Practice OSLE & FAQs

At the request of the CCMG Board, and in collaboration with several members of the CCMG, mock OSLE exams have been developed to provide CCMG trainees practice in this exam format prior to sitting certifying OSLE examinations. Mock OSLE questions have been developed for practice exams in biochemical genetics, molecular genetics and cytogenetics.

The mock OSLE exams have been developed at arms length from the exam committee and are meant to provide examples of this exam format; the content of the mock OSLEs were developed using the content of the Training Guidelines  but not necessarily representative of content  of the certifying OSLE examinations scheduled for June 2018. Participation in the mock OSLEs is not required for CCMG trainees, but is encouraged as part of routine exam preparations. 

The date for administration of the practice OSLE will be at each center’s discretion once the stations have been made available.  Please note that multiple rooms may need to be reserved for administration of the mock OSLE exams depending on the number of trainees participating.

For each OSLE station, the candidate will be provided with a case scenario and then asked a series of scripted questions related to that scenario. As this is an oral examination, if the practice OSLE is being administered to more than one candidate at a time, then separate room(s) or office(s) should be reserved so that two or more candidates are not being examined in the same room at the same time.

***Please note, the contents of the practice OSLE are confidential.  The contents of the practice OSLE should not be shared with individuals other than the program director and examiners without expressed permission of the CCMG.***

Instructions for examiners at training site

Beforehand (days before):
Read and review the entire exam carefully and understand the questions and expected answers.  This is important so that the exam itself is well administered.

Identify a quiet, isolated area for the exam.  Ideally, the rooms have a desk with the ability for an examiner to site opposite a candidate.  Rooms should be in close proximity to allow for travel to the next room (depending on the # of examiners designated / OLSE).

Instruct candidates to arrive 15 minutes before the start for check-in. Designate one room for “check in”
Provide a space for personal belongings to be kept securely. Candidates must not have access to any electrical devices during the exam (cell phones / computers).

Have scrap paper and water available for candidates. Candidates may take notes during the OSLE.

The official OSLE will have a different examiner for each station (with the possible exception of the OSLE for French candidates where the examiner pool is limited).  Ideally, the mock OSLE should also have a different examiner for each station but we appreciate this may be a challenge.  We recommend that you identify at least 2 examiners.

The exam may be given in order as the questions or if there is more than one candidate, up to six candidates can begin at any question number and can follow each other through the stations. If there are more than six candidates, then the exam may be offered twice, or “break stations” may be added to the schedule to accommodate additional candidates.

Provide for each station, a clock or timer that shows minutes and which can be readily seen by both the candidate and the examiner.  An audible alarm (ie. bell or whistle) may also be used to mark the start of each station, a warning that 5 minutes for the station remain, and to mark the end of the station time.

On Exam Day:
Print scoring sheets and examiner instructions for each station.  Have these available for the examiner at each station.  Ensure that there are sufficient copies of the scoring sheet for each candidate being examined.
Ensure any supplementary documentation required for each station is available for the candidate in either a paper or electronic form at the station.
Provide scrap paper for the candidates to use at each station, in case required.

Frequently asked Questions:

Q. Who can act as an examiner for the Practice OSLE?
A. The practice OSLE were designed for each of the subspecialities and therefore are best suited to be marked by someone also trained in the subspecialty being examined.  However, it is recognized that a Fellow with certification in each of the subspecialties may not be available at all sites to administer the practice OSLE.  If there isn’t a suitable subspecialist at a center to administer the exam,  then other medical or lab colleagues may also be helpful for administration. 

Q. A clinical trainee (in clinical biochemical genetics) at our training center has expressed interest in participating in the practice OSLE. Is there a practice OSLE available for clinical biochemical genetics too?
A. The biochemical genetics practice OSLE is suitable for trainees in both clinical and laboratory biochemical genetics training programs.  Some of the questions are split (one for lab and one for clinical BG) to allow appropriate questions based on whether training was performed in a clinical versus laboratory program.

Q.  A clinical genetics fellow/resident at our training center has expressed interest in participating in a practice OSCE.  Has a practice OSCE been developed for the clinical genetics fellows/residents?
A. Practice OSCE stations have not been developed as these practice examination are already in place within many of the accreditated clinical genetics training programs. The Clinical Genetics Practice OSCE are often not available to clinical laboratory fellows as they are generally designed for examination of Clinical Genetics-specific competancies, rather than “general medical genetics knowledge”.  The goal of the practice CCMG OSLE are to provide the laboratory trainees with opportunities to better understand the format of this new oral examination and to support the laboratory trainees successful examination.

Q.  A molecular pathology fellow at our center has expressed interest in participating in the practice OSLE.  Is the molecular genetics practice OSLE also suitable for molecular pathology trainees?
A.  The practice OSLEs were developed with existing CCMG training guidelines in mind, and may not be suitable for other laboratory medicine specialities.