Admission à la profession

Pass mark


The professional examination “shall deal with the theoretical and clinical aspects of the nursing profession. It shall assess, in particular, the assimilation, and the application to various clinical situations, of the knowledge and skills acquired by the candidate, with a view to determining whether the candidate is qualified to practise the profession.” (Regulation respecting the terms and conditions for the issue of permits by the Ordre des infirmières et infirmiers du Québec, chapter I-8, r. 13, s. 2). In other words, the goal of the examination is not simply to evaluate your knowledge.

The exam consists of clinical situations that are representative of the field of nursing practice.1 It evaluates the candidate’s ability to integrate and apply his or her knowledge in making clinical decisions and intervening appropriately in each situation.

Since September 2014, the professional examination has been a written examination consisting of 40 to 44 clinical situations and 130 to 135 associated open short-answer questions. The questions are weighted within each clinical situation, and each situation is worth 100 points. Like the previous examination, this exam is based on the key features approach, which allows the evaluation to be focussed on the critical aspects of each clinical situation in order to determine your ability to practise the profession. Consequently, it is considerably more difficult than other types of examination. The Angoff method is used to determine the pass mark, a method recognized in psychometrics and which makes it possible to take the level of difficulty of the examination into account. The pass mark of 55% is the threshold for determining whether a candidate is qualified to practise nursing.

In the past, the professional examination had two parts – a written section and a practical section. The written section consisted of 25 to 30 situations with 100 associated open short-answer questions. The practical section was an objective structured clinical examination (OSCE) consisting of 16 situations based on simulations. In both cases, the questions were based on the key features approach. The pass mark for the practical section was determined using the borderline case method, for each OSCE. The pass mark for the written section was based on psychometric and statistical parameters. Candidates had to pass both sections to pass the examination.

The tables below give the pass marks (PM) and averages (AVG) for the past 10 examination sessions.

Year March session September session
2014 Previous exam 55% 58,3%
2015 55% 59,1% 55% 61%
2016 55% 57,6%    
Year March session September session
  Written section Practical section Written section Practical section
PM% AVG% PM% AVG% PM% AVG% OSCE-Saturday OSCE-Sunday
2011 - - - - 58,5 63,9 51,6 60,8 50,4 58
2012 53,2 59,2 50 58,5 57 63,8 47,8 55,6 50,7 58,6
2013 53,9 59,8 51,8 60 51,5 58,3 48,9 57,8 51,2 58,8
2014 55,9 62,1 48,4 56,6 - - - - - -


1. This sample takes account of college-level training giving access to the profession.


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