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Internal Medicine Exam Changes

Exam Timing Decision for Internal Medicine Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

1. What is the decision around the exam timing for Internal Medicine?

The Royal College is changing the timing of the Royal College exams for Internal Medicine (IM) candidates who start their postgraduate year one (PGY1) education in July 2016. Internal Medicine PGY1 candidates will complete their Royal College examinations at the end of the third year of their residency training (2019) rather than the traditional fourth year. All future years of IM programs will also follow this practice of completing their examinations at the end of the third year of their program.

2. Why is the Royal College making this change?

The proposal to move the examination earlier has been under consideration for many years. This decision follows consultation with numerous committees and stakeholders who agreed that moving the examinations earlier would allow IM residents to more effectively prepare for their Royal College examination.

3. Who specifically is impacted by this decision?

IM residents who started their first year of residency prior to July 2016 are NOT impacted by this decision. They will continue to have their examination in the fourth year of their residency training.

IM residents who started their program in July 2016 – and ALL subsequent residents in future programs are impacted by this decision. Specifically, this means 2016 Internal Medicine PGY1 residents and all years following will have their Royal College examinations scheduled at the end of their third year of residency training NOT their fourth year.

Note: A plan to accommodate off-cycle IM residents impacted by this decision will be communicated by end of 2016.

4. Won’t this decision create logistical challenges at some point?

Yes. In 2019 we expect a double cohort situation where double the number of IM residents will undertake their exams in the same year:

  • IM residents who start their training in 2015, and who will complete their exam in the traditional fourth year of their residency training (2019), and
  • IM residents who start their training in 2016, and who will complete their exam in their third year of their residency training (2019).

In addition, IM program directors will need to revamp their training programs in order to optimize learning and allow residents the opportunity to adequately prepare for their examinations. The Royal College is working with our committees, internal staff, medical school faculties and other partners to plan and prepare a smooth implementation for all IM exam candidates in 2019.

5. How do I find out when my exam is scheduled in 2019?

All scheduling information will be shared through the Royal College website. General timing for all 2019 Internal Medicine exams (Written and OSCE) will be available by December 2016. Specific dates are typically shared approximately 12 months in advance of the exam.

6. Did the Royal College consult with other groups before making this decision?

Yes, successful implementation of Royal College exams is always a collaborative effort and multiple stakeholders provided input to this process. This decision was discussed at the Royal College’s February 2016 Assessment Committee and input sought from numerous individuals, committees and partner organizations.

7. What is the strategy to ensure all trainees apply for credentialing at the appropriate time? What will happen for those who miss the deadline?

On July 15, 2016, the Royal College launched a project team dedicated to ensuring a successful implementation for the 2019 Internal Medicine Double Cohort. Part of this team’s mandate is to identify the processes and supporting communications to ensure all trainees apply for credentialing at the same time and will address how to work with those who miss the deadline.

8. Who can I follow up with if I have more questions?

Please email your questions to credentials@royalcollege.ca.

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author: Melissa Nilan