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The Physiotherapy Competency Examination (PCE):
An Overview for Examiners

The Physiotherapy Competency Examination (PCE) tests whether qualified exam candidates have demonstrated a minimum standard of practice. The PCE ensures that members of the public will be safe when they interact with physiotherapists. It fairly and accurately evaluates the competencies candidates need to have to practise physiotherapy. Most physiotherapy regulators in Canada include passing the PCE as part of their entry-to-practice process.

The PCE tests the essential competencies of physiotherapy practice – the essential knowledge, skills and abilities. It tests history-taking, physical examination, data interpretation, clinical problem solving, treatment techniques, ethics, safety, interviewing and communication. The exam covers the core clinical practice areas: neuromusculoskeletal, neurological, cardiopulmonary-vascular and multisystem.

Physiotherapists work as examiners for the Clinical Component of the Physiotherapy Competency Examination. The Chief Examiner at the site selects the examiners for each station, from a list of examiners who have applied and are eligible to examine.

Examiners observe the performance of the candidates in clinical stations, record their observations on standardized test sheets and make decisions about whether the performance is satisfactory or unsatisfactory.

Some examiners mark written station answer sheets. They compare candidates’ written answers to the answer key, record the marks and indicate whether the answers are adequate or inadequate. The written station marking takes place at a centralized location a week after the clinical exam.

Examiners do not decide whether a candidate passes or fails a station or the exam. The Board of Examiners makes the pass/fail decisions.