Medical Council of Canada

What happens on the day of an OSCE

What happens on the day of an OSCE

NEW: Candidate online orientation videos

Our priority during the COVID-19 is to ensure the safety of our candidates and all involved in our exams. For the upcoming sessions, the candidate orientation will be offered online. It is mandatory and very important that you view the online candidate orientation in full prior to attending the exam.

Medical Council of Canada Qualifying Examination Part II

Section 1 of 3 – MCCQE Part II exam candidate orientation

Section 2 of 3 – MCCQE Part II exam candidate orientation

Section 3 of 3 – MCCQE Part II exam candidate orientation

IMPORTANT: View the candidate test security video to better understand your legal and professional obligations as an examinee.

National Assessment Collaboration Examination

Section 1 of 3 – NAC exam candidate orientation

Section 2 of 3 – NAC exam candidate orientation

Section 3 of 3 – NAC exam candidate orientation

IMPORTANT: View the candidate test security video to better understand your legal and professional obligations as an examinee.

How to prepare for OSCE day

Before your examination date, you will receive a candidate information sheet through your account. The information will tell you:

  • The location, date, and time of the OSCE
  • The duration of the examination, and how long you will be sequestered before or after the examination
  • Parking details
  • What you can and cannot bring to the examination
  • Other important details

Here are examples of the MCCQE Part II candidate information sheet and the NAC Examination information sheet.

Personal items on exam day

To view the list of personal items you may bring on exam day, see:

When planning your travel:


  • Allow for adequate travel time to avoid traffic or parking issues. To maintain the integrity and standardization of these examinations, the staff is not able to admit candidates who arrive late.
  • Minimize the number of personal items that you bring. All coats, purses, backpacks, and other personal belongings must be checked at registration.
    • Storage space at exam sites is minimal
    • You will be able to access your personal items only after you have been signed out of the examination
    • While every effort is made to keep personal belongings secure, it is wise not to bring valuables
If you have any special exam-day requests or needs:
  • You must inform the MCC well in advance of the exam
  • Any special arrangements must be granted by the MCC
  • This includes the need to have access to medication during exam day

More information about exam special requests can be found on our Test accommodations page.

To study for an OSCE, we recommend:


  • Practice with others
  • Write sample stations and checklists
  • Use a timer and practice time management according to time allotted for different tasks
  • Review exam-specific orientation materials and pre-exam instructions (such as what time to arrive, what to bring to the exam, location, etc.)

If you are well prepared, you will be confident and able to perform at your best. Practice is essential as well as thinking ahead about what is likely to be tested.

Arriving for an OSCE

Once you arrive and register at your assigned examination centre, you will be given these items:

  • A pencil and notebook in which you can make notes

A site staff member will then provide important information and answer any questions you may have.

Breaks are not provided

Once the examination begins, washroom and other breaks are not provided.

If you need to use the bathroom during the exam, the staff will escort you to a washroom. Keep in mind that you will not be given additional time to complete the examination if you do take a break.

OSCE staff members you will meet


It takes many different people to develop and deliver an OSCE. On the day of the exam, you will meet several people, each with different roles and responsibilities.

Track supervisors, hall monitors and station timers

These administrative staff members are responsible for:

  • Guiding candidates between stations
  • Responding to concerns or issues that candidates may have while moving through the stations
  • Distributing and collecting examiner test sheets
  • Ensuring that the stations adhere to the time allotments
  • Reporting any exam-day issues to senior staff
Interacting with a Standardized Patient

A SP is either a healthy person or a person with chronic stable findings. They have been trained to present a real patient’s signs and/or symptoms in a reliable and consistent manner. You should interact with SPs as you would with your own patients.

In cases where there is a physical examination component, you will be expected to maintain physical distancing. You will be asked to verbalize to the PE what physical examination maneuvers you would perform and what you would be looking for. The PE will verbally provide findings.

Interacting with SPs also includes questioning them and responding to their problems. Your interaction with the SP is part of what the PE is assessing.

Interacting with a Physician Examiner

The PE observes the patient encounter. For most stations, the PE will ask you to respond to a series of oral questions after eight minutes with the SP. The candidate instructions (posted on the door and in the room) will indicate whether or not there are oral questions for that station.

While you generally do not interact with the PE, they may intervene in the following circumstances:

  • If they believe you have misunderstood the directions
  • If they believe there is a problem for the SP
  • To provide results for some tests. This only occurs at those stations where you are expected to order tests or investigations. Results are not given for all the tests or investigations that are ordered. Please note that ordering a certain laboratory investigation may be a correct procedure, even if no results are forthcoming.
  • As above, in stations with a physical examination component, the examiner will provide you with information or report findings to you as you describe your physical examination steps
Chief examiners and deputy registrars


These individuals oversee the examination process and personnel. Their responsibilities include:

  • Review and approve the readiness of SPs for the examination
  • Orient examiners on exam day
  • Answer examiner questions and advise on exam delivery issues as needed

Visit Moving through the OSCE stations to get an understanding of the structure of the examination.