How to Prepare for the CaRMS Match

9 February 2023

Are you wondering how you should prepare for the CaRMS match?

Maybe you’re just starting your medical school journey and weighing your options. Knowing what comes after medical school is an important part of your decision-making!

There are various pathway options available for becoming a licensed doctor after graduating from an Australian medical school, and more often than not, returning to Canada to complete a medical residency is one of them.

To give future medical students a better idea of what to expect, we held an online panel discussion with three Australian medical school graduates—and they didn’t disappoint!

In this portion of the discussion, Dr. Balzer explains the importance of staying on top of the latest CaRMS news, as the process is ever-evolving. In fact, that’s his first bit of advice. Yes, it’s a lot of prep work, but you can do it.

Do your homework and be determined
Dr. Balzer emphasizes that matching in Canada is competitive but “definitely doable.” His cohort included 50 Canadians, and for those who really wanted to match back in Canada—even in specialties with few places—they did. But they were serious about it and did their homework.

But what makes someone prepared to match, you ask? Dr. Balzer encourages early preparation and studying. Get your timelines set up. Boost your résumé! Are you coming home for holidays? Arrange to do an elective or observership in Canada!

“Every bit of experience you can get in Canada is a huge factor,” he explained. “And if you can arrange a full rotation, even better.”

Consider other places
Even if you can’t arrange a rotation in Canada, Dr. Balzer suggests looking at your medical school’s partner universities. “If you can’t go to Canada for a rotation, it’s still good to get experience elsewhere. I did two months in the States—intensive critical care in New Orleans, and built my résumé that way.”

This one’s a no brainer. Every bit of experience counts, and that includes volunteering, peer study groups, and mentorship/teaching. If you can focus on your career before your career, do it.

Learn your strengths/passions
Basically, you’ll learn to market your strengths. “I marketed myself as a strong clinician with good scores on my exams,” Dr. Balzer explained. He also included his aptitude and passion for teaching as boost to his résumé.

Try to get your references from Canada or the US. While Australian references are great, it’s good to have some from North America, too. So when you’re volunteering or doing a rotation in Canada or the US, be sure to develop strong relationships.

Upper-year medical students 
Who better to help you than those who know exactly what you’re going through?

“The people who are probably the most helpful to you are the people in the years ahead of you at school,” Dr. Balzer said.

Most students are very open to helping first-year students understand the process, and you’ll find some who are determined to match in Canada. “Following their steps is daunting, but very doable… it’s what I did.”

Want more advice about getting prepared for the CaRMS match? You’re invited to watch the full webinar! Just contact the OzTREKK Medicine Admissions Team at

UQ medicine graduate Dr Balzer
UQ Medical School graduate Dr. Nathan Balzer

What this webinar covered:

  • How to Prepare for the Canadian Residency Match (33:30 – 38:26)
  • From Emergency Nurse to Emergency Doc: Dr. Balzer’s Story (39:07 – 40:18)
  • The Australian Medical School Advantage: Security (45:58 – 46:31)
  • The Myth of the Australian Internship Crisis (47:58 – 48:34)
  • The Importance of Flexibility as an IMG: Keep an Open Mind (48:58 – 49:44)
  • The Value of an Australian Medical Internship (52:58 – 53:28)
  • Putting the Work in to Become a Doctor (58:07 – 59:47)
  • Work-Life Balance in Medical School (59:48 – 1:00:43)
  • Create your goal & be flexible in how to achieve it (1:00:50 – 1:01:58)

About Dr. Nathan Balzer

Emergency Physician at Toronto General and Toronto Western Hospitals
Former OzTREKK student Nathan Balzer began his medical career as an emergency department nurse before moving to Australia to complete his medical degree at the University of Queensland. He then went on to complete the five-year Royal College FRCPC Residency in Emergency Medicine at the University of Toronto. Dr. Balzer currently works as an emergency physician at the Toronto General and Toronto Western Hospitals. He has an interest in healthcare quality improvement and patient safety for which he is currently completing a master’s degree.

Learn More About Your Medical School Options

Australian medical schools offer high-quality education and clinical training in an amazing setting. Every year, we help hundreds of Canadian students choose the right Australian medical school program. With an understanding of admissions requirements, application procedures, and practicing medicine following graduation, we can guide you through the entire process of studying medicine in Australia.

World-class Reputation
OzTREKK represents 10 Australian medical schools, 4 of which are ranked in the top 50 in the world. Each of them is known for its problem-based learning and world-renowned research.

Clinical Placements 
Urban, rural, and international clinical placements allow students to achieve multidisciplinary clinical competence and prepare graduates for success as healthcare professionals.

Residency Matching
Australian medical graduates successfully match into post-graduate training programs in Canada, Australia, and the US.

Graduate and Undergraduate Pathways
Depending on your educational background, you may be eligible to apply to graduate-entry MD programs (require a degree and the MCAT in most cases) or undergraduate-entry programs (for students directly from high school or in some cases, with a partially completed degree).

OzTREKK is here to help. Get more information about studying medicine at an Australian university. Reach out to the OzTREKK Medicine Admissions team at or call us toll free at  1-866-698-7355.

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