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Hi everyone,

I apologize in advance, because I recognize that this question has been asked before. I have searched through all of Premed101 and read those threads carefully. However, I would still love some additional perspectives, specifically from graduates (or those in clerkship) in either McMaster Medicine or Queen's Medicine (although I welcome other perspectives on this as well). 

Coming from a mainly PBL-based background, I recognize that I have the potential to thrive at Mac, but I also recognize that PBL isn't always as effective. As a result, Queen's blend between PBL and didactic learning appeals to me. How do grads/clerks of either program feel that the curriculum is structured at their respective schools?

I also recognize that McMaster is condensed into three years and their clerkship schedule can be a bit messy, with some students starting on electives and not being able to experience vital electives until post-CaRMS. I have heard that Queen's clerks have much greater flexibility with how their clerkship blocks and electives are structured. Do graduates/clerks from Mac feel they were disadvantaged because of the clerkship lottery and/or have they witnessed other peers being disadvantaged? Conversely, how do Queen's grads/clerks find their clerkship experience is structured/are they satisfied with it?

I also want to ensure that I gain the maximum exposure possible to all different fields within medicine, as I am not yet certain what exactly I would like to do. With that being said, how satisfied are those at Mac and Queen's with the opportunities for observerships/electives at their respective schools? Are there ample opportunities to gain exposure to everything at both or would I be better off selecting one school over the other because of a difference in opportunities? With that, if I cannot find a specific elective at my school, is it difficult/harder to arrange a visiting elective at another school?

Lastly, how has your overall experience at your respective school been? Have you enjoyed your time there? Have there been things you really liked? Have you had any qualms or disgruntlements with the program? 


I realize that those are a lot of questions and that different individuals' answers will vary. Regardless, thank you so much for taking the time to read this and possibly reply. I could really benefit from some additional perspectives.

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Congrats on securing both offers, that is a feat. Mac and Queens both have a great program. I have plenty of friends at Mac who have thoroughly enjoyed their experience at Mac and couldnt have been happier anywhere else. Again they are PBL directed, so the match between the program and their personalities made their med school experience memorable. If you are PBL directed, I think Mac's program was built for students like you. Those picking other schools are usually used to normal didactic learning, which you can find lots of at queens and other schools.

My friends at Mac didnt feel disadvantaged. And my friends still got what they wished for. Mac's matching rate is pretty solid, and a great number match to very competitive specialties every year. However Mac also has the advantage of an additional year of electives. If for any reason you are not satisfied with 3 years of schooling, you can always choose to have a 4th year, during which you can pursue any sort of electives and clinical opportunities or research that you want. This gives you significant advantage in terms of how much opportunities you can have while controlling for how many years you want to stay in the program. So if you compare a 4-year Mac vs 4-year queens program, you will see that Mac has more opportunities to offer (given that Mac starts clerkship in 2nd year, you will have almost an extra year of electives). Again, there is a good chance that you dont need it, and you can finish in 3 years if you find thats what you best need, but you cant do that at queens.

One thing to consider is that queens may not have all the specialties you might be looking for. There are certain specialties that you would have to travel to other schools to have the opportunity to engage in.

You should also consider which school you want to do residency at later on? Home advantage for residency is a thing, you will have more time to make connections with people at the school you attend. That being said, Hamilton is pretty close to Toronto, so you may have an easier time at Mac managing your electives and securing opportunities in Toronto. Mac has the second highest number of residents at UofT after UofT itself.

You may also wanna consider the city you will be living at. 3-4 years is not a short time. Hamilton is a thriving city with lots of things to do. Beautiful waterfalls, hikes, entertainment, great food, and Toronto is less than an hour away. Kingston on the other hand is pretty small, with very little to do in the city, which is a turnoff for lots of students who want to make the most of their years while they can. This can be really important when you try to relax from the heavy schedule you will be having in med.

All in all, congrats again for the feat. Its not easy at all to secure both at ontario!

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While I can't address any of your questions directly, I came across a resource that may be helpful to you from a Queen's med student perspective at this site: https://meds.queensu.ca/central/community/whatsupdoc:queens_vs?section=view-folder&id=8284


Especially the "QueensVs_2018.pdf," I think directly compares both schools. 


Best of luck with your decision! Choose what feels best for you :)

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