment for the recording is approximately two hours.

Criteria

  • Examiner eligibility

    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 selection

    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 SOOs

    A 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
    Simply knowing each other, personally or professionally, or having had occasional learner-supervisor encounters, is not considered a conflict of interest.

    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

    For examiners:
    If you enter an examination SOO station where you know the candidate, carry on with your examination.  

    For candidates:
    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.
  • Examiner reimbursement

    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

General Questions

  • 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
    These drivers of change, together with the evolving expectations of candidates and examiners, reinforced the College’s desire to move to the use of a virtual platform to administer the SOO while maintaining best practices for the delivery of certification examinations.
     
  • 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.
     

 

Operational Questions

  • Am I eligible to participate in the SOO?

    To participate in our exam process, examiners must be active members of the College with the Certification in the College of Family Physicians of Canada (CCFP) designation.

    Examiner experience is not required. Each examination team will be composed of both experienced and new examiners, and training will be provided to orient all examiners to their role and tasks.

    Experienced examiners who have retired from active practice may continue to examine for five years after retirement if 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.
     
  • When are examinations held?

    SOOs are held Saturdays and Sundays in the spring and fall (generally in April and October). The specific dates vary by session. There are generally morning and afternoon administrations, with start times adapted to the various time zones across the country. Examination start times are communicated to examiners once their role is confirmed.

    A mandatory, full day of training for examiners is held on the Friday prior to the examination weekend.
     
  • Will information be available to help me familiarize myself with the virtual SOO platform?

    Yes. The College makes resources available for examiners to familiarize themselves with the examination experience, such as:
    • Instructional guide and videos
    • SOO overview and Q&A (webinar)
    • Platform orientation prior to the examination
  • I have never examined before. Will examiner training be provided?

    Yes. All examiners selected to participate in a SOO examination receive comprehensive training in advance of the exam. This includes a live (synchronous) training day on the Friday preceding the exam weekend as well as two to three hours of independent online training to be done on the examiner’s own time.
  • 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.

 

Technical Questions

  • 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.

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