Exam Blueprint

physiotherapist in blue scrubs making notes on a clipboard while elderly man watches from his seat on exam table

The PCE Blueprints: 2018 vs 2009

As of May 2022, the PCE Written Component will be based on the Physiotherapy Competency Examination Blueprint 2018 (exams prior to May 2022, including March 2022 are based on the Physiotherapy Competency Examination Blueprint 2009).

The purpose of a blueprint is to describe qualitatively and quantitatively what content is covered on an exam and in what format. Below is a summary of how the two blueprints compare.

What remains the same?

  • The structure and format of the Written Component remains the same for each blueprint:
    • 200 multiple-choice questions
    • Each multiple-choice question consists of a stem (i.e., introductory part that presents the question or problem) and four response options, one of which is the correct response
    • Approximately 90% of the questions are accompanied by a vignette (i.e., one or more sentences containing information about a client scenario). Vignette-based questions are presented first, followed by the stand-alone questions (e., independent questions that are not associated with any other questions on the exam).
    • All questions are equally weighted. Correct responses are worth one mark each. Incorrect responses receive no marks (no marks are deducted for incorrect responses).
  • Each blueprint is organized around four clinical practice areas, and the percentage of question content tested from each Area of Practice is the same for each blueprint. To compare the list of conditions covered within each Area of Practice see: Blueprint 2018 vs Blueprint 2009: Areas of Practice.
  • Each blueprint lists the same contextual variables to guide the PCE. These guidelines ensure the questions selected for each exam are representative of a variety of practice settings and client populations that entry-to-practice physiotherapists are likely to encounter.

What has changed?

  • While the previous blueprint was organized around three Functions (Assessment and EvaluationInterpretation, Planning, Intervention and Re-Evaluation; and Professional Responsibilities), the PCE Blueprint 2018 is organized around seven Domains (Physiotherapy ExpertiseCommunicationCollaborationManagementLeadershipScholarship; and Professionalism). Each domain lists the essential competencies and associated entry-to-practice milestones expected of an entry-to-practice physiotherapist.

It is important to note that questions appearing on each administration of the Written Component are selected from a large bank of exam questions. Each question has been mapped to both blueprints. The blueprint is used to guide the selection of questions for an exam, ensuring we include the right type and percentage of questions. For examples of how the same questions are mapped to each blueprint see: Blueprint 2018 vs Blueprint 2009: Sample questions mapped.

In short – regardless of which blueprint is being used, questions appearing on each administration of the Written Component are pulled from the same exam bank.