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Immigrant IMG tips to matching?


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I applied to CARMS 2022 but got 0 interviews. I was absolutely gutted but I think I did not have enough guidance to put my best foot forward. I'm prepared to try again next year. I will most likely retake the NAC, so I can get better scores and better my chances. Please, I need tips so I'm more prepared to apply next year and hopefully get in. I haven't done any observership/electives in Canada yet. 

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Not having any "Canadian connection" is likely detrimental to your application. It's important to do some volunteering/research/observership that allows you to meet people who can vouche for you and write reference for you. With COVID it's getting hard to do observerships, but volunteering is still possible. Alternatively, some do a Master/PhD to get into the academic circle and meet people that way.

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47 minutes ago, shikimate said:

Not having any "Canadian connection" is likely detrimental to your application

There are several things to work on as an IMG. I think first and most importantly is to score at least average or above average in both QE1 and NAC OSCE since these tests are used by many programs as a hard filter for applicants. Once filtered you need to have a strong application that supports the CanMEDS framework. So research, volunteering, education, leadership and extracurriculars. I think having a connection is great but not detrimental except in 2 cases. The first is when you are applying to super competitive specialities with 1-2 seats (urology, NeuroSurg.. Etc) or if your application (scores or achievements) are suboptimal. If the electives applicationa open then definitely apply but many programs clearly states that they don't consider observerships, clinical experience and they do not accept reference letters from them. 

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^ I 100% agree with the above (Shikimate and Masterpizza)

1. There are prep companies that specialize in helping IMGs. Obviously, they cost a lot of money, do not guarantee the outcome, and half of them are sketchy as heck....but....the decent ones can help you beef up your CV and gain Canadian clinical experiences to be more presentable for CaRMS. The best advice and help are usually paid for, unfortunately. View it as an "investment" (Kind of like all of the wedding photographers who write "Investments" instead of "Prices")

2. Secondly, make sure all of your exams are completed with good scores. Getting into residency as an IMG is very competitive, so your scores have to be competitive. Consider writing USMLE 1, 2 and 3 during your journey, as it will open a lot of doors and opportunities for you. Step 2 is very similar to MCCQE-1, so can write them at the same time. If there are X amount of residency spots in Canada, there are at least 10X amount of residency spots in the US. 

3. It's a very long journey. You're at the start. Good luck!

 

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On 4/21/2022 at 7:56 AM, shikimate said:

Not having any "Canadian connection" is likely detrimental to your application. It's important to do some volunteering/research/observership that allows you to meet people who can vouche for you and write reference for you. With COVID it's getting hard to do observerships, but volunteering is still possible. Alternatively, some do a Master/PhD to get into the academic circle and meet people that way.

thank you for this. 

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On 4/21/2022 at 8:51 AM, Masterpizza said:

There are several things to work on as an IMG. I think first and most importantly is to score at least average or above average in both QE1 and NAC OSCE since these tests are used by many programs as a hard filter for applicants. Once filtered you need to have a strong application that supports the CanMEDS framework. So research, volunteering, education, leadership and extracurriculars. I think having a connection is great but not detrimental except in 2 cases. The first is when you are applying to super competitive specialities with 1-2 seats (urology, NeuroSurg.. Etc) or if your application (scores or achievements) are suboptimal. If the electives applicationa open then definitely apply but many programs clearly states that they don't consider observerships, clinical experience and they do not accept reference letters from them. 

my scores in both exams were just above average.  I had research, volunteering, education, leadership and extracurriculars in my application but they were not done in Canada. Could that have been an issue? I applied to Family Med. are you suggesting that I shouldn't bother with observerships this year? Thank you for your input.

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On 4/21/2022 at 9:00 AM, McMasterMD said:

^ I 100% agree with the above (Shikimate and Masterpizza)

1. There are prep companies that specialize in helping IMGs. Obviously, they cost a lot of money, do not guarantee the outcome, and half of them are sketchy as heck....but....the decent ones can help you beef up your CV and gain Canadian clinical experiences to be more presentable for CaRMS. The best advice and help are usually paid for, unfortunately. View it as an "investment" (Kind of like all of the wedding photographers who write "Investments" instead of "Prices")

2. Secondly, make sure all of your exams are completed with good scores. Getting into residency as an IMG is very competitive, so your scores have to be competitive. Consider writing USMLE 1, 2 and 3 during your journey, as it will open a lot of doors and opportunities for you. Step 2 is very similar to MCCQE-1, so can write them at the same time. If there are X amount of residency spots in Canada, there are at least 10X amount of residency spots in the US. 

3. It's a very long journey. You're at the start. Good luck!

 

Thank you for this!

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On 4/21/2022 at 10:58 PM, bearded frog said:

Canadian connections/experience is absolutely necessary. Many success stories in this situation the applicant worked in research or something else tangential and built a relationship with people who could advocate for them.

I'm planning on doing some research work and volunteering this year to make up for this. I currently work in a clinic and had one of the physicians write me a letter of reference. but I guess that wasn't enough.

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On 4/27/2022 at 12:50 PM, DoctorStrange said:

Hey Fdosh 

did you apply to second iteration ?? 
what were your scores for qe1 n NAC ? 

I was going to apply but there were hardly any slots for IMGs for the places whose requirements I met. 

qe1: 240

NAC: 1400

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21 hours ago, FDosh said:

qe1: 240

NAC: 1400

If you didn't get any interviews despite having good extracurriculars (research, volunteering... Etc) it can mean that you got filtered out. Your QE1 score is below average while your NAC score is average. Your best bet to improve you chances is to repeat the NAC (which is quite expensive) and get a score equivalent to a pass with superior performance (>1419). Many if not all IMG programs have some kind of filters (due to the ungodly amount of applications they receive vs. # of positions) and I suspect you were a victim of that. Unfortunately doing more research, volunteering or teaching might not improve your chances, since you might get automatically filtered. There is a filter guide by CaRMS on Google if you search. You will see that they have built in filters for QE1 >250 and QE1>280.

Given that you have good resume, it would be a good idea in my opinion to apply to the US next cycle. 

These are my observations, apologies if it is discouraging. 

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8 hours ago, Masterpizza said:

If you didn't get any interviews despite having good extracurriculars (research, volunteering... Etc) it can mean that you got filtered out. Your QE1 score is below average while your NAC score is average. Your best bet to improve you chances is to repeat the NAC (which is quite expensive) and get a score equivalent to a pass with superior performance (>1419). Many if not all IMG programs have some kind of filters (due to the ungodly amount of applications they receive vs. # of positions) and I suspect you were a victim of that. Unfortunately doing more research, volunteering or teaching might not improve your chances, since you might get automatically filtered. There is a filter guide by CaRMS on Google if you search. You will see that they have built in filters for QE1 >250 and QE1>280.

Given that you have good resume, it would be a good idea in my opinion to apply to the US next cycle. 

These are my observations, apologies if it is discouraging. 

Thank you for being frank. quite a number of people have suggested this and I'm going to work on it. thank you, Masterpizza

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