Candidates conclude: The Preparatory Exam provides a valuable experience | Medical Council of Canada
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NewsCandidates conclude: The Preparatory Exam provides a valuable experience

Candidates conclude: The Preparatory Exam provides a valuable experience

June 11, 2019

MCC reached out to candidates for their feedback on the new MCCQE Part I Preparatory Product

Candidates preparing to write the Medical Council of Canada Qualifying Examination (MCCQE) Part I had access to a new preparatory tool this spring: the Medical Council of Canada’s (MCC’s) Preparatory Examination (PE), available in English and French. The MCC spoke with several Canadian candidates who provided candid comments about the value of their experience using this new study tool that is a full-length simulation of the MCCQE Part I.

“Most of us have not been exposed to the Clinical Decision-Making (CDM) style questions throughout medical school, so it’s important to get some exposure. This experience really reassured me that I’m on the right track,” says a medical graduate who studied using the PE.

Quality content and helpful features

The PE, like the official exam, is based on an assessment Blueprint that aligns examination content with current health-care needs and best practices in medicine. The Qualifying Examinations’ Blueprint aims to ensure that physicians’ critical core competencies, knowledge, skills and behaviours for safe and effective patient care are being appropriately assessed.

The questions on the PE are developed by MCC subject matter experts and refined and approved by at least two test committees of several physicians. This means that over the approximately eight-month process to develop each question, roughly 20 physicians have reviewed each piece of content. All content in the PE has been pre-tested (piloted) with Canadian Medical Graduates to ensure the item performance parameters are met.

Once test takers complete the PE, they are given a raw score, but it is not linked to the MCCQE Part I pass score. Some candidates use the PE at the beginning of their preparation to gauge what areas they need to study more, while others use it at the end to ensure they are ready. Some candidates take the PE in timed exam mode, while others use the self-paced option where they can look at the answer key as they go through each question.

“I enjoyed going through the [timed] exam mode. You had to budget your time appropriately and you had to know how much time you can spend on a question. When I was studying before doing the PE and got to an answer I didn’t know, I’d go read up on it. You couldn’t do that in the timed mode and that’s important practice, because when it comes time to writing the exam, you need to be able to move on, and perhaps come back to it,” mentions a candidate from Queen’s University.

The PE also includes the correct answers, along with a detailed rationale and references for each question. Candidates said the PE was especially valuable to provide insight into how to answer MCCQE Part I questions.

“The answer keys are restrictive, so it was helpful to see how specific I have to be to get the answer,” explains a candidate from Western University.

Preparation equals confidence

Many candidates use a variety of tools and resources to study, and costs can add up. Candidates were asked with their new knowledge of all the available practice material: Would they invest in the PE if they had to retake the MCCQE Part I?

The answer was “yes.” Some students would still use more than one tool to study, but overwhelmingly they said the PE would be essential to their preparation. The students confirmed their results would guide their studying by identifying their strengths and weaknesses.

“It’s a bit expensive, but I think it’s worth it, because it gave me a lot of confidence that I was ready for the MCCQE Part I,” affirms a candidate from the Université de Montréal.

Another candidate from the same university says, “It consolidated the things that I wasn’t sure I was ready for, and it put emphasis on the things that I should study more.”

The MCC is proud to offer candidates high-quality resources to prepare for their qualifying exams. MCCQE Part I candidates are invited to consult the Exam preparation resources web page containing information about the MCC’s Practice Test Portal, as well as free online resources, including sample questions and instructional videos, frequently asked questions, and more.

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Learn more about the MCC Preparatory Products available to help you study.
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MCC Preparatory Products (2019 fees) :

  • One PE is available for purchase featuring 210 Multiple-Choice Questions (MCQs), 38 CDM cases and costs $520
  • Three CDM test forms are available for purchase – each featuring 14 CDM case scenarios with one to four questions per case and costs $120
  • Three MCQ test forms are available for purchase – each featuring 100 MCQs and costs $120
  • All test takers can provide feedback on their Practice Test experience via an online survey. The MCC’s aim is to enhance the Practice Test experience based on this valuable input.
  • Organizations interested in purchasing a group of MCCQE Part I Practice Tests on behalf of their test takers should visit our bulk purchasing page for more details