The MCC Journey: An IMG Experience

I have been receiving many questions on the MCC process so I thought over the next few weeks, myself and a couple of friends will be sharing our experiences and the pathway to getting a residency training in Canada and the US. Hopefully this helps!

An Experience To Share

I began my MCC (Medical Council of Canada) journey in 2015, and about four years and multiple exams later I have successfully obtained the Licentiate of the Medical Council of Canada (LMCC).  Has it been easy? Not the least. Is it worth it all? Good question!

Being a CSA (Canadian who studied abroad) the plan was to always return back home for residency training, unfortunately there weren’t a lot of resources and guidance available to get into Canadian residency training back in the U.A.E. So after a ton of research and gaining bits of information from physicians and professors I concluded that there were two (at that time) main exams to be done in order to apply to a residency program and two more to obtain the LMCC.

Residency Exams

  1. MCCEE
  2. NAC OSCE

LMCC Qualifying exams

  1. MCCQE1
  2. MCCQE2

I knew I had to write the MCCEE but how do I apply for it? After some more research I figured I had to open an account through physiciansapply.ca and get a bunch of documents source verified. My university at that time was new to the concept and therefore it took awhile. A few months later I had my documents ready and source verified to apply for the MCCEE. By the time I wrote my MCCEE I was in my Internship and the clinical exposure helped. Thankfully I passed and it was time to move back home.

Work & Exams

I moved back to Canada in October 2016 with two goals towards my residency application – gain Canadian healthcare experience and prepare for the NAC OSCE. I still had time till the exam application so I decided to dive into job search. I did it all. Applied through indeed, contacted friends and family friends who knew people hoping to get something in the healthcare field. Nada. It was a tough time, with 90% of them telling me how competitive it is to get a clinical assistant post in a clinic or into research. One of them even encouraged me to give up. Fortunately, I got a volunteering position in a Walk-in clinic and at the same time worked at Walmart to support myself financially. Months later, I transitioned into working full-time hours as a telemedicine clinical assistant and with that I built my experience in healthcare.

During that time, I prepared for the NAC OSCE and passed! After all the stress, passing that exam felt victorious. By then it was only summer of 2017 and CaRMs applications were only starting in fall so I thought why not apply for MCCQE1? That ought to boost my application. So by fall 2017 I wrote the MCCQE1 and applied to CaRMs. I passed the MCCQE1 but wasn’t able to get an interview to the 14 schools I applied to.

I was disheartened. Getting all those “ No Interview” letters felt really crappy. I moped for the next few days and after a pep talk from my girl friend I applied for PLAB 1 (UK qualifying exam). I wasn’t ready to give up on Canada yet. It’s home! So I applied for the MCCQE2 and took it in October 2018 but due to changes taking place the results were not out untill January 2019. By then it was time for CaRMs again. This time with a better, stronger application with reference letters from Canadian doctors, I was hopeful for at least one interview. By January 4th 2019 I heard back from all the 20 schools I applied to with “ no interviews”. At this point I was hoping to at least get an interview if not match. But, nada yet again. Truth be told this felt like a real low point. This one was harder to get out of and it felt like hitting a wall. As for the MCCQE2 by mid January I found out I passed and was awarded the LMCC. So I suppose it balanced out.

So, Is It Worth It All?

No knowledge and or experience go to waste – always remember that. Yes, it is super competitive here in Canada with the limited number of seats and lack of funding. But it is not impossible. It is hard, but nothing truly meaningful in life is easy to obtain. There is going to be struggle, failure, and a lot of obstacles but you just have to keep knocking and pushing until the right door and or window opens. And it will! Because believe or not we are all here with a purpose – big or small, and each experience occurs so that we can grow and fulfill that purpose.

So yes, it’s worth it all! Because, Umi of 2015 is completely different from Umi of 2019. I am not sure what the future holds for me, and none of us do. We can plan and it is good to plan but life has a way of throwing schedule out the window. Some days it feels like a long black never ending tunnel. But may be this tunnel is the journey because looking back, in my tunnel there has been lots of studying, tears, laughter, adventure and most importantly growth, both clinically and personally. For now I’ll just keep walking, a day at a time, learning at each step.

Please leave a comment to share an experience of yours or if you have any question on the MCC process.

Happy reading!

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