Sitting the exam

This section provides detailed information for candidates about sitting the exam.

To be eligible to sit the exam, candidates must have:

  • completed the first four years of accredited study, plus 1,540 hours of supervised practice in the 4+2 pathway, or
  • completed the first five years of accredited study, and have entered the sixth (+1) intern year in the 5+1 pathway and there is an approved plan and supervisor arrangements in place, or
  • completed a course of Board-approved study overseas and be seeking general registration as a psychologist in Australia , or
  • previously held general registration as a psychologist in Australia and are now intending to return to practice after more than 10 years without practicing, or 
  • been directed to sit the exam by the Psychology Board of Australia or a panel or tribunal, in relation to an application for registration under Part 7 of the National Law, or a notification concerning their health, performance or conduct under Part 8 of the National Law.

If a candidate fails, they must wait three months before being able to re-sit the exam. See receiving results below for more information on what to do if you fail.

Overseas trained practitioners are required to pass the exam before they can apply for general registration. The exam is only available to sit in Australia.

Applicants from overseas 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.

Generally, the Board will require overseas-trained practitioners to register as a provisional psychologist and complete a minimum three-month transitional program in Australia before applying for general registration. This allows them to satisfy all competencies for general registration including knowledge of Australian ethical and legal requirements, and to ground their skills in an Australian socio-cultural context. Once an overseas applicant has been registered as a provisional psychologist, they become eligible to sit the exam.

If an overseas-trained applicant is exempt from the transitional program but required to sit the exam, but then they fail the exam, they will have to wait three months before being able to re-sit the exam and may be required to provisionally register and undertake a transitional program for the three months.

See the Overseas applicants page for more information about applying for registration as an overseas applicant.

The timetable of exam dates is published on the national psychology exam page, along with the closing dates for applications. Exams are expected to be scheduled at least twice a year and up to four times a year.

Exams are held in the capital city of each state and territory of Australia.

Changing your scheduled exam date

Candidates can change the date and time of their exam for any reason more than 72 hours before the scheduled exam date without forfeiting their exam fee. Candidates are only permitted to change the date and time within 72 hours of the exam if special circumstances apply – see the 'special considerations' section below for more information.

Candidates can only lodge one application to sit the exam per quarter in any of the states or territories.

To apply to sit the exam, you must first create a candidate account on the Exam Portal. You will be advised by email (within five working days) when your account has been activated. Your candidate account allows you to sit the practice exam and book and pay for the exam.

Candidates must pay an exam fee for each sitting, which will be payable online at the time a candidate registers for the exam on the Exam Portal.

The Board has set the fee as low as possible to allow candidates from all parts of the country to attend their closest regional testing centre.

Candidates must bring their booking receipt and two pieces of identification (including one photo ID) to the exam centre. Failure to do so may result in exclusion from sitting the exam.

Candidates are not permitted any reference material (electronic or hard copy) during the exam. Mobile phones and other equipment must not be taken into the exam. Access to the internet will not be permitted in the exam rooms or in the exam waiting areas.

Failure to comply with any rule or instruction by an adjudicator or supervisor will be regarded as a breach of discipline, and may lead to exclusion from the exam and the candidate deemed to have failed. More serious breaches of exam rules or security may result in disciplinary or criminal action.

Before sitting the exam, candidates must agree to a set of terms and conditions about the exam, including keeping the content of the exam and questions confidential.

Candidates will receive their exam results by email. Results will not be given over the phone.

After the exam has finished, any communication about the exam must be addressed to AHPRA’s Examination Coordinator. Candidates must not communicate with the adjudication staff, members of the Psychology Board of Australia, or the Board’s committees about the exam.

Registrants who fail the exam can re-sit the exam after completing a further three-month period of supervised practice as a psychologist or provisionally registered psychologist.

If a registrant fails three times, they will not be able to sit another exam until their 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 exam three times, and an associated statement and plan for professional development (the SPPD-76 form) have been developed to assist registrants who have failed the exam three times. These documents provide further detail on the procedures to follow in the event that a registrant fails the exam three times, including the available options, steps to take, and the evidence needed by the Board to progress their plan to successfully re-sit the exam beyond three attempts.

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.

Candidates with a disability can request appropriate assistance to allow them to sit the exam. Additional needs requests must be made in advance, and no later than at the time of lodging the application to sit the exam.

Candidates with additional needs will be provided with facilities to support the following.

  • Mobility condition: All exam centres have wide passages, wheelchair access, accessible toilets and adjustable desks. 
  • Visual impairment: The exam can be delivered with larger fonts, with higher contrasting colour, and with reader assistance. 
  • Hearing impairment: Site support will be provided to ensure that exam supervisors can communicate instructions appropriately. 
  • Other mental or physical condition: Other conditions, supported by appropriate documentation, will be addressed on a case-by-case basis.

Special consideration is available to candidates who are unable to sit or complete an exam due to exceptional circumstance beyond their control. These candidates may be given an opportunity to re-sit the exam at the next available date without incurring additional exam fees.

Applications for special consideration:

  • will only be accepted from eligible candidates 
  • will not be approved unless there are exceptional circumstances beyond the control of the candidate, and 
  • must be supported by convincing evidence of the exceptional circumstances.

Candidates who can demonstrate that they have adverse circumstances beyond their control are eligible for special consideration. These reasons include:

  • acute illness (such as hospital admission, onset of serious illness) 
  • loss or bereavement (such as death of a close family member) 
  • hardship or trauma (such as being victim of crime, severe disruption to domestic life) 
  • unforeseen call-up for service (such as military service, court appearance, jury service, emergency service) 
  • work commitments and circumstances beyond their control (a letter on company/organisation letterhead from an employer confirming this must be attached to the application form) 
  • religious convictions (a letter from a religious leader must accompany the application) 
  • computer malfunction at the exam centre, or 
  • natural disaster, bomb threat or similar such event necessitating the evacuation of the examination centre.

Candidates who complete the exam are usually not eligible for special consideration unless there are special circumstances. The only special consideration mechanism available for candidates who fail the exam will be based on process.

No special consideration request will be considered based on the content of the exam. The special consideration procedure is not a means of circumventing the Board’s usual exam process.

Possible outcome of an application for special consideration

When a request is granted, the usual outcome would be to allow the candidate to re-sit the exam as soon as possible at no additional cost to the candidate.

If approved, special consideration may consist of:

  • deferral of the exam until the next available date (no additional or reduced fee), or 
  • other special arrangements for undertaking the exam (no additional or reduced fee).

Applications for special consideration must:

  • be in writing 
  • be submitted prior to, or within 14 working days, of the date of the exam (depending on the nature of the request) 
  • include relevant documentary evidence of the exceptional circumstances beyond the control of the candidate, such as a:
    • medical certificate 
    • death certificate 
    • police report 
    • statutory declaration 
    • exam centre report, or 
    • evidence of requirement to attend court, jury service, military service, emergency service.

A candidate who believes that they have cause to apply for special consideration on the outcome of the exam must apply by email to the National Exam Coordinator attaching supporting documentation, no later than 14 days after completing the exam.

This email initiates the special consideration procedure, and will be reviewed and considered by the Board as well as assessed against the special consideration criteria (as outlined above). The review will take place within 21 days of receiving the request.

Failure to follow this process may result in the application being delayed or not accepted.

If the Board grants the request for special consideration, it will decide on how special consideration will take effect and let the candidate know in writing. Any special arrangement for consideration will be acted upon promptly. Failure to comply with the arrangement will mean the candidate will sit the exam during the next scheduled exam period published on the Board’s web site.

The Board’s decision is final.

Page reviewed 10/08/2018