Clinical stations

There are two types of stations in the Medical Council of Canada Qualifying Examination Part II: six-minute couplet stations and ten-minute stations

Couplet stations
Ten-minute stations

Couplet stations

Starting in fall 2014, each MCCQE Part II couplet station will be of six-minute duration. The candidate will have six minutes for the clinical encounter and six minutes for the patient encounter probe.

Six-minute clinical encounter: The candidate may be instructed to obtain a focused relevant history or conduct a focused physical examination while being observed by a physician examiner. The physician examiner will assess the candidate’s performance using standardized scoring instruments.

Six-minute patient encounter probe: Each clinical encounter station is paired with a six-minute station called the patient encounter probe where the candidate will, for example, perform some of the following tasks:

  • Review and interpret patient-related materials prior to the patient encounter
  • Interpret x-rays, computed tomography images, laboratory results, etc.
  • Record findings after the clinical encounter
  • Provide a differential diagnosis.
  • Detail an initial investigation or management plan

The Medical Council of Canada has noted a common error that candidates make on patient encounter written questions. If a written question reads, “List 3 factors that will determine this patient’s prognosis” or something similar, the key words to note are “3” and “this patient”. The candidate’s answer must be based on the information gathered from the patient. Generic answers relevant to the diagnosis but not relevant to the patient as well as extra answers will not be scored.

You can take a look at a history-taking example of a couplet station and an example of a physical examination couplet station. Both of these examples include the candidate’s instructions, the examiner’s checklist, and the patient encounter questions (with the correct answers).

Ten-minute stations

The ten-minute stations assess the candidate’s ability to obtain a history and/or conduct a physical examination, to demonstrate interviewing and communication skills and/or to apply management skills.

These stations are structured for the candidate to interact with the standardized patient for ten minutes. In some cases, the clinical encounter ends at nine minutes and is followed by a one-minute oral examination. The physician examiner may ask one to three pre-specified questions related to the patient problem. For all stations, the physician examiners observe the encounter and use standardized scoring instrument(s) to assess each candidate’s performance.

You can take a look at the following ten-minute stations examples: