Career Planning Advice

Format and Preparation

Residency interviews can take a number of formats depending on the discipline to which you are applying and also individual program preferences. Some of the most common formats you might encounter:

  1. Virtual: this has become more popular in recent years. They can take various forms: panel, 1-on-1, MMI, etc. See the AFMC Virtual Interview Guide for Applicants
  2. Traditional: This is a sit-down conversation between you and one or more interviewers. The interviewers may have access to your file or they may be “blind” (know very little about you other than your name) – usually programs will indicate whether or not their interviewers are “blind” in advance of the interview. In addition to the standard questions related to you and your dossier, interviewers may also pose hypothetical clinical/ethical scenarios and ask you to discuss. Length can range from 10-45 minutes. You may have more than one interview with different members of a program.
  3. OSCE-style: This is a very structured, clinical interview where you rotate through a number of stations with standardized patients/simulated clinical scenarios, and you must perform as you would in a formal OSCE exam.
  4. MMI-style: This is a structured, non-clinical interview where you rotate through a number of stations with simulated non-clinical scenarios, and you must perform whatever task assigned to the best of your ability. For example, you might be put into a very messy “bedroom”, told you are being picked up by taxi in 5 minutes to go to the airport as you are presenting at a very important conference, but you have been on call and didn’t have a chance to pack, so you must select, in less than 5 minutes, the 10 objects in the room that you would absolutely take with you.
  5. Combination-style: Some programs will use elements from a number or all of the above in their interviews.

Since there are so many programs across Canada and they change their processes regularly, we cannot specifically identify what to expect where. Your goal should be to expect anything and don’t be thrown off if you encounter something unusual – just do your best!

Ressources available

  • The AFMC R1 Match guide, especially the Interview Handbook for Applicants document.
  • Canada's Portal for Residency Program Promotion (CANPREPP),  where you can discover and connect with residency programs throughout Canada.
  • A great, free self-assessment tool available through McGill Career Planning Service (CaPS): allows you to register, and choose interview styles relevant to residency applications.
  • CaRMS's interview tips.
  • This CanadiEM blog's series of articles on the residency interview.
  • Resident Doctors of Canada article.
  • MDConsultants great list of questions.
  • Mock Interview Workshops with the Career Advisor offered in late Fall of Med4.
  • In-person/Vitual mock interviews by appointment (first-come, first-served).
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