Medical Council of Canada

Clinical Decision Making

Clinical Decision Making

The Clinical Decision-Making (CDM) component of the exam consists of up to approximately 45 to 55 case descriptions, with one to four questions each, for a total of up to approximately 80 questions. The exam questions are grouped by the following disciplines: Medicine, Surgery, Pediatrics, Obstetrics and Gynecology, Psychiatry, and Population Health, Legal, Ethical and Organizational Aspects of Medicine. Family Medicine content is covered in all six disciplines. The maximum time allotted for this component of the exam is four hours.

The CDM component assesses problem solving and Clinical Decision-Making skills. You will be presented with case descriptions followed by one or more test questions that assess key issues in the resolution of the case. You may be asked to elicit clinical information, order diagnostic procedures, make diagnoses or prescribe therapy. Your decisions should reflect the management of an actual patient.

This component includes questions in both short-menu and write-in formats.

Tips on Clinical Decision Making

The following is a video featuring tips that will help you understand and prepare for the CDM component. We explore in the video time management, question instructions, scoring and scenario details.

Please note that the graphical elements in the video are not representative of the examination.

Click here to read the candidate instructions for the MCCQE Part I Clinical Decision Making component.

CDM example

Case 1

A 13-year-old girl has a three-month history of intermittent diarrhea, weight loss, and muscle weakness despite an increased and voracious appetite. She has also experienced intermittent palpitations. Her parents report that her school performance has declined over the past few months. She also gets upset easily, and is unable to concentrate well. Her sleep pattern is irregular. Physical examination detects a mild tremor of the fingers with the arms outstretched. Her palms are moist. Her blood glucose level is 4.5 mmol/L.

Use the information above to answer the following questions.

Question 1 (Case 1)

What is the most likely diagnosis? List up to three.



Hyperthyroidism (Graves’ disease) – 1 point
Listing more than 3 answers – 0 points
NOT ACCEPTABLE – Listing “Thyroid disease” as an answer

Question 2 (Case 1)

Which initial investigations will you order at this time?
Select up to three answers.



Selecting Serum T4 and T3 – 1 point
Selecting more than 3 answers – 0 points