Frequently Asked Questions: CCA Exam

To be eligible to write the CCA Certification Exam, you must meet all the *exam eligibility requirements of the CCA Program.  Once you complete all requirements of the CCA Program you are eligible to become exam candidates. To become an exam candidate your educator will submit the required exam documents (CCA competency assessment tools) to the CCA program a minimum of 4 weeks prior to the exam sitting.

What are the exam eligibility requirements?

Successful completion of the CCA course with a licensed education provider or CCA *RPL Program covering a minimum of:

  • 522 theory/lab hours incorporating the CCA Curriculum Standards
  • 190 hours placement in a Department of Health and Wellness funded Nursing Home/Home for the Aged
  • 80 hours placement in a Home Care Agency providing care to Department of Health and Wellness funded clients
  • 60 hours placement in a CCA Program approved health care setting

Completed the competency assessment tools confirming competent practice, professional behaviour and completion of the required theory/lab and placements.  The competencies tools are completed throughout the program duration.  Competencies are signed off by clinical instructor and mentor, placements must be signed off as satisfactory with minimum placement hours recorded, completion of external certificates recorded, and final recommendation from your primary instructor.

Maintain current and valid certification in the six required NS certificates:

  • Dementia: Understanding the Journey (previously ADODCC)
  • Occupational Health and Safety
  • Workplace Hazardous Materials Information System (WHMIS)
  • Food Hygiene
  • Pallium Canada’s LEAP or NS Palliative Care Front Line Course
  • Standard First Aid/CPR Level C

*Recognizing Prior Learning graduates will have received credit for some of the requirements as determined by their licensed education provider. All requirements are subject to verification by the CCA Program Advisory Committee or designate.

As an exam candidate you are eligible to write the exam a total of three times within the 12-month period following eligibility to write. Eligibility begins with the first available exam date after completion of the course.  If you require an extension to the 12-month eligibility period, you must apply to the CCA Program Administration by completing the application for Extension of Eligibility to Write Exam within your 12-month eligibility period.  If you fail the exam three times, you are no longer eligible for CCA Certification.

Certification exams are offered online three times every year. Each exam will take place on a weekday during the months of March, June/July, and October/November (exam months may change based on province wide course end dates).  Some disability exam accommodations require a face-to-face exam sitting, arrangements will be made with the accommodation approval process.  If systemic technological challenges are an issue, arrangements can also be made for a face-to-face exam sitting.  Other circumstances requiring a face-to-face exam sitting may have an additional charge.

 All exams will be written in the morning, the candidate selects the specific exam time when they register and book with Yardstick for the exam.  Entrance to the exam is not permitted after the booked exam time.

Pre-Registration for first exam writing

Candidates are pre-registered for their first exam writing through the education provider.  Education providers will be asked to participate in a pre-registration process approximately 10 weeks prior to course end date. At this time the students contact information will be updated.  Note: Final exam eligibility requires submission of completed exam candidacy documentation from educators.  Once the student reaches exam candidate status they will be required to individually register (book) their exam through Yardstick Meazures, more information below.

Achieving Exam Candidate Status

When a student has completed the required components of the CCA course and is deemed ready to write the exam, proof of successful completion of all eligibility requirements must be submitted by the education provider to the CCA Program Administration for the candidate’s status to change to exam candidate. The required exam candidacy documents include:

  • The Education Provider’s final Evaluation as primary instructors evidence the student has successfully completed the program, met all course components, and has reached entry-level competency.
  • A copy of the Overall Mentorship Performance section (pages 9, 10 and 11) of the Mentorship: CCA Student Competency Assessment as evidence from the placement partner the student has been successful in practicum component of the course. *Note, the Comment Section on page 11 must be submitted even if blank. If missing, the student will not be permitted to write the exam.

The deadline for candidate document submission is a minimum of four (4) weeks prior to the exam date, (dates will be provided with the exam schedule).  Submission dates will be posted with exam dates. Failure to submit documentation the minimum of four (4) weeks prior to the exam date will result in delays in processing the exam eligibility approval and candidates may have to wait to write the exam at the next scheduled exam.

As noted above, pre-registration should begin prior to the required documents being completed, to provide sufficient advance notice, but registration of the candidate(s) will not be finalized until the final evaluation and CAT booklet is approved. The registration process may be delayed or rejected if the noted documentation is incomplete or inaccurate. The documentation is sent by the education provider to the CCA Program Administration for approval as part of the registration process; we will not accept documentation submitted by the student.

Exam Booking and Registration

The CCA Program has engaged Yardstick Meazures to administer the online CCA certification exam. Once the documents have been reviewed and accepted, the student’s status will change from current to exam candidate.   Exam candidates will receive a pre-booking email from CCA Program confirming exam times and expectations for Yardstick Meazures communications.

Invitations (booking email) to sit the exam will be forwarded to exam candidates from Yardstick Meazures approximately two (2) weeks before the exam date.  The first booking email will include their username and instructions to create a password. Once the exam candidate books the exam, they will receive a confirmation of booking and instructions for the next steps in preparing for the exam, including the very important step of testing your technical requirements “system checking” in advance of the exam day.  CCA exam candidates must register for the certification exam using the link provided by Yardstick Meazures; Yardstick will communicate with exam candidates using the email provide as noted above.  Please notify your exam candidates to expect the email from Yardstick Meazures.

  • Please ensure the email address we have on file is up to date; for the exam registration personal email is the best option.
  • Please note exam candidates cannot register for the exam until they receive an invitation from Yardstick Meazures.

The online certification exam requires exam candidates to individually book their exam session. The educator cannot book the exam for the exam candidate. Each exam candidate must have access to either a laptop or desktop computer with a microphone and camera and have the capacity to allow Proctor-U (division of Yardstick) to download and run on the day of the exam (this program live streams). Mobile devices such as iPad, phones, Chromebooks will not work for the CCA certification exam.   Firewalls may also be an issue if in place.

How do I register to rewrite the exam?

For exam rewrites, it is the responsibility of the candidates to submit the completed Exam Rewrite Registration Form with payment to the CCA Program Administration at least five (5) weeks prior to the exam date. Failure to register the minimum of (5) weeks prior to the exam date could result in delays in processing the request and the request could be rejected. Candidates may have to wait to write the exam at the next scheduled session.  Rewrite forms are sent to unsuccessful candidates with their exam results.

Once you receive the email from Yardstick, you will go to the link provided by Yardstick and register and then book your certification exam. The communications from Yardstick will take you through the process step by step.  There will be a set booking window.  If you do not register and book during that period, you will not have access to the exam sitting.

Once you book your exam online, Yardstick Meazures will send you a booking confirmation with exam preparation information.  Review the booking confirmation email carefully to ensure you are prepared for the exam! 

  • Explore the Platform Tutorial and the other materials available
  • Make sure your government issued photo ID is current (max 90 days expired is acceptable)
  • Have reliable access to the internet for the day of the exam.
  • Have a room where you can write the exam alone with no interruptions. You will not be permitted to write the exam in open computer lab.
  • Computer must be able to download and live stream the proctor software the day of the exam
  • If you are writing the exam in a public location (i.e., library, school, employer), discuss with the site’s technical staff the need to download and live stream software the day of the exam when you are testing your system.
    • Computer must have camera and microphone
    • Windows 10 or higher is recommended
    • Use Chrome or Firefox browser (make sure web browser is updated)
    • Mobile devices cannot be used to write the exam nor are they permitted in the examination room, this includes cell phone, iPad, Chromebook, smart tablets, etc.

When you book and register your exam with Yardstick you should use the computer you plan to write the exam. Do not use your mobile device to book the exam.  You will need to test your computer system as directed in the booking email from Yardstick. When you take the exam, you will need to write in a private room with no other people including other exam candidates.

Visit Online Proctoring FAQ for more information

You will receive a booking email from Yardstick Meazures.  Check your spam/junk folder. Once you book your exam online, Yardstick Meazures will send you a booking confirmation with exam preparation information.  Review the booking confirmation email carefully to ensure you are prepared for the exam!

Using the login information provided by Yardstick. Complete the system check using the computer and location (internet) you will be using to write the exam at least seven (7) business days prior to the exam date.  DO NOT DELAY COMPLETING THE SYSTEM CHECK.

Go to Yardstick FAQ

Quick Links:

Start by updating Google Chrome.

Navigate to your exam link and login


Then click the “test it out” icon

Allow ProctorU access to your system (this is a pop up)

If you get green check marks across the board, you are good to go. 

We recognize in some situations the online exam formation is not possible.  If you do not have the required equipment and technology to write the exam, discuss your challenges and possible solutions with your education provider (primary instructor or student services).

The fee for the first exam writing is included in the administrative fee of the CCA Program, paid by the candidate to the education provider with tuition and submitted by the education provider to the CCA Program Administration. Candidates rewriting the exam, please see the “What happens if a candidate fails?” section for applicable fees. CCA Recognizing Prior Learning (RPL) Program candidates pay the administration fee directly to the CCA Program Administration prior to writing the exam.

Disability related exam accommodations are designed to remove disadvantages and ensure all candidates receive an equal opportunity to demonstrate their knowledge.  Disability related accommodations for documented physical or learning disabilities are granted on a case-by-case basis, subject to approval by the CCA Exam Committee or delegate. Candidates who require accommodations must submit a request, in writing, through their educators approximately four (4) months prior to the exam. The request must include both the DREA educator form and the DREA student form stating the accommodation(s) requested, reasons for accommodation, details of accommodations provided throughout the course by the education provider, and the appropriate documentation identifying the disability (for example a medical assessment or psycho-educational summary report). Accommodation requests are not automatically granted. Decisions are made within two (2) months of the exam date. Applicants will be notified directly and in writing about the status of their request.

Possible accommodations may include extra time, options for reading and/or scribing assistance, and/or a separate room. It is the responsibility of the candidate to request accommodations and participate in the accommodations process by providing additional information upon request. Some accommodations will require a face-to-face exam sitting vs online administration.  Arrangements will be made during the accommodation approval process.  Applicants are responsible for any costs arising from these arrangements such as site accommodations or proctor if applicable.

Once accommodations have been approved for CCA certification exam, the exam candidate is not required to go through another application process if an exam rewrite is required.  However, the candidate is required to request the same accommodations when they submit the exam rewrite form, Exam Rewrite Registration Form, and exam fee, were applicable the Proctor Registration Form at least five (5) weeks in advance of the exam date. 

More specific information on the disability accommodation policy, along with the appropriate forms, can be found Resources.  Updates and revisions to this policy will be made available through the website.

The exam is designed to measure a candidate’s knowledge of the information covered during the education delivery. The best method of preparing for the exam is to carefully review class notes, materials, resources, and reflect on all placement and practical experiences. The exam is closed book and no notes or reference materials will be allowed at the candidate’s desk. Instructors may assist candidates with studying strategies, reviewing materials, or general test-taking preparation prior to the exam.

Exam Preparation Tools

The exam contains 150 multiple-choice questions that cover all content areas from the CCA education program. The questions for the exam are carefully written and chosen by experts in the health care field and educational testing, and they vary in difficulty from easy to hard. Questions may inquire about facts and knowledge (e.g., terminology or anatomy), or require you to apply your knowledge to situations and/or identify procedures.

For each question, there is only one correct answer, although others may seem tempting. Candidates must select the best response and mark their choice on the exam form. It is to the candidate’s advantage to guess if they do not know the answer, as there will be no penalty for incorrect guesses.

On the morning of the exam, you must log into the Yardstick site at least 15 minutes prior to the exam booking time to get settled before the exam starts.

Upon start of the exam (at the booking time), you will be asked to display non-expired government-issued photo identification (i.e., driver’s license or passport) to gain entry to the exam. Alternatively, it is acceptable to present a government-issued ID (i.e., health card) along with another identification card that includes a photo (i.e., student ID). The names on both cards will be compared and must be an exact match. If appropriate identification cannot be provided, you will not be permitted to enter the exam and must contact the CCA Program Administration to reschedule.

After the you have logged in successfully, the exam will start, and you will have 2 hours from the exam start time to complete the exam. 

If you connect after your booking time you will not be admitted into the exam and must contact the CCA Program Administration to reschedule. If you need to use the restroom, you should do so before the exam begins as you will not permitted to leave the exam room (without a pre-approved medical note) until their exam is complete. Government-issued photo ID is required to re-enter the testing room.  You will be required to comply with the rules and regulations of the testing environment.

If writing face-to-face you will need to arrive at least 30 minutes early and bring 1-2 pencils, an eraser, government issued identification, and water (if desired) in a clear unlabeled bottle. You will sign in at security, your proctor will meet you there. Note: There are NO bathroom breaks during the exam writing. If you arrive after the exam time, you will not be admitted into the exam and must contact the CCA Program Administration to reschedule.

Cheating will not be tolerated. Academic dishonesty is a serious offense, and the proctor has the authority to remove access to the exam if you are suspected of cheating.

If you are disruptive, you may be asked to leave the exam. Talking, excessive noise, or attempts to communicate with other individuals during the exam are not permitted.

Proctors cannot answer questions about the content of the exam. If you identify an error on the exam (e.g., typo, page missing, etc.), you should raise his or her hand and inform the proctor.

For security purposes, all exam materials will not leave the testing environment. Please make sure the exam answers are completed correctly and the exam has been successfully submitted before logging off the exam site. It is forbidden to copy, reproduce, or distribute any of the testing materials, in whole or in part.

Items that are not permitted in the testing environment (on the desk) include notes, textbooks and all snacks or beverages. Personal belongings must be removed from the testing environment, away from the candidate’s workspace. The use of personal electronic devices is prohibited during the exam period. All electronic devices (such as cellphones or other personal devices) must be shut off completely throughout the exam and not visible on or near your desk.

You will be given up to 2 hours after the exam is shared to complete the exam. The pre-exam orientation and connections is not included in the 2 hours. This allows you to spend about 45 seconds for each question, which is typically enough time to complete a question. It is expected that most candidates will finish before this time limit, and if this is the case, you are free to disconnect/leave after submitting their exam.              

As noted above, you are required to login 15 minutes (arrive 30 minutes early if writing face to face) prior to the exam booking time to sign in for the exam session. The exam will begin promptly at the scheduled booking time. At this time, Yardstick will open the exam link and start the exam registration process. Proctors will ensure you read the instructions and agree to the process; this will take approximately 15 minutes. Proctors are the official timekeepers during the exam session. 

Unexpected events do occur, and the program administration acknowledges the possibility you may not be able to attend, despite registering for an exam. If a candidate is unable to write the exam on the date for which they have registered there will be three (3) more exam sessions within her/his 12 months eligibility period.  If the candidate cannot attend, they must contact the CCA Program Administration to reschedule. To retain full credit of the exam fee, notification must be sent in writing to the CCA Program Administration, by email, mail, or fax, no later than five (5) business days prior to the exam.  Candidates cancelling after five (5) days will incur a cancellation fee.

Candidates must feel mentally and physically able to write the exam on the scheduled testing day. If the candidate feels unprepared or incapable after signing into the exam session, the candidate may notify the proctor he/she is withdrawing from the exam at any time, up until the exam link is shared, without the exam counting as an attempt. An attempt is counted once the candidate has access to the exam including face to face administration which is as soon as they receive the exam booklet. 

When withdrawing after signing into the session, it is the responsibility of the candidate to notify the proctor, provide an explanation in writing to the CCA Program Administration, and re-register for another exam date. Exam proctors will report absences and withdrawals from the exam to the CCA Program Administration but will not re-register the candidate.

Candidates have a total of three (3) attempts to pass the exam within a 12-month period once they have been deemed eligible to write. If the candidate is unable to write the exam (including their possible two rewrites) in the 12-month period due to extenuating life-changing circumstances, they must apply, within the 12-month period, for an extension directly with the CCA Program Administration by completing the Extension of Eligibility to Write Exam form.  Extensions will be handled on a case-by-case basis. 

Will the registration fee be refunded?

Exam fees will not be refunded, but credit towards the next exam session may be provided if written notification of cancellation is given five (5) business days prior to the exam date.  It is your responsibility to notify the CCA Program Administration as soon as a reason for the absence or cancellation is known.

If you do not attend the exam and do not notify the CCA Program Administration within the five (5) business days, the registration fee will be forfeited. Credit will not be provided for future exam dates. In the event of failure to notify of withdrawal in the appropriate time frame, you will be required to pay the registration exam fee of $150.00 plus HST ($172.50) for their next exam sitting, payable to the Health Association Nova Scotia via cheque, money order or etransfer.  See Registering for Exam Rewrites section.

If you do not pass your first exam writing, you are eligible for two (2) attempts to rewrite the exam, for a total of three (3) attempts at passing the Certification Exam. All three exam writing opportunities (first writing and two rewrite opportunities) must be made within 12 months of becoming eligible to write the exam; there will be four exam sessions during your eligibility period to write their three attempts if required.  If you are unsuccessful, you will be notified of your opportunity(s) to rewrite the exam and your eligibility timeframe.   See “How do I register to rewrite the exam?” for more information.

In the second and third attempts to rewrite the exam, the exam will not be the same version as the initial attempt. Instead, the exam will cover the same range of material with different questions, and candidates will still be held to the same standards to achieve a passing mark.

If you fail an exam writing (first and/or second), it is strongly recommended you seek additional support from your education provider before attempting another writing.  Also see, “What is the best way to prepare for the exam?” you should also consider a tutor.   If you fail, a third exam writing, you are no longer eligible for CCA Certification.  If you do not write all exam opportunities within the 12-month eligibility timeframe, you are no longer eligible; opportunity for reinstatement to exam eligibility is available in this case.

Can candidates review the exam and their answers?

For exam security purposes, you are not permitted to review exam content. If you fail the exam, you will receive feedback on your general performance on the exam based on the Curriculum Standards modules. The report will highlight your strengths and weaknesses.

If you are a CCA graduate (graduated from a CCA education provider) whose exam candidacy (eligibility time frame) status has expired, you may be eligible for reinstatement of candidacy. Reinstatement allows you to access the balance of your exam sittings (exams writing opportunities not accessed) within 12 months of reinstatement. For more information see Reinstatement of CCA Certification Exam Candidacy Process. Apply for reinstatement by submitting the Reinstatement of CCA Certification Exam Candidacy Form with the appropriate documentation.