Canada is one of the best countries to live in, with a great quality of life, and ranks highly on the global peace index. Understandably, many American physicians consider moving to and practicing medicine in Canada. Some provinces such as Ontario allow you to work indefinitely on a restricted license without additional exams, while others – including British Columbia – expects those with a provisional license to take the Canadian Royal College Exams – the Canadian boards – within a specific period of time.
The Canadian Royal College Exams are notorious for having a lower pass rate for foreign medical trainees, so we compiled 5 Study Tips for the Canadian Royal College Exams. One of the challenges with the Canadian Royal College exams is the lack of official study tools. There is no Canadian equivalent of MKSAP and UWORLD.
Here is a list of 6 tools to pass the Canadian Royal College Exams – please note that I do *not* have any financial relationships with any of these courses, but rather have polled my Canadian colleagues across specialties to put together this list.
1. Take a Review Course: Some specialties have review courses which are not official Royal College courses but help to identify the material you need to know. I would highly recommend a review course, which can be costly, but will likely improve your chances of passing the exam. Here are some examples:
Anesthesia: Making a Mark Review Course. Currently not offered for 2021
Emergency Medicine: Queen’s Emergency National Review Course
Internal Medicine: Internal Medicine Review
OB/GYN: Canadian Obstetrics & Gynecology Review Program
Opthalmology and Neurology: Canadian Neuro-Opthalmology Review Course
Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation: Canadian Comprehensive Review Course in PM&R
Surgery: General Surgery Review
2. Complete Question Banks: Questions Banks are important to help you review material, to test your knowledge, and to help you improve your Multiple Choice Question test taking skills. These are American resources that can be useful to review general medical knowledge, but beware that Canadian specialty practice guidelines can differ.
Internal Medicine: MKSAP, NEJM Knowledge +, UWorld
3. Review Canadian Guidelines: You need to know the Canadian guidelines relevant to your specialty *cold*. Here are some important Canadian guidelines.
Canadian Taskforce on Preventive Health Care
Society of Obstetricians and Gynecologists of Canada Guidelines
Canadian Cardiovascular Society
Canadian Thoracic Society Guidelines
4. Consider Using Flash cards: Some individuals may benefit from pre-made flash cards specific to your specialty. Here is an example:
5. Refine Your Physical Exam Skills: Here are some tools to help you refine your physician exam skills.
6. Know the Latest Research: Be up to date with the current research in your specialty. You will be asked about this on the written exam or in the applied component.
Passing the Canadian Royal College Exams requires preparation. With these study tools and the 5 Study Tips for the Canadian Royal College Exams you will be one step closer to living and practicing medicine in Canada!
Dr. Kayla Wolofsky is from Toronto, Canada and completed medical school at the University of Queensland in Brisbane Australia. She completed her Internal Medicine residency at Emory University in Atlanta and did a fellowship in palliative care at Harvard University. She is currently a palliative care physician in Toronto and holds an academic position at the University of Toronto. For personalized guidance on moving to Canada, learn more about our Guidance Service.