Getting My Immigration and Refugee Board (“IRB”) License – Heron’s RCIC Reflects + Discusses Best Practices

By: Candy Hui, RCIC

On July 14, 2022, I found out that I had successfully passed the IRB License exam I wrote on June 8, 2022.

It was a happy and a bit unexpected result because I felt very rushed to prepare for the exam, with very limited choice to not go ahead with the exam.

I felt like I had little choice to not go ahead with the exam, because of the pending date to be licensed for IRB as of July 1, 2022, that has now been changed to July 1, 2023.

I feel that if the date change had happened before I had to register and sit for the exam, I may have waited for a later exam date because I am not a cram-type of student.

I am one that usually has a laid-out plan of how I would study for the exam to ensure that I have the greatest success over a period greater than the 10 odd days I had left between completing the Specialization Program Course (Cohort 7) and the June 8, 2022, exam date.

Despite the short period of time to prepare, I did what I usually did and made a study plan/goal of how much I wanted to cover per day.

I knew one of my weaknesses regarding IRB was all the different due dates/timelines for each of the tribunals. I recalled from a study material I purchased for the EPE (completed November 2021) that it had a timeline table, so I decided to make a timeline table specifically for IRB.

Because this IRB license exam was closed book, I knew (for me) the best way was to first organize all the information I would like to “memorize”, so I made many tables of information and completed my 59 pages “study booklet”. I divided the information into:

TIMELINE:

DEFINITION:

LEGISLATION:

And lastly, Course Notes material. Each of these sections/divisions was broken down into the corresponding IRB tribunals.

My study booklet helped me compartmentalize all the information and allowed me to read through multiple times and memorize/cram as much information as possible.

A note on the Specialization Program offered by College of Immigration and Citizenship Consultants (CICC). I really enjoyed the program. The asynchronous reading was a bit demanding to review, but I was able to complete all the readings and the PowerPoints. I think the quizzes were quite fair and the amount of work involved was doable while still balancing immigration practice (but this would depend on how busy you are as a practitioner).

I highly enjoyed the live tutorials with the two facilitator instructors and the feedback that was asserted through these sessions. I enjoyed seeing my Cohort 7 classmates once a month and a few of them outside of the live tutorials to do the class assignments and in our WhatsApp group. Due dates were quite close for the first two weeks of each course, but the two weeks after was a lot less stressful and gave time to read and process the information required or suggested to review.

On the day of the exam (June 8, 2022), I remember I was relatively calm, but I also had experience with taking an exam for (now) CICC through ProctorU. I know some of my classmates were a bit anxious about ProctorU due to not having the experience. I can assure you that the ProctorU people are extremely nice and shortly after you hit the “take exam” button, a live person will shortly connect with you to walk you through everything.

I took multiple breaks throughout the exam and went to get water a few times. I completed my “first attempt” on all the exam questions in a short period of time and had plenty of time to slowly go through the questions I wasn’t sure of again.

You can flag questions that you are unsure with, so it makes it easy to review these questions.

Now that I’ve taken the exam, I felt like this exam would have been much easier if I had experience with IRB and more experience with the immigration profession.

It had questions that I did not expect, but this is like any exam – you can never really know exactly what questions will come up.

I would suggest that you study for this exam like the EPE, including reviewing material that is outside of the IRB scope.

Best of luck to my colleagues that are about to take the exam and to the rest of you – thanks for reading!

Sincerely,

Candy

Editor’s Note: Candy can be contacted at candy@heronlaw.ca

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