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Applying to multiple specialties in CaRMS as an IMG. Will it worsen my odds?


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Hello! I've been researching about some doubts I have about the residency application / match in Canada and couldn't fully answer some of them due to the mixed info on the net.

So, applying to multiple specialties will make it harder for me to get a match? Due to such practice being "ill seen", as the programs would not want an "undecided" candidate. What would be the best approach or strategy to increase the chance of a match?

My best regards

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I was advised by my school to apply to 2 specialties (unless you want family med, in which case applying to 1 is reasonable). Fewer than that is a bit risky and with more you spread yourself too thin. Obviously though, applying to multiple specialties is more feasible at schools that have higher numbers of pre carms electives, but at my school, we have 10 pre-carms electives weeks, so its difficult to apply to more than 2 specialties with good letters/experience for all specialties. 

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1 hour ago, m_jacob_45 said:

I was advised by my school to apply to 2 specialties (unless you want family med, in which case applying to 1 is reasonable). Fewer than that is a bit risky and with more you spread yourself too thin. Obviously though, applying to multiple specialties is more feasible at schools that have higher numbers of pre carms electives, but at my school, we have 10 pre-carms electives, so its difficult to apply to more than 2 specialties with good letters/experience for all specialties. 

OP is an IMG, different ball game all together.

Also for you, remember your school has their own interest of overall match rates. 

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It makes sense to apply broadly,  but if you apply to specialities you have no electives or experience in you are unlikely to get an interview. 

Pro tip - when getting letters of reference, if you are applying broadly make sure your referee knows that. Because they will likely assume that you want to do their speciality, and make the letter very specific to that. Looks bad when you apply to surgery and your letter says you'd make a fine radiologist!

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On 4/16/2020 at 11:09 PM, JohnGrisham said:

They have no way of knowing. Just have multiple resumes, and multiple personal letters. And multiple references for each specialty you're applying.

Realistically odds are low regardless. 

 

Thank you for the honesty!

On your opinion, even with electives in canada, nice scores and letters of recommendation, is matching in something like rads, gen surgery or anesthesia an almost impossible (or highly unlikely) thing? (those are exemples of intermediary competitiveness specialties that came to my mind, just to know how realistically should my expectations be).

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4 hours ago, DNA Doc said:

It makes sense to apply broadly,  but if you apply to specialities you have no electives or experience in you are unlikely to get an interview. 

Pro tip - when getting letters of reference, if you are applying broadly make sure your referee knows that. Because they will likely assume that you want to do their speciality, and make the letter very specific to that. Looks bad when you apply to surgery and your letter says you'd make a fine radiologist!

Thank you for the tip! I will make the most use of it! My best regard, friend.

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On 4/17/2020 at 1:44 PM, m_jacob_45 said:

I was advised by my school to apply to 2 specialties (unless you want family med, in which case applying to 1 is reasonable). Fewer than that is a bit risky and with more you spread yourself too thin. Obviously though, applying to multiple specialties is more feasible at schools that have higher numbers of pre carms electives, but at my school, we have 10 pre-carms electives, so its difficult to apply to more than 2 specialties with good letters/experience for all specialties. 

I understand.. So even to canadians this is a tough spot. So, for you, letters + experience are a deciding factor to match a specialty, right?

I know it's a subjective question.. But how much "weight" does the MCCQE score has in securing a position in the program you want? Can you make up for a weak profile with a high score?

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2 hours ago, Od-in said:

I understand.. So even to canadians this is a tough spot. So, for you, letters + experience are a deciding factor to match a specialty, right?

I know it's a subjective question.. But how much "weight" does the MCCQE score has in securing a position in the program you want? Can you make up for a weak profile with a high score?

CMGs don't write the MCCQE prior to applying to residency, so its not a factor. I don't have as much knowledge about how it works for IMGs, but definitely its better for applying to residency to have as high scores as possible. 

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4 hours ago, Od-in said:

Thank you for the honesty!

On your opinion, even with electives in canada, nice scores and letters of recommendation, is matching in something like rads, gen surgery or anesthesia an almost impossible (or highly unlikely) thing? (those are exemples of intermediary competitiveness specialties that came to my mind, just to know how realistically should my expectations be).

This is actually relatively easy to determine with public data. At least in english programs, IMGs compete for specific IMG spots in the first round, but can usually apply to any open spots in the second round, but the second round applicants by specialty isn't published, but we can somewhat extrapolate using number of unmatched applicants by first choice specialty (assuming they would also apply for the same field in the second round while backing up in others). Using 2019 data:

First get number of IMG applicants to each specialty in first round: https://www.carms.ca/wp-content/uploads/2019/05/2019_r1_tbl10e.pdf

Then get number of IMG spots for each specialty in first round: https://www.carms.ca/match/r-1-main-residency-match/program-descriptions-archive-first-iteration/

Then get available spots after first round by specialty: https://www.carms.ca/wp-content/uploads/2019/05/2019_r1_tbl47.pdf

Then get number of unmatched applicants after first round by first choice specialty for both CMGs and IMGs: https://www.carms.ca/wp-content/uploads/2019/05/2019_r1_tbl32e.pdf and https://www.carms.ca/wp-content/uploads/2019/05/2019_r1_tbl33e.pdf

Based on this we can do the following analysis for each specialty:

Diagnostic Radiology

4 first round IMG spots for 123 IMG applicants = 3.3% R1 match rate. 5 unfilled second round positions
for 3 unmatched first choice CMGs and 23 unmatched first choice IMGs = 19.2% R2 match rate. (Note this
doesn't account for unmatched applicants who had another field as a first choice, but also applied to
rads and then matched over someone else who had it first choice, so in reatlity the match rate would 
be much lower if we knew number of total applicants. In the end the 5 spots were filled by 4 CMGs and
1 IMG)

Gensurg

4 first round IMG spots for 133 applicants = 3.0% R1 match rate. No unfilled second round positions.

Anesthesiology

10 first round IMG spots for 126 applicants = 7.9% R1 match rate. No unfilled second round positions.

In summary, if you think you are in the top 3% of applicants across the board as an IMG, or have valuable connections to a specific program that might make you in the top for that program, then go for it, otherwise feel free to apply, but apply broadly!

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1 hour ago, m_jacob_45 said:

CMGs don't write the MCCQE prior to applying to residency, so its not a factor. I don't have as much knowledge about how it works for IMGs, but definitely its better for applying to residency to have as high scores as possible. 

Oh, my mistake. Thank you for clearing it out.

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36 minutes ago, bearded frog said:

This is actually relatively easy to determine with public data. At least in english programs, IMGs compete for specific IMG spots in the first round, but can usually apply to any open spots in the second round, but the second round applicants by specialty isn't published, but we can somewhat extrapolate using number of unmatched applicants by first choice specialty (assuming they would also apply for the same field in the second round while backing up in others). Using 2019 data:

First get number of IMG applicants to each specialty in first round: https://www.carms.ca/wp-content/uploads/2019/05/2019_r1_tbl10e.pdf

Then get number of IMG spots for each specialty in first round: https://www.carms.ca/match/r-1-main-residency-match/program-descriptions-archive-first-iteration/

Then get available spots after first round by specialty: https://www.carms.ca/wp-content/uploads/2019/05/2019_r1_tbl47.pdf

Then get number of unmatched applicants after first round by first choice specialty for both CMGs and IMGs: https://www.carms.ca/wp-content/uploads/2019/05/2019_r1_tbl32e.pdf and https://www.carms.ca/wp-content/uploads/2019/05/2019_r1_tbl33e.pdf

Based on this we can do the following analysis for each specialty:


Diagnostic Radiology

4 first round IMG spots for 123 IMG applicants = 3.3% R1 match rate. 5 unfilled second round positions
for 3 unmatched first choice CMGs and 23 unmatched first choice IMGs = 19.2% R2 match rate. (Note this
doesn't account for unmatched applicants who had another field as a first choice, but also applied to
rads and then matched over someone else who had it first choice, so in reatlity the match rate would 
be much lower if we knew number of total applicants. In the end the 5 spots were filled by 4 CMGs and
1 IMG)

Gensurg

4 first round IMG spots for 133 applicants = 3.0% R1 match rate. No unfilled second round positions.

Anesthesiology

10 first round IMG spots for 126 applicants = 7.9% R1 match rate. No unfilled second round positions.

In summary, if you think you are in the top 3% of applicants across the board as an IMG, or have valuable connections to a specific program that might make you in the top for that program, then go for it, otherwise feel free to apply, but apply broadly!

Amazing info you summarized there. Thank you! Never seen this data before, only seen something like it in the "Canadian Medical Residency Guide". Really nice.

 

One thing I'm not understanding is those 4 guys who applied to Otolaryngology and other 4 to Radiation Oncology, but whit no spots in the IMG stream. Did those lads did a mistake?

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5 hours ago, Od-in said:

Thank you for the honesty!

On your opinion, even with electives in canada, nice scores and letters of recommendation, is matching in something like rads, gen surgery or anesthesia an almost impossible (or highly unlikely) thing? (those are exemples of intermediary competitiveness specialties that came to my mind, just to know how realistically should my expectations be).

You can answer this question yourself by looking at the CaRMs statistics. It is all laid out there to see how many IMG spots there are in those fields.

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37 minutes ago, Od-in said:

Amazing info you summarized there. Thank you! Never seen this data before, only seen something like it in the "Canadian Medical Residency Guide". Really nice.

 

One thing I'm not understanding is those 4 guys who applied to Otolaryngology and other 4 to Radiation Oncology, but whit no spots in the IMG stream. Did those lads did a mistake?

As an IMG, you should familiarize yourself with all the data on CaRMS.ca      

Also, i would strongly encourage you to write the USMLEs and apply to the US where there are more spots for IMGs.

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1 hour ago, JohnGrisham said:

As an IMG, you should familiarize yourself with all the data on CaRMS.ca      

Also, i would strongly encourage you to write the USMLEs and apply to the US where there are more spots for IMGs.

Doing it right now. i was confused as I always analyzed competitiveness with test scores. Now I get it! The ratio of spots/applicants it's the best for CaRMS. Gonna dig deep into CaRMS.ca tonight...

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5 hours ago, Od-in said:

One thing I'm not understanding is those 4 guys who applied to Otolaryngology and other 4 to Radiation Oncology, but whit no spots in the IMG stream. Did those lads did a mistake?

I clarified that my math only accounted for the english programs, but I should have more accurately specified "non-Quebec" programs. In Quebec due to historial legal stuff, there are no separate IMG designated spots, so all comers can apply to every spot, but IMGs directly compete with CMGs. The only non-french school this applies to is McGill, so these 8 could be either french speakers or applying only to McGill, but have just as high an uphill battle as all spots could go to CMGs.

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