Licensure Examinations

Licensure Examinations - Medicine 


Following graduation from medical school, most students will wish to obtain a license to practice medicine. There are numerous steps in that process, some of which begin in medical school. Obtaining licensure requires successful completion of the appropriate postgraduate (residency) training and successful completion of licensing examinations, specifically the Medical Council of Canada Qualifying Examinations (MCCQE I and II) for Canada and United States Medical Licensing Examination (USMLE) for United States. There may be additional steps such as obtaining work visas and demonstrating language proficiency. In the Province of Quebec, applicants for licensure must have a working knowledge of French (Charter of the French Language) and may be required to sit for the French test held at the Office de la langue française.


The Medical Council of Canada Qualifying Examination (MCCQE) is a two-part examination. Part I is administered in the graduation year. Part II can only be taken after a defined period of postgraduate training. Students must successfully complete both parts of this examination to be eligible for licensure in Canada.

Part I is administered in a Computer-Based Testing (CBT) format. Part II is a clinical examination, using standardized patients.


The United States Medical Licensing Examination is a three-part examination. Step 1 is generally taken at the end of 2nd year. Step 2 is generally taken at the end of senior clerkship and includes a clinical skills examination. To take Step 3, the student must have successfully completed Steps 1 and 2 and, in most states, have completed a defined period of residency training.

This examination is taken by students who plan to be licensed to practice in the U.S.A. (some states will also accept the MCCQE for licensure). All students applying to residencies in the U.S.A. are encouraged to take Step 1. Although not intended for this purpose, an increasing number of residency program directors are asking for these scores and are using them in the screening process.

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