Choosing a residency: Are the students prepared?

CMAJ 1998;158:696

© 1998 Canadian Medical Association

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The annual Canadian Resident Matching Service (CaRMS) postmatch survey reveals that students are now feeling better prepared as they enter the match. The proportion of those reporting being fairly or very well prepared rose steadily from 46% in 1993 to 71% in 1997. The more prepared students felt, the better their chances of having the desired match: 93% of those who felt well prepared matched with their first choice.

Seventeen percent of respondents who matched to a Royal College specialty reported that if they were given a chance to change disciplines they would either like to change or were undecided. Of the undecided students, almost half (45%) matched to their first-ranked program.

When asked what would make it easier to choose a residency program, 54% said more electives, 36% suggested better access to information on job opportunities, 32% wanted the undergraduate curriculum rearranged and 30% called for more time to make the decision (on average, 28 weeks).

Whether or not the candidate had completed all clerkship electives before the match did not appear to influence feelings of preparedness. Equal proportions from both groups reported feeling fairly or very well prepared (71%). However, a slightly higher proportion of students who had completed all core clerkship rotations felt very well prepared (40%) compared with 32% of those who had not.

Of those matched into family medicine programs, 95% are considering completing a third year of residency training in disciplines such as emergency medicine, obstetrics and anesthesia. — Lynda Buske

Self-reported level of preparation to make PGY-1 choice

This column was written by Lynda Buske, chief, physician resources information planning, CMA. Readers may send potential research topics to Patrick Sullivan (; 800 663-7336, x2126; fax 613 523-0937).

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| CMAJ March 10, 1998 (vol 158, no 5) / JAMC le 10 mars 1998 (vol 158, no 5) |
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