Exam FAQs

Do I need to write the NOTCE?

This answer requires you to consider a few elements such as where did you graduate from, where do you want to practice. The National Occupational Therapy Certification Examination (NOTCE) can serve as eligibility criteria for CAOT membership as well as registration for a provincial regulatory organization.

Occupational therapists are regulated health professionals in all Canadian provinces. Each province has a provincial regulatory organization responsible for regulating the practice of occupational therapy. When you apply to become registered to work as an occupational therapist in a specific province, it is important to note that each provincial regulatory organization has its own set of regulatory requirements. Please contact the provincial regulatory organization for the province in which you wish to work to obtain its specific requirements (eligibility requirements ).

If you do not pass the NOTCE, it is the provincial regulatory organization that will determine the conditions under which you may be employed as an occupational therapist. It may specify how many times you may attempt the examination for registration purposes.

There is no reciprocity amongst countries with regard to certification exams i.e. a successful outcome of the NOTCE will not allow you to practice in the US or elsewhere without meeting their requirements, including their certification exam.

Can I write the NOTCE on a date other than those listed?

No. The NOTCE is only offered twice a year, in July and November. If you have to postpone or withdraw from the exam, you must wait until the next scheduled exam sitting.

Who creates the NOTCE?

The exam is developed by the CAOT Certification Examination Committee (CEC). The CEC consists of CAOT members from regions across Canada and an expert in test and measurement in education. At least two of the committee members must be bilingual (French/English). Committee members represent occupational therapy practice in the areas of clinical, academia, management and consultation. The tasks of the CEC are, but not limited to:

  • Generate the exam
  • Review and update documentation
  • Ensure reliability and validity of exam
  • Initiate relevant research
  • Provide semi-annual reports to the CAOT Board of Directors

Are there any resources to help me prepare for the NOTCE?

Yes, the following are resources currently available:

NOTCE Resource Manual (over 100 practice questions)

Profile of Practice of Occupational Therapists in Canada

The NOTCE Study Guide and Practice Exam are resources made up of sample questions reflective of the NOTCE. The NOTCE Practice Exam does not offer answers, only results are given to you at the end of the practice exam.

The CAOT "Ready for Work" Bundle. Includes the NOTCE Study Guide, NOTCE Practice Exam, first year CAOT membership* with professional liability insurance. 
- BONUS- you will also be given access to the original NOTCE Study Guide and Practice Exam (TOTEM/TOTE), which provides you with 200 extra exam questions!
- BONUS: With the purchase of the Bundle, you are eligible to receive free professional liability insurance for the month of September. Please contact membership@caot.ca for details.

The NOTCE Online Prep Class  assists candidates to prepare for the NOTCE through online group discussion of practice questions.

Booklist of frequently used textbooks in Canada. The list is a resource and should not be construed as the definitive source for the NOTCE.

Can I practice as an occupational therapist before writing the NOTCE?

Provincial regulatory organizations may have a category of provisional registration where you can practice occupational therapy under supervision while you wait to write the examination. Please contact the appropriate regulatory organization where you wish to practice to find out about any provisional registration that they may offer. The provincial regulatory organization may require that you submit proof of your eligibility to write the CAOT exam as part of the requirements for provisional registration.

How do I submit proof of eligibility to write the NOTCE to my provincial regulatory organization?

Canadian graduates

The statement of candidacy letter is sent by e-mail upon your request, however, first your school must confirm directly with CAOT that you have completed all of the degree requirements. Canadian occupational therapy programs send the confirmations automatically to the CAOT National Office each spring and fall. If the provincial regulatory organization needs a copy of your statement of candidacy, you will need to fill out a request form for CAOT to issue your letter.

Internationally educated candidates

After completing the SEAS assessment administered by ACOTRO , please have your provincial regulator send a confirmation to exam@caot.ca.

How many times can I attempt the NOTCE?

As of October 1st, 2014 exam candidates will have a total of three opportunities to successfully pass the NOTCE. Candidates who have already attempted the NOTCE prior to October 1st, 2014 will have three more opportunities to write the exam. If a candidate does not succeed in passing the NOTCE after three attempts, the candidate will no longer be eligible to write the NOTCE.

The rationale included preventing undue exposure to the content of the exam, practice effect, fairness for those who are unlikely to be successful after many rewrites, and consideration of other exam policies in Canada.

Please note, provincial regulators will have limitations on the number of times you can write the exam based on having a restricted/provisional license. Please contact your provincial regulator for more details.

How do I withdraw from the NOTCE?

All requests for withdrawal from the exam must be made in writing at least two (2) weeks prior to the exam date. The deadline for any withdrawal is two (2) weeks prior to the exam date. You can make any of the following requests for withdrawal.

Extenuating circumstances

All requests for withdrawal due to extenuating circumstances must be in writing with supporting documentation. Refunds or postponement may be provided at the discretion of the Executive Director. Circumstances that fall into the category of extenuating circumstances include illness and a death in the family.

What is the refund policy for withdrawal from the NOTCE?

Candidates who withdraw their application will be refunded 50% of the examination fee they have paid if CAOT receives written notification of such withdrawal a minimum of 14 days prior to the exam date. Candidates who have not withdrawn their application in writing at least 14 days prior to the exam date will forfeit the entire exam fee.

Candidates who are unable to write the examination due to circumstances beyond their control may apply for a refund. Such candidates must submit written evidence of the circumstances to CAOT. The amount of any such refund will be at the discretion of the Director of Standards.

When do I get my NOTCE results?

Exam results are uploaded to your CAOT Profile approximately 6-8 weeks after the written date. During the scoring process, all unsuccessful exams are hand-scored a second time to ensure accuracy. Exam results are final and they cannot be appealed. If the candidate wishes to have a second hand scoring review, you may request this service at a cost of $50.00 plus taxes. 

Can I appeal my NOTCE attempt?

If you think that there were issues that affected your exam performance, you must appeal within fourteen (14) days after the exam day. You cannot appeal your exam results.

Exam Appeals Policy

How is the passing score of the NOTCE determined?

All items are equally weighted. Correct responses are worth one (1) mark; incorrect responses are worth zero marks. The passing score for the NOTCE is a scaled score of 290. Candidates who correctly answer more items than are required to pass the examination will obtain scaled scores that are between 290 and 450. Candidates who did not correctly answer enough items to pass will obtain scaled scores between 100 and 289. The passing score for the examination is determined through a systematic process of rating item difficulty conducted by subject matter experts. The number of correct items needed to pass varies slightly for each exam sitting. In order to achieve a passing score of 290, the pass mark (near 70%) is based on criterion referencing. The results are not bell curved.

What can I expect on exam day?

The the following page will provide you with information about what to expect for an online exam (January 2021).  

What can I do if I see someone cheat during the exam?

If this unfortunate situation arises during the exam, please notify the onsite invigilator. Someone who is found to be cheating will have their exam cancelled, results nullified and will also be reported to the regulators in Canada. No candidate may copy the work of another candidate into his or her answer sheet. No candidate may communicate with any other candidate in any way while the exam is in progress. 

Am I able to receive testing accommodations to write the NOTCE?

Requests for testing accommodations will be reviewed subject to the Testing Accommodation Policy Document

To apply for testing accommodations during the exam, please complete:

Form A

Depending on your request, supporting documents can be one of the following:

Form B (completed by a health professional, sent directly to CAOT)
Letter from your university (accessibility department, sent directly to CAOT)
Letter from your religious leader, sent directly to CAOT

Submit form A and have the supporting documentation sent to exam@caot.ca.

What happens if I fail or appeal my exam?

Provincial regulators in Canada have been notified of your exam results. However, it is your responsibility to meet any requirements your regulator has regarding examination results notification. If you have failed or appealed your exam, you are required to contact a provincial regulatory body to determine your registration status and your eligibility for future examinations.

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