What is PCE?

Successfully completing the Written Component of the Physiotherapy Competency Examination is required to become a licenced physiotherapist in Canada

Before applying for a license to practice physiotherapy in Canada (except for in the province of Québec) candidates must pass the Written Component of the Physiotherapy Competency Examination (PCE).

Internationally trained physiotherapists must successfully complete Stage 1: Review of Your Credentials before you apply to take the PCE.

Graduates of accredited Canadian programs are automatically eligible to take the PCE.

Successfully completing the PCE is important for many reasons:

It ensures that candidates meet the minimum standard to practice in Canada.
It ensures that people receiving treatment will be safe when they interact with physiotherapists.
It fairly and accurately evaluates the competencies you need to have to practice physiotherapy.

What the Examination Covers

The Written Component of the PCE tests the essential competencies of physiotherapy practice. This includes the essential knowledge, skills, and abilities needed for safe and effective physiotherapy practice.

PCE testing topics include:

Taking a client’s history
Conducting a physical examination
Data interpretation
Clinical problem solving
Treatment techniques

The following areas of practice:


The Format of the Written Component:

A 200-question, multiple choice examination.
Uses a computer-based test format.
Is available in both English and French.

After successfully completing the Written Component of the PCE, contact your regulator to learn more about requirements to become fully licensed. This may include an assessment of your clinical skills.

Exam Blueprint for the Written Component:

The purpose of a blueprint is to qualitatively and quantitatively describe the content that is covered on an exam, and in what format.
Exam content tested on the Written Component is based on the Physiotherapy Competency Examination Blueprint 2018, which is a competency-based blueprint that aligns with the Competency Profile for Physiotherapists in Canada (2017).

Content of the Written Component:

The PCE Blueprint 2018 is organized around seven Domains and four Areas of Practice.

Each Domain contains a set of entry-to-practice milestones (i.e., abilities expected of a physiotherapist following the completion of education and at the point of initial licensure). Each Area of Practice contains a set of conditions to be tested on the exam.

The blueprint also lists the contextual variables to guide the PCE. These guidelines ensure that the questions selected for each exam are representative of a variety of practice settings and client populations that entry-to-practice physiotherapists are likely to encounter.

Questions appearing on the Written Component are selected from a large bank of exam questions. Each question is mapped to one Domain and one Area of Practice. The blueprint is used to guide the selection of questions for an exam, ensuring that the right type and percentage of questions is included on each exam.

Structure and Format of the Written Component:

The exam is a four-hour, computer-based exam consisting of 200 multiple-choice questions.
Each question consists of a stem (i.e., an introductory part that presents the question or problem) and four response options, one of which is the correct or best response.
Approximately 90% of the questions are accompanied by a vignette (i.e., one or more sentences containing information about the client scenario).
Approximately 10% of the questions are stand-alone questions (i.e., independent questions that are not associated with any other questions on the exam).
Vignette-based questions are presented first, followed by the stand-alone questions.
All questions are equally weighted. Correct responses are worth one mark each. Incorrect responses receive no marks (no marks are deducted for incorrect responses).

For more information you can also visit https://alliancept.org/

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