The more you know about how it works, the less anxious you’ll be
As if you needed more pressure in your final year of med school—here comes residency matching! The process is complex and time-consuming (because you have so much free time these days), but having a sense of what to expect will soothe some of your stress. Check out the timeline below to familiarize yourself with what you’ll have to do and when you’ll have to do it (note: this is a high-level overview to give you a little peace of mind—for precise dates, we recommend visiting the CaRMS website).
The Summer Before Your Final Year
It’s time to start working on your personal statements, polishing up the ol’ resume, and finalizing the list of programs and schools you’d like to apply to—because waiting until the last minute to tackle these essential components of your application is a great way to give yourself a nervous breakdown. You should also have a good idea of which physicians and/or professors you’d like to use as references—and it wouldn’t be a bad idea to let them know, so that they have ample time to prepare something great.
The CaRMS online portal opens for business! Time to finish up that resume, since it’s due at the end of the month (aren’t you glad you got an early start on it this summer?).
The portal also gives you all the information you need about specific program requirements, as well as what your references need to do to get their letters to CaRMS on time (aren’t you glad you warned them this summer?).
ProTip - The CFMS Matchbook comes out in September—we recommend grabbing a copy, since it contains lots of juicy information that will help you navigate the matching process.
Your med school transcripts and your Medical School Performance Record (MSPR) are due at the end of this month. Your faculty will send these directly to CaRMS, but it’s up to you to make sure it’s properly completed. You can track and confirm that this has happened through the CaRMS portal.
There’s a lot going on this month: your letters of reference and applications are due, and the programs are going to start reviewing your application.
ProTip - Anything received past the CaRMS due dates will be time-stamped as LATE, so be sure to get everything in on time (because a huge stamp that says LATE doesn’t look good).
Your applications have been reviewed, and, this month, interested programs will start contacting you to book interviews (note: this may bleed into early January, so don’t stress out if you haven’t heard from your preferred program before Christmas). Time to start booking your travel and preparing for your interviews!
ProTip - When booking your travel, try to build in some buffer time between your arrival time and your interview—you’ll need to decompress and mentally prepare yourself.
ProTip - Travel in January is particularly prone to weather-related delays and cancellations so try to give yourself as much extra travel time as possible — assume the worst and hope for the best!
ProTip - The Canadian Medical Association offers a free CaRMS interview prep program to its members. Definitely worth checking out!
CaRMS Tour! You’re heading out on a whirlwind tour of this great nation (and what better time to see it than the last three weeks of January?)—don’t forget to collect points on whichever airline you’re flying with.
Your Rank Order List (ROL) is due in the middle of the month, via the CaRMS portal.
ProTip - Quadruple-check the exact date on the CaRMS site, because late lists will not be accepted.
End of February or the very beginning of March
It’s Match Day! This is where you get the big news about where you’ll be doing your residency training.
For those who don’t match in the first round, all available unmatched residency spots will be published on the CaRMS portal immediately after Match Day, which means that all your Round 2 applications and reference letters are due this month. Programs will review those applications, and you’ll submit your Round 2 Rank Order List.
It’s Round 2 Match Day!
Whoa, hold your horses—you’re not out of the woods yet. You still need to sit for Part 1 of the Medical Council of Canada Qualifying Exam. That’s right: another test! But this is it, the last hurdle you’ll have to jump before…
…graduation time! You made it - you’re a doctor now! Congratulations!
ProTip - You likely have a few weeks off for the first time in a while—and the last time in who knows how long. Take this time to unplug, relax, and recharge. Go on a bucket-list trip, see the world. Make the most of it, because soon…
…life as a resident physician begins. This is the first step of your medical career—and a huge leap forward in your life. So, take the time to pat yourself on the back for all the hard work you’ve put in throughout medical school and the residency application process. You’ve earned this.
What should I do next?
If you have any questions about the residency matching process – like, say, how to come up with a solid financial plan to cover all the costs – our team of MD experts is always available to help.