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USMLE IMG Experiences and Scores Thread

Discussion in 'General International Discussion' started by franceschino, 07.17.11.

  1. Domenech

    Domenech

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    SDN Members don't see this ad. (About Ads)
    Since I am also an international graduate, let me tell you some specifics about the process. You must definitely get it out as soon as possible if you wish you apply for the 2013 residency cycle. Even though your British medical school (if I assume correct based on your location) credential does give you an edge over, say for example, people graduating from medical schools from third world countries, you are still an IMG and should strive to build a comprehensive CV before applying for residencies.

    Last 2 years, a comprehensive CV also meant USMLE Step 3, but your other credentials can easily eclipse the lack of Step 3.

    What you have to do, is to send a photocopy and other documents (such as Form 187, 344 and 345) over to ECFMG as soon as you get your diploma. ECFMG would forward that diploma photocopy to your medical school with its own verification form. You will not find this form available for download from ECFMG website, as they do that process themselves. This verification form must be filled by the medical school, and transcripts attached with the form and sent back to the ECFMG.

    Once ECFMG receives all those documents back, it reviews your degree with its vast library of degrees from every college and issue you the certificate.

    Remember this takes time, even if your medical school sends the verification form back through expedited delivery.

    Plus make sure you keep calling ECFMG to verify it has received ALL documents, whenever you send them anything. I had to do that, only to discover they had initially lost my documents, only to find them 3 weeks later.

    Good luck.
  2. sineapse

    sineapse

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    Thanks man, that was a really useful read :)
  3. pedsFMG

    pedsFMG

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    Hi,

    I'm a British FMG (2010 grad). Any advice which of these options I should go for?

    1) Take CS in March (likely only arrive in the US the night before the exam).

    2) Take CS in July.

    Things I'm considering:
    - I've not started studying yet but I have First Aid and could get a fortnight's work in now
    - The test is changing in June and I'm not sure what effect this will have on pass rates etc
    - I'll be applying in September 2012 and so if I don't take it before June, I won't have my result back by the time I apply.
    - I'll have a Green Card so I won't be going down the H1B route

    Would really appreciate any advice!! I'm irrationally worried by this exam. I've got the others out the way with no problems.
  4. Domenech

    Domenech

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    CS is not a difficult exam, by any means. Americans don't even take it seriously and 97% still pass on first attempt. But for IMGs, it's a tricky exam. All you have to do, is just be cautious when studying for the exam, and then taking it. First Aid prepares you well enough, and equips you with all the formalities of the exam as well.

    Things you're considering and their answers:

    1. That's sufficient. You just need to learn the cases, which shouldn't take more than a week. Another week to practice cases. The latter should preferably be done with a study partner. Skype isn't a bad option either. Don't spend more than 3 weeks; it's not worth it.

    2. This won't have any effect on pass rates. All USMLE exams are well standardized.

    3. That's true. Competition is tough. You must have a complete CV before applying. Last 2 years, that meant having Step 3 as well, especially if you're applying to IM programs in community hospitals.

    4. That's a huge advantage. Literally huge. Make sure you get your GC in time so that you can indicate in ERAS application that your visa status is "Permanent Resident". Hospitals hate catering for IMGs who need visa sponsorship.

    Take it in March. Don't spend more than 3 weeks. Good luck.
  5. Andreji

    Andreji

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    Above and beyond any consideration, testing will only restart beyond (i think) june 16 and reporting will begin somewhere in october, am I right?
    THIS should determine your conduct- take it *before* the no-testing period (april-mid june i think?) otherwise your results (and subsequent ecfmg certification) will be delayed, enough so that you miss out on a fair share of interviews.

    Sure, applications will begin mid-sept this yr, but a 15day-1 mo delay in sending out an app will make you miss out on many potential IVs- so will applying incompletely (ie., not certified yet).

    Listen, the test is seriously easy especially if your native tongue is english- not my case and still 2wks worth of practice with a friend using the cases in FAftCS was enough. Oh, and I flew a red-eye to NY then took a bus to philly the night after. so *you* should be fine.

    But if you take my advice, schedule things ASAP. a few of my friends are doing so, and realising the limitations that will come from taking it beyond june, people all over are crowding the slots. make haste.
  6. sineapse

    sineapse

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    Got my Step 2CK back today: 257/86

    Pretty damn pleased! Hasn't really sunk in yet :D
  7. arielred

    arielred

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    Well done! :)
  8. Broker

    Broker

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    Congratulations! Just booked mine for June...
  9. Broker

    Broker

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    Any UK grads match today?
  10. Killer T Cell

    Killer T Cell

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    Congratulations buddy! That is an amazing score!!!
  11. sineapse

    sineapse

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    Thanks :)

    Finally got my attending to send my LoR five months later. I reckon it has got lost in the post now as it is now 2 and a half weeks overdue :scared:

    And good luck to all who are Matching!
  12. splik

    splik

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    Matched! Am thrilled as it is the top program for my particular clinical and research interests and they actually rejected me initially! I was not having any of it and made my case of why they should interview me, they responded by offering me an interview, it was love at first sight, and we are now blissfully wedded together!
  13. Broker

    Broker

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    Congratulations! psych?

    Are they sponsoring an H1B?
  14. Killer T Cell

    Killer T Cell

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    Congratulations Splik!! I definitely realized after this process that a lot of it (getting interviews/prematches/ranked high etc) is all about hustle. You've gotta know what you want and have to chase it hard!! We can't afford to just sit back and wait for things to come to us. Email, Call, have people call on your behalf..do whatever it takes to get in the door! It was an eye opening experience and an amazing life lesson!!! And that ladies and gentlemen...is without a doubt, the SINGLE most important piece of advice I can pass onto future applicants...
  15. splik

    splik

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    yes and yes.
  16. splik

    splik

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    I have answered some FAQs for IMGs trying to match into top psych programs here Although it is aimed at applying for psych which is what I know, most of the info there is general and relevant regardless of what specialty you might be shooting for and it will be obvious what bits are specific to applying to psych. Questions about visas, usmle scores, clinical experience, LoRs, interviewing and so on are answered.
  17. sineapse

    sineapse

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    Nice work splik
  18. dggopal

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    Hey I'm a IMG from India and am planning on taking CS on july 16. With the new changes to the step 2 cs exam my results are going to be coming out around oct 3- 31st. I was planning on taking step 2 ck sometime in August... Now seeing as I will probably only have step 1 score back by the time I apply in sept, I wanted to know if it was even wise to apply for this years match or should I just forget it and wait till next year? I am so confused on what I should do... any advice would help... Also I was talking to some admins at a local community based hospital and they told me that there are plenty of local hospitals in the riverside ( I live in Los Angeles) that accept foreign grads outside the match all year round... wanted to know if this was a viable option for me or if something like this was extremely rare....
  19. splik

    splik

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    you should take step 2CS now or as soon as possible. July is absolutely too late.
    if you take step 2 ck at the beginning of august your results will be back in before you can apply (sep 15th).

    Many programs require ECFMG certification to interview thus not having completed these exams will limit the number of interviews you get. Some places will still interview candidates who have not yet done these exams but I do not recommend applying without having completed all these exams. I would say get the exams done asap and apply this year is your best bet.
  20. dggopal

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    yeah that was originally the plan. I applied to take the test and by the time I got approved to select a date july was the earliest I could find.

    What I am asking here is, taking this into account and also assuming I do very well ( 230+) on step 1, will not having a step 2 cs score back yet really lower my chances of getting interviews... I am not looking for the best of the best... I'm just looking for any spot in Family Medicine, which I am told is less competitive to get into.

    I mean I have heard that PD's just assume that step 2 scores will be on par with step 1 scores if they are not in app yet... I know that this probably applied to US grads, but would it still matter a great deal considering I am a US citizen and just went to med school in India.
  21. splik

    splik

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    i repeat do it asap you have no excuse there are always cancellations and openings.
  22. nottheone18

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    hey dude i just saw your step scores and there really awesome ;) is it cool if i can ask you a couple of quick questions if you dont mind? thanks :D
  23. nottheone18

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    Hey well done! Is it cool if I ask you a couple of questions since I don't want to do f1 training in the UK but go straight to the us?? Thanks
  24. Killer T Cell

    Killer T Cell

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    Sure thing...happy to help :)
  25. nottheone18

    nottheone18

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    ahh cool dude thanks. erm well my first question is did you manage to do an elective before final year?? if so then what year did you do it in and was it in america? cause the thing is if i where to go straight after med school to america then i would have to do my elective before my final year so i could put it on my eras form and i just cant find any programs in america that accept students that are not in their senior year! unless i dont do an elective at all but so many people have said that electives are really important and boost your application. thanks :D
  26. jtlc2345

    jtlc2345

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    More than happy to help if at all possible.

    Jonathan
  27. Killer T Cell

    Killer T Cell

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    I did manage to do electives in America, and they were between fourth year and final year (5 year program). It was an extremely fortunate coincidence that my university scheduled electives just before final year. I know some schools don't do it until the end of final year, which makes it really hard to get a residency immediately after medschool. Like you pointed out, US clinical experience and US recommendation letters are vital!

    As for the "senior/final year medical student" requirement that almost all US schools have, I was able to find a way around that. My medical school gave us a letter saying that I have completed all my fourth year modules + exams (which was true) and was in effect a final year student during the elective block. There are people from my medschool who did electives at UCLA, Mt. Sinai, Emory etc. So the letter worked like a charm pretty much everywhere.

    In addition to elective, our medical school also allowed us to do SSA/SSM (Self Study Modules) abroad during final year (10 weeks in total). I had to ask for special permission though. But that was immensely helpful as well, not only to get more US experience, but also to be in America during interview period. So hopefully you get lucky with a desirable elective time frame and a medical school administration that's willing to help you out with letters, scheduling SSMs abroad, time off for interviews etc.

    Even if you go to a school where you do electives towards the middle/end of final year, they might still let you do an SSA/SSM in America during the beginning of final year. You'll be surprised at how flexible and helpful medschool leadership can be.
    Last edited: 04.17.12
  28. nottheone18

    nottheone18

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    thanks man just the answer i was looking for! and regarding the step exams did you do step 2 ck and cs at the end of 4th year??? :confused: did you find any problem with doing it at the end of 4th year as oppossed to 5th year cause im under the impression that most people do step2 ck and cs in 5th year. thank you again!
  29. Killer T Cell

    Killer T Cell

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    You're more than welcome. I took my Step 2 CK and CS July of last year, which was during the beginning of final year. That was the latest I could do them and still have my scores ready in time to apply on September 1st. It's important to have everything ready and apply on the very first day that application opens up (at least within the first 1-2 weeks)!!

    It would have been nice if I took them towards the end of fifth year, because I learned so much clinical medicine during this year!! We don't even do OBGYN and Peds until 5th year!! I had done some peds electives in America prior to that, but obgyn, that was purely bookwork!!

    However, most of CS and CK are book knowledge, and you can do well even if you take it at the end of 4th year or beginning of 5th year. I ended up doing relatively well and got a score that I was happy with. Just study hard, do USMLE world.....they're piece of cake exams compared to Step 1 :D

    In my opinion, it's definitely not worth waiting/losing a year so that you'll be slightly better prepared for Step 2 CS and CK.
  30. splik

    splik

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    It sounds like you are hoping to seamlessly go from medical school in the UK to US residency. Now, that may be possible, but it may not. Firstly, many programs will not even interview you without ECFMG certification which requires you to have graduated medical school and passed step 1, step 2ck and step 2cs. Now there are programs that don't require it, but my experience is that the majority do, and of those that do not, being ECFMG certified will increase your chance of getting an interview - it's getting more competitive for FMGs every year.

    Secondly, when will you graduate? Most programs require you to start the middle or end of june. You need to be ECFMG certified in order to start residency. I know graduation for my medical school was July 1, and the diploma was not issued until a month later. You need your medical diploma to be ECFMG certified, and to start work, and to get your medical license (in some states).

    Finally, if you are not a US citizen (you haven't made this clear) or dont have PR/GC you will need a visa, ideally an H-1B visa. You cannot get this without having completed medical school, as you need to have passed step 3, which you cannot sit without having graduated. Even on a j-1 it is cutting it fine.

    It is rare for medical students to go straight from UK medical school to US residency, and unheard of for british citizens to go straight into a US residency from medical school. That does not mean completion of F1 but if you even want to have the possibility of working in the UK ever again you would need to complete your houseplant days first.
  31. Killer T Cell

    Killer T Cell

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    I'm so sorry, I totally forgot to mention the hurdles you have to jump to go straight from final year to a US residency. I've only heard of 2 other people who were able to pull this off, and both of them were American citizens. I'm a US Citizen as well. Splik is absolutely spot on with the previous post.

    1) ECFMG Certification - As Splik mentioned, you cannot get this until you have received your diploma and completed Step 1, Step 2 CS and Step 2 CK. Most programs state that you need to have the certification to apply, before the interview or before rank list deadline in order to be ranked. There are very very few programs out there that do not require the ECFMG certification during the application process. But I still applied to programs that required ECFMG certification and hoped that a few of them would make an exception once they saw my app. The expensive gamble/shotgun approach paid off - I received 35 invites out of 115 applications, most of them from programs that were willing to overlook this requirement. I am more than happy to share the list of 35 if you want to. But keep in mind that this is highly specialty, program and candidate dependent. And I am not sure if programs will be as lenient in the coming years as the competition is rising exponentially. I am 100% sure that I would have received many more invites if I had my ECFMG Cert. A lot of doors were closed to me, but I got lucky and still had a good variety of solid programs who were willing to bend their rules a bit.

    2) PTAL - This is a letter you need from the State of California to be eligible to apply to programs in Cali. And just like ECFMG Cert. you need to have your diploma to get the PTAL. So being a final year med student, the entire state of Cali shut me out. This is not a deal breaker because the rest of the 49 states don't require this. But I would have loved to apply to a few programs in LA, San Fran and San Diego.

    3) Time off for interview - Being a final year student this was extremely tricky. In today's competitive atmosphere I wanted to interview at 12-15 programs to be 100% sure of my chances. Scheduling interviews were a nightmare, most programs don't have the dates you want. Theoretically you can do 5 interviews a week, but this is almost impossible due to lack of free dates, travel between cities, importance of attending pre-interview dinners etc. I interviewed at 15 in total and max I did in one week was 4. I was burned out by the end of that week. I'd say 3/week is a realistic and comfortable number. So you're looking at a minimum of 4-5 weeks off! Keep in mind that most programs don't interview during the 2 week Christmas holiday that we get. I asked my medical school if I could have my 4 weeks of SSA in November and December and use it for interview travel. They said yes and that was a lifesaver!! In addition to that they were also willing to give me an additional 1 or 2 weeks off during rotations if I needed it for additional interviews. Trust me, having a helpful and understanding medical school administration team is a priceless blessing.

    4) Visa - I am a US Citizen and didn't have to go through this process. But as Splik mentioned you would be automatically in-eligible for an H1b visa, which is much better than a J1. H1b requires Step 3, which requires a diploma. Even with J1, you would be cutting it close with the UK graduation nightmare which I will get to next.

    5) Graduation Date - Most American residency programs start mid-late June and you definitely can't start without an ECFMG Certificate and a State Medical License; both of which require a diploma. My program has orientation from June 11th and proper work starts on June 22nd. Unfortunately my UK graduation date is not until July 11th even though we finish exams end of April and get our marks on May 14th!! As you can see, this is a nightmare.

    So I appealed to the Dean and the Head of the Medical College to receive my diploma early. However before it got to the Dean, this process took months and I had to go through so much chain of command and red tape. It was incredibly frustrating. My dean was very understanding and receptive, and approved a special warrant for an early graduation. Even with this, I have to wait until the board of examiners meet and ratify our marks before I get my diploma. June 13th is the magic date! As soon as I get my diploma mailed over on the 13th, I am going to have to run around like a headless chicken and deal with the Pennsylvania State Medical Board and the ECFMG to have everything expedited and done by June 22nd. Who knows if it will happen? Worst case scenario, I need to take a few days or a week of vacation and sit at home till everything gets sorted.

    The two other Americans who went straight after medschool, one of them (Manchester) did what I did and got special permission and was able to have everything in time to start work. The other however did not get this special permission from his University (Warwick) and had to use up all 4 of his vacation weeks in June/July until everything was done. I can't imagine working 11 months without a single vacation day.....it must have been brutal! But a lot of programs will let you start late and finish late (3-4 years down the road, depending on how long your residency is) rather than use your vacation time while you wait. I'm not a big fan of this, because it puts you off cycle for fellowship start dates and you'll end up losing a year down the road.

    As you can see, there's a lot of pain and suffering that one has to endure to go straight from medschool to residency. Our curriculum and dates are not streamlined for a US residency like the Caribbean schools. It's incredibly difficult and takes a lot of planning, forethought and tons of luck! And you definitely need a kind and understanding medical school administration!!
    Last edited: 04.19.12
  32. celling

    celling

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    1) Country of origin
    USA

    2) Step 1 or 2 scores:
    Step 1: 235/97
    Step 2 CK: 248/99
    Step 2 CS: Pass
    Step 3: 228/95

    3) Timeline
    Step 1- End of 2nd year med school
    Step 2 CK- end of 3rd year med school
    Step 2 CS- Clinical rotation in US during 4th year
    Step 3- 4th year of surgery during pediatric surgery rotation

    4) Revision material
    Step 1- First Aid, Kaplan
    Step 2- Kaplan, USMLE world
    Step 3-First Aid, Kaplan, USMLE world

    5) Any further tips/challenges etc
    Getting into a competitive residency in the US is tough for an IMG. Work hard, study hard, and pray harder. It's not impossible. Don't give up.
  33. Broker

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    Any of the UK grads have some last minute advice for step 2CK?

    Have the exam next week, along with med school finals. I've read through step up and secrets a few times, finished UWorld and feel like I have a good understanding of most things.

    If there was one thing you could have spent a little extra time reviewing or memorising before test day what would it be?

    I have a book of notes made from UWorld questions that I'll be going over this week, anything else anyone would recommend?

    Thanks again!
  34. Killer T Cell

    Killer T Cell

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    Read USMLE Step 2 Secrets - best last minute review book ever!
  35. Broker

    Broker

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    Thanks, just reading through that every day.

    Need to learn the immunisation recommendations, those questions always throw me...
  36. sineapse

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    Passed Step 2 CS! :) Now I have to wait for my diploma to be sent out at the start of August and have to rush it to the US...unfortunately going to be cutting it fine for submitting my selections to ERAS :(

    Second Secrets btw, great book!
  37. Broker

    Broker

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    Congrats! I postponed mine a few months, so hopefully take it before Xmas, any tips?

    Step 2CK was LONG!! Took it the day after finals, still awaiting results...

    What are you going to apply for?
  38. sineapse

    sineapse

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    If you have done a rotation in the US, you will be fine. FA for Step 2 CS is more than enough. Time management is your biggest issue in the actual exam. V. tiring.

    Applying for IM
  39. splik

    splik

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    thought i had replied congrats - ECFMG thing should arrive before (you dont need the actual certificate just that on the system it has been sorted) and remember do not wait to apply, apply on sep 15th with or without ECFMG certification.

    You should be able to start your app etc on ERAS from ?next week.
  40. sineapse

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    Gents, hope all is going well with residency and you are settling in OK!

    Big day has come for me with the start of ERAS, got my AAMC number and am working on my applications. Had a question on the application form under 'training' where you have to list any training programs you are in. I want to show that I am currently working as a doctor so I have put down 'transitional year' and Foundation Year One in the title. Have described what FY1 is and put it in the 'Reasons for leaving' box i.e. 4 months surg, 4 months medicine, 4 months EM (in my case) and that I intend to resign if successful in the Match.

    Sensible? What did you guys put?
  41. pedsFMG

    pedsFMG

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    Hi,

    Thought I'd revive this thread. Who else is applying this year from the UK?

    Sineape - in answer to your question, I'm putting F1+F2 down as 'work experience', not as training. That seemed to be the consensus on the ERAS board.

    Hope applications are progressing well!
  42. Broker

    Broker

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    Hello all!

    Just a quick question. I'm hoping to apply this summer, how has everyone else managed to organise time off for interviews during foundation years? I only get 10 days off during that rotation in FY2, will it be enough???

    Also how many interviews did everyone attend?

    Hope everyone is well
  43. jtlc2345

    jtlc2345

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    To be honest, I didn't anticipate how difficult scheduling interviews was going to be. Feel free to PM if you want further insight.

    Jonathan
  44. bambi

    bambi Junior Member

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    Some places let you roll over leave from one post to the next so you could look into that. Also some places give big chunks of time off after nights so you could work interviews around that.
  45. Broker

    Broker

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    Sadly in my hospital we only get a day off after nights and there is no possibility to roll over leave. I will speak to our programme director and see what they say.

    Thanks for your help.
  46. Sir Gillies

    Sir Gillies

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    Hi guys,

    This is such an important issue for all of us applying. Please could you share your experience in this thread rather than PM.

    I wondered whether you could use study leave. I know that you can apply for study leave if you are applying for a UK related training post (eg CT1). If that doesn't work out, maybe you could use the excuse of a conference in the USA - residents don't normally pay, so you could apply for it and not go...

    I look forward to hear what others suggest.
  47. jtlc2345

    jtlc2345

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    I think it would be more appropriate to discuss openly when this application cycle is over, hence why I am happy to field PMs in the interim.

    Jonathan
  48. bambi

    bambi Junior Member

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    Don't think you can ever use study leave for job application stuff. Where I work at least they have to just give you the time off - you don't take it as any sort of leave. At most it's a day though so I don't think they would do the same for America but they could probably work something out.

    Pretending to go to a conference? That would definitely be a probity issue and could get you reported to the GMC.
  49. Broker

    Broker

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    How did everyone do yesterday???
  50. jtlc2345

    jtlc2345

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    I matched in IM.

    Jonathan

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