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Exam success starts at medical school

June 19, 2023

Many schools choose to purchase the Medical Council of Canada (MCC)’s preparatory products in bulk to support their students preparing for the Medical Council of Canada Qualifying Examination (MCCQE) Part I, including 12 of the 17 Canadian medical schools.

The full-length Preparatory Examination (PE) and the half-length PE-Lite are the most popular choice for these schools, including the University of Calgary (UCalgary)’s Cumming School of Medicine and the Royal College of Surgeons in Ireland (RCSI)’s University of Medicine and Health Sciences. Both schools are dedicated to the success of their students and offer robust exam preparation support. Dr. Janeve Desy, the Assistant Dean of Evaluations and Research at UCalgary, conveys, “we really want our students to do well on the MCCQE Part I.”

For both UCalgary and RCSI, the MCC’s preparatory products are a valuable resource they offer to their students, but are just one of the ways they support students to prepare for the MCCQE Part I.

Canadian exam preparation in Ireland

Fionnuala Rahilly is the Career Development Manager with the Centre for Mastery: Personal, Professional & Academic Success at RCSI. She explains that their graduates achieve “consistently high match rates for residencies in the UK, Middle East, North America and Southeast Asia. With a global alumni community working across 96 countries, a significant proportion of the graduating class each year have hopes of matching to a residency in Canada. We offer a tailored program for each student addressing each stage of their career for up to three years post-qualification.”

A substantial number of challengers to the MCCQE Part I do, in fact, come from Ireland every year. From April 2022 to March 2023, 5% of all candidates listed a medical school in Ireland. That might not seem like a lot, but it is the third highest country of medical school for all exam candidates after Canada and Nigeria. One reason for this is the high number of Canadian citizens choosing to attend medical school in Ireland and planning to return home to Canada after graduation. Also, many Middle Eastern graduates of RCSI are sponsored by their home country to pursue residency in Canada.

From Ms. Rahilly’s point of view, the value of the MCC’s products is the “Canadian content to balance out the curriculum that is not Canadian specific.” After declaring their intention to seek a Canadian residency position, students at RCSI are provided access to the MCC’s prep products. “The practice material is very similar to the real exam, so the MCC products are very helpful for our students as a study aid.” She also explained that in addition to the MCCQE Part I, some students find themselves preparing for US or European licensing examinations, as well as preparing for final academic medicine exams. She acknowledges this “requires considerable effort, planning and determination.”

Exam preparation at UCalgary

Here in Canada, exam preparation for students at UCalgary is all but part of the curriculum. Dr. Desy is the chair of the university’s MCCQE Part I Review Course. For up to two weeks, experts in each subspecialty run question-based review sessions and students work through cases as a group and talk about why one answer is correct and another is not.

She explains, “one of the things we noticed was that we had no Clinical Decision-Making questions in our curriculum, so the students weren’t exposed to that question type until they actually wrote their MCCQE Part I.”

UCalgary purchases preparatory products from the MCC and provides them to students as additional practice. “We think it’s excellent because it’s the closest estimate of the types of questions that they will see on the exam, and it’s the only place where they can see questions that were created by the MCC.”

Students report feeling well prepared following the review course and experience with the MCC’s preparatory materials, and Dr. Desy indicated that a feeling of preparedness correlated with a more positive exam experience.

Set up for success

The MCC is proud to offer high-quality resources to prepare for the MCCQE Part I, and we are pleased that medical schools see value in offering these directly to their students.

You can read about the experiences of past students using the MCC’s preparatory products here.

About the MCC’s preparatory products

The MCC offers a suite of high-quality study materials to candidates preparing for the MCCQE Part I. The products continue to evolve to respond to the changing needs of candidates.
Learn more about the available MCC preparatory products to help you study or purchase now.

The MCC is defining a new MCCQE Part I assessment model. Until 2025, the examination remains unchanged, as do our preparatory products.

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You may wish to consult our FAQs for further information on our preparatory products and the Practice Test Portal.

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.