Exam Information

The CBGC Certification Examination is a computer-based exam hosted and proctored by Yardstick Inc. Both English and French versions of the examination will be available on a single platform and candidates will have the ability to toggle between both languages. It is recommended that candidates plan to write in a single language. Moving between the two languages does take additional time and candidates choosing to do so should plan accordingly. Extra time will not be granted.

The exam will be three hours in length. There is no scheduled break during this time.


The Canadian Association of Genetic Counsellors (CAGC) Knowledge-Based Competencies are the basis for examination. The Knowledge-Based Competencies document is available on the CAGC website. A predetermined percentage of examination questions representing factual knowledge and information interpretation within each of the areas in the Knowledge-Based Competencies have been selected. Not all areas will be equally represented but are weighted according to skills required in current genetic counselling practice. Each examination question is linked to a specific domain within the Knowledge-Based Competencies. The examination questions are written from a Canadian perspective and are supported by Canadian practice guidelines and reference whenever possible.

The questions have been designed to test the candidate’s knowledge, as well as the qualities of discrimination, judgment, and reasoning. Descriptions of laboratory situations or problems presented in narrative, tabular, or graphic formats are followed by questions designed to determine the candidate’s knowledge and comprehension of the situation described. Pedigrees and other graphics can be enlarged within the testing platform by clicking on the image.


The certification examination consists of approximately 150 multiple-choice questions. Each answer is worth one point. Scores will be based on the number of correct answers. There is no penalty for wrong answers. Unanswered questions will be treated as incorrect.

Passing Score

The goal of the examination ​is the certification of genetic counsellors who have a reasonable base of knowledge in genetic counselling. The passing score is determined through a modified Angoff scoring method. Prior to the exam, the difficulty of each question is assessed to set a target passing score. After the exam, the psychometric data for each question is reviewed and the final passing score is determined. Passing scores typically range from 70-75%.

Reporting of Examination Results

Candidates can expect to receive a copy of their examination results within two months of the examination. Failure to receive results should be reported to the Chairperson of the CBGC. Please notify the Administrative Office of any address or email change.

In order to assist Genetic Counselling Programs evaluate their curriculum and program content, scores will be released to Program Directors under the following guidelines:

  • No personal information will EVER be released.
  • Individual scores will not be released.
  • Data released to Program Directors may include the range, median, and mean scores of program graduates and of all candidates writing the examination. Content specific data may also be provided.
  • Program Directors will be provided with cumulative data every second examination cycle.

Examination Schedule

The certification examination is currently offered annually, but the examination cycle may be altered at the discretion of the CBGC. Details of the next examination, any change in the examination cycle, as well as other pertinent information, will be published on the website.

Examination Location

The examination will be made available at a minimum of two Canadian locations. The availability of additional examination locations, within Canada, will be disclosed to approved candidates and details will be posted on the website.

Once a candidate selects an examination site, no changes will be allowed and an applicant must write the exam at the site selected. If the candidate shows up at another site, they will NOT be allowed to sit the exam and will forfeit one exam cycle.

Special Services for Persons with a Disability

A person with a disability may request special accommodations and arrangements to take the examination on the national testing date. Candidates wishing to make such a request are asked to submit a letter along with medical documentation outlining the reason for the special accommodations and the recommended arrangements. This documentation should be sent with their completed application by the application deadline.


Each examination is thoroughly reviewed before the examination date to ensure that all questions relate directly to the Knowledge-Based Competencies and are relevant for Canadian Genetic Counsellors. After the examination, the performance of each question is reviewed and poorly performing questions are removed from the examination, if necessary. Therefore, no appeals will be entertained based on the content or passing score of the examination.

Professional proctors are present at every examination site to address technical problems or other disruptions. All such technical problems or disruptions are reported to the CBGC immediately after the examination. Accommodations to mitigate the impact of such disruptions are made, either by the proctor at the time of the examination, or by the CBGC at the time of the examination scoring. Therefore, no appeals will be entertained based on technical problems or other examination site disruptions.

If a Candidate has a reason for appeal other than the ones listed above, they may submit an appeal. Appeals must be lodged, in writing, to the Administrative Office of the CBGC within 3 months from the date of the examination. The CBGC will review each appeal and provide a written response within 3 months of receipt. There is a $75 fee for all appeals. Additional expenses incurred as a result of the appeal will be the sole responsibility of the candidate, including any legal fees. The CBGC will not discuss, by email or phone, appeals or possible grounds for appeals with a Candidate unless a formal appeal has been lodged.