Critique my plan to successfully match into a competitive specialty

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flatearth22

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Right now I'm really interested in Ortho and Urology but I understand that interests change throughout medical school. Either way, I'd rather be in a position where I have the high stats to match into a competitive specialty but choose to do a non-competitive one as opposed to being forced into a non-competitive specialty against my will because of poor stats. Anyway, here is my (very tentative) plan:

Summer before M1:
- Relax, travel, read, drink, fornicate, etc.

- Do nothing medically related besides watch an occasional medical documentary or reality show

M1:

- Focus on learning concepts as opposed to drilling minutia.

- Be fine with getting B's and C's instead of gunning for A's (this might be hard at first).

- Get involved in surgical research a month or two into medical school once I have my feet underneath me. Devote the time that would have been spent on excess studying gunning for A's to instead doing research and hopefully getting pubs, writing case reports, and presenting posters.

- Don't get too heavily involved in random clubs or volunteering. This seems like a time waster and not very beneficial to matching into a competitive specialty. Maybe just join the Ortho and Urology interest groups for the free food and to put something on my CV.

Summer after M1:

- Do research full-time. Either with the PI I was working on during M1 or if it looks like that will not lead to pubs then with another PI. eMight also go somwhere else in the country for the summer to do research if the opportunity presents itself.

- Get GT to review M1 material. Have all of M1 material banked by end of the summer

- Start preparing a Step 1 study plan and acquiring study materials.

M2:
- Again, focusing on just passing and learning the concepts as opposed to getting A's/H's and learning minutia.

- Continue using GT every day to review and remember learned M2 material as well as reinforce M1 material that was banked over the summer (basically GT will be used for the minutia while class material for concepts).

- Get Kaplan Qbank, UWorld, Rx, etc. and ratchet up the Step 1 studying during second semester of M2 while easing off on research.

- Execute a well thought out 4-week Step 1 study plan and (hopefully) get a 240+

M3:
- Unlike the first 2 years where the goal was simply to pass, here I will actually make it a goal to get A's/H's on every rotation and especially on Medicine and Surgery.

- Find out as much information as possible about how to do this from upperclassmen, work hard, be a team player, go beast mode for shelf exams and quizzes....the whole nine yards.

- Not do research in 3rd year unless it's extremely time friendly + guaranteed pubs.

- Finally decide on a specialty sometime during 3rd year. Hopefully before New Year's.

M4:

- Do away rotations in the specialty of my choice early on to make contacts and potentially increase the number of interviews I'll receive. Get in on research during these away rotations.

- Otherwise choose easy, stress-free electives and take November and December off if possible for the bulk of interviews.

- Match into a competitive specialty or a specialty of choice (hopefully on the West Coast).

- Relax, travel, read, drink, fornicate, etc. in June before starting intern year.




Thoughts? Anything you guys would add/change?
 

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drizzt3117

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Top students get good grades throughout med school AND do research AND rock step 1. It's not an either/or thing.
 

flatearth22

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you forgot step 2

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Top students get good grades throughout med school AND do research AND rock step 1. It's not an either/or thing.

Well...I'm not a top student. Also of those 3 you listed, preclinical grades are by far the least important (as long as you pass). So I'd rather put my eggs in the Step 1 and research baskets and not spread myself too thin by also gunning for top scores during preclinicals as well (save that for 3rd year).
 
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armybound

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plan
1) relax
2) worry about it later

:D

just try to enjoy first year. don't get behind. interact with your classmates.
second year is mostly about step prep as summer gets closer. rock it.

you're right, you need some research experience. no need to go crazy about it. summer after first year, maybe some during 2nd/3rd year if you get a chance. join uro/ortho clubs if you get a chance.

do electives in them early if you get a chance. if not, get to know a faculty member or two during summer after M1 and get some shadowing in. this will be critical for your best chances, imo.

otherwise, just be a normal human being who works as hard as possible in class without being a douche.

oh, and keep your mind open. there are a lot of other very interesting specialties out there. don't give up on them yet.
 

drizzt3117

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Well...I'm not a top student. Also of those 3 you listed, preclinical grades are by far the least important (as long as you pass). So I'd rather put my eggs in the Step 1 and research baskets and not spread myself too thin by also gunning for top scores during preclinicals as well (save that for 3rd year).

The people you'll be competing against for conpetitive specialties will be top students. Preclinicals are easy and you should be honoring them. If not, good luck on the step. Unless you go to a school that bases AOA completely on step 1 (Illinois) you should be caring about preclinicals. That being said, I'm sure you will. First and second years are obsessed with their grades.
 

Law2Doc

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Problem with this plan is (1) some of the people who take the attitude that they are "okay with Cs" don't work hard enough and can end up failing and having to repeat tests, courses, sometimes even whole years. it's not like college where you can coast into a passing grade in many schools. A lot of the time you are paddling as fast as you can just to stay above water. Half the folks in med school will be below average. (2) while the "grades" in the first two years don't count per se, the material does -- it will be on Step 1 and needed in the wards. It's the very rare person who tanks the first two years and then gets a high enough Step 1 score for ortho. (3) there will be attendings who unfortunately will base their impression on you on the grades they know you previously got. Meaning if your IM attending already knows from his colleagues that you are someone who struggled, his first impression of you is tainted, and he will almost definitely put some comment about your knowledge base into his evaluation, even if you do everything perfectly on his watch. So you create a hurdle to getting honors in the clinical years by creating an impression of a C student. In general, if you think you want ortho, you should be working for it from day one. If you aren't sure, you should be working hard enough to keep all your options open. Most of the time the folks who say they are okay with "C"s are thinking they will like FM, and about half the time they are kicking themselves when they either rotate in FM and don't like it, or find something they like better. Med school is a bad place to try and coast, sorry. Either be "all in" from day one, or be prepared to ave your career selected for you and not the other way round.


Not saying it couldn't happen like you plan, just saying it won't work out well for about 90% of those who try doing this.
 
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DrSnips

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The big problem is you are not gaining anything in those first two years from not getting honors or high pass. The people I know who are applying to ortho pretty much had honors throughout the first three years. Don't see how you would expect to be competitive with them by intentionally not getting honors for two.
 

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Problem with this plan is (1) some of the people who take the attitude that they are "okay with Cs" don't work hard enough and can end up failing and having to repeat tests, courses, sometimes even whole years. it's not like college where you can coast into a passing grade in many schools. A lot of the time you are paddling as fast as you can just to stay above water. Half the folks in med school will be below average. (2) while the "grades" in the first two years don't count per se, the material does -- it will be on Step 1 and needed in the wards. It's the very rare person who tanks the first two years and then gets a high enough Step 1 score for ortho. (3) there will be attendings who unfortunately will base their impression on you on the grades they know you previously got. Meaning if your IM attending already knows from his colleagues that you are someone who struggled, his first impression of you is tainted, and he will almost definitely put some comment about your knowledge base into his evaluation, even if you do everything perfectly on his watch. So you create a hurdle to getting honors in the clinical years by creating an impression of a C student. In general, if you think you want ortho, you should be working for it from day one. If you aren't sure, you should be working hard enough to keep all your options open. Most of the time the folks who say they are okay with "C"s are thinking they will like FM, and about half the time they are kicking themselves when they either rotate in FM and don't like it, or find something they like better. Med school is a bad place to try and coast, sorry. Either be "all in" from day one, or be prepared to ave your career selected for you and not the other way round.


Agree with all of the above except 3. Why would attendings know a student's grades from M1 and M2 years coming into a rotation? I'd think they have better things to do than gossip about the incoming med students on their service.
 
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Preclinicals are easy and you should be honoring them. If not, good luck on the step.

:thumbdown:

part of your grand plan should be to never listen to or take this guy's advice.

it is true though that you shouldn't go in there PLANNING to get Bs and Cs in preclinical classes. your only plan right now should be to hit the ground running, learn the material and try to get the best grades you can. You misinterpreted the advice of "preclinical grades don't matter" to mean that you shouldn't try to do well. It just means that if you tried your best and didn't do well it's not that big of a deal.

the only good/relevant thing in your plan is getting involved in research early though i would add to that shadowing to try and decide whether you want to do ortho or uro or neither early on so you can tailor your experiences.
 

flatearth22

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So should I sacrifice research then? The point of not gunning during the first 2 years was to focus on research and rack up pubs, posters, case reports, etc. Should I only do research during summer after M1 and gun for A's/H's from day one?

Also does the GT plan sound ok? Reading the GT thread on the Step 1 forum has me sold on spaced learning and the program itself....but is the summer after M1 too early, too late, or just right to start doing that?
 

Law2Doc

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Agree with all of the above except 3. Why would attendings know a student's grades from M1 and M2 years coming into a rotation? I'd think they have better things to do than gossip about the incoming med students on their service.

They should have better things to do, but I've seen it happen.
 

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So should I sacrifice research then? The point of not gunning during the first 2 years was to focus on research and rack up pubs, posters, case reports, etc. Should I only do research during summer after M1 and gun for A's/H's from day one?

Also does the GT plan sound ok? Reading the GT thread on the Step 1 forum has me sold on spaced learning and the program itself....but is the summer after M1 too early, too late, or just right to start doing that?
Go for the research but be realistic too. You won't be racking up publications, posters, what have you. Work hard and you may get a few of those over the entire course of medical school, and even those would be impressive.
 

Law2Doc

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So should I sacrifice research then? The point of not gunning during the first 2 years was to focus on research and rack up pubs, posters, case reports, etc. Should I only do research during summer after M1 and gun for A's/H's from day one...?

the people you will be competing against will have both worked hard in classes and done research. So you can't do one or the other and expect to compete equally.
 

drizzt3117

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So should I sacrifice research then? The point of not gunning during the first 2 years was to focus on research and rack up pubs, posters, case reports, etc. Should I only do research during summer after M1 and gun for A's/H's from day one?

Also does the GT plan sound ok? Reading the GT thread on the Step 1 forum has me sold on spaced learning and the program itself....but is the summer after M1 too early, too late, or just right to start doing that?

Being involved in research /= doing bad in class. You need to be good in everything. The material you learn in m1/2 is the fund of knowledge that you use during m3. It's not like PIs and investigators are going to just lay pubs at your feet anyways. Yes, being involved in research from day 1 is useful but most research has a significant learning curve. If you want, get FA, Goljan, w/e and annotate during m1/2, use Rx during m2, save UWorld for your dedicated study time. That's a good strategy and will serve you well, but studying for step 1 and doing research doesn't mean you should do bad in the preclinicals.
 

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Well...I'm not a top student. Also of those 3 you listed, preclinical grades are by far the least important (as long as you pass). So I'd rather put my eggs in the Step 1 and research baskets and not spread myself too thin by also gunning for top scores during preclinicals as well (save that for 3rd year).

If you want to do well on Step I, best bet is to take preclinicals seriously and incorporate USMLE review material into your preclinical year studying (whether or not it relates to your actual course exam material).

I'm not saying you should waste USMLEWorld questions during preclinicals, but you should study for your courses with First Aid in hand and also supplement with the best 1-2 USMLE resources for each subject as you are studying them. Then when you read through all of it quickly again in 1-2 months with USMLEWorld/other qbanks before boards, it'll be that much easier to remember.

There's no reason to slack off during M1 and M2 unless you're doing serious research during those years. Otherwise you're just being lazy and making it harder to study for Step 1.

Also, what is you plan between M1 and M2 (if you have a gap)? If your choice is really ortho vs urology, you should do some general surgery shadowing + research. Residency programs look favorably on most research and know people don't decide early on what they want to do, but general surgery research would be somewhat relevant to both fields.
 

gravitywave

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not everyone who matches something competitive was perfect. the consensus I'm gathering in this thread is that someone who isn't impressive in preclinicals, but rocks Step 1 and gets As in several (not all!) MS3 courses, and has research, cannot match a competitive specialty. this is bogus. this person will not match Derm at Yale, but s/he should still match.

again, the major problem people seem to have with this guys plan is that it sounds like he's blowing off preclinicals. this is a bad idea, but i'm not sure that's what he's suggesting. how do you all reconcile this with the surveys that have shown us time and again that preclinical grades are ~ 13/14 of things that PDs look at, not to mention the broadly accepted conventional wisdom on these boards that a good Step score can compensate for unsteady grades, but not the other way around?
 

drizzt3117

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not everyone who matches something competitive was perfect. the consensus I'm gathering in this thread is that someone who isn't impressive in preclinicals, but rocks Step 1 and gets As in several (not all!) MS3 courses, and has research, cannot match a competitive specialty. this is bogus. this person will not match Derm at Yale, but s/he should still match.

again, the major problem people seem to have with this guys plan is that it sounds like he's blowing off preclinicals. this is a bad idea, but i'm not sure that's what he's suggesting. how do you all reconcile this with the surveys that have shown us time and again that preclinical grades are ~ 13/14 of things that PDs look at, not to mention the broadly accepted conventional wisdom on these boards that a good Step score can compensate for unsteady grades, but not the other way around?

How you do on preclinicals affects your class rank, preparation for step 1 and the clinical years, and at most schools, AOA status.

Obviously if you have true P/F m1-2 it is a different situation.
 
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johnnydrama

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not everyone who matches something competitive was perfect. the consensus I'm gathering in this thread is that someone who isn't impressive in preclinicals, but rocks Step 1 and gets As in several (not all!) MS3 courses, and has research, cannot match a competitive specialty. this is bogus. this person will not match Derm at Yale, but s/he should still match.

again, the major problem people seem to have with this guys plan is that it sounds like he's blowing off preclinicals. this is a bad idea, but i'm not sure that's what he's suggesting. how do you all reconcile this with the surveys that have shown us time and again that preclinical grades are ~ 13/14 of things that PDs look at, not to mention the broadly accepted conventional wisdom on these boards that a good Step score can compensate for unsteady grades, but not the other way around?

I don't think anyone's saying preclinical grades are all that important.

It's just that blowing off preclinicals leaves you poorly prepared for Step 1 and for your clinical years.

The OP should just treat the preclinicals as extensive Step 1 study.

If people are lecturing about esoteric research into rare derm disorders, yeah, just worry about passing those tests.

But most preclinical courses have at least some relevance to the boards and clinical years.

At the very least, if he blows off the preclinicals he should do some research too with that free time.
 

gravitywave

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How you do on preclinicals affects your class rank, preparation for step 1 and the clinical years, and at most schools, AOA status.

Obviously if you have true P/F m1-2 it is a different situation.

OK, we are a little closer on this point now than I thought before. But haven't you just contradicted yourself here a little? True P/F relieves the stress of having to deal with being graded through that period, but your central point (which I agree with) still remains that performance (edit: performance in terms of knowledge base, which would be reflected on exam scores if not on a transcript) on preclinicals is highly predictive of Step 1/MS3 success. How is that a different situation, except with regard to AOA, which is overrated around here for most situations anyway.

I'm not trying to be belligerent here, i'm really trying to understand your point of view.
 
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235788

Right now I'm really interested in Ortho and Urology but I understand that interests change throughout medical school. Either way, I'd rather be in a position where I have the high stats to match into a competitive specialty but choose to do a non-competitive one as opposed to being forced into a non-competitive specialty against my will because of poor stats. Anyway, here is my (very tentative) plan:

Summer before M1:
- Relax, travel, read, drink, fornicate, etc.

- Do nothing medically related besides watch an occasional medical documentary or reality show

M1:

- Focus on learning concepts as opposed to drilling minutia.

- Be fine with getting B's and C's instead of gunning for A's (this might be hard at first).

- Get involved in surgical research a month or two into medical school once I have my feet underneath me. Devote the time that would have been spent on excess studying gunning for A's to instead doing research and hopefully getting pubs, writing case reports, and presenting posters.

- Don't get too heavily involved in random clubs or volunteering. This seems like a time waster and not very beneficial to matching into a competitive specialty. Maybe just join the Ortho and Urology interest groups for the free food and to put something on my CV.

Summer after M1:

- Do research full-time. Either with the PI I was working on during M1 or if it looks like that will not lead to pubs then with another PI. eMight also go somwhere else in the country for the summer to do research if the opportunity presents itself.

- Get GT to review M1 material. Have all of M1 material banked by end of the summer

- Start preparing a Step 1 study plan and acquiring study materials.

M2:
- Again, focusing on just passing and learning the concepts as opposed to getting A's/H's and learning minutia.

- Continue using GT every day to review and remember learned M2 material as well as reinforce M1 material that was banked over the summer (basically GT will be used for the minutia while class material for concepts).

- Get Kaplan Qbank, UWorld, Rx, etc. and ratchet up the Step 1 studying during second semester of M2 while easing off on research.

- Execute a well thought out 4-week Step 1 study plan and (hopefully) get a 240+

M3:
- Unlike the first 2 years where the goal was simply to pass, here I will actually make it a goal to get A's/H's on every rotation and especially on Medicine and Surgery.

- Find out as much information as possible about how to do this from upperclassmen, work hard, be a team player, go beast mode for shelf exams and quizzes....the whole nine yards.

- Not do research in 3rd year unless it's extremely time friendly + guaranteed pubs.

- Finally decide on a specialty sometime during 3rd year. Hopefully before New Year's.

M4:

- Do away rotations in the specialty of my choice early on to make contacts and potentially increase the number of interviews I'll receive. Get in on research during these away rotations.

- Otherwise choose easy, stress-free electives and take November and December off if possible for the bulk of interviews.

- Match into a competitive specialty or a specialty of choice (hopefully on the West Coast).

- Relax, travel, read, drink, fornicate, etc. in June before starting intern year.




Thoughts? Anything you guys would add/change?


1) try to go AOA = top25%
2) an m2 I know swears by goljan
 

gravitywave

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I don't think anyone's saying preclinical grades are all that important.

It's just that blowing off preclinicals leaves you poorly prepared for Step 1 and for your clinical years.

The OP should just treat the preclinicals as extensive Step 1 study.

If people are lecturing about esoteric research into rare derm disorders, yeah, just worry about passing those tests.


But most preclinical courses have at least some relevance to the boards and clinical years.

At the very least, if he blows off the preclinicals he should do some research too with that free time.

frankly i thought that this was exactly what OP was suggesting.
 

flatearth22

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I don't think anyone's saying preclinical grades are all that important.

It's just that blowing off preclinicals leaves you poorly prepared for Step 1 and for your clinical years.

The OP should just treat the preclinicals as extensive Step 1 study.

If people are lecturing about esoteric research into rare derm disorders, yeah, just worry about passing those tests.

But most preclinical courses have at least some relevance to the boards and clinical years.

At the very least, if he blows off the preclinicals he should do some research too with that free time.

It's not so much blowing off M1 and M2 classes as it is not gunning to be top 10, 20% or whatever. The people who do this are the ones that mug up the nitty gritty details that they usually just forget afterwards. That just seems low yield in the grand scheme of things and I'd rather use GT to have the important details for the long-term and for Step 1.

1) try to go AOA = top25%
2) an m2 I know swears by goljan

Pathoma seems to be the hot thing right now. I'll probably go with that unless something else pops up in the next 2 years.
 

drizzt3117

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OK, we are a little closer on this point now than I thought before. But haven't you just contradicted yourself here a little? True P/F relieves the stress of having to deal with being graded through that period, but your central point (which I agree with) still remains that performance on preclinicals is highly predictive of Step 1/MS3 success. How is that a different situation, except with regard to AOA, which is overrated around here for most situations anyway.

I'm not trying to be belligerent here, i'm really trying to understand your point of view.

AOA is pretty important, something like 30% of matched applicants were AOA members in ortho and urology, which is pretty significant.

True P/F makes it slightly different because it takes away the impact of pre-clinicals on class rank and AOA. In that context, I think it's ok to put a little less emphasis on lower yield info. For example, if the OP were at HMS with no AOA and class rank being based on clinical grades only, the situation would be different IMO. I personally do think that grades do actually motivate students to study harder, though.
 

johnnydrama

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AOA is pretty important, something like 30% of matched applicants were AOA members in ortho and urology, which is pretty significant.


Correlation != causation. :laugh:

I'm sure the average USMLE score of AOA applicants is much higher. Too many schools don't decide AOA until after the initial screening process for residencies, so I doubt any program has an AOA filter set.

Harder to quantify, but people in AOA probably have better letters and research too.

EDIT: I'm actually surprised that the NRMP hasn't performed any regression models on their data - could be more informative than the stats they list. If they have and anyone has a link, feel free to post.
 

DrSnips

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There was a good study I read a while back that detailed what PDs gave most weight to in considering residents. Unfortunately I can't find it, but I remember they stratified it into 3 categories like major effect, moderate effect and minor effect. Major effects were Step 1 score, core clerkship and Sub-I grades. Moderate was LORs, MS1+MS2 grades and research (first author), then everything else was minor criteria: ECs, research (not first author), personal statement, etc.

So yeah, grades > research unless you can get a very impressive first authorship with some known entity in the field. Of course both > one if you can manage it. But that should give you some basic priorities. Also if anyone finds this paper, please link it, I want to reread it :)
 
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There was a good study I read a while back that detailed what PDs gave most weight to in considering residents. Unfortunately I can't find it, but I remember they stratified it into 3 categories like major effect, moderate effect and minor effect. Major effects were Step 1 score, core clerkship and Sub-I grades. Moderate was LORs, MS1+MS2 grades and research (first author), then everything else was minor criteria: ECs, research (not first author), personal statement, etc.

So yeah, grades > research unless you can get a very impressive first authorship with some known entity in the field. Of course both > one if you can manage it. But that should give you some basic priorities. Also if anyone finds this paper, please link it, I want to reread it :)

I have one for Ortho I could link, but it make take me some time to find.
 

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I have one for Ortho I could link, but it make take me some time to find.

That's ok, the one I'm looking for was across all specialties. Besides, I'm going IM, so I'm not too interested in reading about how much research i need for ortho :D
 
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ensuii

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The people you'll be competing against for conpetitive specialties will be top students. Preclinicals are easy and you should be honoring them. If not, good luck on the step. Unless you go to a school that bases AOA completely on step 1 (Illinois) you should be caring about preclinicals. That being said, I'm sure you will. First and second years are obsessed with their grades.

Dude...I've read your posts for a while and the overall conclusion I've gathered from the tone in all your commentary is that you must literally be all foreskin.

:thumbdown:

part of your grand plan should be to never listen to or take this guy's advice.

it is true though that you shouldn't go in there PLANNING to get Bs and Cs in preclinical classes. your only plan right now should be to hit the ground running, learn the material and try to get the best grades you can. You misinterpreted the advice of "preclinical grades don't matter" to mean that you shouldn't try to do well. It just means that if you tried your best and didn't do well it's not that big of a deal.

the only good/relevant thing in your plan is getting involved in research early though i would add to that shadowing to try and decide whether you want to do ortho or uro or neither early on so you can tailor your experiences.

I don't agree with this guy often...but...:thumbup:
 

SpecterGT260

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Right now I'm really interested in Ortho and Urology but I understand that interests change throughout medical school. Either way, I'd rather be in a position where I have the high stats to match into a competitive specialty but choose to do a non-competitive one as opposed to being forced into a non-competitive specialty against my will because of poor stats. Anyway, here is my (very tentative) plan:

Summer before M1:
- Relax, travel, read, drink, fornicate, etc.

- Do nothing medically related besides watch an occasional medical documentary or reality show
:thumbup:
but dont read.... reading is for dummies


M1:
- Focus on learning concepts as opposed to drilling minutia.

- Be fine with getting B's and C's instead of gunning for A's (this might be hard at first).

- Get involved in surgical research a month or two into medical school once I have my feet underneath me. Devote the time that would have been spent on excess studying gunning for A's to instead doing research and hopefully getting pubs, writing case reports, and presenting posters.

- Don't get too heavily involved in random clubs or volunteering. This seems like a time waster and not very beneficial to matching into a competitive specialty. Maybe just join the Ortho and Urology interest groups for the free food and to put something on my CV.
You will be drilling minutia... at least to some extent.
You will be fine with Bs and Cs relatively quickly - or at least you will have to be ;)
You will not have time for surgical research
clubs can be a pain, but they can also get you connections and a little perspective on various things you may like more than surgery. also they have a minimal time requirement as compared to what would be necessary to do meaningful research


Summer after M1:

- Do research full-time. Either with the PI I was working on during M1 or if it looks like that will not lead to pubs then with another PI. eMight also go somwhere else in the country for the summer to do research if the opportunity presents itself.

- Get GT to review M1 material. Have all of M1 material banked by end of the summer

- Start preparing a Step 1 study plan and acquiring study materials.
ok... i take it back... you will struggle with letting go of gunning for As :laugh:
Do research and otherwise relax. Review some first aid for USMLE if you are that gung ho about it, but I bet you will be sick enough of books that research is the only thing that will happen here.



M2:
- Again, focusing on just passing and learning the concepts as opposed to getting A's/H's and learning minutia.

- Continue using GT every day to review and remember learned M2 material as well as reinforce M1 material that was banked over the summer (basically GT will be used for the minutia while class material for concepts).

- Get Kaplan Qbank, UWorld, Rx, etc. and ratchet up the Step 1 studying during second semester of M2 while easing off on research.

- Execute a well thought out 4-week Step 1 study plan and (hopefully) get a 240+

M3:
- Unlike the first 2 years where the goal was simply to pass, here I will actually make it a goal to get A's/H's on every rotation and especially on Medicine and Surgery.

- Find out as much information as possible about how to do this from upperclassmen, work hard, be a team player, go beast mode for shelf exams and quizzes....the whole nine yards.

- Not do research in 3rd year unless it's extremely time friendly + guaranteed pubs.

- Finally decide on a specialty sometime during 3rd year. Hopefully before New Year's.

M4:

- Do away rotations in the specialty of my choice early on to make contacts and potentially increase the number of interviews I'll receive. Get in on research during these away rotations.

- Otherwise choose easy, stress-free electives and take November and December off if possible for the bulk of interviews.

- Match into a competitive specialty or a specialty of choice (hopefully on the West Coast).

- Relax, travel, read, drink, fornicate, etc. in June before starting intern year.




Thoughts? Anything you guys would add/change?
congrats on getting accepted :thumbup: and I am sure you are super excited.

This plan, however, is a little like polishing all of your lures before a big fishing trip. Very little of this will work out quite the way you want it to.... A more realistic plan?

M1: Focus on passing only. If there is a course you have some fudge room in and a course you could potentially honor then this is where triage comes in and shoot for it if you are confident you will not suffer too much elsewhere. Join a club or student gvt or something as well.

Summer: Research. Spend stipend at bar on weekends with friends.

M2: Same as M1. only this time join a board prep group as they start to form up and start reviewing slowly early on. Then schedule Step1 so that you have 4-6 weeks of nothing to do but study beforehand.

M3-4: gunnermode engage. You want good letters, grades (which matter here to PDs more than pre-clinic grades) and you want the attendings to like you in case you want to match at home.

This plan also saves paper and is easier to remember :thumbup::)
 

drizzt3117

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Dude...I've read your posts for a while and the overall conclusion I've gathered from the tone in all your commentary is that you must literally be all foreskin.

Don't you have some cranial osteopathy to study or something? Run along now, we're talking about competitive specialties.
 

drizzt3117

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The program directors survey which lists importance of factor in consideration for residency can be found here. It covers 20 or so specialties. It lags a year behind due to survey collection and analysis

Urology, unforutunately, isn't in the nrmp so has less data than other specialties under its purview.
 

SpecterGT260

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Don't you have some cranial osteopathy to study or something? Run along now, we're talking about competitive specialties.

oooouuuuuuuuch...... but id be lying if i said i didnt giggle a little.... at both, honestly. The "foreskin" comment was pretty good.
 
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flatearth,


The urology program director at my home institution basically said AOA 240+steps were basically pre-reqs. So rock your pre-clinicals. He always said they HIGHLY recommend a lor from chief of uro at your home institution and wherever you did an away at.


I'm glad you started looking at a real field!
 

SpecterGT260

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flatearth,


The urology program director at my home institution basically said AOA 240+steps were basically pre-reqs. So rock your pre-clinicals. He always said they HIGHLY recommend a lor from chief of uro at your home institution and wherever you did an away at.


I'm glad you started looking at a real field!

must be quite the program if he only takes AOA... I dont think there is a specialty listed that had more than 30% AOA... which means 70% were not when they went in. obviously this does not mean individual programs are taking 30%.... just means the PD either thinks very highly of the program or it is highly sought after.
 

drizzt3117

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IMO the biggest problem with the OPs plan is that med school isn't as easy to plan out as all that. You're not going to have a clear understanding of what it takes to get an A vs a B in your classes till a ways down the road, and the difference isn't necessarily going to be that much. Some people aren't going to get As in their classes no matter how much they study; others won't have to study all that much to get all honors. If you're in the first group, then obviously don't gun for As if they're not going to happen. That being said, I'm not sure that you won't have to study a lot just to guarantee you'll pass if that's the case. In the end, I would just do the best you can, while trying to get involved in research, but emphasizing academics. I personally don't think focusing on step 1 self study without putting things in perspective with a strong fund of knowledge is all that effective. In the step 1 class I teach, I primarily emphasize case-based learning and forming an effective ddx for common and occasionally atypical presentations of common conditions.
 

drizzt3117

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must be quite the program if he only takes AOA... I dont think there is a specialty listed that had more than 30% AOA... which means 70% were not when they went in. obviously this does not mean individual programs are taking 30%.... just means the PD either thinks very highly of the program or it is highly sought after.

I mean, urology programs typically take 2-3 people, so they're probably interviewing 30-50 people for those spots. Last year 480 people applied, so assuming 30% AOA that's 150 candidates with AOA; it's not THAT hard to interview only AOA candidates, especially for a top academic program.
 

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oooouuuuuuuuch...... but id be lying if i said i didnt giggle a little.... at both, honestly. The "foreskin" comment was pretty good.
Glad I'm not the only one :p. Both were pretty clever.

So when's the best time to start doing research if there isn't enough time to do it meaningfully during the academic year? Summer following M1 provides a good three months or so. But do most students aiming for these competitive specialties only have ~3 months of research? I was under the impression that they usually had over a year of research experience. Where/when do they find the time?
 

SpecterGT260

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I mean, urology programs typically take 2-3 people, so they're probably interviewing 30-50 people for those spots. Last year 480 people applied, so assuming 30% AOA that's 150 candidates with AOA; it's not THAT hard to interview only AOA candidates, especially for a top academic program.

no, not that hard, I suppose. Just seems odd.... As a PD Id rather not use such a crap-shoot system for my weed-out criteria.
 

drizzt3117

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So when's the best time to start doing research if there isn't enough time to do it meaningfully during the academic year? Summer following M1 provides a good three months or so. But do most students aiming for these competitive specialties only have ~3 months of research? I was under the impression that they usually had over a year of research experience. Where/when do they find the time?

You can start projects as a m1 and work on them longitudinally. This is easier when you're doing clinical/translational research rather than basic science. Undergrads, research techs, m1/2s when you're an upperclassman, and other people that can help you can prove very useful.
 

drizzt3117

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no, not that hard, I suppose. Just seems odd.... As a PD Id rather not use such a crap-shoot system for my weed-out criteria.

In the case of uro, specifically, I doubt they do, simply because their app deadline is so early I doubt senior AOA has been selected at most schools. That being said, they'll have your transcript, so they'll just pick people with all honors or close to that, and those people end up being AOA.
 
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