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Examination Structure & Organisation

In General

The exam is usually early February each year. It starts with histopathology on Monday morning, followed by gross pathology on Monday afternoon. Tuesday starts with general pathology in the morning followed by veterinary pathology in the afternoon. Comprehensive pathology is on Wednesday morning.

Candidates will be randomly assigned a seat. Candidates have the possibility to set up their own or hired microscope before the exam (Sunday evening or Monday morning). They may use pens or pencils; they may have food, drinks and a silent laboratory timer on the table. No other utensils, in particular noisy timers, mobile phones and smartwatches, are allowed. A cushion may be used (take it with you) on the seat when needed. On the morning of the exam the candidates draw a number by a non-EC member and their exam-papers are only identified by this number and not by name so that correcting is not biased. Dictionaries in various languages (covering the nationalities of the candidates) are available at the front of the examination room. Candidates are not allowed to talk to each other under any circumstances. In addition, candidates are not allowed to take any exam material or notes in or out the examination room. Contravention is regarded as cheating. Candidates are accompanied if they leave the room during the examination.

Examination Structure

The examination tests a balanced mix of general, specific, theoretical and practical knowledge relevant to the veterinary pathology profession. It comprises five sections: Histopathology, Gross Pathology, General Pathology, Veterinary Pathology and Comprehensive Pathology. To pass the examination, a candidate must pass each of these five sections.

  Guidance Document - Examination of the ECVP (189.8 KiB, 347 hits)

Passing rate and correction

Each of the 5 sections is passed by reaching 60% of the total possible marks (e.g. 180 point for general pathology or 300 points for comprehensive pathology).

For consistency reasons each EC member marks a complete question (for example histology case 3) from all candidates. Every slide and question is marked independently by two EC members based on the scoring agreed by all members during the preparatory meeting. They then compare their marks (consolidation). If there is a discrepancy between marks, the answers are looked at again and the discrepancy is discussed until a final agreement is reached. All marks are registered in a computer program which calculates percentage of points reached per candidate, slide or question. The results from the first 4 sections are statistically analyzed at the Medizinische Fakultät der Universität Bern, Switzerland, Institut für Medizinische Lehre, Abteilung für Assessment und Evaluation for their quality and discriminatory power. All results are approved before disclosure of candidates’ names. A candidate has to have 60% of the total points possible in a section to have passed this section. ECVP council has the final decision about approval of the results. Candidates are usually informed of their results within a couple of days.


Last Updated: December 23rd, 2022