If you are a medical student in Canada, one of the most important examinations you will face is the MCCQE – the Medical Council of Canada Qualifying Examination. You will need to pass two parts of the examination in order to become a Licentiate of the Medical Council of Canada (LMCC). The title of an LMCC is a major requirement needed to apply for an independent practice license in Canada.
What is MCCQE?
In order to pass the MCCQE exam with flying colors, you need to understand well what the MCCQE is. The first part of the MCCQE is a computer-based assessment that takes a single day to take. During the test, you will have to answer 210 multiple-choice questions about various domains of medicine, as well as 38 clinical decision-making cases. The questions will be based on the MCC Objectives, organized under the CanMEDS roles. After you complete Part I of the MCCQE, you will be able to enter supervised practice. Prepare well for the exam, which takes place at the end of your medical school.
Apart from being allower to enter supervised practice and take Part II of the MCCQE, there is an additional motivation to passing the MCCQE Part I the first time you take it – the application fee is over $1,300! If you do not want to spend that money again, prepare well for the examination.
MCCQE Part II is a bit different from the first part – instead of a computer-based multiple-choice test, you will have to pass through a series of clinical stations, each with a different problem for you to solve. Your skills, competencies, and knowledge will be tested through these stations. You can expect to be tasked with applying your medical prowess in practice, showing professional behavior in simulated scenarios, as well as creating clinical plans for simulated patients.
How MCCQE Part I is scored:
After you are finished with the MCCQE Part I, your score will be calculated by combining the scores you achieve from the multiple-choice questions and the clinical decision-making cases. For both MCQs and CDM, correct answers will award you 1 point, while incorrect answers are scored 0. Some clinical decision-making cases include multiple elements, allowing you to receive more than 1 point for a single case. Finally, the points are calculated using each question’s level of difficulty. The total MCCQE Part 1 score ranges from 100 to 400, with a passing score of 226. The pass/fail decision is made solely on your total amount of points and you do not have to answer any specific questions correctly in order to pass.
The way you receive results of the MCCQE Part I may be a bit unusual to you – you will receive two score reports. First, you will receive a Statement of Results – this includes your final result and total score, along with the examination pass score (currently 226). You will also receive additional information and domain subscores with the Supplemental Information Report, that will allow you to know what exactly you lacked during the exam.
How MCCQE Part II is scored:
The second part of the MCCQE is scored in a different way than Part I. Instead of scores being given for every question, your performance will be graded by examiners at each of the stations. The examiners will study your interactions with Standardized Patients at each station, scoring your performance in standardized score sheets. Each station might feature a different score sheet, with different checklists and tasks you were to accomplish. Most stations feature rating scales, so the scores are not as simple as 0 or 1.
Don’t just rush through each station – make sure you carry out anything that is necessary. It is better to proceed with tasks that might not be fully necessary than to forget about a crucial one. The examiners will judge your ethical and professional behavior, including handling troublesome patients, so remember to stay calm and focused. Moreover, if you happen to make a critical lapse in behavior, you may be disqualified from the entire exam. If an examiner marks a critical lapse in behavior, that error is evaluated by the Central Examination Committee.
In contrary to Part I, you won’t know your exact score after Part II – you will only receive a Statement of Result with a passing or failing grade. You won’t know the exact score for every individual station, and you won’t know where you made mistakes. Internally, the examiners will grade every station with points, the sum of which will have to be higher than the passing score. Sadly, the participants are not allowed to know the details.