Eligibility changes to the NAC Examination

The introduction of a more flexible and internationally delivered Medical Council of Canada Qualifying Examination (MCCQE) Part I in the spring of 2019 will see several complementary eligibility changes to the National Assessment Collaboration (NAC) Examination. These modifications will support candidates, provide more flexibility and enhance fairness as we approach this transition in our assessments’ evolution.

The introduction of a more flexible and internationally delivered Medical Council of Canada Qualifying Examination (MCCQE) Part I in the spring of 2019 will see several complementary eligibility changes to the National Assessment Collaboration (NAC) Examination. These modifications will support candidates, provide more flexibility and enhance fairness as we approach this transition in our assessments’ evolution.

Please note that we will be introducing the following eligibility requirements for the NAC Examination starting with the March 2018 session:

For international medical students and graduates: A pass on the Medical Council of Canada Evaluating Examination (MCCEE) will no longer be an eligibility requirement to apply to the NAC exam

International medical students and graduates will no longer be required to pass the MCCEE before they can apply to the NAC exam. Eligible candidates will be able to challenge the NAC exam first – or the MCCEE – in the order that they prefer, or even in the same month.

For all candidates taking the NAC exam

Candidates who obtain a pass (or fail) result on the NAC exam will be able to retake it, up to a maximum of three times.

Starting in March 2018, candidates retaking the exam will, however, have to skip a session before retaking it regardless of a pass or fail result. For example, a candidate taking the September 2018 NAC exam will be able to retake the exam, at the earliest, in September 2019, skipping the March 2019 session.

These new NAC exam eligibility requirements apply to all candidates and offer an enhanced opportunity for candidates to prepare for their next attempt.

Since the new criteria on “skipping” a session applies starting in 2018, candidates taking the September 2017 exam with a pass or fail result will be able to retake it if they so choose in March 2018.

Previously (since 2015): Candidates with a pass result could not retake the exam. The governance committee, the National Assessment Central Coordinating Committee (NAC3) has revisited this approach to take into consideration the competitive process candidates face when applying to residency.

For international medical students applying to the NAC exam

Formerly, students could challenge the NAC exam in September of their final medical school year, further to passing the MCCEE. The eligibility rules are now changing, given that candidates may now challenge the NAC exam first. As such, the eligibility rules now indicate that international medical students may take the NAC exam at the earliest within 12 months of their anticipated date of graduation.

For more information on these changes, please see our NAC exam Application and eligibility web page.

We will issue a reminder about these changes in the fall, prior to the application opening for the March 2018 NAC exam session.