Exam Blueprint

Competencies for Optometry

The competency model consists of three levels:

DOMAIN — represents an area of practice. Key competencies within the domain describe how optometrists integrate and apply knowledge and skills in their practice.

KEY COMPETENCIES — are observable abilities of an optometrist, integrating multiple components such as knowledge, skills, values,
and attitudes. There are numerous competencies per domain. While these cannot be fully comprehensive given the complexity of professional practice, they represent frequently performed essential behaviours. Key competencies represent the core of practice.

ENABLING COMPETENCIES — are sub-competencies that represent specific knowledge, skills, and actions that facilitate competence. These are the essential skills that are pervasive to an optometrist’s work and demonstrate competency components. Multiple enabling competencies illustrate the key competency statements. 

These three levels provide a solid infrastructure for developing several tools, e.g., academics, quality assurance, assessments.

Entry-to-Practice Indicators

OEBC maintains a fourth level, representing specific performance indicators at the entry-to-practice level for its examinations within its assessment context. The Blueprint presents the full competency model for optometry. However, OEBC includes the entry-to-practice indicators below the enabling competencies used in its exam.

INDICATORS — are specific observable and measurable examples of activities, actions, skills or behaviours that demonstrate the existence or achievement of entry-to-practice competency. Multiple indicators are used to assess a candidate’s performance, relevant to the case or station.

The OEBC Exam Blueprint

The Blueprint:

  • ensures its entry-to-practice examination represents the essential elements for safe and effective patient care and health care in Canada
  • outlines the exam structure—cases selected per domain and practice area outlines the topic areas
  • informs candidates about what the exam could test and the weighting of each area
  • guides OEBC in designing exams comparable from one time to the next
  • gives all candidates equal opportunity to show whether they have the competencies necessary to practice optometry safely and effectively

The Blueprint is structured on a competency model that reflects the overall knowledge, skills and behaviours required to practice as an optometrist. The exam components drawn from the question/item bank evaluate the knowledge, skills, and abilities relevant to optometry practice at the entry-to-practice level.