Eligibility and Retake

The Eligibility Table describes who is eligible to take the exam and the documentation required. 

Candidate Eligibility to Attempt the exam

Candidate EligibilityDocumentation / Proof Required*Responsibility
Student or graduate of Accreditation Council on Optometric Education (ACOE) - accredited Doctorate of Optometry (OD) programs
1. OD student currently enrolled in their OD program's final year Verification that the student is in their final year of the program by an authorized officer of the school Program official submits to OEBC
2. OD graduate not yet registered/licensed to practice as an Optometrist in Canada or the US (see time limits) A copy of the OD degree or verification by an authorized officer of the school and date of graduation Candidate submits the verification documents to OEBC
3. OD graduate registered/licensed to practice with a full, independent and unrestricted license/registration to practice as an Optometrist in the US or Canada. Verification by an authorized officer, of the regulatory body/state board that the candidate is licensed/registered, in good standing and practicing Candidate submits the regulatory body/state board documents to OEBC
Graduates of non-ACOE-accredited Optometric programs see Pathway to Registration link below
4. Graduate of non-ACOE institution who is not required to complete a bridging program (see time limits) Verification that the candidate has received a satisfactory score on the Internationally Graduated Optometrist Evaluating Examination to challenge the OEBC exam directly Candidate submits the documents to OEBC
5. Graduate of non-ACOE institution enrolled in an acceptable bridging education program or Advanced Standing Doctor of Optometry program Verification by an official of the Advanced Standing Doctor of Optometry Program at the University of Waterloo or the École d’optométrie de l’Université de Montréal of the candidate’s enrollment in the program Program official submits to OEBC
6. Graduate of non-ACOE institution who has completed an acceptable bridging education program Verification by an official of the Advanced Standing Doctor of Optometry Program at the University of Waterloo or the École d’optométrie de l’Université de Montréal of the candidate’s successful completion of the program Program official submits to OEBC

*Pathway to Registration

OEBC reserves the right to request additional proof as required to assist in the verification of documentation. Candidates must respect the “Eligibility Request Deadline”.

Note: While this policy establishes a time limit for completing the exam, provincial regulatory bodies may also have individual time limits or requirements related to “currency” (time since graduation or past practice) for registration/licensure. Candidates are encouraged to verify all registration requirements in the jurisdiction where they intend to register and practice. The exam’s successful completion is only one requirement of provincial registration/licensure.

Time Limit to Register for the exam 

Individuals in categories 1, 2, 4, 5 who are not registered to practise as an optometrist in Canada or the U.S. have up to three years from the date of program completion to attempt the exam. There is no time limit for individuals in category 3.

The date of the first attempt occurs when a candidate, regardless of category, attempts some part or all of the exam. For example:

All other exam policies including the Withdrawals and Refunds policy continue to apply.

Initial Attempt

The OEBC exam is a competency-based exam. Candidates should review the OEBC Exam Study Guide before registering for the exam to determine if they have mastered the competencies needed to pass the exam. The competencies required to pass the written exam align with the substantial completion of the didactic courses in the OD program. The OSCE also assesses the competencies acquired in the clinical portion of the OD program.

Eligible candidates may challenge either the written and/or the OSCE at their initial attempt.

Passing the exam 

A candidate must pass the exam within three years of their initial attempt. They have three attempts to pass the written and OSCE components of the exam, meaning candidates may take the written exam a maximum of three times and take the OSCE exam a maximum of three times. A candidate who has not passed either component after their third attempt has failed the exam and is no longer allowed to any additional attempts of the remaining exam.  A candidate who has failed the exam may seek a fourth and final attempt within the three-year completion period.

Subsequent Attempts

If a candidate chooses to attempt only one component at their first exam administration, they must challenge, at minimum, the other component at the next administration. If a candidate fails both written exam and OSCE, they must challenge both components at a subsequent administration within the three-year time limit.

Individuals who have failed the exam after three attempts may seek a fourth and final attempt (see below). This must be completed within three years from the date of the first attempt.

Exam Reassessment – Fourth & Final Attempt

A candidate who does not pass the exam within three attempts and is still within their three-year eligibility period may challenge the exam one final time.

By submitting a request for a final attempt, a candidate understands that:

  • they must complete both written and OSCE components at the administration;
  • they are responsible for their retraining/remediation;
  • they commit to completing their retraining/remediation before their fourth exam attempt;
  • OEBC does not review, approve or be liable for their training plan; and
  • if they fail their fourth attempt, they will no longer be eligible to attempt the exam.

An individual who has not passed the written examination and OSCE within all eligible attempts (maximum four) and three years from the first attempt will be ineligible for any more attempts.

All other exam policies, including the Withdrawals and Refunds policy, continue to apply

Attempting the exam while ineligible

The results of a candidate who attempts the exam while ineligible are nullified. Their attempt commences the 3-year cycle under the “time limit to register for the exam” and counts as an attempt, in reference to “passing the exam”.

Results Reporting

After each failed attempt, a performance report is provided. All individuals are encouraged to and may elect to complete education or remediation to address areas of performance deficiencies after any failed attempt. The 3-year timeline will not be extended for this reason.

See Candidate Feedback Reports


All applications for the exam are subject to OEBC approval of eligibility and will be refused if all application and eligibility requirements have not been met.

The time limit to complete the exam is not extended if a candidate fails to remain eligible to attempt the exam, for example, due to incompletion of an OD degree.

Approvals of eligibility do not replace the submission of an application for the exam, and the deadline for response to the offer of eligibility does not replace any OEBC policies, including application deadlines for the exam, available on www.oebc.ca 

Being absent for an exam component, without exceptional circumstances, is considered a failure.

All inquiries with OEBC regarding requests for eligibility must be in writing, i.e., by email or mail. Telephone inquiries will not be accepted.