Who is afraid of the NCA examinations?
Me. That’s who. When I attempted these exams, I was cognizant of the fact that each year sees thousands of internationally trained candidates navigate the licensing process in Canada. Before they can attempt the Bar exams, or apply for articling positions, such candidates are required to obtain their Certificate of Qualification (CQ). The National Committee on Accreditation (the NCA) assesses the credentials of these candidates and offers them a platform to take exams and procure their CQs. I have been swimming in these waters for over 400 days. This is the story of that swim.
To someone who has been through the process in Ontario, it overly feels like being part of a gold rush – there’s an able candidate at every corner, and everyone is deploying all strategies possible to strike gold. Or at least earn nuggets significant enough to show your participation there. As with the gold rush, there’s not enough to go around for everyone. That is the understatement of the year - even if that year is 2020!
When I began writing this piece, I was still waiting for the results of two NCA exams. I had taken them in August 2020, amidst all the chaos that the pandemic brought and continues to bring into our lives. Like most people who wrote the exams with me, the wait was accompanied with increasing anxiety. While there was hope that this story would end well, precedent dictated that I move onward and forward regardless of the outcome.
Before we dive into my NCA experience, here’s a little about me: I completed my LLB along with a degree in arts from a premier Indian university. During those 5 years at law school, I spent my summers and winters interning in a variety of spaces – from advocating for juvenile justice and environmental rights to participating in exciting cross-border transactions.