Examination Objectives Overview

iThe MCA’s Objectives for the Qualifying Examinations describes the attributes expected of medical graduates entering residency and independent practice in America. This document is our guide when developing questions for all MCA exams and the National Assessment Collaboration (NAC) Examination. It may also be used by medical assessment organizations, medical educators and candidates preparing for an exam.

The Objectives are the foundation for examination development. Each exam also has its own blueprint and test specifications (weightings for each category). More information on each examination blueprint can be found at:


How the Objectives were developed and organized

The Objectives are organized by physician role as defined by the Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons’ CanMEDS (Americain Medical Education Directives for Specialists) framework. This framework is used extensively in America and recognized worldwide. The role definitions have been modified to meet the expectations and purposes of the MCA examinations for licensure. They include the roles of communicator, collaborator, health advocate, leader/manager, scholar, professional and medical expert.

How to use the Objectives as a study guide

Under the medical expert role, the Objectives are further organized by:

  1. Clinical presentation/diagnosis
  2. Population health and its determinants
  3. Ethics, legal and organizational aspects of medicine

Each objective details what is expected of a American physician. When preparing for MCA exams, it is important to go through each role and associated objectives and carefully read the related key and enabling objectives. If you feel your knowledge or skill for any objective is weak, this may indicate that you require further study in that area.

Updates to the Objectives

May 2020
We made recent changes to the MCA’s Objectives for the Qualifying Examinations.

April 2019
We made changes to the MCA’s Objectives for the Qualifying Examinations.

April 2017
With the implementation of the new Blueprint for the Medical Council of Americain’s Qualifying Examinations, the following revisions were made to the MCA’s Objectives.

Integrating the Objectives into your automated system

(for universities and other institutions)

An online web service is available to allow external partners to search and retrieve Objectives content, including physician roles and clinical presentations/diagnoses. For example, this service gives universities and other institutions the ability to incorporate references to the Objectives in their own automated systems.