New Ontario Entry-to-Practise Exams FAQ

Index of Questions

Are all the College's entry-to-practise exams being replaced?
When will the new exams be required?
I'm currently studying to take NPLEX II in February 2019. Will it be accepted for registration in Ontario?
Will the NPLEX Elective Acupuncture Exam be part of the College-equivalent of NPLEX II?
Why doesn’t the College recognize NPLEX?
Why doesn't the College let those who sat NPLEX I also sit NPLEX II so we complete exams of the same type?
Will NPLEX continue to be administered in Ontario for those wanting to practise outside of Ontario?
How much will it cost to complete the new exams?
Will NDs who sat the NPLEX as part of their entry-to-practise exams need to take the new exams?
If I'm transferring my registration to Ontario from another regulated province, will I be required to take the new exams?
What about if I want to transfer from Ontario to a different province?
I haven't decided if I want to practice in Ontario, BC, or move to the States. Which exams should I take?
How will we be notified of the Exam Transition Policy?
What are the benefits of the new exams?
How will this benefit the profession in Canada?
What process did the College use to develop the new exams?
How much is this costing the profession?

Answers

Are all the College's entry-to-practise exams being replaced? 

No. This change affects two exams in the College’s suite of entry-to-practise exams. Only the NPLEX exams are being replaced with the College’s equivalent Clinical Sciences and Biomedical exams.

The exams that must be completed to be considered eligible for registration in Ontario are:
1. NPLEX II (to be replaced with the College’s new Clinical Sciences exam after April 1, 2019);
2. NPLEX I (to be replaced with the College’s new Biomedical exam after November 15, 2020);
3. Clinical exams (practical) in Naturopathic Manipulation, Acupuncture, and Physical Examination/instrumentation; and
4. Jurisprudence exam.

 
When will the new exams be required?
The infosheet Which entry-to-practise exams do I take? explains which exams to sit based on different scenarios and timing.

In brief for Ontario, applicants who want to register between April 1, 2019 and November 15, 2020 will need to complete NPLEX I and CONO’s new Clinical Sciences Exam.
•  After November 15, 2020, applicants will need to complete CONO’s new Biomedical exam (replacing NPLEX I) and the new Clinical Sciences Exam (replacing NPLEX II).
•  In both cases, applicants must also complete the existing Clinical (practical) exams in Manipulation, Acupuncture and Physical Examination/instrumentation, and the online Jurisprudence exam to qualify for registration with the College of Naturopaths of Ontario.

Applicants who are uncertain about where they want to practise may choose to sit both NPLEX I and II, as well as CONO’s new exams, which would give them the greatest flexibility* in terms of applying for registration in North America. (This is not intended to be advice from the College, but is merely provided to help applicants make an informed decision.)

*Note, however, that there is a time limit in some Canadian jurisdictions (e.g., two years in Ontario, three in BC), after which an applicant may need to re-take ETP exams if they are not currently registered in a regulated Canadian jurisdiction. There may also be time limits in other international jurisdictions.
 
I'm currently studying to take NPLEX II in February 2019. Will it be accepted for registration in Ontario?

Yes, provided you apply for registration with the College before April 1, 2019.

Will the NPLEX Elective Acupuncture Exam be part of the College-equivalent of NPLEX II?

Yes. Acupuncture exam content will be administered as part of the Ontario Clinical Sciences examination rather than as a stand-alone elective exam.

Why doesn't the College recognize NPLEX?

The College relied on the NPLEX exams, provided by a third-party supplier (the North American Board of Naturopathic Examiners), for many years. However, in order to ensure compliance with Ontario and Canadian standards and laws, including those for people needing accommodations, the College made a business decision to develop its own exams. These exams will also enable us to meet legal requirements to offer entry-to-practise and substantial equivalency exams* in English as well as in French.

*Our Prior Learning Assessment Recognition (PLAR) program assesses the knowledge, skills and experience of applicants from non-CNME-accredited schools as a pre-requisite to apply for registration.
 
Why doesn't the College let those who sat NPLEX I also sit NPLEX II so we complete exams of the same type? 

The goal of the new exams is unchanged: to test those foundational entry-level competencies required of all naturopaths in Canada to practise safely, ethically and competently. Both new exams will be a mix of case-based and stand-alone questions which test for clinical readiness and emphasize a candidate’s ability to apply their knowledge and critical thinking.

Given that not all candidates are successful on their first sitting of an examination, the College could not provide transition timelines that would allow any candidate who has sat NPLEX I to also complete the NPLEX II without substantially delaying the launch of the new examinations. Because the College has requirements to ensure both CNME-accredited candidates and PLAR applicants have access to examinations which comply with the College’s legislative requirements, timelines were set to be fair both to those candidates mid-process but also to those wishing to sit the new examinations.
 
Will NPLEX continue to be administered in Ontario for those wanting to practise outside of Ontario?

Questions regarding where the NPLEX exams will be administered following the College’s launch of its new exams should be directed to NABNE. No restrictions have been imposed by the College around NPLEX exams being administered in Ontario.

How much will it cost to complete the new exams?

We anticipate that the fees for the new exams will be similar to those for NPLEX. That said, in order to establish fees, the College is legally required to consult with the public, its Members, and stakeholders for 60 days. This consultation is now active and we encourage you to participate by reviewing the proposed fees and sending us your feedback by the deadline of January 16, 2019. 

The College’s governing Council will consider all of the feedback received and set the exam fees. The fees will be posted on our website and shared with relevant stakeholders.

Will NDs who sat the NPLEX as part of their entry-to-practise exams need to take the new exams?
 
No. The new exams are entry-to-practise requirements for individuals applying for registration.

If I'm transferring my registration to Ontario from another regulated Canadian jurisdiction, will I be required to take the new exams?

No. An ND who is registered in a regulated province may apply to transfer their registration to another regulated province under the Canadian Free Trade Agreement (CFTA). While there may be specific additional requirements on a province-by-province basis, an applicant will not be expected to retake an entry-to-practise exam, regardless of whether they completed NPLEX or the College’s new Ontario Clinical Sciences and Biomedical exams.

What about if I want to transfer to Ontario from a different province?

The same principles apply as in the answer to the question above. Nonetheless, we urge you to contact the province where you are considering registration to make sure you are fully aware of their registration requirements. 

I haven't decided if I want to practise in Ontario, BC, or move to the States. Which exams should I take?

Read our infosheet about which exams to take and when, based on timing and different scenarios. In brief, applicants who are uncertain about where they want to practise may choose to sit both NPLEX I and II, as well as the College’s new exams, which would give them the greatest flexibility in terms of applying for registration in North America, and the US in particular. (This is not intended to be advice from the College, but is provided to help applicants make an informed choice.)

How will we be notified of the Exam Transition Policy?

The Exam Transition Policy is available on our website. 

What are the benefits of the new exams?

The new exams:

Are computer-based and will be available more frequently and in more locations. The Ontario Clinical Sciences exam will take approximately three hours to complete.
Allow for three re-takes with feedback and remediation after the second failure so candidates know how and where to improve.
Will give exam candidates and stakeholders, such as schools, concrete, verifiable information about exam performance.
Reflect what is taught and being practised in Ontario and Canada today.
Can be completed in any order, depending on candidate preference.
Enable the College to meet federal and provincial legal requirements for people with disabilities and people who need accommodations, as well as requirements to offer entry-to-practise and substantial equivalency exams in English as well as in French.
 

How will this benefit the profession in Canada?

As the regulator of the profession, our responsibility is first and foremost to the public and ensuring their right to access safe, ethical, and competent care. To do this, the College makes decisions based on legislative requirements, sound governance, and financial stewardship practices. The business decision to develop new entry-to-practise exams is based on these principles.

What process did the College use to develop the new exams?

The new exams underwent a collaborative development process that involved many volunteers from the profession and academia, as well as a Yardstick Inc., a leading developer of North American licensure examinations and psychometric experts.

The process included:
Conducting a job task analysis based on the core competencies of the profession, including comprehensive input from naturopaths about practice in action with respect to assessment and diagnosis, patient care and treatment modalities, and critical care and public health components.
Creating the exam blueprint.
Extensive content development.
Lengthy usability testing with potential candidates before being finalized.

 
How much is this costing the profession?

The impact of increasing costs under our existing examination scheme was a consideration for Council in making this business decision, particularly with respect to sound management of our finances now, and into the future.

The new exams will be cost-neutral for the College. We have a plan in place that allows us to recover the estimated $400,000 development and implementation costs over a 15-year period. The greatest advantage to the College is that we will own the exams, eliminating reliance on external parties – and unrecoverable costs – for creating new exams that meet our statutory requirements.