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Is it possible to study for the MCCEE?

The Medical Council of Canada Evaluating Exam (MCCEE) is a must for any foreign trained medical student who desires a residency in Canada. In 2018 the format is changing, but currently, it consists of 180 multiple choice questions (MCQ) with 30, or about 1 out of 6 questions, being experimental. There are 30 questions from each of the major subject areas: pediatrics, psychiatry, surgery, population health and ethics, medicine, and OB/GYN. The questions are all in a case, or vignette, format like the USMLE exams, but they are much shorter. Sometimes the questions are only a couple of sentences. This would mean it is easier right?

Doing a quick Google search refutes this claim. You will see many people complaining about the exam being random and impossible to study for. The main complaint I hear is that the questions are too vague and you do not have enough information to solve them. Does this remind you of a certain profession? It should. Being a doctor in the real world means you have to use probability to push you in the right direction and wait for any test results to come in. This means that doctors go with the demographics and symptoms presented and ask what is the most likely diagnosis and differential?

Just like a doctor in the real life and unlike the USMLE, the MCCEE does not give you enough information to solve the case outright. Instead it relies on you to know what the most likely cause is and how to manage the patient. This means it is not random, but instead makes you think from an epidemiologic perspective. This is what I call the science of generalizing. Being much shorter the MCCEE is also not the marathon the USMLE Step 2 CK is and gives you more time to think your answer through. If you think in the same way that a student would taking the USMLE exams you will find the exam frustrating and random. Please do not misinterpret this though. You still need to have all of the medical knowledge for the USMLE Step 1 and 2 CK, you just need to apply it in a different way. There will also be a few, “…out there” questions to quote one of my students. Just pray those are the experimental ones. There will also be health maintenance questions that are very straightforward.

That brings us to the initial question which was can you study for the MCCEE? Yes you can, but you need take the above information into consideration and study appropriately.

If you want a free and non-obligatory consult on how to study for the MCCEE or any other medical exam check out the contact page and send me an email! If you liked this article just say so in the comments below!

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