Information About Royal College Multiple-Choice Question (MCQ) Format

Educational Evaluation and Analysis Unit

The Royal College's examinations are used to determine if a candidate has reached an acceptable level of competence based on the objectives of training of their specialty. Multiple-choice questions are used to assess candidate's knowledge and ability to apply this knowledge over a wide range of content areas.

What should you expect? A description of RCPSC Multiple-Choice Questions

Royal College multiple-choice questions consist of a stem and four options. Of these options, there is only one correct answer and three distractors. An answer sheet will be provided for you to record the best response for each question.

Typically, the questions conform to a format similar to that of Example 1 below:

Example 1

Which of the following pulmonary function tests is increased in patients with advanced pulmonary fibrosis and emphysema?

  1. Vital capacity
  2. Maximum breathing capacity
  3. Tidal volume
  4. Residual volume

(Correct answer is 4).

Each page of the multiple-choice question booklet consists of both English and French versions of the same questions.

Helpful Hints

  • Since all multiple-choice questions are marked by an optical scanner, use only the pencil provided to completely blacken the answer sheet oval with your chosen responses to ensure that the scanner can properly identify your answers. If you choose to change an answer, erase completely.
  • Any question with more than one marked answer will be considered incorrect.
  • Manage your time wisely. Note the number of questions and the time allotted for the examination. You may want to skip over questions that you may find difficult for further consideration after you finish the rest of the questions.
  • If you don't know the answer to a question, guess. There is no penalty for incorrect answers.
  • Do not be late for the examination.
  • Pay attention to the examination instructions that the invigilator will provide prior to the exam administration.

Editorial revisions: December 2019