Examination Process

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Examination Process
Resident Credentials Register for Exams Written exams Oral exams Exam Pass If you fail an exam


There are two routes to the ECLAM certification examinations: you are either a resident, or you qualify as an internationally-recognised expert in lab animal medicine. Residents are in training for 3-6 years.


You must apply for credentials to sit the exams within 2 years of completing your training. The forms are on our website, and we have a YouTube series on how to complete the forms.

Register for Exams

Credentialed residents (as well as accepted Internationally-recognised experts) must register for the examinations by the end of April prior to that year's exams. You must register even if you previously passed one section of the exams. You will receive an invoice for the correct amount once your registration has been received.

Written exams

The written exams are given in the autumn using an online platform. There are three sections: a multiple-choice exam, a short-essay exam and a long-essay exam. Each section takes up to 4 hours to complete. You must pass all sections in order to proceed to the oral exam.

Oral exams

The oral exam is given about two months after the written examination. It consists of four sections: small animals (i.e., rodents or fish), large animals, facilities, and an interview discussion about current topics in lab animal medicine. You must pass 3 of the 4 sections and you must achieve a passing score over all four sections together.

Exam Pass

Once you have passed both the written and oral examinations, you become a Diplomate of ECLAM. You will have to re-certify every 5 years and continue to support the College in its mission.

If you fail an exam

If you are not successful at an examination, you may re-register to sit it again three more times. The fee is reduced by half for re-sits. You must pass first the written exam, and then the oral exam, in order to become a Diplomate.

ECLAM examination questions are meant to assess not simply factual knowledge, but whether a specialist-level candidate applies factual knowledge in working situations. The examinations are criterion-based; candidates are not compared with each other, but are individually assessed against minimum criteria set by the College for specialist status. 

ECLAM strives to improve the quality of its examinations and procedures by rigorous item writing and editing, item analysis using classical test theory, multiple levels of review, and post-examination reflection and review.

Dates & Deadlines

Those who have been approved by the credentials committee may register before the 30th April for the examinations in the autumn.

Written exams are generally given over 2 days during the second full week in September. Oral exams are given over 1-2 days during the second full week in November.

Exam Structure

The certification exams consist of  written and oral examinations. You must pass both to become a Diplomate.

The written examinations are marked within 2-4 weeks, depending upon the number of candidates. After approval by the Council, all candidates are contacted on the same day to advise them of the outcome.

The oral examinations are marked immediately after each session. After approval by the Council, all candidates are contacted on the same day to advise them of the outcome.


Fees are shown on our fees page. The full fee is charged when you register for your first exam. If you fail the written exam you may re-sit for a reduced fee.


If you do not pass an examination, you may re-sit three more times. You must complete all parts of the examinations within 8 years of finishing your training.

Written Examination

Written examinations cover all aspects of the ECLAM Learning Objectives via an online system.  After receiving an invitation from ECLAM, the exam candidate creates an account on ExamSoft, installs the Examplify app on a laptop, and downloads the locked exam files.

On the day of the exam, the candidate is given the password to unlock the exam. Examplify will prevent the laptop from accessing the Internet until the candidate indicates they are finished (or when the allotted time expires), at which point Examplify uploads the completed exam and returns the laptop to its original state.

To see the e-coffee giving more details of the process, see our YouTube video and associated ExamSoft playlist.

All examinations are conducted in English. Candidates may bring a translation dictionary (not a medical dictionary).

Content and passing score:

  • Multiple-choice questions: approximately 100 questions, with a few included as un-scored ‘field test’ questions for future use). Time allowed: 4 hours. Passing score is 60%. 
  • Essay questions: Passing score is a combined score of 50% on the short-answer and long-answer sections
    • Short-answer: 20 questions each worth 5 points. All must be answered. Expected length is 200-300 words (less than one page). Time allowed: 4 hours.
    • Long-answer: 8 questions, from which the candidate selects 4 to answer, each worth 25 points. Expected length is 1200-1500 words (2-3 pages). Time allowed: 4 hours.

Passing score:

  • At least 50% in three of the four sections, AND
  • A combined total of 50% across all sections

Oral Examination

Oral examinations assist the Exam Committee in evaluating how well candidates communicate their knowledge and expertise. Examinations are conducted either in-person or online. Examiners are ECLAM Diplomates, including members of the Examination Committee and others with prior experience in ECLAM oral examinations. The examination has four sections, each lasting no more than one hour:

  1. Discussion of a scenario in a small animal (i.e., rodents, fish, frogs). Questions may involve diseases, research models, procedures, anaesthesia, surgery, and/or post-procedural care.
  2. Discussion of a scenario in a larger animal (farm species, nonhuman primates, dogs). Questions may involve diseases, research models, procedures, anaesthesia, surgery, and/or post-procedural care
  3. Discussion of issues commonly encountered in managing a vivarium. Questions may involve facility design and construction, equipment, records, occupational health and safety, and animal husbandry
  4. A discussion of contemporary issues in lab animal medicine to assess the candidate’s understanding and ability to express and defend opinions.

Candidates may appeal an adverse decision of the College by adhering to ECLAM’s Appeals Policy and Procedures.