College of





of British Columbia

Frequently Asked Questions from Examination Candidates

On what basis does the College base examination policy on?

Development procedures, administration, and the analysis and reporting of results follow best test practices as established by the other health regulatory organizations and professional regulatory bodies.

What examination can I apply for if I have a 5 Year TCM Bachelor Degree?

In general, the Education and Examination Committee will consider an applicant to the Pan-Canadian Examination with a 5-year TCM Bachelor degree as meeting the requirements of 2 years of undergraduate education as per CTCMA Bylaws s. 48.1(a.1) and 3 years study in TCM acupuncture or herbology education depending on the program focus. Please refer to the Policy on Equivalency of 5-Year TCM Degree Program for further details.

How many questions does the acupuncturists and TCM herbalists written examination have?

Please refer to the Examination Blueprint under the examination resources section for more information.

Can a candidate discuss the question items with their teachers and other students?

No, a candidate cannot discuss or communicate any information about the content of the examination to others, either immediately following the examination or at any time later. Communicating examination question items is considered a form of cheating and is dealt with accordingly.

Does the candidate have an opportunity to make comments about the examination?

Yes, at the end of all examinations, candidates are invited to complete a survey which includes the opportunity to provide comments.

Is the Dr.TCM Exam a criterion referenced exam or norm referenced exam?

The Doctor of TCM Clinical Examination is criterion-referenced and not norm-referenced. Specifically, the scores and the pass/fail points are NOT set by “grading on a curve.” Expert educators and practitioners establish the criteria. The standards are maintained across administrations through a standard setting process, which take into account the use of equating processes. Essentially, the equating process allows for adjustments to the exam to control for subtle differences in the difficulty of items that appear on the different versions.

How do I understand the Candidate Performance Profile for Dr.TCM Examination?

Passing Score

The criterion-referenced passing score is set by subject matter experts using the modified Angoff method. 

Scaled Score 

The scaled score is a conversion of your raw score on the examination to a common scale. 

Comparable Performance 

Comparable performance means that a candidate has achieved a level of performance that is within a close margin of the passing score.

Scale scores are not percent correct scores and cannot be interpreted as a percentage.  They are converted from the raw exam scores and a one point change in the raw score can have different scale score change in different Practice Areas.  Each Practice Area is weighted differently in the examination blueprint, resulting in different number of questions for each Practice Area in the examination.  The scale score ranges from 100 to 700.  A candidate needs to achieve an overall passing score of 450 in the scale score range from 100 to 700 to pass the examination.

How to prepare for the candidate’s next attempt based on information provided on the Candidate Performance Profile?

The Candidate Performance Profile identifies which Practice Area(s) a candidate performed lower than the average of all candidates.  A candidate needs to achieve an overall passing score of 450 in the scale score range from 100 to 700 to pass the examination.  This information is provided to illustrate the candidate’s relative strengths and weaknesses on the examination. You can use this information as an aid in self-assessment to help you focus your preparation and develop a comprehensive study plan for retaking the examination.  Preparation for all examination sections is important to ensure that one does not improve some areas and inadvertently lower others.  One can consult the Entry-level Occupational Competency document for more detailed information of all competencies expected of entry-level practitioners in each Practice Area.  It is intentional not giving out specific examination content information.