Hi, I'm currently a 3rd year med student at Ain Shams University in Cairo and I want to take all the USMLE steps and apply for a residency in the USA successfully inshAllah. My thoughts are all over the place...where do I start? I have an idea about the USMLE steps, but I have so many questions. So if you've gone through this process, I'd appreciate it if you could help me out. I just need to draw out a plan or timeline for the next few years so that I can go through this and still try to maintain my sanity. 1) What are the best times to study/take each of the steps? I was planning on studying for Step 1 during the summer after 3rd year (Summer 2009). 2) What books proved to be successful for you? Comprehensive books, books for certain branches etc. Pls arrange in order of importance. Can you get these books in Egypt? 3) The BIG question (pls be as detailed as possible): After you take the USMLE's what else do you need to do?? a) What do I need to hand in to the ECFMG? (not sure if I even have the right letters for the association, but apparently they take your Egyptian M.D certificate and authorize it so that you can apply to US residencies?) b) What are electives? Are they required? When do you do them and how do you apply at US hospitals? c) How do you prepare yourself for residency interviews and make your "resume/transcript" look qualified enough? d) Is there anything else that I need to keep in mind? THANK YOU!