Frequently asked questions

Preparing for the exam

Candidates must be familiar with the use and purpose of several tests. The exam curriculum lists six specific tests that require detailed knowledge and a wider number of tests that you need to be familiar with.

Please note that tests undergo regular revision and new versions are periodically published. If the more recent version of a test does not have Australian norms, the Board will accept older versions that have been normed on the Australian population. When a new version has Australian norms, a two year period is allowed to transition between test versions.

The Guidelines for the national psychology exam (the guidelines) currently state that graduates who apply for general registration with a Board-approved postgraduate qualification accredited as a fifth and sixth year of study in psychology before 1 July 2019 are exempt from passing the exam.

This exemption has been extended until 31 December 2019. This means that graduates with a Board-approved postgraduate qualification accredited as a fifth and sixth year of study in psychology can apply for general registration without completing the national psychology exam by 31 December 2019.

The Board will conduct a scheduled review of the guidelines, including the higher degree exemption, over 2018 and 2019. More information about the extension of the higher degree exemption is available in the Board's news item.

Overseas-trained practitioners are required to pass the exam. The exam is only available in Australia.

Generally, the Board will require overseas trained practitioners to be registered as a provisional psychologist and complete a minimum three-month transitional program in Australia before applying for general registration.

For more information on the transitional program please see the Guidelines for the national psychology exam, and the Board's webpage for overseas applicants.

Overseas applicants need to ensure they meet the mandatory registration standards, including the English language skills registration standard. The Board may apply additional conditions to an overseas-trained practitioner's registration to ensure they meet all registration standards.

Applicants from New Zealand who apply under the Trans-Tasman Mutual Recognition arrangements are exempt from sitting the exam.

Exam candidates should be familiar with the exam curriculum. The curriculum is based on the integration of general knowledge and practice in the areas of ethics, assessment, interventions and communication. The exam questions are derived from the curriculum and they test candidates’ knowledge of these four areas of psychology. The recommended reading list is provided to help candidates prepare for the exam. This is available on the ‘Content of the exam’ webpage under the ‘Resources for the exam’  heading.

The minimum standard of education and training required for registration as a psychologist in Australia is a six-year sequence of study in psychology that is accredited by the Australian Psychology Accreditation Council (APAC) and a Board-approved program of study for registration (or another sequence of education and training that is assessed by the Board as substantially equivalent).

The exam tests applied knowledge that is appropriate for the fifth and the sixth year of psychology training. The exam is designed to test the application of this knowledge to practice and is therefore based on actual case studies and professional issues.

The exam does not test all of the competencies of a practising psychologist with general registration because some of those competencies are assessed during the fifth and sixth years of supervised practice and internship training. Further, the exam does not assess advanced knowledge in area of practice endorsements (e.g. clinical psychology, organisational psychology, health psychology, forensic psychology, etc.).


Before the exam

The practice exam is designed to provide you with a ‘look and feel’ of the exam and an example of the types of questions that the exam will include. The practice exam is optional to complete and is free of charge.

To sit the practice exam, you first need to create an account on the exam portal and register for the exam. Once you have registered for the exam, you can sit the practice exam at any time before your scheduled exam date.

If you successfully complete the practice exam you will not be allowed to re-sit it. If you fail the practice exam, you can re-sit it after a day.

Special consideration is available to candidates who are unable to sit or complete the exam due to exceptional circumstances beyond their control.

Applications for special consideration must be sent by email to the National Examinations Coordinator within 14 working days of your scheduled exam date, and must include documentary evidence of the exceptional circumstances.

Please see the Sitting the exam page of the Board’s website for the rules for applying for special consideration.

Candidates with additional needs (e.g. arising from a disability or other condition) can request accommodations to allow them to sit the exam.

To request accommodations for additional needs, contact the National Examinations Coordinator before you apply for the exam, and no later than at the time of lodging your exam application. AHPRA will need at least a month's notice to make suitable arrangements to meet your needs.

More information is available on the Sitting the exam page of the Board’s website and in the Guidelines for the national psychology exam.


Booking your exam

To register for the exam, you first need to create an account on the exam portal. You will be notified by email within five working days when your account has been activated.

Once your account on the exam portal has been activated, you can register to sit the exam through the exam portal.

Yes. The exam portal uses 128-bit encryption to protect data. We have ensured the portal meets international security standards so we can protect your information.

You can reset your password on the exam portal by clicking the 'forgot password' button and following the prompts.

You can sit the exam at a number of Kryterion testing centres across Australia. Visit the Kryterion website to find your nearest testing centre.

When you pay for and book the exam on the exam portal, you can choose your preferred testing centre to sit your exam. It is not mandatory to sit the exam in the state that you completed your training.

After paying for and booking your exam, you will receive a confirmation email with the details of the testing centre and requirements for the exam day. The candidate is responsible for scheduling the exam and presenting at the right time and exam centre.

If your chosen venue is not available on the scheduled exam date, it means all of the available times have been booked for that day.

Don't worry! Some of the larger centres like Sydney and Melbourne have multiple testing centres so another venue might have availability.

In addition, availability beyond the scheduled exam date will be offered to candidates where venue availability has been exhausted.

Additional testing dates are added progressively. If you don't see availability at your preferred venue, contact the National Examinations Coordinator for assistance.

Log into your candidate account on the exam portal to reschedule your exam. You can reschedule your exam up to 72 hours before the exam date without incurring additional fees.

If you need to reschedule within 72 hours of your booked exam date, contact the National Examinations Coordinator immediately.

The Board allows up to four exam sittings per year. If you are unable to complete the exam within the agreed time frames you will need to contact AHPRA to discuss your requirements.


Paying for the exam

The fee for sitting the exam is published on the Board's website under Fee schedule.

AHPRA only accepts credit card payment (including Visa or Mastercard debit cards) for the exam. Payment must be made through the exam portal.

If you don’t have a credit card, someone else (a manager, relative, etc) can make the payment on your behalf. If you are unable to pay using credit card, contact AHPRA to discuss your circumstances.

Your bank may apply an international transaction fee to MasterCard or Visa purchases where the transaction is made in Australian dollars but the party accepting the card is overseas.

Please check with your bank regarding their fees.

Payment confirmations are sent automatically to the email address listed on your exam candidate account. Try checking your email account's spam or junk folder. If you haven't received a confirmation email, contact the National Examinations Coordinator for assistance.

If you cancel your exam booking 72 hours before your scheduled exam date, we will refund your credit card. Please allow 2-3 billing cycles for your account to show the credit.

If you cancel your exam booking within 72 hours of the scheduled exam date, there is no refund unless you qualify for special consideration.


Sitting the exam

You should arrive at the test centre at least 15 minutes before your exam time.

If you are late, don’t panic. The test centre staff will do all they can to ensure you can sit your exam. If you are not able to sit the exam contact the National Examinations Coordinator as soon as possible for assistance.

When you arrive at the test centre, the check-in process will include:

  • Authentication: Your identity will be authenticated when you arrive for your exam. You must provide the exam supervisor with two forms of proof of identity, including photo ID. You must also bring your unique test launch authorization code (from your confirmation email), which the exam supervisor will use to launch your exam.
  • Pocket Turn-Outs: You will be asked to turn out exterior pockets (on jackets, pants, etc.) to verify that the pockets do not contain any prohibited items. 
  • Eyewear Inspections: Because of the release of smart-glasses technology, test takers wearing external eyewear will need to hand their eyewear to the exam supervisor for inspection to ensure the eyewear is not technology-enabled before taking them into the exam room. 

Before you start your exam, you will need to review and accept the Candidate Rules Agreement. By accepting this agreement you will confirm your eligibility to undertake the exam and accept the exam rules.

Exam supervisors are trained and certified to deliver high-stakes exams and follow standard operating procedures.

Because test centres work with many providers using staggered exam start times, it is normal for other test-takers to enter or leave the testing room while exams are in progress. To minimise disruption, you will have access to noise cancelling headphones or disposable earplugs.

If you have any issues with the exam environment, speak with your exam supervisor.

You will need to present the exam supervisor with two (2) forms of identifications (one must be a photo ID). You must also bring your printed email confirmation containing your exam authorisation code.

No. Candidates are not allowed to take in or access any reference material (electronic or hard copy) during the exam.

Telephones and other equipment must not be taken into the exam. Access to the internet is not permitted in the exam rooms or in the exam waiting areas.

You will not be allowed to take any personal items with you into the exam room and you will not be able to access personal items during the exam session. Your personal items will be stored securely by your exam supervisor.

Exceptions can be made for you to take personal items needed for medical conditions into the exam room. You will need to submit a request for accommodation of additional needs with the National Examinations Coordinator at least thirty days in advance of your exam date to do this.

To safeguard the computer equipment, water is not allowed in the exam room. However, you can leave a clear unlabeled bottle of water with your exam supervisor and access it if you need it. Please note that you will not be allowed extra time in your exam to do this.


After the exam

If you could not sit or complete your exam due to exceptional circumstance beyond your control, you can apply for special consideration. See the Special consideration FAQ above for more information.

You will receive an email with your exam score three to four weeks after your exam date. Exam scores are reported as pass or fail.

If you fail the exam, you will receive limited feedback indicating the domains where your exam performance suggests that you should further revise.

For security purposes, candidates will not be allowed to review the exam or its items.

If you fail the exam, your results email will provide guidance and options available to you for next steps.

Candidates who fail can re-sit the exam after completing a further three months or supervised practice as a psychologist or provisionally registered psychologist.

You can sit the exam a maximum of three times. If you fail three times, you will not be able to sit another exam until your registration renewal or a new application for registration is approved by the Board. At this point the Board may:

  1. grant renewal or registration and allow the person to re-sit the exam up to three additional times
  2. grant renewal or registration with conditions and on those conditions being met, allowing the person to re-sit the exam, or
  3. propose to refuse the person’s application or renewal.

The Policy and procedure for candidates who fail the national psychology exam three times (99.2 KB,PDF), Word version (105 KB,DOCX) provides more detail on the procedures to follow when a registrant fails the exam three times. The document outlines the available options, steps to take, and the evidence required by the Board to progress their plan to successfully re-sit the exam beyond three attempts. (Also see the Statement and plan for professional development form (SPPD-76) (762 KB,PDF)).

Renewing provisional registration has time limitations under the National Law, and candidates will need to get permission from the Board to continue their training if they go beyond these limits.

There is no appeal process based on the content of the exam.

You can apply for special consideration if you are/were unable to sit or complete the exam due to exceptional circumstances beyond your control. See the Special consideration FAQ above for more information.

Page reviewed 18/10/2013