Are you Prepared?

An older woman gazes sternly over the top of her glasses

Before you attempt the NACOR exam, ask yourself if you are ready…

Many Optical Science graduates go into the NACOR exam not knowing what to expect. The exam will test you on your knowledge, but it also tests you on your practical skills as an optician. The more practice you have had, the more confident you will be when you take the exam.

That being said, some people go into the exam underestimating what the content will be. There are a few questions that you can ask yourself to see if you are ready to attempt the exam.




Optical Sciences 1: Eyeglass Exam

a hand holding a pair of eyeglasses

Are you ready for the Eyeglass Exam?

  • Do you use a lensometer at work every day?
  • Do you know when a lab order is outside of tolerance?
  • Can you measure PD without a pupilometer?
  • Do you know how to measure heights for bifocals, trifocals, and progressive lenses?
  • Do you dispense and adjust eyeglasses regularly at work?
  • Can you put a frame into standard bench alignment?
  • Are you comfortable assessing the fit of a frame without any patient input?

If you answered no to any of these, you may need to spend some additional time on those skills before attempting the NACOR Optical Sciences 1 exam.




Optical Sciences 2: Contact Lens Exam

a contact lens on a finger tip

Are you ready for the Contact Lens Exam?

  • Do you use a manual keratometer to take corneal measurements?
  • Do you know how to calibrate your keratometer?
  • Do you use a slit lamp at work every day?
  • Can you demonstrate various illuminations?
  • Do you perform slit lamp assessments regularly enough that you would recognise and be able to identify various pathologies?
  • Are you comfortable assessing the fit of a contact lens without patient feedback?
  • Do you insert and remove both hard and soft lenses regularly?
  • Do you use a radiuscope at work?
  • Do you know when a hard contact lens is outside of tolerance (ie: When you would not dispense it)?

If you answered no to any of these, you may need to spend some additional time on those skills before attempting the NACOR Optical Sciences 2 exam.




What Can You Expect?

a nervous woman biting her nails

Stress can negatively affect your performance in exams… 

We want you to succeed, so relax and let us walk you through the process of taking the NACOR exam at NAIT. When you arrive at the NAIT Main Campus building, you will be assigned a number, and given an information package. You and the other examinees will be led into a room where you will begin the theory sections of the NACOR exam.

Theory Exam…

The theory section of the exam comes first. You will have 55 minutes for the eyeglasses examination, or 80 minutes for the contact lens exam. This is the written portion that will test you on your optical science knowledge. Even if you finish writing early, you must remain in the room until all of the other examinees are done, or the time runs out.

Practical Exam…

After the theory exam, you will begin the practical exam. This portion will test you on your skills as an optician. If you have been working as a Provisional Optician, you will have had the opportunity to practice some of the skills you will be tested on, but some may be things you have not come across often.

During the practical exam you will be directed to 4 sections. You will have a total of 185 minutes to complete the eyeglass practical exam and 145 minutes to complete the contact lens practical exam, with different amounts of time for each section.

Have more questions? Watch this video about the National Exam.



Exam Standards

a woman whispering a secret into a man's ear. The man looks surprised.

There have long been rumours that taking the exam in another province is easier, but is it true?

The ACAO and NACOR take the exam very seriously, and consequently all examiners are expected to uphold the integrity of the exam, regardless of the province you write in. There is no room in the exam for subjective marking, so everyone will get a fair assessment of their knowledge and skills.

The NACOR exam will be equally rigorous in any province, and that is a good thing. To protect both you and your patients, we need to make sure that you are confident and competent as an optician. An easy exam would fail to do that, and you might then find yourself in trouble down the line.




Exam Handbook

the rings of a bound book

Your definitive guide to the NACOR exam…

We have written up this web page to give you a crash course in what to expect of the NACOR exam, but for more detailed information, we highly recommend that you read through the Candidates Examination Handbook. This document lays out everything you need to know about the exam process, the theory exam, and the practical exam stations.