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I'd also say it really depends.

 

For sure strong evaluations and good references are needed but I'd say that in some programs grades might be an issue. 

 

For example, if for a program there's more than 100 applicants and you don't have the strongest grades, well you could get cut before even getting an interview. A good friend of mine applied in a specialty that was super competitive this year and didn't get any interviews in the province of Quebec most probably because of her grades (she had done research and presented, president of a committee at school, many rotations in the specialty, etc.). If you have an average of B- or more I'd say you're pretty much safe. But then again, some programs might do the cut before depending on the number of applicants (i.e. obgyn in montreal). 

 

Step 1 could help you if you want to apply in the states and also if you wanna look for a fellow in a couple years. Don't think it helps for the canadian program. 

 

But then again, carms is still a big mystery to all of us. Some people don't get interviews and we don't know why and some people do and we wonder why ;)

 

Best of luck!

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I know that it sucks that French school have grades. But all you could do now is to focus on the rest of preclinical blocks, and aiming for the best you could.

I didn't have good grades during the first semester due to language barriers, but my grades kept going up after the 1st semester, and my GPA was above average at the end. 

You could always get a year of deferral, but speak with the faculty first :)

I was hoping to get a consensus of a how pre-clinical grades would be looked at (I'm an anglophone in a french med program finding the linguistic switch difficult) in a future CARMS application.  In Quebec, these can have a significant impact on matching, but not sure what would happen in english Canada.  I'm not really looking towards surgery, but I don't know whether for medical specialties this would make a difference.  I was half-thinking of writing the US MLE Step 1, and wonder if that could be beneficial (an alternative way of showing competence).  Thanks for any input.  

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Yeah probably the extra pre-clinical year helped. I think that most of the programs look at your overall GPA rather than analyzing your grade for each block. If you aim for the best now and have a good GPA at the end of the road, it won't hurt much. As long as you pass all your blocks with a good GPA, I don't see why having below average grades in the first semester have an impact in CaRMS.

Also for English Canada, I don't know how it works, but since French medical students have grades, I guess that they will look at it (who wouldn't?). If you have a good GPA and strong clinical performance, it will be to your advantage rather than someone from English school with P everywhere and no mentions of excellence. It's a positive way of looking at it, I know that it is not fair to have grades as the rest of our Canadian colleagues.  :(

Great that you made a turnaround (that extra pre-clinical year at Montreal may have helped)! Yes - improving at comprehension, but still at a significant disadvantage - I think faculties may accommodate anglophones to various extents. This is part of the reason why I thought of the US Mle Step 1 - it would cover roughly the same material, but obviously be in english and thus could possibly be used as a comparator since at the moment my (Lack of) french competency suggests an english residency would be much better (required for US Mds and most IMGs will have written it). My weakness in French has been brought up not once, but a few times. As far deferring, at this point with grades on the record and already a significant level of debt, wouldn't be that useful or practical.

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I can't even recall having a francophone school elective student ever at our center, and we are the most popular program in our specialty in English Canada (McGill included). I can't recall ever having to rank a person from the French schools who applied.

 

To be honest, my instinct would be to ignore the grades, since we don't have comparison's for all the non French applicants (which would likely be everyone else) and focus on elective performance, evals etc.

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Ok - thank you.  Interesting - so US MDs and IMGs are treated roughly equivalently to (english) Canadian MDs in a CARMS match (MLE scores which are so significant in the US  aren't looked at)...

Yeah exactly, because 99% of the other applicants wouldn't have USMLE scores. So there is zero reason to look at it.  

 

For IMGs MCCEE and NAC OSCE are the tests that are heavily looked at. 

 

For USMDs, no different than Canadian MDs.  LORs from Canadian docs /electives just like everyone else in Canada. But they don't have a "home school" advantage that Canadian MDs have.

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I would guess that you are from a surgical speciality.

I have known friends who are applying to CaRMS with stellar clerkship eval, strong LORs and great C.V who got refused pre-interview in medical specialities in English Canada (IM, etc), because their preclinical grades were below the average (but no red flags). It's a reality when you have transcript with letter grades. 

I believe that the FMEQ is working hard to abolish the grade systems in French medical schools, let's hope for the next generation of premeds and medical students :)

I can't even recall having a francophone school elective student ever at our center, and we are the most popular program in our specialty in English Canada (McGill included). I can't recall ever having to rank a person from the French schools who applied.

 

To be honest, my instinct would be to ignore the grades, since we don't have comparison's for all the non French applicants (which would likely be everyone else) and focus on elective performance, evals etc.

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I would guess that you are from a surgical speciality.

I have known friends who are applying to CaRMS with stellar clerkship eval, strong LORs and great C.V who got refused pre-interview in medical specialities in English Canada (IM, etc), because their preclinical grades were below the average (but no red flags). It's a reality when you have transcript with letter grades. 

I believe that the FMEQ is working hard to abolish the grade systems in French medical schools, let's hope for the next generation of premeds and medical students :)

Yup.

 

Things are probably different with IM and other large specialties. There would be no way you could see everyone on elective. But for us, we have at least 2 weeks of elective experience with each candidate we are seriously considering, so we use that as our major guide for ranking.

 

The grades for Francophone schools are stupid because the English schools don't use them, hence it has no advantage for Francophone students and can only hurt them (which obviously you are seeing first hand). If I didn't know better I'd say it was a university/government plot to make sure the Francophone med students stayed in Quebec for the rest of their training (half joking/half serious).

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Yup.

 

Things are probably different with IM and other large specialties. There would be no way you could see everyone on elective. But for us, we have at least 2 weeks of elective experience with each candidate we are seriously considering, so we use that as our major guide for ranking.

 

The grades for Francophone schools are stupid because the English schools don't use them, hence it has no advantage for Francophone students and can only hurt them (which obviously you are seeing first hand). If I didn't know better I'd say it was a university/government plot to make sure the Francophone med students stayed in Quebec for the rest of their training (half joking/half serious).

 

Resident in the province of Quebec here. It does make perfect sense what you wrote. In fact, there is a lot of political pressure from the public to force med students to stay in Quebec.

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Resident in the province of Quebec here. It does make perfect sense what you wrote. In fact, there is a lot of political pressure from the public to force med students to stay in Quebec.

makes sense there would be - not like a lot of doctors outside of Quebec would know french but often those in Quebec are bilingual so there is a mismatch - more can leave than can enter. Plus Quebec spent a lot of time/money creating those doctors and would kind of like them to stick around so they get the benefit of that :)

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