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Electives Before Core Rotations?


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I saw this being brought up in some other threads and was hoping a current student could shed some light on this issue as well as the various clerkship streams and the clerkship lottery.

 

How exactly does the lottery work and how many people find themselves in undesirable streams? Moreover, how does this affect one's candidacy particularly for more competitive specialties if they are assigned a suboptimal stream?

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The lottery is kind of like CaRMS. There are different streams you rank in order of preference. The system tries to match up your preferences with the amount of spots, and apparently it's been pretty successful and getting most people their top 1-3 choices. 

 

I know people who were put in the "worst" stream who still matched to competitive specialties (emerg, optho, etc.). If you can plan out your electives well, it doesn't really matter what stream you get imo.

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It is preferable to schedule an elective in a field of potential choice after your core rotation so as to enhance your chances of receiving a LOR. I did the reverse unfortunately, and due to lack of knowledge and therefore a poorer performance than it would otherwise have been, I was refused a LOR. It was, therefore, a missed opportunity. 

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"Undesirable streams" are sort of a blanket statement -- it depends on a number of factors. 

 

Wrt the problem of reference letters, sure, if have an elective before your then you're less likely (not impossible though, there are people who've gotten) to get letters there, but instead your letters might come from your cores. Depends really on your strategy for letters and where you can best show off what you know and how well you work. Also it helps to communicate to your staff or your team what your level of training is; most staff are reasonable and won't expect a new CC2 to know the same amount as a senior CC4; the letters you get early on may speak to your ability to work in a team, or your willingness to learn, or your work ethic, etc. 

 

There's certain streams that are potentially better than other streams for certain specialties, but of course as fightoffyourdemons mentioned people in "bad" streams still match to competitive specialties. There's also the potential that you get a stream that's "better" for one specialty, but then you change your mind partway through and the stream is not good for something else, or you get a "bad stream" but then you change your mind for specialties and all of a sudden it's a "good stream". 

 

Tldr lots of factors affecting OPs question, but people generally speaking do well regardless of stream.

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As a counter point, I was matched to a stream with 8 weeks of electives before I had done any core (the streams have since been altered slightly) and I was able to get reference letters from 3 of the 4 electives I had, and I matched to one of these schools for residency (which was my top choice). I can echo what was said above as well, that staff preceptors are very understanding about your level and had appropriate expectations for me.

 

Were there challenges due to the position of my electives? Absolutely. But it was totally doable, and just required me to be a bit more proactive. I also found that the pre clerkship electives were useful in helping get you ready for clerkship so you didn't seem so fear-struck on your first day of clerkship.

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Were there challenges due to the position of my electives? Absolutely. But it was totally doable, and just required me to be a bit more proactive. I also found that the pre clerkship electives were useful in helping get you ready for clerkship so you didn't seem so fear-struck on your first day of clerkship.

Could you explain what you mean by "being a bit more proactive". What are the specifics that one can do to prepare for an early elective?

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Could you explain what you mean by "being a bit more proactive". What are the specifics that one can do to prepare for an early elective?

 

From what I have read over the year, preparing for cases in that specific rotation. So for IM, there are a few regular type of cases you might run into, so knowing presentation of the disease, pathogenesis, Tx options, utilizing what you learned in class to find out about diseases and what to do with them, you apply to these. Usually you have a text book resource to read all of this on. So knowing things ahead of time, instead of going cold turkey like I guess core electives in most schools would have? My $0.02, this is just a basic description from a pre-med.

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Here's something I just learned today (via comments on my blog, not something I've heard from school so I can't absolutely confirm this.) Apparently some schools will waive the core-before-elective requirement for students from three year schools. I'm going to be looking into this more to find out how broadly it applies as I have very considerable concerns around this subject myself.

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Here's something I just learned today (via comments on my blog, not something I've heard from school so I can't absolutely confirm this.) Apparently some schools will waive the core-before-elective requirement for students from three year schools. I'm going to be looking into this more to find out how broadly it applies as I have very considerable concerns around this subject myself.

cannot say for sure if it is still true but I have definitely run into people who have done electives prior to core etc specifically from Mac as it happens.

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Here's something I just learned today (via comments on my blog, not something I've heard from school so I can't absolutely confirm this.) Apparently some schools will waive the core-before-elective requirement for students from three year schools. I'm going to be looking into this more to find out how broadly it applies as I have very considerable concerns around this subject myself.

That was me. It's definitely true, because I've done all my electives and none of my cores. Not sure if it's every specialty but I haven't heard of my classmates having problems.

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Here's something I just learned today (via comments on my blog, not something I've heard from school so I can't absolutely confirm this.) Apparently some schools will waive the core-before-elective requirement for students from three year schools. I'm going to be looking into this more to find out how broadly it applies as I have very considerable concerns around this subject myself.

 

From what i've heard it is true, I've asked around myself. 

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That was me. It's definitely true, because I've done all my electives and none of my cores. Not sure if it's every specialty but I haven't heard of my classmates having problems.

I'm looking at the AFMC portal and it shows prerequisites so did you just email schools and ask if they'd waive the requirement for you?

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I'm looking at the AFMC portal and it shows prerequisites so did you just email schools and ask if they'd waive the requirement for you?

No, I didn't. I could have sworn it said somewhere that they'd waive it but now I can't find it. I think it's just generally accepted. The only place anyone in my class had a problem was UBC, and they would accept core rotation OR an elective in your specialty. So as long as it wasn't someone's first elective, it was fine.

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No, I didn't. I could have sworn it said somewhere that they'd waive it but now I can't find it. I think it's just generally accepted. The only place anyone in my class had a problem was UBC, and they would accept core rotation OR an elective in your specialty. So as long as it wasn't someone's first elective, it was fine.

I think I'll still call or email first. Don't want to go spending $150 to apply for an elective only to be rejected because they won't waive the prerequisite. I do appreciate the info though, thanks.

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Could you explain what you mean by "being a bit more proactive". What are the specifics that one can do to prepare for an early elective?

I agree with what was said above - pre-reading before an elective was helpful. Taking initiative in the actual rotation to show that even if you were new to clerkship you were eager and open to learn (I did a couple of topic presentations during teaching time on different electives), and even being proactive in the kinds of electives I picked - thinking of electives that may be applicable to a couple of potential specialties so that I wasn't limiting my applications before know for sure what I wanted to match to; hunting for potential electives early - looking at prereqs stated and contacting schools to see if this could be waived, etc., all went a long way to reduce any potential stress around early electives.

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