20/20 Hindsight on what you did right to get the right residency

Pharmacol90

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Hi All,

In hind sight, what were the factors to your success in procuring the desired residency?

Also, if anyone reading did not get the residency you most desired, in hindsight, what would you change if you could have a do-over?

Thanks.
MS1
 
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dragonfly99

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Well, to be able to get into any specialty that you want, you have to try and get into the top 1/3 of your class, or so. That's the hard truth. Some specialties won't be open to you if you do not do that. HOWEVER, if you're at maybe a top 10 school, then may be able to get into even some very competitive specialties (though probably not derm, plastics, a few others), but at less competitive places. Also, 3rd year grades are pretty much king, along with who writes your letters of recommendation (i.e. "who they know").

You really need to honor the surgical clerkship to go into surgical fields. You need to try to get honors/A grade in whatever field you want to get into, but it's not quite as important for things like medicine, OB, pediatrics just because those fields aren't as hard to get into.

All this doesn't have much to do with how good a med student you are (IMHO) or how good a doctor you'll be. At least, there's not a direct, strong correlation (again, IMHO).

As far as finding a good "fit" once you get to interviews and trying to match (in other words, deciding which general surg. program to rank above which other gen. surg program) I would say that if you want to end up at a program where you learn well, then you have to pay attention to where you feel like you'll be comfortable and happy, and not just the "prestige" of one program versus another. Not that it's unimportant, but other things being relatively equal, you need to pick the place where you like the people, the surroundings, etc. and NOT just on which place is supposed to be "better".
 

smq123

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Moving to allopathic, as it has to do with things you can do in MS1-3 to apply for residencies.
 
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how do you "honor" on a surgical clerkship? do you take a test and if you make an A you honor? I really have no idea, if anyone could shed some light on this it would be great. Thanks.
 

FrkyBgStok

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how do you "honor" on a surgical clerkship? do you take a test and if you make an A you honor? I really have no idea, if anyone could shed some light on this it would be great. Thanks.
I am a premed but I was curious about this too. If you show up everyday and have a decent attitude, how do you personally distinguish honor quality vs pass quality?
 

Hoju

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The word I have heard from current 3rd years is that grading can be pretty subjective. Some people pass out honors like candy and others never give honors. It seems that butt kissing would play a part also.
 

DoctwoB

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The word I have heard from current 3rd years is that grading can be pretty subjective. Some people pass out honors like candy and others never give honors. It seems that butt kissing would play a part also.

Of course, brown-nosing will just piss some attendings off. There are a couple active threads that talk about how to impress on rotations. General themes seem to be pretty common sense.

Don't make the attending wait on you (be early)
Read about your patients and their disorders
present patients in concise but accurate manner
No matter what be honest about what you've done
Practice things like suturing on your own time so you don't slow everyone down

Remember that med students generally actually mean more work for the attending, so do what you can to speed things up.
 

MacVA

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I believe it varies from school to school, but blowing your Shelf out of the water is the easiest way to get honors. At least this is the case at my SO's school...
 

VoiceofReason

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I believe it varies from school to school, but blowing your Shelf out of the water is the easiest way to get honors. At least this is the case at my SO's school...
it depends on what things get factored into your grade. in my clerkship its basically evaluations, a small presentation, and the shelf exam. The first two are pretty straightforward, so it comes down to tearing the shelf apart
 

McGillGrad

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There is no guarantee in rotations, because some attendings only honor the top 10% of students they see. Others honor most people who manage to be helpful and polite.

The best way to honor any rotations (in addition to what has been written above) is to:

1. Never be late
2. Be enthusiastic and motivated
3. Read up on your patients
4. Read a little every day about your rotation...it's not that hard with review books
5. Be polite to everyone
6. Be proactive and volunteer to do things that help you learn, no matter how basic
7. Ask smart questions about treatment options (not silly questions that you can look up easily)
 

ZagDoc

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Above all else, the one factor that gets glossed over the most is...

FIND THE SPECIALTY YOU LOVE!

Seriously, we're given this slice of medicine where we're required to rotate through only 7 specialties and only for a few weeks at a time. There are myriads of specialties out there with variations in patient population, pathology, clinical and surgical management, and personalities within the field. The onus is really on you to seek them out and try them out.

Seriously, I think a "dream" residency is much more about being in the right field that being in the right program. I see so many of my classmates who had no idea all the way up to the end, and see those residents several years later slaving away in fields they settled on because they didn't have any better ideas. They're good residents, and good people, but when that passion is missing its really evident.

Once you find "the one", you'll find out in a hurry what else you need to do.
 
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Pharmacol90

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Thanks everyone for all your input.

Zagdoc, When did you figure out your area of interest? Was this in 3rd year? Or is 3rd year too late to narrow down the specialty of your interest?

Also, how important is doing research in the Summer after 1st and 2nd years toward procuring a choice residency? Is research absolutely essential?

Best regards
 
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slowbutsteady

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There is no guarantee in rotations, because some attendings only honor the top 10% of students they see. Others honor most people who manage to be helpful and polite.

The best way to honor any rotations (in addition to what has been written above) is to:

1. Never be late
2. Be enthusiastic and motivated
3. Read up on your patients
4. Read a little every day about your rotation...it's not that hard with review books
5. Be polite to everyone
6. Be proactive and volunteer to do things that help you learn, no matter how basic
7. Ask smart questions about treatment options (not silly questions that you can look up easily)
This.

Like anything else in life, work very hard, be enthusiastic and helpful, when asked to do something always say "yes," etc.

On the posts regarding the shelf, that must vary from school to school. At my school it is one important factor, but even a 99% won't guarantee you honors. Assuming you honor the clinical part, you need to meet a threshhold on the shelf, which will vary, but can be as low as 80%, maybe lower.

And yes, it is very subjective.
 
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Honor the rotation for the specialty of interest

do well on steps

good LORS, i think this helped me ALOT

apply EARLY, submit on sept 1st.

caviats: M1-M2 grades mean nothing, step1 >>> m1 and m2 grades.
if you do bad on step1, you can redeem yourself by doing well on step2 if applying to places that do not screen based on step1. (also if you did bad on step1, take step2 and get your score back before sept 1 so you can submit ur app with the step2 score)


PRACTICE interview skills before going to them, go to a workshop/mock interview etc. think about commonly asked questions.


failing something is NOT the end of the world!!!!!!! applying to residency is not like applying to med school, people generally underestimate how competitive they are when applying for residency. so don't freak out if your app doesn't look perfect or that you are the bottom half of your class.

for the not so competitive specialties, simply being a US MD graduate puts you at a very competitive position. I think like half of the IM/FM residencies spots are filled by International grads/carribean/DO.
 

ZagDoc

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Thanks everyone for all your input. Greatly appreciated.

Zagdoc, When did you figure out your area of interest? Was this in 3rd year? Or is 3rd year too late to narrow down the specialty of your interest?

Also, how important is doing research in the Summer after 1st and 2nd years toward procuring a choice residency? Is research absolutely essential?

Best regards
Finally nailed my choice (ENT) down Oct-Nov of 3rd year. Wasn't even on my radar until 3rd year. I was fine as far as getting my application in order in less than 9 months.

Research is of variable importance for various fields. Very important for fields like neurosurg, radonc, derm. Emphasized in ENT, OB, and others. Academic programs value is more than community. So, yes there are some fields or programs where research is almost "essential." There are other fields where it doesn't really matter at all.

As far as how important doing research "during the summer between 1st and 2nd year" is... it isn't. It's not like that is your only opportunity to do research during medical school and if you dont do it then, you never will. I took on 2 clinical studies during 3rd year, one is published. Have a case study submitted for publication. There's plenty of time in med school for working on those things. Now if you want to do basic science benchwork, the summer between 1st and 2nd year is probably the best time to do that. But that's not my cup of tea. I think MS1s feel wayyyy too much anxiety that they "have to do" research during the summer off. You don't. But if you find an interesting study or project to get on board with... by all means, go for it.
 

Dral

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Honestly, just exploring enough things to find what I was meant to do worked out for me. I know that sounds cheesy, but it happened for me somehow. However, I came into medical school wanting to do something pretty different from what I'm applying for.

If you have that deep down desire to do what you really want, I think it will work out (within reason of course...scores, grades, etc are obviously important factors).
 

Zoom-Zoom

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As far as how important doing research "during the summer between 1st and 2nd year" is... it isn't. It's not like that is your only opportunity to do research during medical school and if you dont do it then, you never will. I took on 2 clinical studies during 3rd year, one is published. Have a case study submitted for publication. There's plenty of time in med school for working on those things. Now if you want to do basic science benchwork, the summer between 1st and 2nd year is probably the best time to do that. But that's not my cup of tea. I think MS1s feel wayyyy too much anxiety that they "have to do" research during the summer off. You don't. But if you find an interesting study or project to get on board with... by all means, go for it.
This makes me happy. I have research anxiety :laugh:
 

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how do you "honor" on a surgical clerkship? do you take a test and if you make an A you honor? I really have no idea, if anyone could shed some light on this it would be great. Thanks.
It is a multi-step process. It is pretty much the same for every rotation really.

The first step is to TRY to improve the efficiency of the doctor and the OR. This requires showing initiative, being on time (remember early is on time, on time is late) and help in whatever way you know how. You aren't above helping OR staff. Yes, we know you don't pay $XX,XXX for that, but it is really a lead in to the second part (and is just a nice thing to do).

If you actually save time for the doctor, then he or she will have time to teach you. Be active and interested and at least try to see the value in things. Reviewing the cases before hand. Asking genuine (not trying to impress) questions that show more than a baseline knowledge. You also can't be annoying about it though. We all hate those people that seem to ask a million questions that they could just go look up on their own time.

Really, it comes down to what you should be doing with everything in life. Work hard, strive to learn, keep a good attitude, help others, and always strive to be better. If you do those things and STILL don't honor, then there most likely isn't much more you can do.