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
You must wear a plain white lab coat that does not have a university or hospital crest for the duration of the exam. The following equipment must be carried in your lab coat pockets, as no bags will be allowed during the exam:
- A stethoscope (non-electronic)
- A reflex hammer
- A printed copy of your Entrance Card
Please note that our onsite management procedures relating to sanitary products at our examination sites are under review. Further updates will be provided prior to the next examination session.
What not to bring to the MCCQE Part II
- You are not permitted to bring any electronic devices, including mobile devices and electronic stethoscopes
- 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.
- Writing materials such as pens, pencils and erasers are not allowed – these will be provided
- Please refrain from bringing large bags to the examination centre as storage space is limited
- Do not bring food. A light snack will be provided depending on your examination schedule.
Exception: If you require access to restrooms, food or medication during the conduct of the exam, you will need to obtain the MCC’s written permission beforehand. Access to these items will only be possible if you have received prior approval from the MCC.
Please see the Test Accommodation page for more information.
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.
At registration, 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 MCC is not responsible for these belongings. Please bring as few of them as possible.
You will be asked to sign a Confidentiality Agreement and a Code of Conduct form and we will provide you with a notebook, a pencil and an identification badge. 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 before the start of the examination.
Note: 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.
By signing the Confidentiality Agreement and Code of Conduct, 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 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 other or 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 your 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 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 in the notebook. This notebook must be returned intact at sign-out (including the sheet of unused labels).
When you receive your notebook, it will be sealed. Please do not open it until you are instructed to do so, just prior to the start of your first station.
Complaints and conflict of interest
If you believe that procedural irregularities, emergent circumstances or illness 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.
Note: 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 considers 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 it. 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 available to provide directions. Both days of the examination include registration of candidates, an orientation session and sometimes sequestration periods.
You may be sequestered for up to two hours before and/or after the examination during which time you will not be allowed to leave for any reason, and you will not have access to your belongings. Some sequestration periods occur in silence to maintain exam confidentiality.
Performance at the OSCE stations
In an exam station, you may be required to perform one or more of the following:
- Elicit a history
- Conduct a focused physical examination
- Manage/resolve a patient problem
- Assess and manage an urgent or emergent situation
- Counsel a patient and/or family member(s)
- Answer oral or written questions (extended match multiple choice questionnaire)
- Summarize and present findings to an examiner or colleague
- Read or reference materials pertaining to the patient’s situation, such as articles, charts, test results, medication lists or summaries
- Interact with physicians or other healthcare professionals
If you finish the encounter early, you must wait inside the station quietly. If you remember something more that you would like to do, you may re-engage the standard patient at any time until the final signal, 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 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 examiner. In some stations, the examiner may provide you with the findings of these examinations.
Length and types of stations
You will be presented with problems related to 12 clinical scenarios: 8 on day 1 (Saturday) and 4 on day 2 (Sunday). You are expected to complete 12 stations, even though 2 stations could be either a waiting or a pilot station and do not contribute to your total score.
There are 2 types of stations included in the MCCQE Part II: 14-minute stations and 6-minute paired stations. The characteristics and components of each of these stations are provided below.
Day 1 (Saturday) – 14-minute encounter stations (T stations) – 8 rooms
- 8 stations of which 7 stations will count towards your total score. The 8th station is a wait or pilot station that will not count towards your total score
- Consist of encounters with standardized patients or standardized professionals (SPs) such as physicians, nurses or other health care professionals
- In most stations, you are observed and scored by an examiner based on your interaction with the SP
- There are no content linkages between stations
- You may be assigned to start at any station
- You will be given two minutes to read the instructions posted by the door. After two minutes, the signal will sound for you to enter the room. You will be given 14 minutes in the room; a warning signal will sound at the 13-minute mark. A second (final) signal will sound at the end of the station. After this final signal, you must leave the room and go to the next station. You will have 2 minutes to do so and to read your instructions.
Day 2 (Sunday) – 6-minute paired stations (C stations) – 8 rooms
- 4 stations of which 3 will count towards your total score. The 4th is a wait or pilot station that will not count towards your total score
- Each station is comprised of 2 6-minute components in any combination:
- Encounter component
- Consists of encounters with SPs. In most cases, you are observed and scored by an examiner based on your interaction with the SP. The examiner may be a physician or a highly-trained non-physician.
- Non-encounter component
- Consists of a reading task or responding to one or more extended match questions
- Content dependencies exist between the odd and even numbered stations
- One component (odd numbered room) usually provides information required to complete the second component (even numbered room)
- You must complete station 2 immediately after station 1, station 4 immediately after station 3, etc.
- You will start the examination in two waves on Sunday. In the first wave, if you are assigned to an odd-numbered first station, you will start the examination. Once you complete the first component, you will move to the second component and the second wave of candidates (those assigned to an even-numbered first station) can then begin their examination in the associated odd-numbered station.
- You will be given two minutes to read the instructions posted by the door before the encounter and non-encounter components. 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 (final) signal will sound at the end of the station. After this final signal, you must leave the room and go to the next station. You will have 2 minutes to do so and to read your instructions.
- Encounter component
Visit our Preparation resources page for more information.
Moving from station to station
The identification badge you receive at registration will indicate your first station. After completing your first station, you will proceed to the remaining stations in numeric order.
No talking is allowed outside the rooms or between stations.
Exam staff will guide you and answer your questions during the exam.
A set amount of time (2 minutes) 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 examiner. In some stations, you may be required to hand two labels to the examiner. The number of labels to hand to the examiner will be indicated at the bottom of the Candidate instructions. At the sound of the signal, enter the room and proceed with the required task.
For more information on the tasks to be completed during the examination, please refer to the OSCE orientation.
Note: Read the instructions for each station carefully as they provide information about the setting, patient and the task. Pay attention to the verbs in the task – these will dictate what is expected in order to receive credit.
For instance, in a physical examination station, you must greet the patient briefly, explain what you are doing and what your findings are, including pertinent negative findings. This way the examiner can accurately assess your skills. Explaining yourself to the patient is sufficient for credit – you do not need to repeat yourself to the examiner if you feel you have adequately identified what you are doing, as well as, what you are finding. You must demonstrate your clinical skills. You will only get credit for tasks completed to the examiner’s satisfaction.
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 may 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.
In some stations, props will be provided either inside or outside the room or both. In stations where a physical examination may be performed, any additional medical equipment, other than a stethoscope and a reflex hammer, will be available in the room.
When provided with lab results, normal values will also be provided for your reference.
You are expected to know doses of commonly prescribed medications. However, in some stations, reference pages from the Compendium of Pharmaceuticals and Specialties (CPS) may be provided.
Other props may also be provided in any given station. Please do not write on the props and leave them in the room when you exit.
In some non-encounter components on Sunday, you will be asked to answer extended match questions.
Place one of your ID bar code labels and write your initials on the sheet in the space provided.
Read the questions carefully before answering. Do not fill in more bubbles than specified in the question and wait until the start of the station before writing on the sheet.
Disrespectful behaviour is considered an unprofessional act that can lead to being denied your 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.
Site staff will be available throughout the day for your questions and to guide you. Please do not hesitate to ask staff for help; if you don’t know where to go, if you forget something in the previous station, if you feel ill or if you have any additional questions regarding examination logistics.
At the end of the examination, please follow the sign-out procedures by handing in your notebook (intact), your pencil and your ID badge prior to retrieving your personal belongings. Please remember that by signing the confidentiality agreement, you agree not to discuss examination content, even once the examination is over.
If you believe that problems encountered during the course of an examination session may significantly affect your result, you must:
- immediately communicate such concerns to site staff during the examination session in question so they can complete an incident report; and
- submit a written report to the MCC via physiciansapply.ca detailing the incident within one week following the examination.