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plastics91

U of Alberta vs. McMaster

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42 minutes ago, goleafsgochris said:

This hits the nail on the head.  IMO an ideal use of the summer elective period after first year is to have your list of potential specialties down to 1 if youre gunning, or 2 if you want something non-competitive.  That summer is about learning/exposure, NOT about reference letters.  Consider doing electives in the community where you will see a lot of stuff without being evaluated by a potential school you want to apply to.  Read around all the stuff you see, and youll have a solid knowledge base for clerkship once you start doing electives.

Thanks for your reply! Would that mean though that if I'm gunning, I would still be able to choose my electives AFTER this 7 week session? Or must I choose my electives before, in which case the added experience won't help me narrow down to truly gun

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3 minutes ago, plastics91 said:

Thanks for your reply! Would that mean though that if I'm gunning, I would still be able to choose my electives AFTER this 7 week session? Or must I choose my electives before, in which case the added experience won't help me narrow down to truly gun

Yes there are still 12-14 weeks of pre-carms clerkship electives and usually  2-6 weeks of post carms application deadline electives (still can be useful).

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On 5/8/2018 at 11:23 PM, plastics91 said:

 

Amount of research I guess would depend on which school I end up going to. I've heard Mac is quite condensed as is and I wouldn't have much luck doing much research in any capacity which is a bit of a downer... But I also know that research productivity during residency is more important when it comes to job searching so I wouldn't mind holding off until residency. 

most of us did research during the school year. the flexibility of pre-clerkship allows for this. I did two projects that I carried over into clerkship. 

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2 hours ago, plastics91 said:

Thanks for your reply! Would that mean though that if I'm gunning, I would still be able to choose my electives AFTER this 7 week session? Or must I choose my electives before, in which case the added experience won't help me narrow down to truly gun

 

So essentially how the timeline in pre-clerkship works is.

Around 3-4 months into medical school you are officially allowed to start doing horizontal electives.

Around 6-7 months into medical school you are already starting to apply for your post MF4 "electives". You don't always get your first choice, people do arrange electives outside of Hamilton. Pro tip: this is where you can use those Toronto EM connections to do a post MF4 with them.

Around 8 months into medical school, you have to rank your clerkship stream. The clerkship stream determines the order of your clerkship, how many pre-CaRMS clerkship electives you have as well as when your electives are. Some streams are better for certain specialties than others, some streams are a bit better than others in general (more pre-carms elective time, electives in the middle rather than at the beginning of clerkship etc. At this stage, you want to already be able to rule out ideally two or three specialties. Almost all McMaster clerkship streams have one core that is post-CaRMS interviews, and two cores that are during CaRMS application time, so a bit late for reference letters and determining what you want. We have approx 8 cores in total and 12-14 weeks of pre-carms clerkship electives.

Around 12 months into medical school you are doing your post MF4s. Mid way though these post MF4s almost all the clerks (barring a few streams) start to apply for their first clerkship electives (usually 4 weeks). These electives will be tough to get reference letters from. They are true clerkship electives but also before you do any clerkship cores. These electives are the reason McMaster clerks get a bad rep all across Canada -.-. We try our best though..

From post MF4 on, things start kicking into high gear, every few months you will hit the 7 month deadline to start applying for clerkship electives, and those electives can go fast, so people want to be on the buzzer at 12:01am to get those electives. Also, you can't apply for AFMC electives less than 4 months before the elective block, so you have up until then to change your mind and switch. Some people do, even though its discouraged officially, book multiple electives if they are truly undecided and cancel one of them (don't do it unless you have to).

 

 

 

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5 minutes ago, Edict said:

Around 3-4 months into medical school you are officially allowed to start doing horizontal electives.

Thanks for the detailed outline! You're such a lifesaver for me I'm so thankful you're spending to time to reply to my seemingly endless questions... I just really don't want to regret my decision.

 Would I be able to do observerships/shadowing before 3-4 months?

6 minutes ago, Edict said:

Around 6-7 months into medical school you are already starting to apply for your post MF4 "electives". You don't always get your first choice, people do arrange electives outside of Hamilton. Pro tip: this is where you can use those Toronto EM connections to do a post MF4 with them.

From what I see on this post people seem to suggest I should use these to build up my clinical capacity rather than doing it at places I actually want to impress because I wouldn't know squat. Do you still think it's best to use them at places I want to end up for residency?

7 minutes ago, Edict said:

Around 12 months into medical school you are doing your post MF4s. Mid way though these post MF4s almost all the clerks (barring a few streams) start to apply for their first clerkship electives (usually 4 weeks). These electives will be tough to get reference letters from. They are true clerkship electives but also before you do any clerkship cores. These electives are the reason McMaster clerks get a bad rep all across Canada -.-. We try our best though.

Although it's I'm sure person-dependent, would doing horizontal electives and being very active about getting experiences BEFORE post MF4s be enough to counter not knowing cores? For competitive specialties like EM for instance.

I keep hearing about this bad rep... I'm trying to decide whether this is going to impact how my evaluators see me. Is it reasonably likely an evaluator might be biased against me because I'm from mac?

Thank you so so much.... :D <3 

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5 hours ago, plastics91 said:

Thanks for the detailed outline! You're such a lifesaver for me I'm so thankful you're spending to time to reply to my seemingly endless questions... I just really don't want to regret my decision.

 Would I be able to do observerships/shadowing before 3-4 months?

From what I see on this post people seem to suggest I should use these to build up my clinical capacity rather than doing it at places I actually want to impress because I wouldn't know squat. Do you still think it's best to use them at places I want to end up for residency?

Although it's I'm sure person-dependent, would doing horizontal electives and being very active about getting experiences BEFORE post MF4s be enough to counter not knowing cores? For competitive specialties like EM for instance.

I keep hearing about this bad rep... I'm trying to decide whether this is going to impact how my evaluators see me. Is it reasonably likely an evaluator might be biased against me because I'm from mac?

Thank you so so much.... :D <3 

1. You can do observerships/shadowing before 3-4 months

2. That is true, but this is an exception to that rule. If you know someone in EM at a community site in the GTA for example before medical school, they knew you when you were even worse clinically, so in that case, they could write a strong letter saying they've known you for 5 years and saw you grow into an amazing clerk functioning at a first year resident level. When it comes to clerkship, you will be doing an elective in EM with academic EM docs you didn't know previously at a big teaching site. In that case, you want to do your elective closer to CaRMS when you are better and can impress.

3. I think it can help and for some people it will cinch the decision, but truthfully, there is nothing like doing 6 weeks in a certain specialty as a clerk during clerkship to tell you whether or not you like that specialty. With that being said, at some point you grimace and make a decision, you won't ever know every little detail about every specialty. At some point you will just want to make a decision, put the blinders on and stick with your target. 

4. I don't think evaluators will be biased against you at all. They have seen good and bad clerks from every school, maybe just a few more bad clerks from McMaster in part because of the early clerkship electives and in part because of the 3 year self directed program. Just be prepared to be the butt of a few jokes here and there and just laugh them off. If anything, I used the negative rep of McMaster to motivate myself to prove them wrong :P

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2 hours ago, Edict said:

 

So essentially how the timeline in pre-clerkship works is.

Around 3-4 months into medical school you are officially allowed to start doing horizontal electives.

I thought we could start doing horizontals starting in October? I definitely did some in October. 

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1 hour ago, Organomegaly said:

I thought we could start doing horizontals starting in October? I definitely did some in October. 

Yep, definitely the first week in October or even the last of September. I would recommend going more rural for post MF4s, you will get far more hands-on experience with procedures and become confident in your skills. You wouldn't be able to go to a place like say Sunnybrook for EM on a post MF4 but there are many GTA community hospitals (Newmarket/Brampton/Markham/Oakville etc.) that you could go to, are easy to set up, and will give excellent exposure – no different than if you were a clerk.

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17 minutes ago, a7x said:

Yep, definitely the first week in October or even the last of September. I would recommend going more rural for post MF4s, you will get far more hands-on experience with procedures and become confident in your skills. You wouldn't be able to go to a place like say Sunnybrook for EM on a post MF4 but there are many GTA community hospitals (Newmarket/Brampton/Markham/Oakville etc.) that you could go to, are easy to set up, and will give excellent exposure – no different than if you were a clerk.

100% this.  

If I could do it again, I would: set up maybe 2 3-4 week community electives in my specialty of interest.  Have the specialty I want SORTED OUT by early first year (times have changed--students who don't decide and "explore" ALWAYS end up in family medicine).  Read Case Files and Toronto Notes in that specialty prior to the start of those electives (which is easily enough to look great as a first year med student).  Read around the stuff you see that summer.  You could make yourself a legit all star in that specialty by clerkship by doing this.

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3 hours ago, Organomegaly said:

I thought we could start doing horizontals starting in October? I definitely did some in October. 

You might be right, I just remember there was this "horizontals talk" we were supposed to go to before starting horizontals, however I know people who just did horizontals anyways before that talk happened. So regardless, you can start doing horizontals whenever you want. Ultimately, horizontals are for your own good not for CaRMS, considering that people shadow even outside of medical school, you could honestly do it whenever you have the time to do it.

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6 hours ago, Edict said:

Around 3-4 months into medical school you are officially allowed to start doing horizontal electives.

for 2020s, we started in october being allowed to sign up for them, so 2 months in

6 hours ago, Edict said:

4. I don't think evaluators will be biased against you at all. They have seen good and bad clerks from every school, maybe just a few more bad clerks from McMaster in part because of the early clerkship electives and in part because of the 3 year self directed program. Just be prepared to be the butt of a few jokes here and there and just laugh them off. If anything, I used the negative rep of McMaster to motivate myself to prove them wrong :P

This is what a lot of upper years/residents have also said. people are pretty understanding if you upfront tell them this is your first clerkship experience from what ive heard.

 

 

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On 5/11/2018 at 8:49 PM, Dr. End Poverty said:

Sorry to hijack your thread, plastics91, but I was wondering if someone can comment on how is the dermatology curriculum different in a 3 year program ( ex. U of C) vs. a 4 year program ( U of A)?

What do you mean by dermatology curriculum? We barely see any dermatology during pre-clerkships, it is mostly sprinkled into every block. There are cutaneous manifestations in many diseases.

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On 5/8/2018 at 7:22 PM, plastics91 said:

UofA

Pro: 4 year program with time to explore different specialties, very robust (a lot of strong departments)/good rep, strong research in area of my interest (machine learning), offered me bursary, very cheap tuition compared to ONT

Con: Away from home/family (I'm from Toronto) making uncertain opportunities to make connections back to Toronto, might waste a year compared to Mac esp if seriously considering FM+1EM

Did U of A send out bursary offers already? How did you find out? I thought that happens in October? 

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On 5/19/2018 at 1:16 AM, Imisspennies said:

Did U of A send out bursary offers already? How did you find out? I thought that happens in October? 

I got it soon after I was admitted. I think there may be some they offer early on and some later? Not sure

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