Francis Ng, RCIC, has shared tips for the students who are planning to write the Immigration Consultants of Canada Regulatory Council (ICCRC) Full Skills Exam. An expert in the immigration field, Francis teaches the Immigration Consultant Diploma program and the ICCRC Exam preparation course at Ashton College.
What Does the Exam Look Like?
The ICCRC full skills exam is a 3-hour exam with exclusively multiple choice questions. There are 100 questions and 180 minutes for the exam, which means you have 1.8 minutes to answer each question (or less, if you want to leave some time for the review).
When taking the exam, it is important to remember that the time is limited, therefore time-management skills are crucial. Even though it is an open-book exam, you do not have much time to spend searching the book for answers, so it is important to come prepared. I would suggest bringing summaries of your notes and would recommend students not bring too many books into the exam with them – it’s important to stay organized.
What is the Hardest Part of the Exam?
The exam is not about knowing all the acts and regulations – it is about understanding them from the point of view of a consultant. The questions are always based on a scenario or an example. A potential client comes to your office and tells you their situation: how would you help them? There may not be a perfect answer, or there may be two very similar answers. You are expected to analyze the situation, understand the requirements and provide the correct information. There are normally four choices, and you respond by choosing the most suitable answer.
If you ask me, the exam is not difficult. Passing the ICCRC exam is easier than passing the language exam. The key is not to memorize the material, but to be able to understand the situations and apply your knowledge to different scenarios. Once again, it is not an examination of your knowledge of law – it is a test of your expertise as a practitioner.
What to Focus On
Based on the past exams, first of all, you should focus on the Family Class citizenship – you will have around 25 questions related to it.
The next one would be Temporary immigration categories: work permits, study permits, etc. This section is very tricky because it includes a lot of information and details. For instance, you have to know whether your client requires a medical examination to apply for study or work visas, be aware of the exemptions, and know how long they would be able to stay in the country, as well as the ways to extend their stay, etc. This section has around 30 questions.
You should also know about Canadian laws and regulations. For instance, if your client is being removed from Canada, you have to know how to deal with removal orders. You have to know different kinds of appeals: for example, if your case is refused, where can you appeal? This also includes the knowledge of the refugee application process. This section is around 25 question, and it is one of the most detailed sections.
There will also be 5-7 questions on the topics of ethics, dates and deadlines, and various calculations: application fees, Comprehensive Ranking System scores for Express Entry, etc. On top of that, you have questions on different kinds of permanent categories, like the Express Entry or self-employed category. There will also be 5-7 questions related to the province-specific programs, like the Provincial Nominee Program or Quebec programs.
Is it beneficial to take the ICCRC prep course?
If you need to refresh your knowledge, or would like some guidance on what to focus on (such as the key points and the exceptions), the prep course will be very beneficial.
You should remember that on the exam, they don’t really give you the general situations; they ask about specific examples. One example is: what if your client has a spouse he wants to sponsor? The spouse has 2 dependent children, and one of the children is an adopted orphan child. Does the sponsor need to meet the minimum income requirement? If you don’t understand the details in the situation, you will answer “no”. However, in this case, you do need to meet the requirement, since the child is an orphan child. It can take you a long time to find this exception in the book. That’s why in the prep course, we try to hit points like that.
The key to successfully pass the exam is practice, practice, practice. If you can get a hold of exam questions and different scenarios, that would be best. That’s why in the ICCRC prep course at Ashton we give a lot of practice questions (at least 40-45 questions to go through).
Any advice for the exam day?
Remember to bring your original photo ID document, as you will be sent home even with a copy. Also, make sure you have some extra time if you are transiting – just in case the Skytrain stops working or the bus is late.
Otherwise, the best advice I can give is to relax a couple of days before the exam. Get plenty of sleep the night before and try to do your best.
After the Exam
The exam prepares you for a better understanding of the immigration process. However, it only gives you the licence to practice. To become a professional, you may want to start as an assistant or an intern at an existing firm where you can expand your knowledge. This can give you a chance to slowly learn, practice and gain experience. Moreover, you should remember that Immigration Consulting is a competitive profession, so you really need to know what you are doing.
ICCRC Exam Prep Course
Ashton’s ICCRC Exam Prep course has helped numerous individuals prepare for the ICCRC Full Skills exam.