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Toronto radiology royal college failure rate


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Considering the implications of that, definitely something you will want to further explore and discuss with mentors/colleagues in the field.  Perhaps it was a freak accident, other stuff going on in their personal lives etc.  Were they all CMGs? IMGs?  My uneducated guess would be 3 is a lot for a relatively small program. If you said 3 in IM or FM, then I would be less concerned off the bat.

@rmorelan may be able to provide insight

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3 I would say is a lot, and probably more indicative of program organization. Questions come to mind such as, did they have enough time to study, how were didactics organized, are r5s (somewhat) protected from call, etc. Certainly there can be personal circumstances or randomness of testing at play, but 3 raises one eyebrow at least. But someone in the know might’ve able to shed more light.

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1 hour ago, JohnGrisham said:

Considering the implications of that, definitely something you will want to further explore and discuss with mentors/colleagues in the field.  Perhaps it was a freak accident, other stuff going on in their personal lives etc.  Were they all CMGs? IMGs?  My uneducated guess would be 3 is a lot for a relatively small program. If you said 3 in IM or FM, then I would be less concerned off the bat.

@rmorelan may be able to provide insight

Yeah that is a lot - you can have quirks etc but once you get up to that you do have to worry there is something else going on etc

That is the second largest program in the country but still - I mean ouch. 

We usually have 2-3 CMGs fail a YEAR in radiology usually - the CMG pass rate over the past 3 years was 97% with 85 Canada grads country wide. U of T only has 10 people, and 2 of those are IMGs usually. 

Plus to be clear IMG radiology residents usually are extremely strong - often stronger than canadian grads - simply because the spots are so few (6 country wide specifically) that you can really really pick top people. The ones I have worked with usually are already staff radiologists in other countries - ha, some were fellowship trained even at top places, and usually have advanced degrees etc on top of that with high board scores (none of this pass/fail stuff). Great stuff. So in this case being IMG or CMG and failing it doesn't really sway me either way - 3 failures would just generally be a bad thing. 

 

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To add - there are a bunch of considerations for residency programs. If you are going bare bones on this important key ones are (in my opinion):

1) Exam Pass Rate, and overall help with the exam - you are there to learn radiology and pass the test ultimately 

2) Fellowship Access - do the grads go to top schools for fellowships (as this really is key to getting the job). You want to be able to get the fellowship you want, in the field you want so you can get the LOR and contacts you need to get placed were you want. 

3) Can you enjoy your life reasonably during residency - the city, the people, the program etc. In theory less important than other two if you are coldly logical but I would say it supports the above. Hard to be your best when your life sucks. 

So again 1) is key - failing the exam is a set back that sucks. You cannot really look for work until you pass it, and you are now stuck in your fellowship studying your new field (attempted to master it) while also trying to remain top level on all the rest of radiology  - without the supports the residency program can give you. You may also be outside of Canada. If you don't pass it a second time you cannot work really, and now it is a bit scary - as you can only write it 3 times normally. You can go ABR and go US - but that might not have been your life plan etc. Not being able to look for a job is critical - there are hiring cycles, the fellowship will be trying to hook you up but you won't be able to accept positions etc so that is awkward/annoying, and well money can running near the end of a long, long residency/fellowship (and U of T in particular is not cheap). 

Survivable yes of course, and people the do fail likely just didn't have the right supports to pass - still a low exam pass rate at a school is a red flag that just forces you to ask why. 

 

 

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13 minutes ago, rmorelan said:

Hard to be your best when your life sucks. 

Truer words have never been written on this forum. That statement applies to everything premed, med school, residency, career etc. One should really never discount the importance of enjoying your life outside of medicine, no matter how much you enjoy medicine.

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If that is true, 3 is a lot. To compare, 3 is more than many programs have had in over a decade. Personally that would significantly affect my rank list for any program.

But who knows how true that is. If OP is applying this year, maybe he/she is motivated to 'affect' people's rank lists.

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4 minutes ago, 1D7 said:

If that is true, 3 is a lot. To compare, 3 is more than many programs have had in over a decade. Personally that would significantly affect my rank list for any program.

But who knows how true that is. If OP is applying this year, maybe he/she is motivated to 'affect' people's rank lists.

yeah I mean I would be trying to verify that number of course (now I am curious and will also look into things ha). Not to imply that the OP is lying of course - rather like in all things verify verify verify ha.

 

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4 hours ago, rmorelan said:

To add - there are a bunch of considerations for residency programs. If you are going bare bones on this important key ones are (in my opinion):

1) Exam Pass Rate, and overall help with the exam - you are there to learn radiology and pass the test ultimately 

2) Fellowship Access - do the grads go to top schools for fellowships (as this really is key to getting the job). You want to be able to get the fellowship you want, in the field you want so you can get the LOR and contacts you need to get placed were you want. 

This is an area in which it was difficult to get perspective on as a medical student going through CaRMS, so definitely helpful to see posts like these.

Exam pass rate - obviously a red flag if there is a history of failures. Could indicate some deficiency in the teaching curriculum (such as a below average frequency and/or quality of rounds and half-days). However, exam pass rate is going to be high for the vast majority of programs, given the current 97% pass rate for first-attempt fully Canadian-trained candidates.

Assuming no issues with pass rates or work environment/culture, in my mind the more important consideration in this regard is the quality of the training itself in preparing one to be a skilled practitioner, something that goes beyond being book smart and able to pass a competency test. The goal is to be able to pick up subtle but relevant features, be confident in dismissing what is not concerning,  and understand the management implications of one's opinion. To achieve this, it's very important to have enough case exposure to all areas a general radiologist would be expected to be familiar with, and train with staff in their areas of subspecialty expertise whenever possible so that you can learn all these points. Incidentally, these are the same factors that fellowship programs tend to advertise (case variety/volume and expert faculty).

With regards to jobs, I think it's most important to train in the region where you want to eventually work (residency or fellowship, not so much medical school). The advantage of residency connections is that they are built over a longer period of time, and could pave the way for a job offer earlier than it would be possible to obtain through fellowship (need to work there for a few months first to be known). I wouldn't be as concerned as to where residents go for fellowship, as there are many personal/family factors at play in such a decision, and the quality of Canadian grads is well reputed enough at most top institutions in North America.

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Another small thought - I don’t know stats for radiology programs, but I would expect there is a variance to historical pass rates between them. Of course I am in a separate and much smaller specialty, but there are at least >=1 program(s) with 100% royal college pass rates for >10 years, to compare relative rates.

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On 2/7/2020 at 2:37 PM, ChemPetE said:

Another small thought - I don’t know stats for radiology programs, but I would expect there is a variance to historical pass rates between them. Of course I am in a separate and much smaller specialty, but there are at least >=1 program(s) with 100% royal college pass rates for >10 years, to compare relative rates.

there are, and some programs to tend to fail more than others - in other words there really are differences between programs. Some of that may be do to biases - more popular programs should be able to attract more capable people which in turn should perform better. So there may be feedback loops - but to what effect it is hard to say. It is very interesting looking at the big differences in how various programs train people. You would think it is kind of standard but it is far from it. Some of it is resources - bigger programs have more staff so for each person involved in the residency program it might be less work - economy of scale basically (takes the same amount of time to put some lectures together, or case rounds together regardless of the number of people involved.) My program had rounds twice a day for an hour - which is a lot to ask of the staff. Some programs with 4 people in it I know of have quite a bit fewer staff though - so asking for something like that would be extremely hard. 

My old program also did use their pass rate as an example that they were doing something right - not just in terms of absolute numbers but also the fact that so many board examiners were from my school - makes sense as Ottawa is where the exam is, so being an examiner doesn't require as much effort. You just drop by on the day off in many cases ha and drive home after :). Access to people that have held positions on the exam committee in the past or currently involved is well quite helpful (note: all examiners are not allowed to give rounds/lectures so many months prior to the exam which is related to the point where the exam is set. This is to prevent even accidental advantage to a group of people. The exam must be fair after all). Having those sorts of people giving you rounds for 5 years prepares you well of course. Ha that being said - man there is some kind of pressure in the 5th year. Not only are you trying to pass the exam for its own sake but you do not want to be that person that ruins the winning streak. Just makes the entire situation that much worse :)

 

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  • 2 weeks later...

That’s a red flag. If you can try to talk to other senior residents in a casual setting about it. I guarantee that internally there are ideas as to why this occurred. But much of this stuff is probably sensitive, so tricky situation to navigate, tread lightly, but I wouldn’t ignore this statistic if accurate. 

Edited by rogerroger
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