Practice makes perfect | Medical Council of Canada
Close this search box.
NewsPractice makes perfect

Practice makes perfect

September 24, 2018

Practice Tests for Clinical Decision-Making now available

Preparing for the Medical Council of Canada Qualifying Examination (MCCQE) Part I just got easier, thanks to new Practice Tests for the Clinical Decision-Making (CDM) portion of the exam. Released in mid-September 2018, six weeks ahead of the fall examination, these preparation aids will help candidates to take their best shot at the exam.

Layal Younes, the Project Lead for Online Assessment, says CDM questions “are difficult to explain. Faculties of medicine and test-takers alike have expressed to us that they would like to have the ability to practice them.”

The Medical Council of Canada (MCC) heard this request and responded, creating a CDM Practice Test that joins an existing Multiple-Choice Question (MCQ) Practice Test already available. For each type of practice test product, three forms with different questions can be tried, at a cost of $100 for each form.

How Practice Tests help

The CDM portion of the exam presents clinical situations and two types of questions about them:

  • “short-menu,” a list of several options from which the candidate selects one or many, and
  • “write-in,” for which the candidate types their answers.

Practice test products are designed to help candidates develop familiarity with both of these question formats.

“It does prepare candidates to understand what the modality is,” explains Dr. Claire Touchie, MCC’s Chief Medical Education Officer, as well as orienting test-takers to the content.

Quotation marks


Practice tests go through the same development process as the exam. The questions are developed by MCC subject matter experts and refined and approved by test committees.”

Ms. Layal Younes,
Project Lead for Online Assessment, MCC


This differs from practice tests developed by companies outside of the MCC. “Some have examples of CDM, but they are not developed by MCC content experts and may not be representative of the exam,” cautions Ms. Younes.

Candidates complete the Practice Tests on a website with many of the same functions on the actual exam — highlighting, striking-through, and the ability to flag and review previous questions.

The correct answers are provided in the Practice Tests. This feature will also be available in a full-length Preparatory Exam, to be released in early 2019. An exception to this is the write-in questions, for which the Practice Tests provide a marking key. Seeing the marking key allows candidates to mark themselves and provides an understanding of what MCC is looking for in a good answer to a write-in question.

Giving all candidates an opportunity to get ready

“One of the main things that drove the development of these Practice Tests was that we’re going international,” explains Ms. Younes. As of 2019, the MCCQE Part I exam will be administered around the world. While this gives more international medical graduates (IMGs) the chance to try the exam, they may not be familiar with the exam structure and content.

“We want IMGs and Canadian medical graduates to both be well-prepared for the exams” says Ms. Younes.

It all comes down to giving candidates their best chance to shine. As Dr. Touchie says, “If candidates are comfortable with the question formats, then on exam day, they will not be struggling with that. Instead, they will be proving that they have mastered the content.”