Medical Council of Canada

2017 MCCQE Part I FAQ


+ Should I use the MCCQE Review Notes (Toronto Notes) for studying?

Many people have access to a document called the MCCQE Review Notes (Toronto Notes), which contains study notes and a list of multiple-choice questions. Please be aware that this document is published by the graduating class of the University of Toronto and is a collection of information that these students feel is relevant. The information within has not been surveyed or ratified by the MCC and therefore this document is NOT a publication that is endorsed by the MCC.

+ Should I take a review course offered by a training facility?

The information offered within these review courses has not been surveyed or ratified by the MCC and, therefore, these courses have not been endorsed by the MCC.

+ Should I use one of the “ghost banks” of multiple-choice questions available on the Internet for studying?

You should be aware that these “ghost banks” are not official MCC questions and there is no guarantee that the information within the question is correct. In addition, there is no guarantee that the questions in a ghost bank are reflective of the content from the MCCEE, or the MCCQE Part I, or that the ghost bank covers the breadth of content on the examinations.

The MCC continually monitors these ghost banks to ensure that they do not include content from past examinations that could have been reproduced from what candidates remembered of the examination questions. All examination materials (including the questions comprising the examination) are the property of the MCC and are protected by copyright.

+ Why is the Medical Council of Canada Qualifying Examination (MCCQE) Part I multiple-choice component computer adaptive?

By using computer-adaptive testing technology, the MCCQE Part I becomes more efficient, flexible and valid. Adaptive testing aims to provide each candidate with an examination that is customized to his or her own level of achievement – as such, the examination can be shorter while retaining the same accuracy of pass/fail decisions.

+ Why is the clinical decision-making component not computer adaptive?

Well-established statistical models were readily available to implement the multiple-choice component through computer-adaptive technology but were not available for the clinical decision-making component. Additional research in this area may allow the Medical Council of Canada to use computer-adaptive technology for the clinical decision-making component in the future, but for now, the multiple-choice question component is the only part of the examination that is computer adaptive.

+ How does the computer-adaptive technology work?

In the morning session, when candidates take the multiple-choice question component of the MCCQE Part I, candidates have to complete seven sections of 28 multiple-choice questions. These questions are grouped for each of the disciplines covered in the examination (Medicine, Surgery, Pediatrics, Obstetrics & Gynecology, Psychiatry and Population Health, Legal, Ethical and Organizational Aspects of Medicine).

Candidates who perform very well in a section in a given discipline are presented slightly more difficult questions for that discipline in the next section. Candidates who score poorly within a section in a given discipline are presented slightly less difficult questions for that discipline in the next section.

The differences in difficulty from one section to another are small.

+ How much time do I have to answer the questions?

There are a total of 196 multiple-choice questions in the morning session. Since you are given 3 ½ hours to complete the multiple-choice question session and there are seven sections, we recommend that you do not spend more than 30 minutes per section. Each section contains 28 questions. You do not have a time limit for each section but rather a total multiple-choice question session time limit of 3 ½ hours.

For the afternoon clinical decision-making session, candidates are presented up to 45-55 cases for a maximum total of approximately 80 questions. We recommend that you spend no more than an average of three minutes per question. Cases with three or more questions may require more than the average amount of time, and cases with only one question should require less than the average amount of time. You do not have a time limit for each case but are given a total testing time of four hours for the clinical decision-making component.

+ Can I take a break during the examination?

Yes, but you are not given extra time to compensate for taking a break. You are encouraged to take a “stretch” break periodically during the examination; however, you should plan your time wisely. There will be a lunch break between the morning and afternoon sessions.

If you request a washroom break, you will be accompanied to the washroom by a proctor.

+ What do I bring to the examination room?

Your Entrance Card is required for you to be granted access to the examination room. You must sign this card when you receive it from the Medical Council of Canada. It should contain the personal identification number you were assigned when you scheduled your examination date as well as your candidate code.

You are not allowed to bring any other documentation or electronic devices such as calculators or handheld devices into the examination room. You are not allowed to bring any books or any paper materials.

You are provided a small white board that you can use to jot down notes during the examination. You are not allowed to bring the white board out of the examination room.

+ What time should I arrive at the examination site?

You should plan to arrive at the examination site at least half an hour before the actual examination start time. If you have never been at the examination site before, we recommend that you plan to visit the site before your examination day.

If you arrive late to the examination, you are not given extra time.

+ Can I leave the examination if I finish early?

If you are able to answer all questions from all sections of the morning session or all of the questions in the afternoon session before the end of the allotted time, you can leave the examination room.

+ Can I take a paper-and-pencil MCCQE Part I instead of a computer-based one?

No. The cost of maintaining two different examination formats would be very high and examination fees would need to be increased significantly to support both formats.

+ What if I lose my Entrance Card?

Your Entrance Card is needed to access the examination centre. Without this document, the Examination Site Co-ordinator cannot properly identify you and needs to contact the Medical Council of Canada offices before allowing you into the examination room. You would be required to show three pieces of identification. This process could entail some lost examination time that would not be given back to you. The Examination Site Co-ordinator has the discretion to deny a person access to the examination if he or she is not satisfied with the identification provided.