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This week’s edition of Dear Dr. Horton” is a general response to the many excellent questions that were submitted in response to the CMAJ call-out for the “Med Life with Dr. Horton” podcast. Find it originally here: http://wakiganavi.info/horton-podcast-carms-interviews/


Dear classes of 2019,

Ah, CaRMS…that beloved hybrid of Survivor and The Bachelor.  You want to be the last one standing, but hopefully that doesn’t mean accepting a proposal that will become your new personal definition of hell.

I’ve coached hundreds of students through the CaRMS process over the years. My approach draws on my experiences as a long-time clinical teacher,CaRMS interviewer, Associate Program Director, Associate Dean, Royal College committee member, Royal College exam coach, and my interest and expertise in communication, cognitive error and mindfulness.  One thing I’ve learned: there are wrong ways to answer questions, but there is no universally right way.

Some interviews start with a variant of that dreaded question, “Tell us about yourself.”  Too frequently, students use that precious first impression to regurgitate dry information that is already included in their CV.  That’s a sure-fire way to get lost in the crowd.

I counsel students to spend time considering how they will structure this question.  It’s always helpful to open with what I think of as an editorial statement.  “I’m so pleased to have the opportunity to be here with you today.  When I reflect on this question, I think there are three things that help give you a window into who I am as a person.  The first thing is X.  The second thing is Y.  The third thing is Z.”

How do you settle on the content of X, Y and Z?  I recommend looking for your three best positive anchors.  Perhaps you are from a small town, in which case X might be your deep sense of community.  Maybe you’re a runner, and Y is that you are a person who has a long game philosophy in life.  Maybe you’re a person who grew up in tough socioeconomic conditions, or you have spent a lot of time in volunteer roles, and Z boils down to your personal commitment to social justice.   ...continue reading

In a first "Med Life with Dr. Horton" podcast, Dr. Jillian Horton discusses CaRMS, the Canadian Resident Matching Service. In this episode, she is joined by Dr. Moneeza Walji.

They answer these questions:

  • What are some strategies for choosing and ranking programs?
  • Should I have a back-up program in my ranking?
  • What should I do about conflicting interviews?
  • What are interviewers looking for in a candidate?
  • What should I do when I can't think of an answer to an interview question?
  • Should I change my strategy when being interviewed by a resident versus a program director?
  • How does the panel score the interview?
  • Should I disclose a mental health diagnosis or personal struggles?
  • Should I talk about my partner, kids, or family?
  • How do I handle the stress related to CaRMS?
  • And more.

...continue reading