Frequently Asked Questions about the Ontario Clinical Examinations

These questions and the answers to them are intended as general guidance to the most common questions about examinations.  The responses are not legal or practice advice and are not intended as such.  For more detailed information on the subject, readers should review the relevant statutes, regulations and standards of practice and consult with legal counsel.

​​

Index of Questions


Exam Content and Eligibility

What are the Ontario Clinical Exams?
Are the Ontario Clinical Exams new?
What do the exams include?
Who is eligible to register for the Ontario Clinical Exams?

Exam Schedule and Key Deadlines

Is there a deadline for completing the exams?
When are exams scheduled?
What do I need to provide to take the exam, and when are the deadlines for meeting those requirements?

Day of Exam

How do the exams work?
What is the order for the rotation of the three practical exams?
What supplies will be in the clinic room?
When should I start setting up my supplies?
How will I know which components to perform in my physical exam/instrumentation exam? 
How is the exam order determined?

Exam Results, Re-takes and Appeals

When can I expect to receive my exam results?
How are results sent?
What happens if I fail one of the clinical examinations? Will I be required to re-take all three of the exams again?
How many times can I attempt the Ontario Clinical Examinations?
What happens if a fail an exam on all three attempts?
Can I appeal the results of my Ontario Clinical Examinations?
If my appeal is successful, will my failing grade be changed to a passing grade?

​​

Exam Content and Eligibility

 

What are the Ontario Clinical Exams? 

These exams are part of the entry-to-practice requirements to become registered with the College of Naturopaths of Ontario. They test entry level competencies in naturopathic manipulation, acupuncture, and physical examination and instrumentation. The goal is to ensure that applicants can provide safe, competent and ethical care.

Are the Ontario Clinical Exams new?

Yes. The Ontario Clinical Exams will replace the Ontario Board Examinations administered by the Board of Directors of Drugless Therapy – Naturopathy.

What do the exams include?

Each modality – manipulation, acupuncture and physical exam/instrumentation – includes a written and practical component.  The written component tests a candidate’s knowledge of cautions, contraindications, and normal and abnormal exam findings. The practical exam assesses a candidate’s hands-on clinical skills. 

Who is eligible to register for the Ontario Clinical Exams?

Applicants must have either:

•    graduated from a CNME-accredited program in naturopathic medicine; or
•    been assessed and deemed substantially equivalent through the College’s Prior Learning Assessment & Recognition (PLAR) program.

All applicants require at least 220 hours of didactic and 30 hours of clinical training in acupuncture.

Exam Schedule and Key Deadlines


Is there a deadline for completing the exams?

Examinations must be completed within two years of graduating from a CNME-accredited program or being deemed ‘substantially equivalent’ through the College’s PLAR program.

When are exams scheduled?

Exams are held three times a year, in February, July and September. Click HERE for the current exam schedule.

What do I need to provide to take the exam, and when are the deadlines for meeting those requirements?

The exam registration deadline is listed in the exam schedule. By that date, applicants must provide the College with the following:

•    The Pre-Registration Application (if sitting a first attempt). The College uses this to create a profile for current or future applicants, and identify which stream an applicant will enter at the time of initial application for registration.
•    A copy of valid photo identification (the Pre-Registration Application lists acceptable types). Candidates must present the same piece of photo identification on exam day.
•    The online exam registration information, which states an applicant’s intent to take the exam, and provides an opportunity to declare exam accommodation needs, previous exam attempts, and other information not required on the Pre-Registration Application
•    The exam registration fee.

The exam registration deadline is also the deadline to submit an exam accommodation request letter and supporting documentation. See the Ontario Clinical Examinations Handbook for details on necessary documentation.

The other key deadline for first time candidates is the transcript deadline which is the deadline for the College to receive a copy of the candidate’s academic transcript(s), to confirm eligibility to take the Ontario Clinical Exams. 

Day of Exam


How do the exams work?

Candidates are paired five minutes before the start the exam rotation. All applicants will play the roles of both practitioner and patient, in turn. Each candidate has 45 minutes to complete the three areas: 15 minutes for manipulation, 15 minutes for acupuncture and 15 minutes for the physical exam/instrumentation. Therefore, each candidate pair has 90 minutes in total to complete all three of their practical exams.

What is the order for the rotation of the three practical exams?

The order of the exams is random; candidates won’t be told that order in advance. 

What supplies will be in the clinic room?

Each exam clinic room is set up with:

•    multi-purpose exam table;
•    pillow and pillow case;
•    table paper;
•    hand sanitizer;
•    pens and paper;
•    sharps container; and
•    exam kit that contains four sizes of acupuncture needles, cotton balls, spot and regular bandages, and packaged alcohol swabs. 

When should I start setting up my supplies?

Only when the examiners arrive in the room. As part of the exam, the examiners will be assessing appropriate set-up and the candidate’s implementation of appropriate instrument sanitation and hand hygiene.

How will I know which components to perform in my physical exam/instrumentation exam? 

At the start of the exam, each candidate will select exam category cards at random. Examiners will advise each candidate on what physical exam components to demonstrate based on what these cards say.

How is the exam order determined?

By the order that candidates appear in the examiners’ rotation schedule. Examiners will give candidates this information once the exam begins.

Exam Results, Re-takes and Appeals


When can I expect to receive my exam results?

Within five weeks of the examination date.

How are results sent?

By regular mail only. The College is unable to provide results e-mail or over the phone.


What happens if I fail one of the clinical examinations? Will I be required to re-take all three of the exams again?

Candidates are only required to re-take the clinical examination that was unsuccessful. 

How many times can I attempt the Ontario Clinical Examinations?

Three times. After a second failure, the candidate must complete remediation, as directed by the College’s Registration Committee, before taking the third and final attempt. 

What happens if a fail an exam on all three attempts?

That applicant will not be eligible to continue in the examination process without first completing an additional program of study in naturopathic medicine. 

Can I appeal the results of my Ontario Clinical Examinations?

Yes, but only for limited reasons related to:

•    environmental or procedural irregularities (e.g. not being provided the allotted time); or
•    a perception of undue bias on the exam day, which the candidate feels had a direct impact on his/her performance. 

To appeal, the candidate must fill out an Incident Report form and submit it to an exam proctor prior to leaving the exam site. In their appeal candidates must establish, to the satisfaction of the Examination Appeals Committee, that they would have more than likely passed the exam had the procedural/environmental irregularity or bias not occurred. 

If my appeal is successful, will my failing grade be changed to a passing grade?

No. However, if an appeal is successful, the candidate can re-take the exam at the next scheduled exam session. That will not count as a second exam attempt.