what if i didn't match

I Didn’t Match Into Residency…Now What?

If you’re an international medical graduate (IMG) or if you graduated in a previous year, It’ll likely be harder to match in the CaRMS match process. In 2021, CaRMS match statistics showed that 71% of IMGs who graduated the same year they applied matched in the first round (AKA the first iteration) but only 24.3% of IMGs who graduated in previous years matched. For Canadian medical graduates (CMGs), 94% of current year graduates matched and 82% of previous year graduates matched.  

So, as an IMG or a previous year graduate (or both!), you may be wondering: what happens if you don’t match to a residency in the first iteration? 

In this post, we’ll go over everything you need to know about the CaRMS second iteration and post-match processes. On the off chance that you’re still unmatched even after these processes, we’ll briefly go over what your next steps should be. 

Let’s start with discussing the second iteration. 

CaRMS Second Iteration 

In this round, just as in the first iteration, CaRMS uses its algorithm to match applicants and programs based on the rank order lists that they assemble. The major difference this time around is that everything happens on a condensed timeline

You don’t have to have participated in the first iteration in order to participate in the second iteration. 

Uploading Your Documents 

If you haven’t participated in the first round, you can start uploading your documents to CaRMS Online by February 3rd. If you participated in the first iteration but find yourself unmatched, you can start uploading your documents on April 12th as soon as you receive your match results. The documents you’ll need to upload to your CaRMS Online account are…

  • Transcripts
  • MSPR
  • Reference Letters
  • Personal Statements

Some programs require that you submit other documents such as your NAC or MCCQE Part I exam results. IMGs also have to submit proof of language proficiency. All of CaRMS’ eligibility requirements are listed here, so be sure to go through and make sure you’ve got all of the necessary documents.

Program selection opens February 4th. At this point, you can start assigning your documents to the programs that you want to apply to. You might be applying to some of the same programs that you applied to in the first iteration. If this is the case, you’ll need to assign these documents to these programs all over again. Programs don’t keep your documents on file after the first  iteration. 


If you participated in the first iteration, you won’t have to pay another participation fee. Depending on how many programs you applied to in the first iteration and how many you intend to apply to in the second iteration, you might not have to pay anything. The $296.84 participation fee covers application submission for up to four programs. You’ll have to pay $55.00 for each application after that. 

So, let’s say you only applied to three programs in your first iteration (most applicants apply for way more than three programs at a time and we suggest you do the same, but this is just a hypothetical situation) and didn’t match with any of them so you’re now participating in the second iteration. In this case, even though you only applied to three programs in the first iteration, you would still have up to four applications covered by your participation fee. After the third one, you’ll have to pay the $55.00 fee for each additional application. 

The ranking period starts April 29th and runs until May 4th.  Although there isn’t a designated interview period during the second iteration, you might still be invited for interviews. Any programs hosting interviews during this iteration will contact applicants directly, so make sure you’re regularly checking your email! Interviews in this iteration generally take place either by phone or over skype. 

Second Iteration Statistics 

The CaRMS second iteration statistics are even less promising for IMGs and previous year graduates than the first iteration statistics are. In the second iteration in 2021, only 68.6% of current year CMGs and 22.9% of current year IMGs matched. Of those who graduated the previous year, 51.5% and 5.9% of CMGs and IMGs matched, respectively. 

There are two main reasons why it’s much more difficult to match in the second iteration. The first reason is that there are significantly fewer programs participating. The majority of programs fill their spots in the first iteration so it’s only programs that didn’t fill all of their available positions that are still participating. 

The second reason is that IMGs and CMGs are now competing for the same spots. In the first iteration, IMGs and CMGs are put into two different streams, meaning they are not competing against each other for spots. However, in the second iteration, most provinces put IMGs and CMGs into the same stream, making the process even more competitive. The only provinces that still separate IMGs and CMGs in the second iteration are Ontario, Manitoba, and Alberta. 

To overcome these odds, you need to make sure your application is exceptionally crafted and that your interview skills are top-notch so that you stand out to programs as an outstanding candidate. Review your personal statements, brush up on your virtual interview etiquette, and review some of the most common interview questions to get ready for this process.

CaRMS releases the second iteration match results on May 12th  through CaRMS Online. If you still haven’t matched, you can participate in the post-match process starting the next day 

Post-Match Process

At this point, CaRMS only acts as a portal for you to upload your documents and assign them to programs. There isn’t a match process or any use of rank order lists. You apply to programs through CaRMS and programs will reach out to you directly for interview invites or offers of acceptance. 

Just like in the second iteration, all programs place applicants in the same stream except for Ontario, Manitoba, and Alberta which separate IMGs and CMGs into two streams. This time, since CaRMS isn’t conducting a match, you don’t have to pay any fees. 

There’s also no waiting period between when you submit your applications and when programs have access to them. During this process (which runs from May 13th to June 2nd), programs have access to your documents as soon as you submit them and they can contact you right away. 

This is your third and final chance to get matched during the CaRMS application cycle. But what if you still aren’t matched? 

What Happens Next? 

If you still aren’t matched then you’ll have to try again next year. The good news is that you now have a head start on your application and, having already been through the match, you know exactly what to expect the following cycle. 

You have almost an entire year ahead of you before the next application cycle starts. Take the opportunity to apply for jobs or post-graduate programs that will give you relevant experience and create your stand out factor. 

Other than that, it’s all about taking the time to perfect your application. Since it’s so much harder for previous year graduates to match, your application preparation is super important. The way that you tell your story and weave in your relevant experiences is crucial. Learning how to highlight each academic, professional and personal experience while showcasing the CanMEDS Roles that you possess will demonstrate to committee members that you’re the perfect match for their program. 

I Got In’s got you covered. 

We offer application support to guide you through the process and help you assemble an exemplary application. We also offer interview preparation to help you develop the confidence and communication skills that will impress your interviewers. With our support, you’ll be ready for any application or interview scenario that might come your way. Book a free consultation today to start preparing for your next residency application.

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Scroll to Top