Architects in Canada: Understanding the ExAc Exam

December 13, 2023

Are you an aspiring architect in Canada, driven by the passion to design and create incredible spaces? Then you’re probably aware of the path that lies ahead, the crowning achievement of which is passing the Examination for Architects in Canada, or the ExAc Exam. What exactly does this rigorous exam consist of? How do you prepare for it, and what does it mean for your future career? These are questions that often linger in the minds of aspiring architects, and this guide aims to answer them all.

Did you know? Canada is home to some of the most innovative architectural designs in the world, and becoming an architect in this country requires you to demonstrate your skills through a series of challenging exams and credentials.

Join thousands of students who are acing their Architect Exams!

Get Started

What is the Examination for Architects in Canada?

The Examination for Architects in Canada, commonly referred to as the ExAc Exam, is a national exam that assesses the knowledge and skills of intern architects. The exam is an essential step toward becoming a licensed architect in Canada.

Understanding the ExAc Exam’s Structure

The ExAc Exam consists of various parts, each designed to assess different facets of an aspiring architect’s abilities.

Written Examination

  • Multiple-Choice Questions: The written portion of the ExAc Exam includes a series of multiple-choice questions covering areas such as architectural theory, Canadian building codes, ethics, and practice management.
  • Time Allotment: Candidates typically have several hours to complete this portion, making time management a crucial skill.

Practical Assessment

  • Design Tasks: The practical assessment evaluates candidates’ abilities to create design solutions within specific constraints.
  • Drawing Skills: This part may include tasks related to drafting, space planning, and other hands-on architectural skills.

Pass/Fail Criteria

  • Passing Scores: The ExAc Exam’s passing score is determined by the exam committee and varies for different sections.
  • Retake Policy: Candidates who do not pass the exam may retake it, but specific rules and limitations apply.

How Do I Get My Architect License in Canada?

Step 1: Complete Education Requirements

  • Enroll in an Accredited Program: To become an architect in Canada, you must first complete a professional degree from a Canadian Architectural Certification Board (CACB) accredited institution.
  • Internship: After graduation, you must complete a mandatory internship under the supervision of a licensed architect.

Step 2: Pass the ExAc Exam

  • Register for the Exam: You must apply and register for the ExAc Exam, which is administered twice a year.
  • Prepare for the Exam: This includes rigorous study, hands-on practice, and understanding the guidelines and structure of the exam.
  • Take the Exam: The ExAc Exam is typically a two-day process, and candidates must pass all sections to qualify.

Step 3: Apply for Licensure

Once you’ve passed the ExAc Exam, you’ll be eligible to apply for a license through the provincial architecture association in your jurisdiction.


Don’t just passively read or watch your study materials. Engage with them by taking notes, discussing with peers, or teaching the content to someone else. Active engagement can boost comprehension and retention.

How Many Tests Are There in Architecture?

Becoming a licensed architect in Canada involves several tests and evaluations. These include:

  • The ExAc Exam: The primary examination for aspiring architects in Canada.
  • Provincial Examinations: Depending on the province, additional tests or assessments may be required.

The journey towards becoming an architect in Canada is challenging, yet rewarding. The ExAc Exam represents a crucial milestone in this path, requiring dedication, skill, and in-depth understanding of the architectural field.

Is It Hard to Become an Architect in Canada?

Becoming an architect in Canada is a demanding but attainable goal. The process involves multiple steps, including:

  • Education: Completing a degree from a recognized institution.
  • Internship: Gaining real-world experience under a licensed architect.
  • Examinations: Successfully passing the ExAc Exam and any other provincial tests.
  • Licensure: Meeting the requirements for obtaining a license in your province.

The road to becoming an architect in Canada may be long and challenging, but with determination and proper guidance, it is an achievable dream.

Photo by Tima Miroshnichenko via Pexels

Tips for Success

Understanding the ExAc Exam’s structure is essential, but knowing how to approach it is equally important.

Study with Focus

  • Create a Study Plan: Outline your study schedule, focusing on areas where improvement is needed.
  • Utilize Available Resources: PrepArchitect offers study guides, practice questions, and support tailored to the ExAc Exam.

Practice Hands-On Skills

  • Work on Design Tasks: Regularly practice hands-on design tasks to sharpen your skills.
  • Seek Feedback: Engage with mentors or peers to review your work and provide constructive feedback.

Mind Your Well-being

  • Stay Healthy: Balance study with rest, exercise, and proper nutrition to keep your mind sharp.
  • Manage Stress: Develop techniques to handle exam-related stress, like meditation or regular breaks

Ready to Ace the ExAc?

The path to becoming a licensed architect in Canada, marked by the ExAc Exam, represents a journey of growth, learning, and accomplishment. The Examination for Architects in Canada is not merely a test but a comprehensive evaluation that signifies your readiness to contribute to the world of architecture.

Understanding the ExAc Exam’s structure, knowing what to expect, and preparing strategically can make the difference between success and setback. Whether you’re just starting on your path or preparing for the big day, the road to architectural licensure in Canada may be challenging, but it’s a journey filled with opportunities for growth and triumph.

Whether you need a comprehensive study guide, practice exams, or expert advice, PrepArchitect is here to support your success in the ExAc Exam. Our resources are designed by professionals, for professionals, and we’re committed to helping you reach your architectural dreams without being pushy. Your passion is our purpose.

Join thousands students who chose Architect for their Architect License Exam Prep!

Get Started