Evaluating Exam

(updated November 7, 2016)


The evaluating exam is a high-stakes exam administered by Touchstone Institute (formerly CEHPEA) that replaced the prior learning assessment (PLA) exam, which was implemented jointly by the International Optometric Bridging Program (IOBP) and the Optometry Examining Board of Canada (OEBC)—formerly Canadian Examiners in Optometry (CEO-ECO)—in the past. Here is a flow chart illustrating the new pre-registration and registration process for international applicants.

The last administration of the evaluating exam was in October 2016. Internationally educated applicants will only be able to be “referred” by the Federation of Optometric Regulatory Authorities of Canada (FORAC) to apply to the evaluating exam based on successful assessment of their credentials and the number of times they attempted either the evaluating or PLA exam and met the eligibility criteria for either Bridging One or Two in the past. An Evaluating Exam Referral Form must be completed by the applicant (and if applicable, the second page of the form) and approved by FORAC.

Candidates’ performance on the evaluating examination will determine requirements and eligibility for bridging education and will be handled on a case-by-case basis.

The cost of the evaluating exam is approximately $5,000. It may only be offered once in a year (January to December). The last PLA exam administration was in February 2015.

PLEASE NOTE: International applicants who have attempted the PLA exam only once in the past, and whose PLA results are still valid for three years following their first attempt, may attempt the evaluating exam. If a candidate’s PLA score is no longer valid (but the candidate is eligible for bridging education), candidates would be permitted to pay for and attempt the (entire) evaluating exam twice. For those applicants who attempt the evaluating exam, exam results will be valid for three years following their first exam attempt.

Evaluating Examination Rules & Guidelines

Application and eligibility

Applying to the Evaluating Examination (EE; also known as the IGOEE)

(Updated September 13, 2016)

  • Applicants must complete an Evaluating Exam Referral Form, which is subject to FORAC’s approval before they can be referred to Touchstone Institute to pay for and attempt the evaluating exam (EE). Candidates are to provide information that attests to supervised patient training experience with procedures at the same time they submit their completed Referral Forms to the College. This may include attestation of clinical hours or other criteria that can be applied. The purpose of this policy is to assist in determining whether or not candidates who claim they can perform safely during long cases, are indeed competent. Send your completed form via email to FORAC. For PLA exam candidates, the second page of the above form is required to be completed by the IOBP and sent separately to FORAC. If approved to attempt the EE, applicants will be assigned an EE referral number by FORAC before they are able to complete registration for the EE on Touchstone Institute’s website.
  • Candidates will be able to pay to register for the EE by either Visa or MasterCard. They will be required to upload recent passport style photos during the registration process.
  • After being assigned a referral number by FORAC, referred candidates will be contacted by Touchstone Institute to register for the May 2017 evaluating exam and provide other documentation.


Please note: Unless specified otherwise in writing, Prior Learning Assessment (PLA)/EE exam attempts or re-attempts must involve the entire exam (not just exam sections).

  • Those applicants who have attempted the Prior Learning Assessment (PLA) only once in the past, and whose PLA results are still valid three years following their first attempt, may attempt the evaluating exam only once.
  • If three years have passed since a PLA exam candidate’s first attempt which made the candidate eligible to apply for either Bridging One or Two but was unable to enter due to space limitations, he/she would be able to challenge the evaluating exam at his/her expense.
  • If a candidate’s PLA score is no longer valid which would have made the candidate eligible to apply to Bridging One or Two and the evaluating exam assessment is in place, the candidate would be permitted to attempt the (entire) evaluating exam twice.
  • If after two attempts, a candidate was unable to meet the eligibility criteria for either Bridging One or Two, he/she would not be permitted any more PLA or evaluating exam attempts. However, the candidate can apply for advanced standing or a full optometry degree at an ACOE school.
  • In cases other than the one described above, only two evaluating exam attempts are permitted. Evaluating exam results are valid for three years following the first attempt.

Please note: Candidates are to be permitted only one attempt at the evaluating exam in a calendar year, and their best score of the two exam attempts they are permitted (whether they challenged one evaluating  and one PLA exam, or two evaluating exams), will be taken as the score for their ranking pool placement.

July 2017 Evaluating Exam

(updated June 23, 2017)

For more information about registration for the evaluating exam, please visit Touchstone Institute’s website.

Important dates for the July 2017 evaluating exam administration:

  • Saturday, July 22 – Open House (optional)
  • Sunday, July 23 – Short Case OSCE and MCQ
  • Monday, July 24 or Tuesday July 25 – Long Case OSCE

Challenging the Exam

(Updated September 13, 2016)

If candidates opt not to perform a procedure during the evaluating exam in advance or during an assessment, or if they are stopped during a procedure because of unsafe practice, they will be deemed ineligible. The purpose of this policy is to reduce the likelihood that candidates will attempt a procedure that they are not competent in.

Please refer to Touchstone Institute’s website for its exam cancellation and refund policy.

Applying to Re-Attempt the Evaluating Exam

For re-attempting the EE, candidates must use the process described above and respond to the relevant questions on the Application Form.

Special Needs

Accommodation requests by candidates with special needs are handled on a case-by-case. For candidates with special needs, they are required to complete the Accommodation Request Form. Documentation from a health professional unrelated to the candidate needs to be submitted directly to the College by the health professional in order to verify the special needs circumstances and accommodation being requested indicated on the Form.


Exemption from the Evaluating Exam (EE)

  • Graduates from optometry schools accredited by the Accreditation Council on Optometric Education (ACOE), are exempt from the Evaluating Exam.