Medical Council of Canada

Exam day

Exam day

This page provides an overview of what to expect on the day you take the Medical Council of Canada Qualifying Examination (MCCQE) Part II.

We invite you to consult the FAQ and the Candidate Information Sheet, which addresses several questions we have received from candidates and stakeholders on the MCCQE Part II virtual exam format.

MCCQE Part II – Coronavirus disease (COVID-19)

The COVID-19 pandemic has impacted the way in which we deliver performance assessments such as Objective Structured Clinical Examinations (OSCEs). We are adjusting the Medical Council of Canada’s Qualifying Examination (MCCQE) Part II so that we can continue to offer candidates the opportunity to challenge the exam and deliver a high-quality and psychometrically defensible exam in the face of COVID-19 challenges.

We are shifting to a virtual exam delivery offering for the MCCQE Part II, to begin in May 2021. In addition to virtual exam delivery, we are also looking at more frequent exam delivery and moving away from only offering exam sessions twice per year in 2021. This will allow us to reduce the backlog and be able to offer a timely exam experience to the 2021 candidate group. We look forward to offering a safe, efficient and reliable exam experience to candidates resuming their route to licensure.

Technological and environmental requirements

You will need:

  • a stable internet connection with a minimum upload/download speed of 5 MBps, with no other users or streaming activity on your network during the exam
  • a computer/laptop with working webcam and microphone (wired headphones or computer speaker with a built-in microphone), and plugged directly into a power source
  • a quiet, clutter-free, private and secure indoor space to do the exam for confidentiality purposes; medical images or equipment must not be visible; children and pets may not enter the testing space during the exam.

More specific details:

Environmental requirements
Testing space The space must be indoors (home or office)
The space and participants must be well lit, free from any glare or shadows.
Clutter and inappropriate or distracting objects must be removed
Medical images or equipment must not be visible.
Only the candidate may enter and be present in the testing space during the exam; no one else may enter, including children and pets.
The area must be free of additional electronic devices, including printers and additional monitors; the candidate must be able to move their webcam/laptop to display their surroundings
The use of virtual backgrounds is prohibited.
Network and connectivity No other users or streaming activity is permitted on your network.
Disconnect or turn off any additional devices in the testing space to avoid background interruptions (e.g., printer, fax machine)
Technological requirements
System A laptop or a desktop computer; laptops must be directly plugged into a power source
A stable internet connection (wired or wireless) with a minimum upload/download speed of 5 MBps (Internet speed testing: https://www.speedtest.net/)
Devices Webcam or high definition (HD) webcam
Hardware Free hard drive space of 20 GB or more
4 GB RAM or more
Software Operating system: Windows 8 or higher or Mac OS X 10.9 or higher
Web browser: Chrome 90.0 or higher

 

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Personal items on exam day

To ensure the integrity and security of the exam, when you login and go through the check-in process, you must disclose all items that you are accessing during the exam. These items must be presented for a visual inspection.

You will be permitted a beverage in a clear bottle or glass with no label. Eating is not permitted while the exam is in progress. During the designated break periods, you will be permitted to leave the room at which time you may eat and refill your beverage.

As we explain in the candidate orientation modules, your exam station should be clear of any personal items.

Items you must bring with you to the exam Items for which you do not need permission in advance (will be inspected during security checks) Items for which you must get written permission in advance (will be inspected during security checks) Items not permitted in the secure exam area 
  • Valid government-issued photo identification that is in English or French.
  • Five sheets of paper for note-taking
  • Pens and/or pencils
  • Candidate Information Sheet
  • Beverage in clear bottle or glass with no label
  • Wired headphone and microphone (strongly recommended)
  • Ergonomic mouse and/or keyboard
  • Adjustable height desk and/or chair
  • Large monitors and/or second monitor
  • Glucometers and insulin pumps that do not require smartphone connectivity
  • Hearing aids
  • Medication (lotion, eye drops, lozenges, tablets, inhalers or EpiPen®)
  • Lip balm
  • Eyeglasses
  • Casts, slings, braces
  • Mobility aids (crutches, cane, scooter, wheelchair)
  • Unpackaged tissues
  • Food, in a clear plastic bag to be accessed during the exam
  • Any medical device that requires a smartphone or transmitting technology such as WiFi or Bluetooth
  • Breast pumps, which require corresponding breaks to pump outside of the exam area

Please contact the MCC at candidateaffairs@mcc.ca to request advance permission to access personal items.

More detailed information can be found here.

  • Bluetooth/wireless headset/microphone
  • Wallet
  • Purse
  • Documentation of any kind
  • Electronic and image capturing devices, including smartphones and other mobile devices. If you have a phone, you will be asked to show it for inspection and place outside your testing area.
  • Watches of any kind (digital, analogue, smart watches)

Candidate identification, check-in and orientation

The MCC released three candidate modules to assist your preparation. The topics are exam overview, samples stations and technical training. They are available on the Preparation resources page.

Exam security and confidentiality

Access to communication devices, including telephones or cell phones, during the exam will not be permitted.

On the day of your exam, after you log into SIMULATIONiQ™, you will be asked to accept a Confidentiality Agreement and Code of Conduct, thereby agreeing 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 during or after the examination ends.

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.

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Reporting illnesses and incidents

Illness or extenuating circumstances

If you are unwell or have extenuating circumstances that might negatively affect your performance before starting or if you have already started the exam and you want to withdraw, please send a chat through SIMULATIONiQTM to your invigilator immediately. Then, submit a message through physicianapply.ca account notifying the MCC of your decision.

Technical difficulties

Please notify your invigilator immediately if you experience technical difficulties during the exam.

Exam day incidents

If you experience a procedural irregularity or incident that may negatively affect your performance, please notify your invigilator and notify the MCC by submitting a message through your physiciansapply.ca account within the next seven days.

The MCC may not thoroughly investigate concerns relating to exam day incidents reported after seven days past your scheduled exam appointment.

If you choose to start the exam, it will count as an attempt, even if you cannot finish it.

Conflict of interest

The MCC considers that a conflict of interest exists in situations where the examiner or standardized participant 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 participant has been previously identified (there is an outstanding complaint in another context)

Knowing or being known to an examiner or standardized participant is not generally deemed a conflict of interest.

Prior to exam day, report a potential conflict of interest to the MCC by contacting coi@mcc.ca. On exam day, immediately communicate such concerns to the invigilator through the SIMULATIONiQ™ chat at the time of the examination session.Once you start the examination, it will count as an attempt even if you cannot finish it.

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Navigating the examination

Invigilation staff will greet you after you have logged into the SIMULATIONiQ™ system. They will confirm your identity and will ensure that the space where you are taking the exam meets the MCC technological and environmental requirements. The invigilator is there to assist you through the exam process and can respond to your questions.

Performance at the OSCE stations

In an exam station, you may be required to perform one or more of the following:

  • Elicit a history
  • Tell the examiner what focused and relevant physical examination manoeuvres you would perform and explaining to them what you would be looking for
  • Manage and provide management for a patient
  • 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 health care professionals

If you finish the encounter early, you must wait in the station. If you remember something more that you would like to do, you may re-engage the standardized participant at any time until the end of the station, except in stations with oral questions.

In stations with oral question(s), when there is one minute remaining, the examiner will ask you one to three questions. In these stations, you will not be allowed to continue interacting with the participant after the questions are asked.

At the end of the encounter, you must leave the station and move to the next one.

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Length and types of stations

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.

14-minute encounter stations (T stations) – 8 stations
  • 8 stations, one of which is a pilot station and will not count toward your total score
  • Consist of encounters with standardized participants (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. The examiner may be a physician or a highly trained non-physician. You may also be scored by an SP.
  • The content in one station does not link to the content in the next station.
  • You may be assigned to start at any station.
  • At the beginning of each station, you will have a three-minute “waiting period”. This will allow for all participants to enter the station and to ensure their audio, video, and microphone are working. You will then have two minutes to read the candidate instructions, after which the interaction will begin.
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6-minute paired stations (C stations) – 4 stations
  • 4 pairs of six-minute stations. One of the pairs is a pilot and will not count toward your total score.
  • In most stations, 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. You may also be scored by an SP.
  • You may be assigned to start at any station.
  • In these stations, the first 6-minute component provides information required to complete the second 6-minute component.
  • The following are examples of paired stations you may be presented with:
    • Non-interaction + interaction
      • First component: Reading a patient chart
      • Second component: Meeting with the patient
    • Interaction + interaction
      • First component: Meeting with a patient
      • Second component: Meeting with the patient’s family member
    • Interaction + non-interaction
      • First component: Meeting with a patient
      • Second component: Completing a questionnaire about the patient
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What is assessed in the stations?

  • Obtaining a focused history
  • Verbalizing a physical examination
  • Managing an acute patient problem
  • Organizing a discharge
  • Discussing goals of care
  • Delivering difficult news
  • Dealing with forgetful or angry patients
  • Providing advice
  • Interacting with colleagues
  • Addressing conflicts within the healthcare team

Visit our Preparation resources page for more information.

Moving from station to station

Candidates will be automatically moved from one encounter to the next. More information will be available shortly. More information will be available shortly. Please consult the Preparation resources page.

Candidate instructions

At the beginning of each station, you will have a three-minute “buffer period.” This will allow for all participants to enter the station and adjust ensure their audio, video, and microphone are working. You will then have two minutes to read the candidate instructions, after which the interaction will begin.

Read the instructions for each station carefully as they provide information about the setting, participant and the task. Pay attention to the verbs in the task – these will dictate what is expected in order to receive credit.

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. Instead of doing the physical examination, tell the examiner what you would do and what findings you would be looking for (for example, “I would assess the patient’s grip strength looking for weakness in the right hand”).

The instructions for each station are always available. If they are not displayed on your screen, you may ask the examiner to do so at any time. 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 (management or counseling station). Vital signs, test results and/or elements of the family history may be provided. You can take notes before and during the encounter.

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The following is an example of the candidate instructions:

Jonathan Jones, a 65-year-old man, presents to your office because he has been experiencing abdominal pain.
IN THE NEXT 6 MINUTES:

  • TAKE A FOCUSED AND RELEVANT HISTORY
  • TELL THE EXAMINER WHAT PHYSICAL EXAMINATION MANOEUVRES YOU WOULD PERFORM AND EXPLAIN WHAT YOU WOULD BE LOOKING FOR. THE EXAMINER WILL PROVIDE YOU WITH RELATED FINDINGS.

A key word in the instructions is FOCUSED. You are expected to obtain a focused and relevant history and to also be selective when verbally indicating which physical examination manoeuvres you would do and what you would be looking for when assessing the patient’s abdominal pain.

Props

In some stations, props will be provided.

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.

Written questionnaires

In some non-encounter components in the paired stations, you will be asked to answer extended match questions.

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 beginning to answer the questions.

Candidate behaviour

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.

Invigilator staff

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 have technological issues, if you feel ill or if you have any additional questions regarding examination logistics.

Sign out

At the end of the examination, please follow the sign-out procedures. Please remember that by signing the confidentiality agreement, you agree not to discuss examination content, even once the examination is over.

Exam day incidents

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 invigilators during the examination session.
  • submit a written report to the MCC via your physiciansapply.ca account detailing the incident within one week following the examination.