Eligibility and Retake

The OEBC exam is a competency-based entry-to-practice exam. Candidates should review the OEBC Exam Study Guide before registering 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.

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

Candidate Eligibility to Attempt the Exam

Candidate EligibilityDocumentation / Proof RequiredResponsibility
OD student or OD graduate — A candidate enrolled in or graduated from a Doctorate of Optometry (OD) program accredited by the Accreditation Council on Optometric Education (ACOE)
1. OD student A. Written - currently enrolled in their 3rd year (spring administration only) or final year of their program B. OCSE - currently enrolled in their program’s final yearVerification from the school that the student is in their final year of the program Program official provides a list of students to OEBC
2. OD graduate seeking initial registrationA copy of the OD degree or verification by a program official and date of graduationCandidate submits the verification documents to OEBC
3. OD graduate registered/licensed to practice as an Optometrist in the US .Letter of Good Standing from an official of the state board that the candidate is licensed/registered, in good standing and practicingCandidate submits the Letter of Good Standing to OEBC
Authorized graduates of non-ACOE-accredited Optometric programs (see Internationally Educated optometrist link below)
4. Graduate of non-ACOE institution who is not required to complete a bridging programVerification that the candidate has received a satisfactory score on the Internationally Graduated Optometrist Evaluating Examination to challenge the OEBC exam directly FORAC provides a list of eligible candidates to OEBC
5. Graduate of non-ACOE institution enrolled in an acceptable bridging education program or Advanced Standing Doctor of Optometry programVerification 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 programProgram official provides a list of participants in the program to OEBC
6. Graduate of non-ACOE institution who has completed an acceptable bridging education programVerification 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 programProgram official provides a list of graduates from the program to OEBC
7. OD sponsored by an OEBC member for entry-to-practice skill confirmationVerification by an official of the regulatory authority (candidate completes form and provides to the Regulatory authority)*Regulatory authority official emails form to OEBC directly
8. A former OEBC candidate who failed the OEBC exam, and subsequently completed additional acceptable formal educationVerification from a program official that the individual has completed additional formal education in optometry along with the program’s syllabusCandidate provides documentation to OEBC

Attempts, Absences and Withdrawals

OEBC offers the written and OSCE exam components at every administration. Eligible candidates may register to challenge one or both exam components.       

  • Attempts — A candidate has up to four attempts at each component. If a candidate fails their fourth attempt at either component, they fail the OEBC exam. The remaining attempts for the other component are void.
  • Absent — If a candidate is absent from an exam component, it is counted as an attempt, and the candidate forfeits their fees. If a candidate believes that exceptional circumstances prevented them from withdrawing from the exam, they may advise the CEO of the reasons and request that the attempt be reinstated. The request must be made within 30 days of the date of the exam.
  • Withdrawals — A candidate may withdraw from an exam at any time, including before the exam by notifying exams@oebc.ca. A withdrawal is not counted as an attempt. However, the candidate forfeits their fees if withdrawing after the 14 days withdrawal policy.
  • Validity time frame:
    • Students: a component passed as a student is valid for 15 months after graduation
    • Graduates: A pass of a component is valid for 15-months.

Passing the Exam

Passing the OEBC exam requires a candidate to pass both the written and OSCE components of the exam within the validity time frame and within the four attempt limit.

See below in Appendix A for further clarification.

If a Candidate Does Not Graduate

If a candidate does not graduate within three years of their expected graduation date from the program at the school they were attending when they registered for the OEBC exam, their results become null and void.

Results Reporting

Candidates are notified of their results electronically, typically 6-8 weeks after the last component of the exam has been completed. Unsuccessful candidates also receive a Candidate Feedback Report after each failed attempt. In addition, they are encouraged to complete education or other remediation to address performance deficiencies.


The exam’s successful completion is only one requirement of provincial registration/licensure. 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.

OEBC reserves the right to request additional proof as required to verify documentation.

Exam applications are subject to OEBC approval of eligibility. An application may be rejected if any application or eligibility requirement has not been met, including the “Eligibility Request Deadline.”

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 our website.

After the Exam Cancellation Deadline, no refunds will be provided. However, a candidate may choose to defer their attempt to a future administration up to 45 days before the exam.

All inquiries with OEBC regarding requests for eligibility must be via email. Telephone inquiries will not be accepted.

Appendix A