This page provides an overview of what to expect on the day you take the Medical Council of Canada Qualifying Examination (MCCQE) Part II.
What to bring to the MCCQE Part II
- A plain white lab coat without a university or hospital crest
- A stethoscope (non-electronic)
- A reflex hammer
The equipment must be carried in lab coat pockets, as no bags will be allowed.
What not to bring to the MCCQE Part II
You are not permitted to bring any electronic devices, including smartwatches and electronic stethoscopes. Writing materials such as pencils and erasers are not allowed – these will be provided.
Registration and orientation
Prior to examination day you will be provided with an Entrance Card via an Exam Package in your physiciansapply.ca account. You must print this card and bring it to gain admission on exam day.
We will collect your personal belongings such as keys, papers, wallets, cell phones, as well as coats. They will be stored until after the examination. While every effort will be made to store them safely, the Medical Council of Canada (MCC) is not responsible for these belongings. Please bring as few of them as possible.
We will also provide you with an identification badge, which will indicate the number of your first station. Please arrive on time for registration. If you are more than 15 minutes late, you may be denied entry to the examination.
Immediately following registration, you will attend an orientation covering the logistical details of the examination. You will be able to ask questions.
Once you choose to begin the examination, it will count as an attempt even if you cannot complete the exam.
Exam security and confidentiality
You will not be allowed to talk to other candidates once the exam has begun. Access to communication devices, including telephones or cell phones, during the exam and sequestering period will not be permitted.
Please note, you are not permitted to wear watches of any kind (i.e. digital, analogue or smartwatches) on exam day. Clocks will be provided in every OSCE station on exam day.
As part of the exam process, you agree not to disseminate or reveal to others the examination materials and content. This means that you cannot discuss or disclose exam content (including patient portrayals and findings, oral questions, cases, etc.) at any time in any way even after the examination ends (this includes during sequestering).
Examples of breaches in confidentiality include, but are not limited to:
- Comparing patient responses with your colleagues
- Sharing content with future exam candidates
- Posting information online
The MCC actively monitors for breaches in exam security and confidentiality, and will seek disciplinary and legal measures against candidates who disclose examination content. Agreeing to maintain confidentiality and then breaking that confidentiality by disseminating exam content is considered a highly unprofessional act.
Breaking confidentiality and disseminating exam content can lead to being denied a final result on the examination and being reported to regulatory authorities and other medical organizations as well as being barred from taking MCC exams in the future.
Candidate identification numbers are printed on bar code labels that will be distributed to you at registration. You will be asked to give a label to the physician examiners as you proceed from station to station. In addition, you will be required to wear your identification badge.
We will provide a small notebook that you may use for writing notes while taking the examination. Only one notebook will be provided and no pages can be added. The notes in the notebook will not be scored. Your ID label will be attached to the notebook cover, and your bar code labels will be included inside the notebook. This notebook must be returned intact at sign-out (including unused labels). No pages or parts can be torn or ripped out.
Complaints and conflict of interest
If you believe that administrative, environmental or personal health problems encountered during the exam may significantly affect your results, you must:
- Immediately communicate such concerns to the Deputy Registrar or Senior Staff on site at the time of the examination session
- Complete an incident report at the exam centre as soon as possible after the incident
- Submit a message through your physiciansapply.ca account detailing the incident within one week following the examination
Any intervention, if appropriate, is possible only if notice of the concern/problem is presented in this manner. Concerns relating to exam day occurrences cannot be investigated after this deadline.
If you have concerns about a potential conflict of interest, you are strongly encouraged to contact the MCC before exam day. If, during the examination, you encounter an examiner or standardized patient where a conflict exists, you should:
- Exit the station and inform the staff immediately. Once staff are notified, they will make alternate arrangements for the administration of the specific station for you.
- Submit a message through your physiciansapply.ca account informing the MCC of the occurrence within one week of the examination.
The MCC takes the view that a conflict of interest exists in situations where the examiner or standardized patient is:
- Related by blood or marriage to the candidate
- Is or has been in a significant business or social relationship with the candidate, or is a professional colleague
- Where a conflict of interest relating to the candidate and such examiner or standardized patient has been previously identified (there is an outstanding complaint in another context)
Knowing or being known to an examiner or standardized patient is not generally deemed a conflict of interest.
Discontinuation of examination
Once you start the examination, it will count as an attempt even if you cannot finish. If you choose to discontinue the examination, you will be asked to sign a standard waiver form on exam day.
Navigating the examination and duration
Signs will be posted to help you navigate the exam, and staff will always be nearby to provide directions. Both days of the examination include registration of candidates, an orientation session and sometimes a sequestering period for a total time of approximately two hours on Saturday and one and a half hours on Sunday.
Performance at the OSCE stations
In an exam station, you may be required to:
- Obtain a history and/or conduct a physical examination
- Address patient concerns regarding results, a diagnosis or a medical problem
- Counsel the patient
- Manage a patient problem
- Consult with a colleague
If you finish the patient encounter early, you must wait quietly. If you remember something more that you would like to do, you may re-engage the patient at any time until the final signal/announcement except in stations with oral questions.
In stations with oral question(s), the examiner will ask you one to three brief questions after the first warning signal. In these stations, you will not be allowed to continue interacting with the patient after the first warning signal.
After the final warning signal sounds, you must leave the station and move to the next one. You may not leave the station early.
Do not carry out genital or rectal examinations. In a station where you believe that such an examination is appropriate, you should inform the physician examiner. If there are relevant findings needed to complete the clinical encounter, or answer the oral questions, the physician examiner will provide these findings to you.
Length and types of stations
The Saturday session consists of clinical encounter stations only. You will be given two minutes to read the instructions posted by the door. After two minutes, the warning signal will sound for you to enter the room. You will be given 10 minutes in the room; a warning signal will sound at the nine-minute mark. A second warning signal will sound at the end of the station. After this signal, you must leave the room and go to the next station.
The Sunday session consists of couplet stations, each one featuring a clinical encounter and a patient encounter probe. In some administrations of the examination, one of the couplet stations may be replaced with a 14-minute encounter station.
The patient encounter probe may take place after or prior to the clinical encounter. In patient encounter probes, you may be asked to perform tasks such as answering questions or reviewing patient-related materials prior to the clinical encounter.
You will be given two minutes to read the instructions posted by the door before the patient encounter probe. After the two minutes, the signal will sound for you to enter the room, and you will have six minutes in the room. A warning signal will sound at the five-minute mark, and a second signal will sound at the end of the station.
At a few stations, you might not have to wait to enter the room after reading the instructions. Exceptions to this timing will be clearly indicated in the candidate’s instructions.
If your exam features 14-minute stations, you will be given two minutes to read the instructions posted by the door before the station. After the two minutes, the signal will sound for you to enter, following which you will be given 14 minutes in the room. You will hear a warning knock at the 13-minute mark. Please ignore the 5-, 6-, and 8-minute signals. Pay attention to the door knocks instead. A second knock will sound at the end of the station. At this point, you must leave the room and proceed to the next station.
Visit our Preparation resources page for more information.
Moving from station to station
A set amount of time is allowed for moving to the next station and for reading the posted instructions. During this time, remove the bar code identification label from the sheet, to have it ready to give to the physician examiner. At the sound of the signal, enter the room and proceed with the required task.
Read the instructions for each station carefully. For instance, in a physical examination station, you must greet the patient and report what you are doing and your findings (to both the patient and the physician examiner) as you carry out examination manoeuvers. You should not ask questions to the patient during a physical examination station unless the questions relate directly to the examination itself; for example, “Does it hurt when you raise your arm?” Conversely, it is not appropriate to carry out physical examination maneuvers in a history station.
In a combined history/physical examination station or a management station (completing tasks that are necessary to manage the patient’s problem at that moment), it is up to you to prioritize the tasks. If there is a nurse in the station, you must direct the nurse to carry out whatever tasks are expected. The nurses are not allowed to initiate actions without direction from you.
The instructions for each station will be posted next to the door and will be available inside each room. The instructions will provide the patient’s name and age, the presenting problem, the setting (family practice clinic or emergency department), and the type of station (a management or a counseling station). Vital signs, test results and/or elements of the family history may be provided. You can take notes while waiting to enter a station.
The following is an example of the candidate instructions:
|Examiner oral question(s):
|Jonathan Jones, a 65-year-old man, presents to your office because he has been experiencing abdominal pain.|
|IN THE NEXT 5 MINUTES:
CONDUCT A FOCUSED AND RELEVANT PHYSICAL EXAMINATION.
As you proceed with the physical examination, EXPLAIN TO THE EXAMINER what you are doing and DESCRIBE ANY FINDINGS.
After the 5-minute warning signal, the examiner will ask you 2 brief questions related to this patient.
GIVE ONE LABEL TO THE EXAMINER.
A key word in the instructions is FOCUSED. You are expected to conduct a physical examination relevant to assessing abdominal pain. There is no requirement (and no marks are given) for obtaining a history; marks will only be given for the manner of the physical examination and for the specific maneuvers that are performed.