Medical Council of Canada

What happens on the day of an OSCE

What happens on the day of an OSCE

How to prepare for OSCE day

Before your examination date, you will receive a candidate information sheet through your physiciansapply.ca 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 ensure the integrity and security of the exam, on exam day when you register at the registration desk, you must disclose all items that you are taking into the exam. These items must be presented for an unobtrusive visual inspection. This inspection can be done at the registration desk, or it can be done in a more private location.

Items you must bring with you to the exam Items for which you do not need permission in advance Items for which you must get written permission in advance Items not permitted in the secure exam area or during sequestration
  • Plain white lab coat (no university or hospital crest)
  • Stethoscope (non-electronic)
  • Reflex hammer
  • Printed copy of your Entrance Card (from your physiciansapply.ca account)

 

 

  • Medication (pills, capsules, lotion)
  • EpiPen®
  • Nitro spray
  • Inhaler (puffer or pump)
  • Glucometer, hearing aids, insulin pump (with no electronic transmitting capabilities)
  • Lozenges (unwrapped to reduce noise during the exam)
  • Menstrual products
  • Medicated oral or nasal spray
  • Lip balm
  • Eyeglasses
  • Crutches
  • Cane
  • Any medical device that requires smartphone or transmitting technology
  • Medical assistive equipment
  • Food for dietary requirements
  • Breast pump
  • Mobility aids (scooter, wheelchair, chair)
  • Electronic stethoscope
  • Syringes/needles

Please contact the Medical Council of Canada (MCC) at candidateaffairs@mcc.ca to request advance permission to access personal items listed above.

More detailed information can be found here.

  • Coat
  • Keys
  • Wallet
  • Purse
  • Documentation of any kind
  • Electronic and image capturing devices, including smartphones and other mobile devices
  • Watches of any kind (digital, analogue, smartwatches)
  • Writing materials (pens, pencils, paper)
  • Tissues (available on site)
  • Large bags
  • Food

You must hand in these items to exam staff at registration. Staff will store these items until after the exam and any sequestration period. Storage space is limited; bring as few of these items as possible.

While every effort will be made to store your items safely, the MCC is not responsible for these belongings.

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 set of labels to give to the examiner for identification of your exam sheets

You will then attend an orientation session. The presenter will:

  • Explain exam behaviour and security
  • Provide important information regarding acceptable exam behavior and security of examination material
  • Explain the number and length of examination stations, the time between stations, and the signal system used to keep time
  • Show you where you can find the instructions for each station and other important information
  • Explain the roles of the people you will encounter throughout the OSCE
  • Answer any questions
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
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.