The Canadian College of Medical Geneticists Objective Structured Laboratory Examination (OSLE) occurs every two years a few weeks after the General and Written Specialty Examinations.  It is used to test for practical knowledge as it relates to a candidate’s chosen specialty.  It is designed to ensure that each candidate has obtained a standard minimum competency to practice in genetic diagnostics.


The OSLE normally occurs in mid-June.  The location of the OSLE will vary across Canada and may be in the same vicinity as the annual general meeting.  The candidate is entirely responsible for the cost of the travel and hotel arrangements in the examination city; however suggestions for conveniently situated hotels are usually provided. The examination date will be posted on the CCMG website about 6 months prior to the examination.  About two weeks prior to the examination, the candidate will receive a letter stating the examination location and time of arrival.  The examination length is approximately 3 hours.

On the day of the examination, the candidate will be asked to check-in with the proctor 30 minutes prior to the start time with government-issued photo identification.  Each candidate will receive their schedule, which outlines the room and time of each station.  A pencil or pen and a non-programmable electronic calculator will be required.  Scrap paper will be provided in the OSLE rooms.  The candidate may bring a bottle of water into the OSLE rooms.

The OSLE is composed of several stations, which a candidate must rotate through.  Some stations may be oral questions while others may be stations that have data that must be interpreted or have specific questions addressed.  Each station will have a proctor or examiner to provide specific instructions for that station.  All stations are timed and a candidate will have about 5 minutes in between stations to arrive at the next one.

Candidates are strongly advised to listen/read carefully the question being asked.  The examiner is not permitted to clarify any questions, but may be asked to repeat the question.  Candidates should ensure they answer only the question being asked, as each station is designed to fill the designated time and all the questions may not be finished should the candidate provide too much extraneous information.  Some stations have a linear workflow (i.e. a candidate cannot go back and alter their first answer once it has been completed), while others allow for a candidate to go back to the beginning of the station to answer it more fully should they finish early.  The proctor will provide specific instructions regarding this when a candidate enters the examination room.  For those stations that require writing, candidates should write as neat as possible, as illegible writing cannot be marked.  Scrap paper is collected and shredded by the proctor immediately following the examination and will not be marked.

Candidates will receive their pass/fail status within 4 weeks of the completion of the examination.  Each OSLE question is assigned a competency cut-off to ensure that the passing grade reflects minimum competency.

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