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Do they test your French ability in the English stream at the interview stage?


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Hi everyone, 

Long time lurker, first time poster. Just got taken off the waitlist and awarded an interview for the OOP stream tonight. 

I put on my CV that I was took French Immersion from Kindergarten until grade 12. However, it's been almost 8 years since I graduated high school and I've only had the opportunity to speak french a few times since then. I know if immersed it would come back to me but does anyone know if they test your french during the interview process? (I applied to the English stream). Wondering how much time in the next 3 weeks I should devote to brushing up on my french.

Appreciate all the info this site has generated over the years.  

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39 minutes ago, OldManWinter said:

Hi everyone, 

Long time lurker, first time poster. Just got taken off the waitlist and awarded an interview for the OOP stream tonight. 

I put on my CV that I was took French Immersion from Kindergarten until grade 12. However, it's been almost 8 years since I graduated high school and I've only had the opportunity to speak french a few times since then. I know if immersed it would come back to me but does anyone know if they test your french during the interview process? (I applied to the English stream). Wondering how much time in the next 3 weeks I should devote to brushing up on my french.

Appreciate all the info this site has generated over the years.  

Only residents of Quebec (i.e, IP) can request interviews in French, I think.

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8 hours ago, la marzocco said:

Only residents of Quebec (i.e, IP) can request interviews in French, I think.

Ok, thanks for your input. From what I can see on the website it looks like you could do it all in english: "Our application process is fully bilingual and students may interact with us from first phone call or email to multiple mini-interviews in either English or French.  We believe strongly in allowing applicants to put their best foot forward during the process.  Our selection process aims at identifying the characteristics of an excellent future physician, and does not aim to be a language test."

It's just surprising given their expectation that applicants know French and English: "While there is no required proof of language proficiency, applicants are expected to have a working knowledge of the English and French languages (comprehension, spoken and written) from the outset of the M.D.,C.M. program."

Wouldn't you want to test this at the interview stage?

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1 hour ago, OldManWinter said:

Ok, thanks for your input. From what I can see on the website it looks like you could do it all in english: "Our application process is fully bilingual and students may interact with us from first phone call or email to multiple mini-interviews in either English or French.  We believe strongly in allowing applicants to put their best foot forward during the process.  Our selection process aims at identifying the characteristics of an excellent future physician, and does not aim to be a language test."

It's just surprising given their expectation that applicants know French and English: "While there is no required proof of language proficiency, applicants are expected to have a working knowledge of the English and French languages (comprehension, spoken and written) from the outset of the M.D.,C.M. program."

Wouldn't you want to test this at the interview stage?

It's a bit more nuanced for McGill in that the language of instruction is English. So mastery of English is seen somewhat more of an imperative from a strictly academic standpoint. The French does come in to play (obviously) in clinical settings such as the longitudinal family medicine experience (LFME) that starts right from M-1. Many have gotten by without speaking much French, but Francophone patients do exist. If you are an Anglophone and want to up your French knowledge, they have a medical workshop on Saturday mornings - just so you are more comfortable going into clerkship during M-3.

For the Francophone medical schools, they do have a language test as part of the admission process for those who have not done secondary/post-secondary studies in French. Logical given that the language of instruction of French so its mastery is seen as important. 

I think uOttawa is the only truly "bilingual" medical school where they tout bilingualism openly. Should you declare yourself under the bilingual stream, your MMI will likely have questions posed in both English and French.

 

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4 hours ago, la marzocco said:

It's a bit more nuanced for McGill in that the language of instruction is English. So mastery of English is seen somewhat more of an imperative from a strictly academic standpoint. The French does come in to play (obviously) in clinical settings such as the longitudinal family medicine experience (LFME) that starts right from M-1. Many have gotten by without speaking much French, but Francophone patients do exist. If you are an Anglophone and want to up your French knowledge, they have a medical workshop on Saturday mornings - just so you are more comfortable going into clerkship during M-3.

For the Francophone medical schools, they do have a language test as part of the admission process for those who have not done secondary/post-secondary studies in French. Logical given that the language of instruction of French so its mastery is seen as important. 

I think uOttawa is the only truly "bilingual" medical school where they tout bilingualism openly. Should you declare yourself under the bilingual stream, your MMI will likely have questions posed in both English and French.

 

My understanding is that the majority of patients are francophone - would make sense too, since so is the population of Montréal.  Being Montreal though, many francophones would speak English too.  I've also heard that interpreters are used by medical students and even some physicians who may not speak a great deal of French.  

I think it's hard to ask for "mastery" of a second language in a somewhat effectively bilingual situation, but yeah these tests are more designed to test "sufficient knowledge to succeed in a medical program".  All three francophone schools now test language before admission.  I do know some francophones have also found the switch from academic French to English challenging.

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28 minutes ago, marrakech said:

My understanding is that the majority of patients are francophone - would make sense too, since so is the population of Montréal.  Being Montreal though, many francophones would speak English too.  I've also heard that interpreters are used by medical students and even some physicians who may not speak a great deal of French.  

I think it's hard to ask for "mastery" of a second language in a somewhat effectively bilingual situation, but yeah these tests are more designed to test "sufficient knowledge to succeed in a medical program".  All three francophone schools now test language before admission.  I do know some francophones have also found the switch from academic French to English challenging.

100% agree. Pardon my poor choice of word. I meant to refer to functional working knowledge.

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37 minutes ago, la marzocco said:

100% agree. Pardon my poor choice of word. I meant to refer to functional working knowledge.

As an aside, the criteria for non-francophones in QC are actually less stringent than for instance the corresponding criteria directed at  non-anglophones for residency in the Western provinces say.  The IELTS is divided into both academic and general - with academic of course being more rigorous and the one that is required.  The general is more similar to the TFI which is used by the QC schools.  The language dynamics of QC and its population though mean more flexibility regarding language is helpful, especially considering the often agreed on greater difficulty in learning French vs English.  

Edited by marrakech
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I can appreciate the benefit of having at least "workable" French (in the context of medicine) in Montreal for sure, and were I to be admitted I would definitely take the opportunity to improve my french. I've actually been thinking for some time to try one of those 6 week language immersion programs in Quebec but studying medicine and being immersed for 4 years would be even better. 

I called the admissions office yesterday and spoke to the primary contact they had for admissions. She said they had tossed around the idea of adding a station or two in French for the English interviews but was "pretty sure" that wasn't the case since it wasn't on the website. Wasn't quite the definitive confirmation I was looking for but I anticipate she is right, they would need to at least mention it somewhere if they intended to test your french in an interview labelled as "English". For now I will proceed with more MMI prep than language prep, thanks all for your help!

 

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