The MCCQE1 Exam: Everything You Need To Know

Medicine is a rewarding career, but it’s not easy to get into, and when you are in the process of becoming a doctor, many things need to be taken into consideration. One of them, which takes a lot of people by surprise, is the Medical Council of Canada Qualifying Examination (MCCQE) part 1 exam. Passing the MCCQE1 exam is an important step for medical students in Canada. The exam pass certification will allow them to obtain a license to practice medicine in Canada.

Many medical students are in for a lot of surprises in this area. Unfortunately, they have to deal with this in the middle of their studies. The MCCQE 1 exam is not just an exam that you have to pass, but it is an exam that you have to prepare for. Not only that, you have to prepare for it to pass it. The MCCQE exam is a serious test of your medical knowledge, but it’s also a test of your clinical decision-making and ability to integrate that medical knowledge into your everyday life.

So what is the MCCQE 1 exam really about?

This article will cover all you need to know about the MCCQE1 exam, including definition, format, content, preparation tips, test-taking strategies, and anything else you’ll need to know to pass the exam. If you are going to take the MCCQE 1 exam soon, here is a shortlist of things you should know before you take the exam.

What is the MCCQE1 exam?

What is MCCCQE1
The Medical Council of Canada Qualifying Examination (MCCQE1) is an exam that is designed to test your clinical knowledge and skills as a medical student and assess whether you possess the skills and knowledge required to practice medicine in Canada. You must pass this examination to become eligible to apply for a license to practice medicine in Canada.

The MCCQE1 exam is often recognized as one of the most challenging tests globally; unlike the NAC OSCE, the MCCQE1 exam is a one-day, computer-based examination.

It is based on the Medical Council Of Canada (MCC) Objectives, as outlined in the MCCQE1 Blueprint (CanMEDS roles). The exam is one a requirement for licensing in Canada and continuing to postgraduate study, and upon successful completion of all exams Nac OSCE and MCCQE1 exam, you will be eligible to continue into postgraduate training in Canada.

What Is On The MCCQE1 Exam?  

The MCCQE part 1 exam includes six disciplines: internal medicine, surgery, pediatrics, obstetrics, gynecology, psychiatry, Population Health, ethical, Legal, and Organizational Aspects of Medicine (PHELO). The MCC has published a list of objectives for each subject. All practice test content will align with the MCCQE Part I test specifications and the constraints of the new blueprint.

What Is The Format Of The MCCQE1 Exam?


The MCCQE Part 1 exam is computer-based and lasts a whole day. The exam day is divided into two parts with a 45-minute break, and each part has its own time. Every MCCQE 1 exam begins in the morning with multiple-choice questions (MCQs), followed by a 45-minute break in the afternoon and clinical decision-making (CDM) cases, which we will dissect and discuss each part of the MCCQE1 exam in detail below.

The CDM part of the MCCQE1 exam is significantly different, is more relaxed but requires your full attention and set to assess your clinical decision-making skills. You will spend 3.5 hours in the afternoon session to answer 38 cases that we will discuss in detail later below.

CDM and MCQs in the MCCQE1 exam are meant to assess medical knowledge and clinical decision-making ability in two major categories of the MCCQE1 blueprint: the dimension of care and physician activities. It is, therefore, wise to keep the MCCQE1 blueprint in mind while preparing for the MCCQE1 exam and covering the MCC objectives.

Read more about the MCCQE1 blueprint.

On exam day, the MCCQE1 exam software will keep track of your activities during the exam. The progress bar displays your progress during the exam, and the interface clock shows how much time is remaining. The clock starts when the exam begins and does not stop until the exam is over. The scheduled break is programmed into the exam clock. You can, however, pause the exam — not the exam clock — at any moment for an unscheduled break, but keep in mind that the exam clock is not stopped. We’ll go through the gap during the exam in more detail below.

When the exam is about to end, the clock will warn you with a notification. It will notify you three times: once at 30 minutes, once at 15 minutes, and once at 5 minutes before the exam’s finishes. Once you’ve completed the exam, don’t forget to submit it.

Multiple-Choice Question Part Of The MCCQE1 Exam

MCCQE1 Mcqs

The first part of the MCCQE1 exam comprises 210 MCQs, 35 of which are pilot questions that will not influence your overall score and are not indicated on the exam. This part of MCCQE Part I will take a maximum of four hours to complete. Each MCQ consists of a question stem with five options, only one of which is the correct answer. Just click on one of the five options to answer the question. You may always change your answer by selecting another option, and there is no penalty for answering wrong, so answer every question. The number of answer options for the Multiple-Choice Questions (MCQs) changed as of the April/June 2021 session of the MCCQE1 exam. Answers now range from three to five, and the number of options varies from question to question.

All MCQs will be presented in a single block, so you can view all of the questions freely move between questions. You can go up and down the question list or flag questions. This feature – flagging question – is quite helpful and will come in handy throughout the MCCQE1 exam. It will save you time and perhaps the exam if used correctly. We will discuss this feature in detail in the exam preparation section under time management.

MCQs can only be submitted once – either when you complete the component and are ready to submit it or when the timer runs out and the computer closes the exam and submits it on your behalf. In any case, once the answers for the MCCQE1 exam have been submitted, they cannot be changed.

The Clinical Decision-Making Part Of The MCCQE1 Exam 

CDM exam part of the MCCQE 1 will take a total of 3.5 hours to complete. The CDM consists of 38 cases with 1-4 questions per case, followed by several options. Thus, the total number of questions on CDM cases will range from 60 to 70. Eight of the 38 CDM cases are pilot cases that do not count to your overall score and are no identifying marks on CDM pilot questions.

The CDM cases and questions are presented in one block. Questions of CDM cases will be presented in a short menu or write-in format, and some of them might have photographs, diagrams, x-rays, and other illustrations.

Short-Menu Questions:

In a Short-menu question, you have to select the correct answer(s) from provided answers option. Unlike MCQ’s, CDM case questions will provide between 10 and 30 different answer options. Each question includes particular instructions. In certain questions, you may be required to select only one of the options, or you may be required to select as many as appear appropriate. Read the question and follow the instructions since it will help you decide the number of options to choose as the correct answer.

Write-In Format:

In write-in format, you should type in the correct answer. When a CDM case question asks you to provide only one solution, you should write in only one answer. You need to pay attention; writing more than one response will result in a score of zero regardless. For example, “Airway assessment” would count as one answer, but “airway, breathing, circulation (ABCs)” would count as three gets zero scores.

In the CDM part of the MCCQE1 exam, your decisions must be based on an actual patient’s evaluation. Therefore, there are no penalties for answering the questions wrong. However, if you exceed the maximum number of permissible answers or choose a response that is considered hazardous or dangerous to the patient, you will earn a score of zero on the question.

Taking A Break During The MCCQE1 Exam:

mccqe1 break
There are two types of a break on the MCCQE1 exam day unscheduled and scheduled breaks. Scheduled break:

There is only one scheduled break which is flexible and for 45-minute that will begin once you finish the MCQs component in the morning.

Flexible means you can take less than a 45-minute break if you choose to start the CDM component early, but this does not offer you more test time. On the flip side, taking more than 45 minutes of a break will shorten the exam time, and you may lose a few clinical cases because the exam clock will automatically start immediately after 45 minutes.

Unscheduled Break:

The unscheduled break is a break where you pause the exam, not the exam clock- to leave the examination room with the intention of returning for any particular reason. Several unscheduled breaks are permitted during the exam. What you should know is that unscheduled breaks are managed within the allocated exam time, which means the exam clock will continue to count down without stopping, and if your unscheduled break lasts more than 45 minutes, the proctor will terminate your exam.

Application & Eligibility For The MCCQE1 Exam: 

While there are over 500 Prometric test centers in 80 countries and hundreds of remote proctors available, scheduling for the MCCQE 1 exam is on a first-come, first-served basis, and finding a specific exam date can be tough sometimes. Therefore you should try to reserve your preferred date and location as early as possible after you meet the eligibility requirements for the MCCQE1 exam and successfully register at physiciansapply.ca. Then, you should apply through your physiciansapply.ca account.

Currently, the MCC, due to COVID-19, has launched a new model of the MCCQE1 exam delivery, remote proctoring. You remote proctoring can try If you have a good internet connection and meet all its requirements. However, you can read more about remote proctoring here.

As soon as you schedule your exam with Prometric, they will email you a 16-digit confirmation number and additional instructions. Please keep this number handy for rescheduling/canceling your appointment and accessing the details of your appointment on the Prometric website.

How To Apply For The MCCQE1 Exam:  

The application for the exam must be made through your physiciansapply.ca account. Create a physiciansapply.ca account if you don’t already have one. Your application will be reviewed when you have paid the application fee. After your application has been approved, you will receive instructions on scheduling your exam through your account. There is a first-come, first-served scheduling policy, so schedule for your MCCQE1 exam as soon as you become eligible.

How To Schedule For The MCCQE1 Exam?

You can schedule your exam with Prometric after you’ve successfully scheduled your exam. The Prometric center will provide you with a confirmation number, which will be displayed near the top of the confirmation page. If you do not obtain a confirmation number, the scheduling process must be repeated.

How Much Does The Test Cost?

As of 2021, the MCCQE1 exam costs $1,330

What Is The Passing Score For The MCCQE1 Exam?

The MCCQE1 test requires a passing score of 226. The average exam score is a scaled score of 100 to 400, with a mean of 250 and a standard deviation of 30.

How Is Score Calculated In The MCCQE1 Exam?

The MCCQE1 exam score will be calculated by adding MCQ and CDM scores. Each correct answer is worth one point for MCQs and CDM questions, and each incorrect response is worth zero. However, some CDM case questions have several correct answers, and if you answer them correctly, you receive more than one point. Assume a CDM case question has four correct answers. If you choose all four correct answers, the question is answered correctly. Therefore,  you will earn 4 points for this CDM case question. On the other hand, you will earn a zero point if you fail to follow the instructions (select additional choices) or choose an answer that puts the patient in danger or harms the patient.

The MCCQE1 exam total score is displayed on a range of 100 to 400, with a passing score of 226. The exam is graded as a pass/fail.

How Do I Get My MCCQE1 Test Results? 

checking the MCCQE1 exam result

You will receive an email and a message in your physiciansapply.ca account notifying you that you can check your final MCCQE Part 1 result (for example, pass, fail) through your account.

However, You have other options like:

  1. Option of sharing your results online with various medical organizations across Canada. This option is available free of charge through your physiciansapply.ca account.
  2. Option to transfer examination result documents and exam details to third parties by utilizing the File Transfer Service available through your physiciansapply.ca account under Other service requests.

Can I Improve The MCCQE1 Score?

The answer is no; once you have a pass the MCCQE1 exam, you can’t retake the exam. Can I retake the MCCQE 1 exam if I fail?

Yes, you can, but the number of MCCQE1 exam tries is limited to five in total.

However, there are things worth mentioning here. First, after the third MCCQE1 exam attempt, you must wait one year from the time you get your results before reapplying for the test for the fourth time.

After four failed attempts at passing the MCCQE1 exam, a special authorization for a fifth attempt might be requested. A request for a fifth attempt must be submitted within one year of obtaining the result of the fourth attempt and by sending a message through your physiciansapply.ca account with the subject line: Fifth attempt request.

What Are Preparation Resources For The MCCQE1 Exam?

Once you are preparing for the MCCQE1 exam, go through each clinical presentation and carefully read the related MCC objectives. However, keep in mind the MCCQE1 blueprint as well. Since CDM and MCQs in the MCCQE1 exam are meant to assess medical knowledge and clinical decision-making ability in two major categories of the MCCQE1 blueprint: the dimension of care and physician activities.

Toronto Notes has long been regarded as the top resource for MCCQE1 exam preparation, and this recommendation is not without merit. It is a Canadian textbook written by the University of Toronto (UOT) medical student that covers all of the specialties and subspecialties necessary for the MCCQE1 exam. Because it is a Canadian textbook, it includes the most recent Canadian guidelines as well as disease prevalence patterns in Canada. However, it is not recommended as the primary go-to resource, as most people preparing for the MCCQE1 exam rely on the Toronto note as a credible reference. Because it has comprehensive bullet points and summaries, it would be an excellent addition to a question bank.

How To Prepare For The MCCQE1 Exam?

MCCQE1 exam
You will most likely be in your last year of medical school when you prepare for the MCCQE1 exam, and you may not have much time due to clerkship rotations. Your notes and textbooks are excellent starting, but your MCCQE Part 1 exam preparation strategy should involve more than content revision.

Consider purchasing a question bank subscription at least six months before the MCCQE1 exam date, so you have enough time to practice with questions, familiarize yourself with the exam format, and assess your preparation before the exam day.

Ace Qbank is the only Canadian question bank that has singed questions based on the MCC objectives, constantly updating content to enhance your learning experience. It has over 2000+ high yield questions, many Clinical Decision-Making (CDM) cases, and several self-assessments available to high yield challenging clinical vignettes.

Mccqe1 Cancellation/ Withdraw:

Cancel MCCQE1
You must pay a CAN$38.14 fee to Prometric if you need to reschedule or cancel your MCCQE1 exam. Appointment less than 30 days in advance. Prometric allows you to cancel or reschedule your appointment online or by phone. Your appointment confirmation number is 16 digits long, so you will need it to reschedule or cancel the exam.

Appointments that are less than 120 hours before the exam cannot be rescheduled. Your application costs will be lost if you do not attend your exam appointment or cancel it less than 120 hours (five days) before the day of your exam.

Why Choose Ace Qbank?

Ace Qbank’s top priority is to help you master the MCCQE part 1 exam and achieve clinical success. At Ace Qbank, our MCCQE1 content authors are practicing physicians with extensive clinical experience. Having been where you are, we know how to prepare you for success. Ace Qbank challenging MCCQE1 practice questions and detailed explanations cover every Medical Council of Canada (MCC) objective you will face on the test and in real-life practice.

Practice questions in an exam-like interface to become familiar with the exam’s look and feel as you prepare to take the MCCQE1 exam in the days, weeks, and months leading up to your exam. Ace Qbank is the only question bank in Canada that integrates recent evidence-based medicine into all its questions based on the MCC objectives. Ace Qbank is meant to serve as a reference for the MCCQE1 exam as it covers all aspects of primary care, diagnosis, management, and prevention in all medical disciplines.

Question Bank Features: 

High-yield, challenging questionAce Qbank questions are as tough as the MCCQE1 exam, so you will be prepared for the actual exam.

In-depth explanationit will not leave you confused; its in-depth explanations for correct and incorrect answer options will help you understand the entire concept.

User-Friendly Interface:

A simple, user-friendly interface lets you create and customize question blacks as you wish.

Enhance Retention:

Many colorful summary tables, algorithms, and hundreds of clinical images

Great Customer Service:

Ace Qbank provides quick, friendly, and reliable customer service.

Test-Taking strategy for Attempting The MCCQE1 Exam:

Many doctors generally argue that standardized testing is more of a “test-taking skills” exam than a measure of medical knowledge and clinical decision-making skills, which for the most part, is fairly significant. Thus, generally, we believe that the most prepared applicant will be knowledgeable about the exam objective and thoroughly comprehend the test-taking strategy.

The following suggestions were derived from a discussion, review of the literature, and our own tried-and-true strategies from previous successes and failures. These are offered as an extra resource and should never be used to persuade you to choose the best answer based on your knowledge. On the other hand, these methods are useful when stumped or confounded on a board exam, which is not uncommon.

Without A Clue: 

when stumped on a board exam, there are three basic forms of guessing: random, cued, and educated (informed). Medical examinees seldom make choices based on random guessing, preferring instead to make cued or informed guesses. Using the cued or informed guess, one can take out all answer options that are judged to be wrong. By eliminating these incorrect options, the odds of successfully answering a question increase significantly.

Long Questions: 

When reading long questions, it is common to discover that extensive clinical details are rather unimportant to the clinical picture presented. When confronted with a lengthy question stem, read the first two lines (to obtain key information), skip to the last sentence (to find out question instructions), and then go through the options. Contrary to common assumptions, this strategy will help you by minimizing the amount of time you spend on a question. Imagine having to read the lengthy question again in order to select the correct answer.

Time Management: 

MCCQE1 is a timed exam, which means that you will have a limited amount of time to complete each section. Although there is no time limit on each question or clinical case, a total test time of four hours is allocated for MCQ and three and a half hours for CDM.

Rereading the question to confirm understanding is the most typical mistake. Reading quickly without sacrificing quality, finding keywords, and analyzing questions are skills that can only be learned via practice. It may seem contradictory to speed up when reading MCCQE1 exam questions, but digesting and comprehending the question completely on the first read can save you a significant amount of time. Returning to the question to reread it or reading slowly to avoid rereading it would keep you from answering all of the questions.

Here are hints to help you with time management:

  1. In case a question takes more than one minute to answer, flag it and move on. You can return to the flagged questions at any time throughout the exam, and by not going back to the questions all the time to reread them, you will save a lot of time.
  2. Use the Ace Qbank’s time mode to practice. Consider spending extra time studying for the disciplines that are slowing you down if you find that you are not completing the question block in a timely manner.
  3. On the first read, try to identify the keywords in the question stem and the patient-centered option for certain questions.

Detect Deception: 

Many people who struggle with the MCCQE1 exam are obsessed with selecting the proper answer and spend time analyzing the answer option rather than focusing on and analyzing the question stem. The question stem is part of the question with all of the clues and important information that will take you to the correct answer. Understanding the question stem helps you eliminate the answer options that are intended to get you to pick them instead of the correct answer.

In most cases, these answers are partially correct, but they are not the best responses, and the reasons for choosing these options are simply lack of knowledge, faulty reasoning, or lack of time (poor time management). Practice with lots of questions, cover all objectives and work on your test-taking strategies, particularly time management.

How To Manage Your Stress Before The MCCQE1 Exam?

There are various strategies you may use to reduce your stress levels before the MCCQE1 exam. Don’t stay cooped up in your room all day and night studying— go for walks and exercise on a regular basis. Relax, eat properly, and make time to relax and have fun with friends and family. Do not stay up late studying and get to bed early the day before your exam.

The MCCQE1 exam is a difficult and challenging exam that covers the majority of everything you learn in medical school, therefore feeling stress is a common feeling. Don’t be scared! The greatest recommendation for covering everything is to begin your studies early and with a strategy. Begin by doing small amounts of study every day, allowing 2-4 weeks, in the end, to go over everything again. Study the MCC objectives, then move on to your next topic objective only when you feel you have properly grasped the present objectives.

Eating a well-balanced meal on a daily basis will help you feel better in general. For energy, your meals should be high in vegetables, fruit, healthy grains, and lean protein. And don’t leave any out, which can make your stress worse.

When you’re stressed, pay attention to what you’re saying or thinking. Change the negative message you are giving yourself to a positive one. Don’t tell yourself, “I can’t do this.”. Instead, tell yourself, “I’m doing my best.”

Need Help With Your MCCQE 1 Exam Preparation?


Proper preparation is essential for success on the MCCQE1 exam, and you should make every effort to earn the maximum possible score on the MCCQE 1 exam. If you’re having trouble keeping to your study plan or if certain objectives are challenging for you, get the help you need to pass the MCCQE 1 exam on the first attempt.

Ace Qbank has got your back with over 2000+ high yield questions, many Clinical Decision-Making (CDM) cases, and several self-assessments available to challenge and push you to your limit.

To facilitate preparation for the MCCQE 1 exam, we developed the Ace Qbank based on the Medical Council of Canada (MCC) objectives. Our team reviews the question bank regularly based on current guidelines and recommendations, and we implement any changes we make as soon as possible to enhance your learning experience. Our objective is to keep the information up to date and in compliance with medical standards of care to avoid surprises during the test. At Ace Qbank, we’ve got you covered.

We invite you to sign up for the Ace Qbank demo today and see the difference our elite question bank makes!

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