Next Sittings of the
Professional Examination

  • Spring Examination
    March 22, 2021
  • Fall Examination
    September 21, 2021

Countdown to next examination
March 22, 2021

Professional Examination

REGISTRATION FOR THE SPRING 2021 EXAM IS NOW OPEN!

*NEW: In order to adhere to public health regulations related to COVID-19, the Spring 2021 sitting of the Professional Examination will take place remotely using online proctoring technology. No in-person locations will be hosted and candidates will not be required to find an invigilator.  Candidates will sit the Examination in their own home or a location accessible to them using a laptop or computer. The technology requirements are listed on the certification portal.

The Professional Examination is a formal, multiple choice Examination that is offered twice in each year – once in the Spring and once in the Fall. The purposes of the Professional Examination are:

You will need to apply to PSB to write the Professional Examination and can only do so if you have successfully completed all the other requirements.

If you are an OPPI Candidate (Provisional) Member, please register here. An OPPI Candidate (Provisional) Member is a candidate who applied for certification prior to September 2012. Candidates who applied after 2012 should register on the PSB Candidate Portal.

The Professional Education and Examination Committee is pleased to release the new 2021 Professional Examination Study Guide! The new Guide builds upon the 2020 version and adds supplementary information to help you prepare, based on feedback from Candidates and the virtual Examination format. Use the new Study Guide to supplement your preparations and your review of the previous Professional Examination Study Guide.

Mark Your Calendar

Spring Examination  – Monday, March 22, 2021

Fall Professional Examination – Monday, September 20, 2021

Important Information

Dates: March and September

Fee: 500 $ + HST ($150 + HST for second or third attempt)

Passing Grade: 80 %

Turnaround Time: 2 weeks

Professional Examination Procedure

Student with laptop The Spring sitting will be held on Monday, March 22nd, 2021. Registration will open in January 2021 and close on March 5, 2021. Please note, Examination sittings are held twice in each year – once in the spring and once in the fall.

The Professional Examination is the last step on your road to becoming a full, certified member of the profession. It consists of three sections:

The Professional Examination is three hours in length and is invigilated. Please note that you are not being examined on your technical knowledge of planning, but on issues of professionalism. Registration closes ten calendar days before the Examination date. Late registrations are not accepted, and your registration and payment must reach us by the closing date. The PSB office will confirm receipt of your payment and advise you of the location and time of the Examination by e-mail. This is a closed-book Examination. You are not permitted any notes or cellphones and will be asked to leave such material/devices, along with any bags you may have, at the front of the Examination room. You must bring your own laptop, which you will use to take the Examination. Please ensure you bring your power cord and any other accessories your laptop requires. Any technical malfunction resulting in an inability to complete the Examination (ex. Dead battery) will be the responsibility of the candidate. More information regarding the Examination will be provided to candidates once they register via email.

 

History and Development of the Professional Examination

The Professional Standards Board (PSB) began administering the Professional Examination on behalf of the Provincial/Territorial Institutes and Associations (PTIA) in 2013. The PSB administered a long-answer format examination twice a year (once in March, once in September). The 2013-2015 sittings took place in Toronto, Ottawa, and using proctors across Canada.

Challenges with the Long-Answer Format

There were several challenges in administering the Professional Examination in long-answer format. Firstly, evaluating the Examinations was subjective; as different examiners often had contrasting assessments of a candidate’s Examination, making it problematic to truly assess whether the candidate had demonstrated knowledge and understanding of the competencies. Secondly, due to the length of time it takes to review long-answer questions and obtain assessments from multiple examiners, candidates often did not receive their results for three to six months. The subjectivity of the Examination and the low pass rate was a source of complaints from candidates and examiners.

Transition to the Multiple-Choice Format

Upon consideration of the challenges to the long-answer format, the PSB launched a multiple-choice format Professional Examination. A Professional Education and Examination Committee (PEEC) was charged with overseeing administration of the Examination. The first sitting under the new format took place on Monday, September 26, 2016. The Examination was administered online using an online testing software (ExamBuilder), which provided efficiencies to its administration and marking. Due to the format of the Examination, sittings were administered across the country, with locations in Toronto, Vancouver, Calgary, and remotely using invigilators.  All candidates were required to sit the Examination at the same time (exact times would vary across time zones), and the Examination continued to be administered twice a year. Staff are able to provide Examination results within two weeks (upon review and approval of results by PEEC); all feedback is taken directly to PEEC and responded to in a timely manner.

Questions were initially developed for the new multiple-choice examination through the forming of a Professional Exam Subcommittee (PES). The committee included representation from the PSB and PTIA members. The committee reviewed questions that had been developed by former examiners, adapted existing questions, and presented them to PEEC for final approval before being deployed into the Professional Examination. The questions continued to evaluate the candidate’s knowledge and understanding of the competencies, and were categorized into the same three sections as the long-answer format (Public Interest, Professional Responsibility and Ethics).

Current Professional Examination

The PSB, through PEEC, continues to administer the multiple choice Examination and continues to collect feedback in order to make improvements. Examination questions are reviewed and updated on a regular basis. A call for volunteers went out in 2017 to obtain additional questions for the question bank. The new questions were reviewed and vetted by PEEC before being deployed in the Examination. Another change to the Professional Examination implemented over the past year was the development of updated Study Guides. The Study Guides include sample questions, study tips, suggested readings, and important Examination information was developed by PEEC and the first iteration of the Guide launched for candidates sitting the September 2017 sitting of the Professional Examination. The study guide was recently updated.

PEEC has developed appeal, cancellation, and other Examination policies in order to formalize the administration of the multiple-choice format. Panels are formed to review procedural and compassionate appeals, staff communicates clear direction regarding cancellations for candidates, and policies are in place to handle technical issues onsite (including the marking of paper-format Examination in case of internet connectivity issues).

Furthermore, as part of the PSB’s Bilingualism initiative, the Professional Examination (and all preparation materials), was translated into both official languages at the end of 2018, with the first bilingual Professional Examination sitting occurring in March 2019.

Finally, last year, the PSB posted an RFP for a professional consultant to review the question bank and develop additional questions. A consultant was selected by the PSB and completed the project in 2019.

Study Materials

The Professional Education and Examination Committee is pleased to release the new 2021 Professional Examination Study Guide! The new Guide builds upon the 2020 version and adds supplementary information to help you prepare, based on feedback from Candidates and the virtual Examination format.

Candidate may also complement their preparations using the previously released Additional Readings and Sample Questions.

Please note that the study materials are not exhaustive in terms of the content on the Professional Examination. To pass the Professional Examination, Candidates must have a thorough understanding of the course materials, but more importantly, they must have significant, diverse experience in responsible planning and the ability to apply their experience as well as their knowledge of the content included in the course materials to a variety of challenging workplace scenarios.

Registration Dates

Registration for the Spring Professional Examination will open in January 2021. Registration will close on Friday, March 5th, 2021.

ELIGIBILITY

  • Submitted signed mentorship and sponsorship  agreements
  • Received official approval from PSB of mentorship logs
  • Received official approval from PSB of sponsorship logs
  • Passed Ethics & Professionalism Course and Test

Please note these requirements do not apply to OPPI Candidate (Provisional) members (i.e. individuals who applied for candidate membership before 2012). Please contact OPPI for Professional Exam eligibility requirements for Candidate (Provisional) Members and see the candidate process for more information.

Deadlines

All eligibility requirements above must be met by Friday, March 5th, 2021.

The deadline to submit your logs for review is Friday, February 12th, 2021.

Dates, Times, Locations

Next Sitting: Monday, March 22nd, 2021. The Professional Examination is taking place at different times, depending on your province. Please see times below (NOTE START TIMES ARE SUBJECT TO CHANGE):

  • British Columbia & Yukon: 8:30 AM – 11:30 AM PT
  • Alberta, Northwest Territories & Saskatchewan: 9:30 AM – 12:30 PM MT
  • Manitoba: 10:30 AM – 1:30 PM CT
  • Ontario: 8:30 AM – 11:30 AM ET
  • Nova Scotia, New Brunswick & PEI: 9:30 AM – 12:30 PM AT
  • Newfoundland and Labrador: 10:00 AM – 1:00 PM ET

NEW: In order to adhere to public health regulations related to COVID-19, the Spring 2021 sitting of the Professional Examination will take place remotely using online proctoring technology. No in-person locations will be hosted and candidates will not be required to find an invigilator.  Candidates will sit the Examination in their own home or a location accessible to them using a laptop or computer. More details on the technology requirements will be announced at a later date.

Virtual Examination Format

Here are some Frequently Asked Questions about the new Virtual Professional Examination:

What do I need to complete the Professional Examination? You will be required to have access to: laptop/Computer with a Working Web Camera, a power cord (make sure you have AC power to your machine and DO NOT RUN OFF BATTERY POWER!)reliable internet connection and a valid government issued IDPhoto identification may include any one of the following, as long as it contains a photo and a signature: An up-to-date Passport (any country) OR current Driver’s License (any country) OR current Canadian health card (any province or territory). No other material is permitted at your workstation (including paper documents and cellphones) except water in a clear glass, or medication as required. 

Why is the Professional Examination proctored? The PSB Professional Examination will be proctored using the Mettl platform to aid in preventing candidate cheating. The platform monitors and records live Web Camera and computer screen feeds during the Professional ExaminationShould you navigate away from the test window, the proctor will be alerted. There will be a chat feature at the bottom of the window where you will be able to interact with the proctor. The proctor will pause your test if they observe any suspicious activity and resume once the situation is resolved. Any rules broken and unresolved will result in a FAILED session. If integrity issued are identified with your Examination, you will receive an email with further instructions. Any candidates who are caught cheating will receive a grade of 0. 

Am I able to use pen and paper during the Professional Examination? No pen and paper are allowed during the Professional Examination.  

How can I access the CIP Code of Professional Conduct and the Enabling Competencies during the Professional Examination? You are permitted to have an online version of the CIP Code of Professional Conduct and the Enabling Competencies open for your reference during the Professional Examination (links provided via email). Other than the Examination link, this is the only webpage you are permitted to access during the Professional Examination. Please ensure you open the webpage BEFORE commencing the Professional Examination to avoid having to access your emails during the Examination, which will be flagged by the proctors. 

Am I allowed to go to the washroom?  Yes. Send a message to your proctor using the chat feature at the bottom of the screen if you are going to the washroom. The Professional Examination will not be paused during this time. Bathroom breaks are not permitted during the first or last 30 minutes of the Professional Examination. 

Am I allowed to have water or food? Water is allowed in a clear bottle/glass. Food is not allowed unless you have an approved special accommodation. If you need to take medication, it must be at their workstation at the beginning of the Examination and be in view of the camera. The proctor has the right to inspect medication and take a screenshot of the medication if necessary. Special accommodations should be stated when you complete your registration. 

Am I allowed to use a second monitor? No, you will not be able to use a second monitor to complete the Professional Examination. Candidates will need to be looking in the direction of the Web Camera so the proctor can monitor them throughout the duration of the Examination. The Professional Examination software is not compatible with external monitors. If you believe your screen is too small to take the Examination comfortably, please arrange for a new laptop to be used in advance of the Professional Examination (and test the system requirements beforehand). 

What happens if I am kicked out of the Professional Examination? If you lose internet connection or run out of battery, you will be able to log in again within 15 minutes, using the same link at the beginning of this document. You CANNOT deliberately close the test and resume it from the same point.  

What if I have popups on my laptop? Please ensure all pop ups are disabled for the duration of the Professional Examination (ex. Slack, Microsoft Teams, email alerts). 

Who can I contact should I encounter an emergency? Please contact Shayna Asgill, PSB Event Manager at 647-631-1448. 

Am I able to ask questions and communicate with the proctor? You can chat with the proctor using the chat feature. Read all questions in their entirety and select the answer that is most correct to you based on the question exactly how it is written. If you have any questions/concerns, you may flag it with the proctor. The Professional Education and Examination Committee will review all questions/comments after the Examination and appropriate steps will be taken if necessary. 

Do I need to show a scan of the room? The proctor may ask for a scan of the room at any time, typically if it looks like the Candidate is cheating or someone else talking in the background. A quiet room is needed to complete the Professional Examination. No other person should be in the room in which you are completing the Professional Examination. Please note you should not mouth words or read the questions out loud. 

RULES FOR CONDUCT 

  • No other person should be in the room in which you are completing the Professional Examination.
  • Candidates should proceed to the Examination link that will be sent to them in the Day of Guide. 
  • Candidates shall have their photo identification (signed Photo ID) ready to show during the verification stage of the Professional Examination. Photo identification may include any one of the following, as long as it contains a photo and a signature: An up-to-date Passport (any country) OR current Driver’s License (any country) OR current Canadian health card (any province or territory). 
  • There should be no notes, books, pencil cases or cellphones present during the Professional Examination. 
  • Unauthorized materials include, but are not limited to: books, notes, or aid sheets. Unauthorized electronic devices include, but are not limited to: cellular telephones, calculators, MP3 players (such as an iPod), Personal Digital Assistants (“PDA” such as a Palm Pilot or Blackberry), pagers, electronic dictionaries, Compact Disc Players, Mini Disc Players, Smart Watches and Smart Glasses. 
  • Candidates who fall ill or feel that they cannot continue the Examination should report this [email protected]. The PSB Office will complete an incident report, which will be placed in the Candidate’s file. The Candidate must immediately consult a recognized medical authority and obtain a medical note. The Candidate must submit the medical note, the next day or as soon as possible, to the Professional Standards Board at [email protected]ngcanada.ca.  
  • During the Examination, if there are any emergencies, including health issues that require an ambulance, or security-related issues, 911 should be called first. If a fire alarm sounds, evacuate immediately. Please contact the office at [email protected] to discuss and confirm resuming the Examination.  
  • If you are late for the Examination, we WILL NOT DELAY THE START OT THE EXAMINATION to help you set up. 

Examination Feedback

Candidates will not receive specific feedback on their Examination. Candidates will be informed which sections of the Examination they passed or failed.

Annual Pass Rates

Candidates require a grade of 80% to pass the Examination.

Year Percentage of Candidate Who Passed the Examination
Long Answer Format
2013 78%
2014 64%
2015 57%
2016 73%
Multiple Choice
2017 82%
2018 87%
2019 93%
2020 73%

 

Appeals

You may appeal on procedural or compassionate grounds only. Procedural or compassionate grounds would include inadequate notice, failure to accommodate a Candidate’s special needs, or unforeseen family or personal emergency reported to the PSB within five (5) business days of the Professional Examination date. This does not include technical difficulties independent of the Examination space, such as personal laptop issues or with poor internet connection.

Special Needs and Accommodations

At the time you register for the Examination, please advise the office of your requirements, and we will attempt to accommodate you. Please note that if you require the Examination in a special format (Braille, audio, etc.), we will need at least four (4) weeks’ notice. If you require an assistive device, please arrange to bring your own, as PSB does not own any of these devices. If your assistive device requires power, kindly let us know at least a week in advance so we can ensure power is available for you. If you will be bringing a service animal or support person, please let us know at least four (4) weeks in advance so we can determine whether we need to arrange a separate room for you.

Cancellations/Missed Examinations

As soon as you know that you will miss the Examination date, please contact the Operations Manager at [email protected] or by phone at 647.317.6924. If you advise us by 3:30 PM ET two business days prior to the Examination date, there will be no adverse consequences. We can either refund your fee (please allow up to 30 days) or retain it and register you for the next sitting. If you miss this deadline, you will be considered to have chosen not to write the Examination and to have used one of your attempts; your fee will not be refunded. Please note that, if you had a health or business/personal/family emergency after the cancellation deadline, you must contact the PSB office within five (5) business days of the Examination date to be eligible to file an appeal on compassionate grounds. An appeal panel will review your case to determine whether your attempt will be voided and if you are eligible for a refund or credit towards your next sitting. In the event of an appeal, you will be asked to provide proof (such as a doctor’s note, letter from your employer, etc.) of the emergency.