Examination FAQs

Exam FAQs

Will I be able to take the exam at a location near my house?

The availability of an appointment at a location near your home cannot be guaranteed. However, the sooner you schedule your appointment for exam, the wider your options will be. In some situations, you may be required to travel up to 250 miles or 402 kilometers from your home.

When are the exams offered each year and in which languages?

The IBCLC exam is offered in April and October each year. The exam administration dates are listed on the Key Dates page. Please note that the April exam is only offered via Computer-Based Testing (CBT) in the English language. The October exam is offered via CBT in all of the following languages. Paper and pencil (PPT) exams are only offered in remote areas where CBT is not available:

CBT Languages

  • Chinese Traditional
  • Croatian
  • Danish
  • Dutch
  • English
  • French
  • German
  • Greek
  • Hungarian
  • Indonesian
  • Italian
  • Japanese
  • Korean
  • Polish
  • Portuguese
  • Slovenian
  • Spanish
What happens if I don’t pass the exam can I take the next exam offered?

You will be able to apply to resit the exam at the next exam seating in that language. If you are taking the exam in English via CBT then you have the option of the April or October exam. If you are taking the exam in a non-English language and/or by Paper and Pencil, you will be able to apply to sit the October exam. Information about reapplying will be provided at the time of the exam results. If you don’t pass the IBCLC exam, then you are eligible to receive a 50% discounted exam resit fee for the next three exam attempts or up to three years following the first time you don’t pass. Both initial and recertification exam candidates are eligible for the discounted rate. This discount was effective starting with the 2016 examinations and the fee amount can be found in the Candidate Information Guide in the Fee Schedule section.

When will exam results be available?

April exam: End of June, with a certification start date of July 1
October exam: End of December, with a certification start date of January 1

What topics are tested on the examination and does IBLCE offer an assessment guide?

The Detailed Content Outline outlines the subject matter that is tested on the certification examination. Each item, or question, on the examination is referenced to a particular discipline and chronological period listed on the blueprint. IBLCE does not currently offer an assessment guide.

Where will the examination be given?

Computer-based testing (CBT) centres are provided by a major testing vendor and appointments for a seat at the testing centre of your choice must be made. In localities where CBT centres are not available, the exam will be offered by paper and pencil at exam sites determined by IBLCE.

IBLCE is one of many certification boards and organisations for which the CBT vendor provides testing centres. For this reason, reservation blocks for IBLCE exam appointments are available for a specified period of time each year and it is important that candidates take responsibility for making their appointments promptly. Neither IBLCE nor the CBT vendor can guarantee IBLCE exam candidate’s appointments close to their home.

How can I apply and what type of payment does IBLCE accepts?

The English application is available online via the Credential Management System. Additional application languages are available on each translated IBLCE website section.

Our system accepts payment by credit card and prepaid credit card. Mastercard, VISA, American Express and Discover cards are accepted. Payment is accepted in US dollars only. Payment in other currencies will be converted to US dollars based on the exchange rate for the date of transaction.

Will the CBT centre provide all the equipment I need for the exam?

Yes, the centre will provide you with all the equipment and materials you need to take the IBLCE exam.

How will I know the location of the CBT centre where I will take the exam?

Once you make an appointment, a confirmation email will be sent to you. This email will include the location of the CBT centre where you are scheduled.

When I make my appointment with the CBT centre, will I need to pay a fee?

No. You will not owe any money when you make your appointment.

What can I expect when I arrive at the CBT centre?

You should take 2 forms of identification with you to the CBT centre and at least one form of identification must include your photo. When you arrive at the CBT centre, you will need to register with the test centre supervisor, your identification will be inspected and your picture will be taken. In addition, you will be required to store your personal items (e.g. jewelry, watches, bags) in a locked locker or cabinet designated by the test centre supervisor. Also, please note that you may be asked to demonstrate that your pockets are empty. Candidates who are wearing a cast due to a fractured limb may be subject to inspection as are candidates with tattoos. In some cases, candidates may be asked to remove jewelry or other adornments. Please understand that these measures are part of standard test centre security procedures.

May I reschedule my appointment for a different CBT centre?

Rescheduling is possible until a date specified by IBLCE so long as appointments are available.

What time should I arrive at the CBT centre?

Please plan on arriving 30 minutes before your scheduled appointment time.

What will happen if I am late for my appointment?

If you are late you are subject to being dismissed and will not be able to take the exam and will forfeit all rights to any refund of your exam fee.

What if I have an emergency on the day of the exam and cannot make my appointment?

Please contact IBLCE as soon as possible with details about the nature of your emergency.

Will I be allowed to bring water or a snack to the test center?

You may bring bottled water and/or a small snack to the CBT centre but you will be required to keep the water and snack in your assigned locker, along with your purse, backpack, mobile phone and other personal belongings. Please ask the test centre supervisor about where you are permitted to eat and drink. Liquids can damage keyboards and other computer equipment. Therefore, you may not have water at your examination seat.

Will I be allowed to take a break to use the restroom?

Yes, you may take a break to use the restroom. You will not be given any additional time on the exam to make up for the time used. When you return from the restroom, the test centre supervisor must re-admit you to the testing room.

What is the exam format?

The exam is composed of multiple choice questions. Part 1 of the exam is multiple choice questions without images and Part 2 is multiple choice questions with images.

How long will I be given to take the exam?

The examination is typically 4 hours. However, if there are accommodations, additional time will be given.

Will I be allowed to go back and review questions that I have already read and/or answered?

Yes. You will be permitted to review questions in each exam session. The exam is administered in two parts and you will be able to review questions in each part of the exam, i. e., once you have submitted Part 1, those questions can no longer be reviewed.

I’ve never taken an exam by computer. Can you tell me what to expect?

IBLCE’s CBT vendor provides a tutorial and practice exam that will familiarize you with how to navigate through an exam. This tutorial and practice exam is not specifically about the IBLCE examination but it will give you a good idea of what to expect. Please note that the tutorial will not run on a Macintosh computer.

Will I be allowed to use my mobile phone when I take a break during the exam administration?

No. Mobile phone use is prohibited during breaks. Breaks are part of your exam appointment and using your mobile phone during a break is cause for dismissal from the examination. The Candidate Information Guide states, “Use of electronic devices such as cell phones is not allowed during the exam. Candidates found in possession of and/or using such devices during the exam will be dismissed and their examinations will not be scored. There are no exceptions to this rule.”

Can I choose to sit paper and pencil exam?

The IBCLC exam is offered as a computer based exam worldwide. Paper and pencil exams are only offered either due to extraordinary circumstance, or where computer testing centres are not available, as determined by IBLCE.

What information will be on my score report?

The one-sided score report is a summary of your individual performance in each of the scientific disciplines (objectives) that were tested. In the column “Points” there are 2 sets of numbers (note that all numbers are reported with two decimal places). The first number is the number of points (items) you answered correctly and the second number is the total number of points (items) in that category. This analysis will help you to identify your particular areas of strength and weakness and to plan for your continuing education.

The content area scores by discipline on the score report are not used to determine pass-fail decision outcomes.  They are only provided to offer a general indication regarding candidate performance in each content area. The examination is designed to provide a consistent and precise determination of a candidate’s overall performance and is not designed to provide complete information regarding a candidate’s performance in each content area.  Candidates should remember that areas with a larger number of items (questions) will affect the overall score more than areas with a fewer number of items.  The precision and consistency of scores diminishes with fewer items, and therefore, sub-scores should be interpreted with caution, especially those that correspond to content areas with very few items.