Frequently Asked Questions
I haven’t taken a large scale assessment before. What can I expect?
Large scale assessments are strictly supervised by trained proctors to standardize the test-taking experience. You must provide 2 pieces of identification to the proctor. During the examination, you will not be permitted to communicate with other test-takers, bring personal belongings into the exam room, or use dictionaries. There is a check-in and check-out policy that ensures that only those persons who are scheduled to write the examination are permitted into the examination room. There is a strict 3-hour time limit, unless otherwise pre-arranged through special accommodation approval.
You will use a computer provided by the test centre, and you must arrive with the computer password that you created in order to successfully login to the examination. You will be provided with scrap paper and a pencil should you wish to take notes. All of the scrap paper must be returned to the proctor before leaving the examination room.
How can I prepare for a competency-based examination?
Competency-based exams are focused on assessing the degree to which test-takers are able to use their profession-based knowledge by applying it to the contexts presented in the exam. The CRPO registration examination is based on the Competency Profile for Registered Psychotherapists. Knowing the competencies in the Profile and applying them to a variety of situations is helpful.
Case studies in which you consider which actions are in the best interest of the client are an excellent way to prepare for competency-based assessments. Case studies are helpful because they require the same type of information-gathering and decision-making as simulations. Simulations can be viewed a bit like session-by-session deconstructions of a case study. Notes from supervision sessions are also helpful to informing competency-based information-gathering and decision-making. Like case studies, they are focused on context-specific actions taken by the practitioner in relation to professional competencies.
How does the calibration of options work? How do I know how many options to pick in a simulation? What if I “over-select” or “under-select”?
Read each section thoroughly and carefully. Follow all directions. When a question asks you for information relevant to a specific time (for example, in this session or for next session), click with your mouse only those responses relevant to that time period. Remember, that once you click an option, you cannot unclick it.
Just as in the real world, keep in mind the context of the client, what you already know, and what your purposes are when selecting options.
As indicated in the Resource Manual (see page 16, https://www.crpo.ca/wp-content/uploads/2017/08/Resource-Manual-CRPO-2018-_-ENG.pdf), all options in the examination have a point value associated with them.
Over-selecting: Options are calibrated on a scale of +3 to -3, based on client care. If you select all options, you will have selected options with both positive and negative point values. Your negative points will affect your positive points (e.g., selecting 3 options with a value of -2 each will neutralize selecting 3 options with a value of +2 each, resulting in a score of 0 points).
Under-selecting: Options are calibrated on a scale of +3 to -3, based on client care. If you select almost no options, you will likely have insufficient points to reach the passing score required for the section. (e.g., If 6 points are required to pass a particular section of a simulation and only one selection is made, the maximum points possible would be +3. If the one selection is valued at +3 the total score would be 3 points below the passing score for the section.)
Each section and each simulation is unique. There is not a specific number of options that are positive nor a specific number of options that are negative in any given section or simulation. All of the options have a calibrated value based on the competency profile and the client context. In other words, you might find one section with ten options: three options might have a value of -1, three options might have a value of +2, two options might have a value of +1, and two options might have a value of -2. Another section might also have ten options but there are four options with a value of -2, four options with a value of +2, one option with a value of -1 and one option with a value of +1. This means that when you are considering selecting options in the exam, you must keep in mind the context of the client, what you already know about the client, what your purpose is, and what good client care would be. It also means that it would not be helpful to pick options based on how many options are available.
The pass-score in information-gathering and decision-making is based on good client care. To succeed on the examination, you must reach the pass-score (good client care) in both information-gathering and decision-making. If, for instance, you score below the pass-score in one section of a particular simulation, you can still achieve the pass-score by being sufficiently above the pass-score in another section. Below is an example of how the various choices you might make can affect the points you earn.
Example: Simulation X
Context statement is located here.
Option 1 (+2)
Option 2 (-1)
Option 4 (-2)
Option 5 (+1)
Option 6 (+1)
Option 7 (-2)
Option 8 (+1)
Option 9 (+1)
Option 10 (-2)
Option 11 (+2)
Option 12 (-1)
If Candidate A selected options 1, 6, 9, and 11, the score would be 6.
If Candidate B selected options 1, 4, 5, 6, and 11, the score would be 4.
If Candidate C selected all options, the score would be 0.
If Candidate D selected no options, the score would be 0.
If Candidate E selected options 1, 2, 4, 7 and 11, the score would be -1.
If Candidate F selected options 1, 5, 6, 8, 9 and 11, the score would be 8.
If the pass-score for the section was 6, then:
– Candidate A (who selected a total of 4 options) and Candidate F (who selected a total of 6 options) would pass this section.
– Candidate B (who selected 5 options), Candidate C (who selected 12 options), and Candidate D (who selected 4 options) would fail this section.
What happens if I skip a simulation?
If you choose to skip a simulation by not selecting any responses to any sections, you will NOT be able to return to this simulation. If you choose to skip a section of a simulation by not selecting any responses in the section window, you will NOT be able to return to that section to insert a response. Your score on that simulation will be based on the selections you made up to the point at which you chose to skip and any selections you might make in any remaining sections of the simulation. This means that you have not earned any points in the skipped section(s) or simulation(s) to contribute to the pass-score needed in decision-making and/or information-gathering.
What settings are used in the simulations? What if I have no experience in a particular setting or with a particular type of client?
The registration of psychotherapists in Ontario has its foundation in candidates meeting established eligibility requirements. Once registered, Psychotherapists work within their scope of practice and boundaries of competence without any restriction on geographic location or particular setting. The registration examination aligns with this regulatory fact. While the examination provides a variety of settings, it is the profession-based competencies that are being assessed in each simulation. The settings are provided to offer context to the test-taker and to address the variety of clients and systems that entry-to-practice practitioners may experience and the need for them to provide good client care based on professional competencies.
The registration examination includes a “test-retest” feature in which the same competency is assessed in different circumstances in the same examination (e.g., active listening with a geriatric man and active listening with a young child; risk assessment in an out-patient facility and risk assessment in private practice).
What will I get for results and when will I get my results?
Large scale assessments do not provide item-by-item results. The CRPO registration examination follows the common protocol of large scale assessments by only providing specific results of the test taker in relation to established general areas. The score sheet you receive provides your results in information-gathering and decision-making, the pass rate required for information-gathering and decision-making, and the highest scores for candidates in these areas during the same administration as the one in which you took your test. Results are provided six to eight weeks after the examination.