There are two types of stations in the Medical Council of Canada Qualifying Examination Part II: couplet stations and 10-minute stations.
This station consists of a six-minute clinical encounter with a standardized patient and another six-minute session called a “patient encounter probe” where you may complete activities such as reading a chart or article or interact with someone related to the case.
Six-minute clinical encounter
You 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 assesses your performance using standardized scoring instruments.
Six-minute patient encounter probe
Each clinical encounter station is paired with a six-minute patient encounter probe where you may 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
A common error that candidates make on patient encounter written questions is providing generic answers and too many responses. If a written question reads, “List 3 factors that will determine this patient’s prognosis”, your 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).
The 10-minute stations assess your 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 you to interact with the standardized patient for 10 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 your performance.