Tips to Help You Perform High on the USMLE Step 1

Do you want to conquer the USMLE Step 1 with confidence and achieve your dreams? Well, CanadaQBank has your back!

In the paragraphs below, we’ll dive into five main practical tips to help you perform at your best on this crucial exam. From effective study techniques to mental preparation.

Let’s get to it!

What to know about the Step 1 exam

When it comes to medical school, the USMLE Step 1 exam is notorious for being incredibly tough and stressful. People say it’s the hardest test you’ll ever face in your medical education. But why does it matter so much?

Well, how you perform on this exam can have a significant impact on the clinical rotations and residency programs you’re able to secure in the future. This is very important if you want to land residencies like neurosurgery.

While you’ll encounter various exams during your time in medical school, Step 1 is the only one that’s standardized and truly assesses your academic performance.

That’s why passing your Step 1 is crucial. Top-notch residency programs are highly competitive, and they place a lot of importance on your Step 1 scores.

Often called “The Boards,” this exam evaluates a range of critical aspects, including:

  • Grasping the fundamentals of basic sciences.
  • Demonstrating self-discipline and focus.
  • Having the aptitude for effective study techniques.
  • Absorbing and retaining a massive amount of technical information.
  • Exhibiting the determination and ability to shine when it counts the most.

Now, let’s look into some valuable tips that will help you navigate the USMLE Step 1 exam successfully.

1.   Step 1 is Mainly a Test of Basic Science Knowledge:

While there are a few clinical questions in Step 1, the majority of the exam focuses on your understanding of basic science topics, such as

  • Experiment interpretation.
  • Basic physiology.
  • Basic biochemistry, and
  • Recognizing histopathological slides.

So, rather than going overboard with clinical questions during practice exams, concentrate on studying pathways, mechanisms, pathology, biostatistics, genetics, and experiments.

Tip: For comprehensive practice, tap into the vast question bank provided by CanadaQBank. We cover a broad range of topics necessary for Step 1 success.

2.   Expect to Encounter Theoretical Experimental Questions:

A considerable number of questions in Step 1 require you to interpret experimental results. These questions can be complex and challenging, putting your ability to grasp multiple concepts at once to the test. So, you should be prepared for questions related to physiology and pharmacology that involve theoretical experiments.

To perform well in Step 1, aim to understand the intricacies of pathways, mechanisms of enzymes, and medication actions. Then, familiarize yourself with the names of commonly used anti-coagulant and anti-platelet medications. If you’re not a fan of theoretical experimental questions, CanadaQBank can help you by giving you access to several certified resources.

3.   Brace Yourself for Lengthy Questions:

When it comes to the USMLE Step 1, most questions are very long! The sheer amount of reading can be overwhelming. That’s why it’s crucial to prioritize proper rest and hydration

Also, eat brain-friendly foods and take strategic breaks. The exam makers intentionally include unnecessary information and details that aren’t relevant to answering the question. Don’t let them throw you off! Stay focused on identifying the pertinent details required to answer accurately. A good rule of thumb is to ask yourself what the simplest possible answer is and work back from there.

To help yourself with this, use CanadaQBank’s diverse set of practice questions. This varies in length and format to train your stamina and enhance your ability to read and comprehend efficiently.

Tips to Help You Study Better

1.   Create a Good Study Plan:

The USMLE Step 1 exam covers a wide range of topics. That’s why you need to have a well-structured study plan. You must take the time to understand the content outline. Then, you must break it down into manageable study blocks. After you’ve done that, map out your schedule, making sure you give attention to each topic and allowing ample time for review.

However, remember to be flexible and adapt your plan as needed. Anything can come up.

Tip: CanadaQBank offers an extensive collection of practice questions for USMLE Step 1 that can help you become comfortable with experimental scenarios and reinforce your understanding of these concepts

2.   Pick the Right Resources:

The right study resources can make a world of difference in your preparation. Remember to start with classic textbooks, such as First Aid for the USMLE Step 1. They provide a comprehensive overview. Then, supplement your reading with online question banks, like CanadaQBank, to test your knowledge. You can practise answering Step 1 style questions here. Also, ensure your resources align with your learning style. This is to help you grasp the concepts effectively.

3.   Read Actively

Learn how to read and learn actively! You should use active learning techniques to maximize your knowledge retention. To do this, break down complex topics into smaller parts. Then, create visual aids like diagrams, concept maps or even doodles. You can also practice by explaining the material out loud. Or you can teach it to a study partner. Talking it out will solidify your knowledge. Also, a good way to actively learn is to get involved in study groups or online forums. Then, discuss difficult concepts and learn from them.

4.   Learn Good Test-Taking Skills

The USMLE Step 1 isn’t just about knowledge. You need strong test-taking skills. That’s why you must understand the exam format, time constraints, and question types. After you’ve familiarized yourself with it, start learning strategies to approach different question styles. For instance, eliminating obviously incorrect answers and making educated guesses when needed. A good way to practice is by making use of the question banks on CanadaQBank and practicing them often.


Remember, CanadaQBank is always there for you no matter what, so you should never fear the USMLE Step 1. But remember, exams require dedication and a strategic approach. By understanding the exam format, leveraging these high-quality QBanks and implementing effective test-taking strategies, you’ll be well-prepared to excel on this exam.


Essential Steps for Crafting Your USMLE Step 2 CK Study Plan

For most medical doctors seeking to emigrate, the USMLE is seen as an impressive roadblock to overcome due to its difficult and stringent requirements. As you embark on this critical medical journey, the significance of a personalized and well-structured study plan cannot be overstated.

A mistake people tend to make is that they search for premade study guides to follow and follow religiously. This is a problem because everyone has different ways of studying and strong and weak points, so a non-personalized premade schedule may cause you to lose time. Luckily, below are helpful steps you can take when planning a comprehensive and effective study guide for your exam preparation.

Understand the exam

Before we begin, we must first understand the underlying nuances involved in the Step 2 CK exam. Unlike its Step 1 precursor, Step 2 evaluates your capacity to apply medical knowledge to real-world clinical scenarios, and its format comprises a multi-choice question section and a Clinical Case Scenario with a total number of questions not exceeding 318.

The exam is for a day and is divided into eight 60-minute blocks administered in a 9-hour testing session. The number of questions per block on a given examination will vary but will not exceed 40.

Assessment of Personal Readiness:

The next step is to perform a reflective and candid self-assessment of your medical knowledge. This will help you identify your strengths and weaknesses and give you accurate data to help you set realistic goals and tailor your study plan to your needs. You should use a Qbank here to test where you stand concerning each of the subjects tested.

Establish a Study Timeline:

Making a timeline for Step 2 preparation is advised since time may suddenly turn from being on your side to being against you. You should plan to study for about 10 hours each day for 4 to 8 weeks. Estimate how long it will take you to study each required subject, and then divide that time into manageable portions. You can do this to provide more structure by making an hourly, daily, or weekly timetable.

Selecting Study Resources:

There are many study resources available online and offline; a common misconception people have is that they need to read as many Step 2 study resources as they can find. However, This is not a good strategy as focusing on finishing each resource can be daunting and prevent you from using your limited study time to fully comprehend subjects. Ideally, you should have a question bank(qbank), a comprehensive textbook, and a review book to help you understand and remember better.

Plan for Practice Questions and Assessments:

Practice questions are the essence of Step 2 CK preparation. These questions mirror real-world test circumstances, help you improve your clinical reasoning skills, and aid you in refining your time management skills. Integrate practice questions into your weekly routine and carefully track your progress. It is critical to view mistakes as chances for progress rather than setbacks.

A good Qbank for your Step 2 CK preparation is CanadaQbank, which contains almost 4,000 multiple-choice questions separated by topics from the tested subjects. It has detailed answers and explanations for all the questions asked, plus it allows you to test your speed by offering timed and untimed practice modes.

Focus on High-Yield Topics:

You should better understand where you need to improve and where you simply need to review after your introspective self-evaluation. As a result, on each day of your study program, assign yourself things to review. Because not all topics are equally important, start with your weakest subjects and give heavier issues a few days before moving on to less demanding ones. You must choose high-yielding subjects and dedicate a considerable portion of your time to learning them. This allows you to prioritize your weak subjects and evaluate them later.

Create a Study Environment:

Something that is equally as important as your study schedule is your study environment. It is well known that The ambiance in which you study holds the potential to significantly impact your productivity.

Dedicating an area to studying is a great idea because your brain begins associating that area with learning. Logically, the area must be distraction-free and pleasant for you as you will spend a long time there. Be sure to use comfortable and supportive furniture to prevent developing any musculoskeletal issues.

You may also consider spending a few days studying at a library or a quiet coffee shop to introduce variety.

Schedule Mandatory Days Off

While you might be tempted to study every day for the next few weeks, it is simply not sustainable, as you will most likely suffer burnout and begin a series of cascading events that will throw your carefully planned schedule out of whack. If you study at home, try not to spend your days off at home; go out and clear your mind of all the stress from your Step 2 CK prep.

Consistency and Time Management

Being consistent with your study plan is crucial to achieving your goal. Otherwise, why bother creating it in the first place? The bedrock of effective study habits is unwavering consistency. Stick to your meticulously crafted study schedule even when motivation wanes. You can also implement proven time management techniques like the Pomodoro technique to help you maintain your focus during reading.

Adaptation and Flexibility

Even the most carefully thought-out plans of humans and animals often go awry, leading to unexpected outcomes and challenges. Unforeseen setbacks can occur, so you must maintain mental flexibility and be prepared to pivot rather than panic and lose additional time and momentum.

Final Review and Test-Day Preparation

A week before the exam, conduct a final exam and ensure you stimulate the experience of the authentic Step 2 exam. Use the results to conduct a final review of everything, focusing on your new weaknesses (if any). On the day of the exam, we recommend keeping reading to a minimum and instead ensure you have all the material equipment you’d need for your Step 2. You’ve put in the work. You got this.

Plan an After Exam Treat

You may find it helpful to arrange a treat you’d enjoy after the exam. This will give you something to look forward to when you’re deep in the drudgery of studying. It could be a vacation, hanging out with your favorite people, or doing your favorite activity. Remember, all work and no play makes Jack a dull boy.


We hope these steps help you craft an exemplary Step 2 CK study guide for your preparation. A well-crafted study plan is not just a roadmap but a blueprint for achieving success in the Step 2 CK examination. You can approach this exam with unshakeable confidence by becoming intimately acquainted with the exam, defining sensible targets, leveraging appropriate resources, and strictly adhering to your plan.

Be sure to visit us at CanadaQbank, where we have all you need to prepare for any exam you plan to take, whether the USMLE, PLAB, or AMC exams.

List of Countries Accepting PLAB

PLAB stands for the Professional and Linguistic Assessment Board, and it is a test administered by the General Medical Council (GMC) of Great Britain to determine if you have the clinical knowledge and skills to treat and communicate with their citizens.

The PLAB can be a strenuous exam, but it has its perks, and people who pass it are well on their way to being granted a medical license. A big advantage of passing your PLAB is that it is also accepted in other countries, especially those that are part of the Commonwealth.

So, in this article, we’ll look at the different stages of PLAB in some of these countries and how you can use your PLAB results to immigrate, as well as some of the processes to do so.


PLAB is a two-step exam separated into PLAB 1 and PLAB 2.

PLAB 1 consists of 180 multiple-choice questions where you have to select the best answer under a time limit of 3 hours. PLAB 1 tests your ability to apply clinical knowledge based on proper patient care. A clinical scenario is described briefly before the question is given. The topics covered in the multiple-choice questions include basic medical sciences, obstetrics, gynecology, pediatrics, pathology, pharmacology, microbiology, and general clinical medicine. The pass mark for PLAB 1 varies but lies in the range of 120-126.

PLAB 2 is an objective structured clinical examination that lasts for about three hours. The exam will have you moving around 18 stations, spending 8 minutes at each unit. The goal is to test your information-gathering skills, how you interpret the information and draw differential diagnoses; PLAB 2 also tests your interpersonal skills.

To learn more about PLAB, take a trip down to CanadaQBank.

Countries Accepting PLAB

According to the GMC, here are some of the countries that accept PLAB:

  1. New Zealand
  2. Australia
  3. Ireland
  4. Qatar
  5. Sri Lanka

New Zealand

In addition to having your PLAB result, New Zealand requires you to pass their English Language requirements, hold a primary medical qualification from a school listed in the World Directory of Medical Schools, and your PLAB result must not be older than five years. Finally, you must also write and pass the New Zealand Registration Exam (NZREX) clinical. It is an exam similar to PLAB 2, which assesses history taking, clinical examination, investigation, management, and clinical research.

Passing the NZREX clinical allows you to be registered by the Medical Council of New Zealand, which is required for every doctor who wants to practice in Aotearoa, New Zealand. You should also have at least one year of postgraduate experience, as it will help you with the exam. If you don’t do it before the exam, you must undergo one year of clinical supervision.


The Pre-registration examination system(PRES) is Ireland’s test to see if Immigrant Medical Graduates(IMG) can practice medicine there. People with a pass result for PLAB 1 dated within three years of applying can submit their result as an alternative to the PRES level 2 exam, which assesses a doctor’s clinical knowledge. They will be eligible to advance to the PRES level 3 exam, which evaluates communication, interpretation, and clinical skills through an Objective Structured Clinical Examination.


Australia has a Competent Authority Pathway that allows immigrating doctors provisional registration with the Medical Board of Australia. This means that there are some foreign authorities that the Board trusts to assess the clinical skill and knowledge of IMGs, so if you have a primary medical qualification awarded by a university recognized by both the World Directory of Medical Schools and the Australian Medical Board and have completed a minimum of 12 months of post-training experience either in Australia or in a country with a trusted system.

Other countries that accept PLAB include:

  • Saudi Arabia
  • Dubai
  • United Kingdom
  • Scotland
  • Canada

Working Abroad After Acing PLAB

Here’s a deep dive into the processes of getting work in different countries after passing your PLAB.

  1. United Arab Emirates (UAE) and Saudi Arabia: For the dazzling realms of UAE and Saudi Arabia, having passed the PLAB exam, obtaining GMC registration, and practicing medicine in the UK for a year or more opens doors to potential practice in these nations.


  1. United Kingdom (UK): After passing the PLAB exam, your journey continues with a two-year Foundation Programme, followed by specialized training. Upon completing your training, you become eligible to apply for a medical license to practice in the UK.


  1. Canada: The Great White North allures medical practitioners with PLAB success, GMC registration, completion of General Practitioner training, and 3-5 years of relevant UK experience. Meeting these prerequisites might grant you eligibility for licensure through the Medical Council of Canada (MCC). However, like other destinations, additional criteria such as the MCC Qualifying Examination (MCCQE) or an approved residency program may apply.


  1. Australia: Aiming to practice medicine in Australia? Having passed the PLAB exam and obtained GMC registration while gaining a year’s experience in the UK, you may qualify for registration with the Medical Board of Australia. Nonetheless, keep in mind that additional criteria, such as the Australian Medical Council (AMC) examination or an approved internship, might also be necessary.


  1. New Zealand: If New Zealand beckons, having passed the PLAB exam, obtained GMC registration, and garnered over three years of experience in the UK opens up the possibility to apply for medical practice in this stunning country. Interestingly, if you’ve only tackled PLAB 1 and are eyeing New Zealand, you can skip part 1 of their qualifying exam and directly proceed to part 2. Success in part 2 leads to a year of supervised practice, allowing you to register as a practitioner in New Zealand.


As you set your sights on global horizons, remember that each country’s medical licensing process is different, with each presenting unique opportunities and challenges. So, to ensure a smooth journey, you need to do meticulous research and understand the specific requirements set by your destination country. That’s why we’re here at CanadaQBank.

At CanadaQBank, there are numerous educational resources you can use to prepare for your PLAB Part 1. There are over 3,000 MCQs you can choose from. What’s even better is that these MCQs cover different parts of medicine like Pediatrics, Emergency Medical, Respiratory Medicine, and General Surgery.

So, seize the chance to spread your wings and let your medical knowledge shine on the international stage. The world awaits your healing hands!

So I Failed USMLE Step 3: Now What?

One of the harshest truths about USMLE Step 3 exams is that sometimes you may do everything right and fall short. And that is life. But it shouldn’t be the end of your exams; instead, it should push you to do better.

Keeping that in mind, here are some practical steps to follow to do it.

What to do if you don’t pass

Take a deep breath and just stop. You don’t have to do anything else; just accept whatever emotion you are feeling at that particular time. But don’t wallow for long.

It’s not uncommon for students who don’t pass to feel unprepared, and they often attribute this to a set of common pitfalls. It’s important to acknowledge and tackle these challenges before making another attempt. Taking the time to address them can greatly increase your chances of success.

Knowing this, here are some common reasons people fail exams:

  • Underestimating the difficulty of the exam
  • Not properly timing the exam date.

Understanding the common reasons people failed

You might have heard the saying, “Two months for Step 1, two weeks for Step 2, and a #2 pencil for Step 3.”

Unfortunately, it’s not always that simple. Step 3 covers a broad range of material, both in breadth and depth. You will likely need to review some of the topics, especially if it’s been a while since you last encountered them.

For many people, USMLE Step 3 is taken during residency training. Balancing long hours at the hospital and avoiding burnout can make it challenging to find time and motivation to study. However, most residency programs have some rotations or services that are less demanding. These could be electives, research, or clinical work. It’s a good idea to schedule your exam date with your study schedule in mind so you can have enough time to study during a lighter workload. The amount of time required for preparation will vary from person to person. If you need more guidance, our Step 3 QBank can assist you in determining the best timeline for your study needs.

The next thing you have to do is address your weaker areas.

Addressing areas of weakness

Once we enter our residency and focus more on specialized training, some commonly tested topics may no longer receive as much attention. That’s where your score report comes in handy. It can help you identify the areas you should concentrate on when preparing for your next attempt at the exam.

In addition to the main sections of the exam, there are a couple of aspects that are often underestimated: CCS cases and statistics. Unlike Step 1 and Step 2, the previous USMLE exams, Step 3 includes CCS cases. Even if these cases seem straightforward, performing poorly in this section might be due to unfamiliarity with the format, approach, or program interface. Practicing beforehand can make you feel more at ease and ready to excel in this part of the exam.

Statistics also make up a significant portion of the Step 3 exam. Simply memorizing equations won’t be enough. You need to practice applying the fundamental concepts to different scenarios.

To find the best study materials for Step 3 preparation, you can explore some recommended resources. Like any other Step exam, Step 3 requires time and effort to prepare for. If you’re uncertain about the amount of time or resources you’ll need, seeking guidance from a test tutor can help you design an effective study plan to pass the exam. Schedule a complimentary consultation today to learn more about how an Elite Medical Prep 1-on-1 tutor can support your success!

Next steps

You have to start asking yourself questions like

  • Do I need a tutor?
  • Do I need to work on my test-taking skills?
  • Is there an extra issue with me that needs to be resolved?

Do I need a tutor?

There’s no embarrassment in needing a tutor or help. Luckily for you, our CanadaQBank exists for this particular reason. You have access to countless resources always at your disposal 24/7, no matter where you are in the world. Whether you’re an IMG or not. All you need to do is simply ask.

Do I need to work on my test-taking skills?

Did you feel excessively anxious during the exam? Did you struggle with managing time effectively? Were you faced with challenges when diagnosing or answering management-related questions? Did you find it difficult to approach the statistics questions, given their lengthy passages?

If you responded with a “yes” to multiple questions, a helpful strategy is to go through the QBank questions multiple times, ideally three, while adhering to a timed format. This practice will aid in improving your performance. If you continue to encounter difficulties, seeking the guidance of a tutor who can provide advice and engage in discussions about the questions may be a beneficial option for you.

It is disheartening to witness students doubting themselves or feeling shocked when they receive the same score on subsequent attempts, as they may attribute it to incomplete question banks or inadequate resource utilization.

To address this issue, it is crucial to shift the focus from reviewing and relearning to enhancing Test-Taking Skills. These skills enable the application of your existing medical knowledge from previous exams and training during the actual Step 3 exam.

Is there an extra issue with me that needs to be resolved?

Sometimes, the problem may not be an academic one or lack of preparation, but because of personal issues you’re faced with. Maybe you lost a loved one, or maybe you have a health issue or something of that nature. In times like this, you may need to prioritize your own well-being over the exam or at least find a way to balance both of them. It’s always best to find the issue at the root cause and care for them.

You can do this!

Understanding these key points can help address various challenges. Firstly, it is important to note that you can utilize USMLE Step 2 CK resources to prepare for USMLE Step 3. This includes resources like NBME’s Clinical Mastery Series and assessment forms 9, 10, 11, and 12. The similarity in the MCQ portion means you don’t necessarily need to purchase specific “USMLE Step 3” resources if you have recently passed Step 2 CK. Nonetheless, it’s crucial to acknowledge that the CCS portion and the frequency of biostatistics questions are significant differences between the two exams.

However, despite having passed USMLE Step 2 CK and acquiring the clinical knowledge necessary to succeed, many individuals find USMLE Step 3 more challenging. This stems from the scoring system, which typically exhibits an average drop of 20 points compared to Step 2 CK. This score difference can significantly impact the pass/fail outcome, particularly for students who scored below 220 in Step 2 CK. Students should aim for a minimum score of 220 in NBME’s 9 to 12 before attempting Step 3. Finally, always focus on your test-taking skills.


If you fail your USMLE Step 3 exams, always examine the reason you failed, try to work on your weaknesses, focus on getting better test-taking skills, and timing your exams better. Don’t forget to take advantage of CanadaQBank for better exam scores.

Your Comprehensive Guide to MCCQE FAQs

The Medical Council of Canada Qualifying Examination (MCCQE) is Canada’s way of assessing medical professionals with foreign accreditation seeking to practice in the country. It was created to estimate a candidate’s knowledge and competence and divided into Part 1 and Part 2.

This article will focus on Part 1 of this examination, known as the MCCQE Part 1, and we will answer a few frequently asked questions (FAQs) by prospective examinees about the MCCQE Part 1. We hope to provide clarity and guidance for those preparing to write this intimidating exam.

Table of Contents

1. What is the MCCQE Part 1 exam?

The MCCQE Part 1 is a sweeping assessment that evaluates a candidate’s fundamental medical knowledge and clinical expertise. It is developed to ensure that medical graduates have a similar understanding of the essential principles and practices of medicine as expected of a clinician who obtained their degree in Canada.

2. Who is eligible to take the MCCQE Part 1?

To be eligible for the MCCQE Part 1, you must be a graduate or soon-to-be graduate of:

A university in the World Directory of Medical Schools, A university accredited by the Committee on Accreditation of Canadian Medical Schools or The American Osteopathic Association

Soon-to-be graduates can only apply 15 months before their graduation date.

3. How do I register for the MCCQE Part 1 exam?

To apply for the MCCQE Part 1, you must first create an online account with the Medical Council of Canada (MCC) and follow their registration instructions. Only after your account has been approved can you apply for the exam.

4. What is the format of the MCCQE Part 1?

The MCCQE Part 1 is a day-long computer-based exam. It consists of a 4-hour morning exam to answer 210 multiple-choice questions (MCQs) and a 3½ hour-long Clinical Decision Making (CDM) component in the afternoon.

5. What topics are covered in the MCCQE Part 1?

Due to the expectations of medical graduates, the exam covers quite a wide range of topics and tests examinees on clinical knowledge, foundational science, and the Legal, Ethical, and Organizational Aspects of Medicine. Candidates are tested in Medicine, Pediatrics, OBGYN, Surgery, Psychiatry, Preventive Medicine, and Community Health.

6. What is the passing score for the MCCQE Part 1?

The MCC determines the passing score for the MCCQE Part 1; the current scoring system is based on a scale of 100 to 400 with an average of 250. A pass score begins at 226, but we recommend scoring as high as possible to make your application stand out from a crowd of impressive candidates.

7. How is the MCCQE Part 1 scored?

The exam is scored electronically, with every correct answer getting 1 point and wrong answers 0 points. Your total is calculated, and results are integrated with the CDM component to determine your overall performance. The results are typically available 8 weeks after the last exam day of the session.

8. Where can I find MCCQE Part 1 practice questions?

Many practice questions are available throughout the internet for the MCCQE Part 1 with varying degrees of reliability. CanadaQbank has one of the most comprehensive question banks, with over 3000 MCQs and 364 CDM cases. It comes with detailed answers and explanations and allows you the freedom to customize the settings of your exam.

9. How often is the MCCQE Part 1 offered?

The MCCQE Part 1 is usually offered 4 sessions a year, but the exact schedule may vary. A session can stretch for about 29 days, with candidates taking an exam each day at accredited centers worldwide.

10. How should I prepare for the MCCQE Part 1?

Preparation for the MCCQE Part 1 requires a well-structured study plan that will include reviewing medical knowledge, practicing with question banks like CanadaQbank, familiarizing yourself with the exam format, and scheduling breaks to avoid burnout.

11. What is the Clinical Decision Making (CDM) component of the exam?

The CDM component assesses your ability to make clinically relevant decisions based on provided information. It comprises 38 case descriptions with accompanying questions that can amount to 75. It includes short menu items (SMIs) and focused inbox questions (FIBs).

12. How is the CDM component scored?

The CDM component is also electronically scored, and each correct answer is awarded 1 point. Some questions in the CDM section may have multiple correct answers; thus, you’d be awarded points based on how many correct options you select. The total score is obtained from the questions’ scores and their respective difficulties.

13. What are the test centers for the MCCQE Part 1?

The MCCQE Part 1 is offered at various test centers by Prometric, a service provider contracted by the MCC to administer the exam across Canada and internationally at over 80 locations.

14. Can I request accommodations for the exam?

Yes, the MCC provides accommodations for candidates with functional limitations. You must first submit a request for test accommodation to the MCC, details on which can be found here. Making accommodation requests about 9 weeks before the exam date is essential.

15. What is the fee for the MCCQE Part 1?

The exam fee is subject to change and can be found on the MCC’s official website. The current price for the application fee is $1,420, but candidates should check the latest fee schedule when registering.

16. How long are the results of the MCCQE Part 1 valid?

The results of the MCCQE Part 1 are typically valid for 2 years, and you will be required to retake the exams if your pass results have expired.

17. What happens if I do not pass the MCCQE Part 1?

Candidates who do not pass the MCCQE Part 1 have 3 chances to retake the exam to achieve a passing score. If you fail the exam 3 times, you must wait a year before reapplying for your fourth attempt. You will be expected to use that one year to practice and sharpen your clinical knowledge and skills.

18. How does the MCCQE Part 1 differ from the MCCQE Part 2?

The MCCQE Part 2 assesses clinical skills and is typically taken after completing the MCCQE Part 1. It involves Objective Structured Clinical Examinations (OSCEs) and patient encounter stations to evaluate a candidate’s clinical competence.


The journey you are about to embark on can be demanding, but armed with perseverance and the knowledge gained from these FAQs, we believe you’re well-equipped to rise to the challenge.

So, embrace the path ahead confidently and march forward with the vital insights gained into the exam’s structure, including how to prepare effectively and the eligibility criteria that pave your way. If you’re looking for a QBank to use, CanadaQbank is always there for you.

Medical School Supplies You Need for the New Semester

The beginning of a new semester in medical school usually arrives with excitement alongside some anxiety. This is because a new semester represents a new chapter in the academic journey as freshers and returning students prepare for stimulating coursework, interactive practicals, and exhaustive lectures and ward rounds.

In this article, we will give you ten medical school supplies that you could purchase to start off any new semester on the right foot. We will describe the necessary diagnostic and therapeutic materials students require to enhance their performance on tests and examinations and increase their knowledge retention.

  1. Quality Stethoscope

The stethoscope is an indispensable tool for medical students. With a stethoscope, medical students can listen to and monitor patients’ vital body sounds, such as heartbeats, lung sounds, and bowel movements. Thus, students can train themselves to recognize sounds associated with both normal and pathological conditions of the human body.

Additionally, its extremely important makes it invaluable in every clinical setting. So, investing in a good-quality, durable stethoscope is essential because without it, students cannot master their craft and become proficient and competent healthcare professionals. No wonder the stethoscope is globally recognized as an extension of the medical professional!

  1. Diagnostic Kit

The diagnostic kit is an all-inclusive set of instruments that enables medical students to perform extensive diagnostic tests on patients. This kit typically includes a tendon hammer, a tuning fork, a penlight, and a measuring tape. These instruments are vital to the medical student as every medical technique used during clinical examinations uses at least one item from the kit to explore the patient’s body and draw a conclusive diagnosis.

Students use the tendon hammer to trigger important reflexes from patients’ joints and tendons, the tuning fork to elicit vibratory sensations for judging the extent of hearing loss or tissue damage, and the penlight to examine orifices and assess neurological responses. Students who own their personal diagnostic kits will likely cultivate critical examination skills through practice while those who fail to master them will have short-lived careers.

  1. Laboratory Coat

The white coat, a known symbol of the medical profession, is a piece of clothing that holds significance for medical students and workers. Worn mostly during ward rounds and clinical consultations, when students get to interact with patients, the lab coat is an icon of the medical profession that engenders a feeling of authority and professionalism. Hardly any interaction occurs between a patient and a medical student who is without a labcoat (with an embroidered name tag).

Besides serving as a signal to patients seeking relief, the lab coat also protects its wearer from contaminants and stains that are rampant in the clinical setting. Therefore, it is one of the most important tools that distinguishes students engaged in medical practice.

  1. Comfortable Scrubs:

Medical scrubs are specialized garments associated with physicians, surgeons, and other healthcare professionals. However, besides dazzling the uninitiated public, scrubs serve an important role for medical students. These uniforms give medical students easy movement, comfort, and extra hygiene while moving about the unpredictable clinics and wards of a hospital or healthcare facility.

Medical students who consistently wear scrubs attain a higher level of protection against hazardous fluids, chemicals, beddings, etc. and reduce the risk of transmission of infectious agents. Moreover, wearing scrubs contributes to maintaining a sterile environment in operating rooms, thus promoting the fast recovery of patients.

  1. Personal Protective Equipment:

Personal protective equipment (PPE), such as gloves, face masks, face shields, and hair nets are necessary to maintain aseptic conditions in every clinical setting. These materials protect users from communicable diseases, and reduce cross-contamination to significantly low levels.

Recent global events, such as the Ebola and COVID-19 pandemics have made these protective gear more important and even mandatory in some hospitals. By equipping themselves with PPE, medical students prioritize the health status of the entire clinical community, including workers and clients, and demonstrate their willingness to learn.

  1. Dissection Kit

A dissection kit is a collection of surgical equipment that is mainly used by medical students during anatomy lab practicals. The kit usually comprises scalpels, forceps, blades, scissors, and other such instruments. Students use these precision tools to explore structures in the human body, building up their knowledge of the anatomical positions and physiological functions of the body’s organs.

Also, hands-on dissection sessions teach fine motor skills and surgical techniques that students will invariably need to tackle the challenges and responsibilities of their medical careers.

  1. Laptop or Tablet Device:

Medical students, like all humans of the modern age, have come to require 21st-century technologies such as the computer and the internet. Similarly, med school instructors have integrated modern facilities into the teaching process. So, a tablet or laptop computer is an invaluable tool for efficiently taking notes during lectures and rounds as well as accessing relevant online resources and materials, and communicating with colleagues and mentors.

As schools move to more hybrid systems that accommodate remote learning, students are made to take a portion of their examinations via online platforms that discourage cheating and ensure they are up-to-date with the current coursework.

  1. Medical Apps and Charts

Medical charts are visual aids that provide detailed illustrations of anatomical systems, physiological processes, biochemical cycles, developmental timelines, etc. These charts reinforce learning for medical students who are wise enough to pay attention to them.

In this digital era, there is an increased collaboration between software developers and health workers to release medical applications that instruct, educate, or inform users on a wide range of topics. These apps are easily downloadable and offer features, including clinical calculators, medical dictionaries, and drug references. In addition, there are also apps with access to medical databases, published journals, and exam past questions.

Thus, by using these physical and digital study aids, medical students are guaranteed an edge over their peers who rely solely on old-fashioned media.

  1. Medical Books and References

The medical student generally consumes a huge amount of textual information on a daily basis. These come in the form of textbooks, notes, and reference materials that contain in-depth knowledge on all medical fields and concepts. That’s why a diverse library of medical books equips students with a huge arsenal of guides and resources that enable them to learn accurate, updated information in their quest of continuous higher learning.

  1. Study Materials

Every student, regardless of their course of study, needs good writing  materials for taking notes in class, self-study, etc. Medical students need to write quick notes when consulting a patient in the clinic or learning during ward rounds.

Students who generally have a constant supply of notebooks, notepads, pens, highlighters, and sticky notes can enhance their learning process by ensuring they do not miss any information. With these materials, they can create sketches and diagrams to aid understanding, create visual cues to emphasize points, and stay focused and organized while pursuing excellent results.

Honorable mentions to this exhaustive list include a good study habit, a clean, comfortable environment, an enjoyable hobby, a good QBank like CanadaQBank, and a hot cup of coffee (but not too much)


Medical school is a long, intensive journey and arming oneself with the tools described above will help you breeze through your classes and exams. Whether you are at the start or nearing the end of this rewarding journey, we hope that these tools aid you on your long days and nights in service of humanity. Remember, to use CanadaQBank to access a vast bank of questions to make your studying less stressful.

Improve Your USMLE Step 1 Performance in 2 Weeks

When it comes to the USMLE Step 1 exam, you may think that there’s no way to improve your performance in just two weeks. However, with determination, effort, and a focused approach, it is indeed possible to make significant progress in a short amount of time.

We have some tips. It’s not perfect but it’s sure a good place to start.

So let’s get down to it.

Why are the last two weeks important for Step 1?

The last couple of weeks before the exam are often the most challenging. It’s common to feel like everything you’ve studied over the previous weeks and months has slipped away. The sheer volume of knowledge can be overwhelming. However, it’s crucial not to underestimate the importance of this time. By utilizing these final two weeks effectively, you can maximize your chances of success.

So, how can you make the most of these two weeks?

While there are no shortcuts to success in the USMLE, there are some valuable strategies you can employ to optimize your time and improve your performance. Here are seven key steps to follow:

Plan very well!

During these last two weeks, it’s crucial to simulate the testing environment as closely as possible. The USMLE Step 1 exam is an eight-hour test, so it’s essential to get accustomed to the rigours of that duration.

Create a study schedule that mirrors the exam day and includes dedicated blocks of time for each section. However, be cautious not to overexert yourself and risk burnout. Study when you can, take regular breaks, and maintain your focus on the ultimate goal.

Prioritize your workload

Working smarter, not harder, is the key here. By this point, you should have already covered all the necessary material at least once. Identify the chapters or topics that require extra attention and focus on the highest-yield areas within those sections.

Here are some examples of high-yield topics to prioritize

  • Biochemistry
  • Immunology
  • Pharmacology
  • Microbiology
  • Musculoskeletal
  • Neurology

Review the corresponding sections of your study materials and consolidate your understanding of these concepts.

Test yourself frequently

Utilize question banks like CanadaQBank to your advantage. These question banks provide a realistic preview of the actual exam and can help you fine-tune your review. Regularly practicing questions will make you familiar with the test format, ensuring there are no surprises on the actual exam day. Set aside dedicated blocks of time for question practice and aim to complete as many practice questions as possible. However, allocate sufficient time to review the explanations for each question, as they offer valuable insights and reinforce your understanding of the material.


Two weeks before the exam is not the time to learn new material. Instead, focus on reviewing your weak areas and reinforcing previously acquired knowledge. Identify the topics or concepts that you find most challenging and dedicate extra time to understanding and memorizing them. If you find any significant gaps in your understanding, consider rescheduling your exam to ensure you are adequately prepared. Some recommended review topics include lists of organisms, equations, and disease hallmarks. Use resources such as First Aid for the USMLE Step 1 to guide your review.

Take care of yourself

It’s easy to neglect self-care during this intense period of studying and pressure. However, taking care of yourself is essential for optimal performance. Maintain a healthy sleep schedule, aiming for 7-8 hours each night. Sleep is crucial for memory consolidation and overall cognitive function. Additionally, nourish your body with nutritious meals that provide sustained energy throughout

the day. Incorporate exercise into your routine whenever possible, as it can help reduce stress, improve focus, and enhance overall well-being. Even a short walk or a few minutes of meditation can greatly

Preparing for your USMLE exams

Here are some ways to prepare for your USMLE exams.

Craft a Focused Study Plan

With limited time available, it’s vital to create a targeted study plan. Assess your strengths and weaknesses by reviewing practice exams and assessments. Devote more time to topics you need improvement while ensuring a balanced coverage of high-yield subjects. Setting specific goals for each study session will keep you on track and allow you to measure your progress effectively.

Embrace Simulated Exams

Simulated exams play a crucial role in acclimating yourself to the format and timing of the Step 1 exam. Allocate dedicated time to complete full-length practice exams, preferably under conditions that mirror the test. This approach will help you build endurance, manage time effectively, and identify weak areas that require further review. Analyze your performance to pinpoint specific topics for additional study.

Harness the Power of CanadaQBank

CanadaQBank is an invaluable resource for Step 1 preparation, and its importance cannot be overstated. This comprehensive question bank replicates the exam experience and covers all major subjects. By practicing with CanadaQBank, you can reinforce your understanding of high-yield topics, sharpen your test-taking skills, and identify improvement areas. The detailed explanations for each question are invaluable in solidifying your knowledge and addressing any knowledge gaps.

Activate Your Learning with Active Techniques

Engaging in active learning techniques enhances your retention and understanding of the material. Instead of passively reading, actively quiz yourself using flashcards or create your practice questions based on key concepts. Challenge yourself to explain concepts in simple terms and consider teaching them to a study partner or even a rubber duck. Actively involving yourself in the learning process will deepen your comprehension and help cement the information in your memory.

Leverage Trusted Resources

First Aid for the USMLE Step 1 remains a cornerstone resource for Step 1 preparation. In your time-limited schedule, prioritize reviewing high-yield sections and annotations in First Aid. Supplement your studies with reputable resources, such as online video lectures, review books, and mnemonic aids, to reinforce your understanding and consolidate your knowledge.


Preparing for the USMLE Step 1 exam within two weeks requires a focused and strategic approach. By crafting a targeted study plan, prioritizing high-yield topics, incorporating simulated exams, and utilizing resources like CanadaQBank, you can maximize your chances of success.

Remember, while intense studying is necessary, it’s crucial to prioritize self-care and maintain a balanced lifestyle. Ensure you get sufficient sleep, exercise regularly, and nourish your body with healthy meals. Taking breaks and practicing relaxation techniques, like meditation or deep breathing, can help alleviate stress and improve focus.

PLAB vs AMC Exams: A Comprehensive Comparison

For medical practitioners considering relocation choosing the right county is so important. However, this choice involves careful consideration of several factors. Among these factors is the qualification exam and process that allows you to practice medicine in your chosen destination legally.

That’s why in this article, we will comprehensively compare the PLAB and AMC exams, two prominent assessments that facilitate medical practice in different countries— Canada and Australia.

We will explore both exams under the following headings

  • Eligibility Criteria
  • Format and Content
  • Fees
  • Assessment Process
  • Passing Rates
  • Recognition and Licensure
  • Challenges and Considerations

But before we proceed, let’s explain what the PLAB & AMC are.

What is PLAB?

PLAB is an acronym for the Professional and Linguistic Assessment Board test, and it is conducted by the General Medical Council (GMC). The United Kingdom uses it to assess if immigrant doctors seeking to practice have the proper knowledge and skills to provide safe and effective medical care to their citizens.

What is AMC?

AMC stands for the Australian Medical Council, a body that assesses and accredits medical practitioners in Australia. The AMC conducts a series of examinations designed to evaluate the knowledge, clinical skills, and professionalism of candidates seeking registration to practice medicine.

Eligibility Criteria

First on our list are the pre-requirements needed to be eligible to take the exams in these countries.

The AMC requires,

  1. Proof of identity includes a valid passport and a government I.D. This is to verify that you are who you say you are and that you are a registered citizen of that country
  2. You must present your degree and the official transcript from your university.
  3. Immigrating doctors are usually required to have some years of experience working in a hospital or clinic. A letter of recommendation and experience letter would be required.
  4. Medical Registration Certificate. This will prove that you are eligible to practice medicine in your home country.


However, to qualify for the PLAB, requires,

  1. You must have completed and obtained your medical degree from an institution listed in the World Directory of Medical Schools.
  2. You must have taken an English proficiency test (IELTS or OET) and passed with the necessary scores.
  3. You must be eligible to practice medicine in your home country.
  4. It is required that you have completed 12 months of internship at a teaching or approved hospital to obtain complete registration,

Format and Content

The next thing to discuss is the format of both exams. Both exams are divided into parts. PLAB is divided into two,

PLAB 1 is a written test comprising 180 multiple-choice questions that must be answered within 3 hours. Each question starts with a scenario followed by a question and assesses your understanding of basic medical sciences, clinical medicine, and ethics.

PLAB 2 is a practical review that evaluates your clinical skills, including communication, history-taking, physical examination, and clinical management. The idea here is to reflect real life and comprises 18 clinical scenarios that last 8 minutes each.

On the other hand, the AMC exams are divided into two

  • CAT mcq questions
  • Clinical examination.

The Computer Adaptive test is an MCQ numbering 150, and it tests your knowledge in general practice, internal medicine, pediatrics, psychiatry, surgery, and obstetrics and gynecology.

The clinical examination is a practical assessment that evaluates your clinical skills in patient care and communication, review, and diagnosis. It has 20 stations and takes about 3 hours and 20 minutes. The clinical exam has a choice called the workplace-based assessment pathway (WBA); it has a limited spot and is open to doctors employed at one of ten sites accredited by the AMC for this purpose in Australia.

Remember, you can always rely on CanadaQBank to help you pass your PLAB or AMC.


Of the two examinations, PLAB is the less expensive option. PLAB 1 costs about AUD 492 (£ 255), while the AMC MCQ costs AUD2,920(£ 1,515). PLAB 2 costs AUD 1,799 (£ 934), and the AMC Clinical examination is about AUD 3,730(£ 1,934).

Assessment Process

PLAB 1 exams are run four times a year in the UK and abroad. You can take the test 4 times but must undergo an extra 12 months of clinical training to be allowed a 5th and final try. PLAB 2 is held only in the U.K., and the venues available will be shown when you register online. Also, PLAB 2 must be done within two years of passing PLAB1.

AMC CAT exam is held on multiple dates every month worldwide, and you have an unlimited amount of trials. However, the clinical exam can only be taken after completing the CAT exam. Note that it can also be taken online. This format was been developed to account for health restrictions especially following the pandemic.

Passing Rates

The pass rate for both exams paints an interesting picture, but you must remember that the AMC is geared towards new medical practitioners while PLAB is aimed at the more experienced.

Over the last five years, PLAB has maintained a 65% pass average for PLAB1, and PLAB 2’s pass average is 69%. The AMC, on the other hand, has an average pass rate of 63% for the MCQ, but it drops for the clinical exam to an average of 28%. However, the workplace based assessment (WBA) of the has a pass rate of 99%.

Recognition and Licensure

Passing your PLAB exam allows you to apply for complete registration and grants you a license to practice, and this should be done within two years of passing PLAB 2. With this, you can begin working as a doctor once the GMC gives you approval.

Australia is a bit different in that you must first get an employment offer before being granted a provisional license that will allow you to complete a 12-month internship where you prove your competence. This can be done after passing your AMC CAT exam, helping you reduce your time. Once you have completed both parts of the exam plus your trial year, you are eligible to work in Australia.

Challenges and Considerations

Both exams come with their challenges. The AMC is quite expensive, and as its pass rate has shown, it may require multiple attempts. To avoid overspending, past successful AMC test takers recommend preparing for three months – 1 year.

PLAB allows a max of 5 attempts, so it is prudent that you pass. Experts recommend spending 1.5-4 months preparing for the exams, as seen in the previous pass rates.


The AMC and PLAB are crucial exams for anyone who wants to study in Australia or Canada, respectively. This is because you need to pass these exams to get your medical license and get a job in these countries. So, we know how important these exams are. And that’s why at CanadaQBank, we offer some of the best simulated AMC CAT MCQs you will ever get! It is gotten from the actual exams and updates regularly to go with changes in the curriculum.

For PLAB, we also have over 3400 of some of the best MCQs tailored to help you pass your PLAB 1. These simulated questions give you a feel of how the exams will be and make your medical dreams come true.

How to Become a Surgeon in Canada

How to Become a Surgeon in Canada

Surgeons are critical in the healthcare industry. They are medical doctors specializing in conducting surgical operations to diagnose, manage, and treat various medical diseases and conditions. They also play a vital role with their skills when there are emergencies and planned surgical procedures, ranging from benign interventions to serious and life-saving situations.

However, surgeons do not only work in the operating room. They also work with other health professionals to produce treatment plans and provide care and support for patients before and after a surgical procedure until they recover. They also contribute to medical research, innovation, and development, improving the healthcare system. That’s why in this article, we’ll focus on how to become a Surgeon in Canada.

Let’s get to it!

Surgery in Canada

In recent years, the demand for skilled surgeons in Canada has steadily increased. With population growth and an increase in older people, surgical interventions are greatly needed to meet the many diseases and medical conditions that have increased significantly. The advancement in medical technology and services has opened many windows and doors, expanding the scope of surgical procedures. This has dramatically increased the demand for skilled surgeons in Canada and internationally.

Certain areas in Canada have a significant shortage of surgeons, accentuating the need for health professionals in the industry. The areas faced with these shortages are primarily rural. This presents an excellent opportunity for anyone passionate about practicing outside major urban areas.

Becoming a surgeon is a very prestigious achievement in many ways. Having the ability to save lives can be very rewarding.

However, do not be deceived, as the path to becoming a surgeon in Canada is an arduous and extensive educational journey spanning over a decade. Below are guides to the academic criteria for becoming a surgeon in Canada.

1.  Highschool

The journey starts in high school. Students with a passion for healthcare are usually in science classes. They focus on science courses, including chemistry, physics, and biology.

Students have to have excellent math and English grades, as these are the basis for academic success in the future. You should note that engaging in extracurricular activities, especially those related to the medical field and volunteering, would be good.

2.  Undergraduate Degree

After graduating high school, students who still wish to become surgeons must have an undergraduate degree. However, there are no particular requirements for the type of degree. Most medical schools require a Bachelor of Science (B.Sc) degree or equivalent.

You should know that maintaining high academic performance and participation in extracurricular activities, including research and volunteer work, is an excellent track record for students who want to be surgeons.

3.  Taking the Medical College Admission Test (MCAT):

The next phase of becoming a surgeon involves taking the Medical College Admission Test. The test is a standardized examination. It assesses the candidates’ science knowledge, problem-solving skills, and critical thinking. Note that high scorers in the examination have higher chances of acceptance.

Of course, you should know that CanadaQBank has access to thousands of questions and answers that can help you pass your medical exams.

4.  Medical School Admission:

After getting a Bachelor of Science degree (B.Sc) or any related field and passing the Medical College Admission Test (MCAT) with high scores, students can apply to medical schools in Canada. Students are evaluated on their Medical College Admission Test (MCAT) scores, outstanding letters of recommendation, personal interviews, and extracurricular activities.

5.  Medical School Timetable

It typically takes four years to go through medical school, from the pre-clinical to the clinical rotations to finally becoming a full-fledged graduate.

Pre-clinical years consist of learning the fundamentals of medical sciences to gain solid theoretical knowledge such as biochemistry, physiology, and anatomy. Clinical rotations involve hands-on experience. It is immersive and exposes future surgeons to various medical specialties, including surgery. Remember to make use of QBanks such as CanadaQBank to help you pass your exams with ease.

6.  Surgical Residency

After completing medical school, aspiring surgeons begin a surgical residency program. This lasts for several years, depending on the surgical specialty. Specialties such as family and internal medicine usually last for about three years, while neurological surgical residencies last for about 6 to 7 years.

No matter the residency you do, during this stage, surgeons receive comprehensive training and work closely with experienced surgeons to get practical surgical experience during residency.

7.  Getting Licensed and Certified

After completion of surgical residency, the next phase is to get a medical license to practice as a surgeon in Canada.

You can get certified through the Royal College Of Physicians and Surgeons Of Canada (RCPSC). Surgeons seeking certifications have to pass specialty-specific exams.

8. Fellowship (optional)

This part is optional but also another building block to enhancing surgical skills. By completing a fellowship program, surgeons further specialize in a particular field area.

Aspiring surgeons must demonstrate dedication, a passion for Medicine, perseverance, and hard work throughout their educational journey to becoming surgeons. Becoming a surgeon requires a lot of hard work, a genuine desire to impact patients’ lives positively, and a commitment to learning and improving surgical skills.

Path to Becoming a Surgeon in Canada

Canada has seventeen accredited medical schools. But even with this many medical schools, getting admission to the school can be a very stressful process. These schools have very tough and high criteria for admissions. They are approximately admitting more than 10,000 students and graduating more than 2,000 yearly.

The criteria demand exceptional academic achievement, a passion for Medicine, and perfect extracurricular activities experience. The spots are minimal, creating competition amongst the candidates. Only the best of the best gets this holy grail slot.

International medical students can also become surgeons in Canada. Several schools outside of Canada provide the necessary training and foundation needed to work as a surgeon in Canada, like the American University of Antigua College of Medicine (AUAMED).

MBBS stands for Bachelor of Medicine and Bachelor of Surgery. Having an MBBS degree from a university in Canada is a significant achievement. Below are ten prestigious universities in Canada with huge reputations.

  1. McGill University
  2. Laval University
  3. University Of Montreal
  4. Dalhousie University
  5. Memorial University
  6. McMaster University
  7. University Of Ottawa
  8. University Of Sherbrooke
  9. University Of Toronto
  10. Queen’s University at Kingston

These universities believe in experience and provide their medical graduates with internships and placements after graduation.


Becoming a surgeon in Canada is a stressful but satisfying journey. It requires diligence, hard work, and a passion for Medicine and serving others. Aspiring surgeons will need perseverance.

Moreover, Canada has very significant universities that will train and even aid graduates with getting placements. To make your journey easier, always fall back to QBanks such as CanadaQBank to make your journey easier.

Is the MCCQE1 Exam Challenging to Pass?

Is the MCCQE1 Exam Challenging to Pass?

The question as to whether the MCCQE1 exam is challenging to pass or not isn’t a straightforward one. This comprehensive exam assesses the medical skills and knowledge of those wishing to become residents of Canada.

However, it’s not all about medical knowledge. It’s also about assessing the critical thinking, problem-solving, and decision-making skills of medical examinees when it comes to applying medical knowledge. So, it’s not just your average examination, and thus, it can be perceived by some as challenging

What does the MCCQE1 entail?

The MCCQE Part 1 is a comprehensive national examination administered at the end of medical school in Canada. It is a computer-based test that spans a single day. The morning session allows four hours to complete 210 Multiple-Choice Questions, while the afternoon session focuses on Clinical Decision-Making and provides three and a half hours to answer short-menu and short-answer write-in questions related to 38 cases.

The exam evaluates your performance based on a blueprint that encompasses two main categories:

  • Dimensions of care, which assesses the full range of medical care
  • Physician activities, which reflect the scope of a physician’s practice and behaviours.

Each category comprises four areas.

What makes the MCCQE1 exam different?

Preparing for the MCCQE1 Exam poses significant challenges, mostly due to the coverage of the Medical Council of Canada (MCC) objectives. These objectives cover high-yield topics that are essential for success in the board exam. Adequate coverage of these objectives is essential, as failing to do so greatly reduces your chances of passing the MCCQE1 exam.

Unlike international medical board exams like the United States Medical Licensing Examination (USMLE), the MCCQE1 exam has distinct characteristics.

The MCCQE1 is clinically oriented and aligns with the Canadian Medical Education Directions for Specialists (CanMEDS). CanMEDS, developed by the Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons of Canada. It also outlines the attributes and skills of a competent physician. The MCC objectives are based on the CanMEDS framework, encompassing management strategies, clinical diagnostics, problem-solving, preventive medicine, and ethics.

Mistakes to avoid when preparing for the MCCQE1

1.   Not making full use of Question Banks

Questions banks are your best friends when preparing for your exams. A good example is CanadaQBank. These have access to the best questions and answers.

One of the biggest mistakes when using the CanadaQBank is overlooking the question explanations. The true value of CanadaQBank lies in its high-quality explanations. These questions serve as practice for clinical reasoning, and pattern recognition—And test-taking skills required to achieve a high score on the MCCQE Part 1 exam. Simply answering the questions and skimming over the explanations won’t suffice to master the MCC objectives.

You should know that each question in CanadaQBank is meticulously designed based on the MCC objectives, offering different perspectives. It presents different options, followed by a detailed explanation of the correct answer and why the other options are incorrect. Understanding the reasons behind the incorrect options is crucial for comprehending and covering the MCC objectives. Moreover, it enhances your differential diagnosis and clinical decision-making abilities.

2.   Not using the right textbooks

Finding a comprehensive textbook covering the entire MCC objectives list can be challenging. Different textbooks may cover varying objectives or provide varying degrees of coverage for the same objectives. Some textbooks may lack detailed management algorithms or key treatment points, moving on to the next medical condition swiftly.

Also, the MCC objectives list is continuously evolving and updating to incorporate medical advancements. This dynamic nature means that textbooks, once considered sufficient for MCC objectives, may no longer meet the updated requirements.

Given these challenges, candidates should shift their focus to bullet point textbooks with concise explanations as their primary study resource. These textbooks have condensed the need-to-know information for each medical condition, enabling faster preparation for the board exam. Popular choices in this category are American textbooks like First Aid or Master the Boards. However, it’s important to note that these textbooks are not specifically tailored for the MCCQE1 exam. Studying from non-MCCQE1-specific textbooks can lead to confusion and frustration due to the exam’s unique nature and requirements.

3.   Not managing time well

Procrastination is a powerful force that can affect anyone, anytime. It’s like having a voice inside your head that constantly suggests engaging in other tasks instead of studying. It convinces you that cleaning your room or accomplishing something else right now is more important than studying. The voice excels at rationalizing, making you believe that you can always study later or that reading a particular chapter can wait until tomorrow.

When you subscribe to a study resource such as CanadaQBank, you’re given a specific time frame to complete, review the question bank, and assess your progress before the MCCQE1 exam. It’s crucial to know how to overcome procrastination when it threatens to hinder your academic progress.

Effective time management is key. You can’t simply go with the flow and hope to have enough time and energy for studying after spending time with friends. Create a study schedule that allows sufficient time for completing your assignments. When you have limited study time, make the most of it by dedicating yourself to reading and absorbing as much as possible.

4. Not cultivating the right attitude

To combat procrastination and stay focused, you need to be motivated. Motivation is a powerful tool in combating procrastination. Stay motivated to stick to your study plan and increase daily productivity.

To resist temptation, minimize distractions. If you find it difficult to focus at home due to the presence of family members or roommates, consider studying in a library where you’ll have fewer distractions.

Effective time management revolves around planning ahead and adhering to your plan. Establish good study habits by organizing both your study space and schedule. Learning how to stay on track, minimize distractions from people and technology, and reduce procrastination will lead to success.

Finally, attitude plays a crucial role in preparing for the MCCQE1 exam. Maintaining a positive attitude and surrounding yourself with supportive individuals can greatly enhance your motivation and drive to engage in activities that contribute to your exam success.


So, is the MCCQE1 challenging? Yes, it is, but it’s not impossible to pass. Thousands, if not millions, of people have written and passed it. So, you definitely can. With the right study plan, motivation, and CanadaQBank at your side, it would be a breeze.