As the delivery of health care to Canadians evolves, so too must our nation’s medical professionals’ competencies. The Medical Council of Canada (MCC) administers examinations to all medical graduates wishing to practise in Canada.Our examination program will undergo significant changes that will take effect in 2018 and 2019. This process of change is called the MCC Assessment Evolution initiative.
Affected MCC examinationsThe changes enhance the four current MCC examinations and reflect the changing health-care needs of Canadians. The affected exams include:
- The Qualifying Examination (MCCQE) Part I – assessing both Canadian and international candidates for entry into residency.
- The Qualifying Examination (MCCQE) Part II – assessing both Canadian and international candidates for entry into independent practice.
- The Evaluating Examination (MCCEE) – provided screening for international medical graduates (IMGs) interested in practising in Canada. This exam was phased-out in 2018 and is no longer offered.
- The National Assessment Collaboration (NAC) Examination – assessing IMGs for entry into residency.
What is changing
Fundamentally, what’s changing is what the MCC exams measure. The MCC will be basing its Qualifying Examinations on a new Blueprint. There will be greater focus on the following:
- Health promotion, illness prevention, and psychosocial factors
- Communication with patient families and with other professionals and colleagues in addition to being able to collect data from the patient, make a diagnosis, and manage care
Additionally, the following aspects of MCC’s exams will be affected:
- Changes to exam structure, including exam sequencing, requirements, and content
- Phase out of the MCCEE; the last session was November 2018
- Rating changes and new standards
- Changes to how exams can be challenged and to the eligibility requirements
- Increased complexity in some of the competencies to be assessed
- Increased frequency
- New vendor delivery model
- Improved, international access as of 2019
The benefits of change
The MCC Assessment Evolution initiative is being undertaken to provide these benefits:
- Modernize MCC exams to better address patient population health issues and the psychosocial aspects of care
- Ensure that physician critical core competencies, knowledge, skills and behaviours for safe and effective patient care in Canada are being appropriately assessed at the two decision points: entry into residency and entry into independent practice
- Expand preparatory materials and enhance these to feature more in-depth content
- Continue to align MCC examinations with best practices in medical education and assessment
How the changes came to be
The modifications to MCC exams were an extensive undertaking, involving in-depth consultations with stakeholders across the medical community, including medical professionals, medical educators and students as follows:
- In October 2011, the MCC published the report Recalibrating for the 21st century: Report of the Assessment Review Task Force. The report outlines the future vision for the MCC and proposes a series of recommendations, including one addressing MCC examination blueprints; and
- The final Blueprint is the result of an evidence-based and collaborative approach. It was unanimously approved by the MCC’s Council, comprising medical regulatory authorities in each province and territory, universities across Canada as well as student and resident representatives, in September 2014.
As we continue down the path of assessment evolution, the MCC commits to:
- Play a significant role in the streamlining and simplification of assessment pathways
- Work closely with medical regulatory authorities and educators to continue to reflect medical curricula
- Collaborate with partners to assure Canadians that our physicians have the most current knowledge, best practices, and procedures
- Continue to conduct rigorous research on the most advanced methods of physician assessment