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S_R

Hi there! :D

Am new to this whole StudentDoctor website, and from what I have read/seen thus far, the individuals here are very mature and informative compared to the other medical student websites I have been to - no names!

Anyway, down to business.

I am from Canada, and I am attending a 6-year medical program in Eastern Europe.

I've heard it's very difficult for an IMG to land a residency placement back in the U.S. (forget Canada for now). What are some of the ways that an IMG could stand out from the competition and attain a residency placement, other than getting great scores on their USMLE exams?

Also, when applying for residency, would my marks from all of these 6-years at this medical school be looked at, or would only my USMLE marks be looked at?

Maybe one last question before I end this, when would one suggest that I start preparing for my USMLE exam? I am in my second semester of the 1st year (of 6 year), I would be taking my USMLE exam in another three year's time. (Right now in classes, we are covering pre-med courses such as Physiology, Organic chem, Physics - Biophysics etc.)

Thanks!

Regards - :oops:
 

johnny_blaze

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Where you study counts a lot. Students from countries with English as a primary language (ie. UK, AUS) tend to do all right in the match. USMLE’s are important, as it is a standardized test. Don’t rush into taking them, I suggest waiting till you write you’re finals (if your finals also incorporate basic medical sciences and not just clinical medicine) that way you’ve prepared for both! I also heard that there is a time limit from when you can take step 1 to when you can take step 3 (I think it was like 7 years or something.. not 100% sure though).

If u want to go to the US, do electives there and get good LoR’s in whichever specialty you decide to go into. Attaining a residency in more competitive specialties will be a real challenge though. And if you get the chance to do research in either your school or in the US... do it.
 

neilc

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i go to a 6year EE program as well...as far as when to take the usmle step 1, the consensus is usually after 3rd or 4th year. i did it after 3rd, most do it after 4th. we finish the basic science at the end of the first semester in 4th year.i personally felt it was pretty stupid to wait another year for the exam simply to complete pharm, as i never went to the lectures anyhow. i thought it was a benefit to be closer to the tough courses like physio and path, and just learn the remainder of pharm on my own. others wanted to have been through the basic science before taking it, and they all did fine as well. so, it is a matter of personal preference.

your grades will likely not be looked at at all. just your usmle scores and LOR's. get good grades, as it cannot hurt. but, i wouldn't expect them to matter much.

best of luck
 

Arb

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I think getting a residency placement won't be your biggest worry. Have you thought of the visa issue? Do you want to do your residency at a top program? It is more likely that you finish residency training but, you won't be able to stay in the U.S. according to some people who I talked to who can only get J1 visas.

If research helps, would a research based Masters as well? Will accomplishments before med school be considered?
 
OP
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S_R

Thanks everyone for your reply.

Neil, so you're finished your USMLE 1, and are you doing your rotations back in the U.S., or are you doing your rotations in EE?

A lot of students here proceed to prepare and write their USMLE 1 exams after the 4th year of the 6 year, and then go to do rotations in the U.S. We do have an "exit exam" (basic sciences only) to write at the end of our 4th year before we go to write our USMLE, so I am thinking when we study for that, it would be like studying for our USMLE exam also.

Johnny_ I certainly don't want to rush into taking my USMLE exam, but I am confused....how do students manage to prepare for the USMLE exam, during their final year of basic sciences when they have class tests/exams to write? And if one is planning on taking the Kaplan course for the USMLE, when should he/she take it? Either the summer BEFORE, or DURING that same summer of the USMLE exam.

As for the electives, there was a new rule passed that I have to finish my electives within EUROPE. Not necessarily within Eastern Europe, so I was planning on doing my electives in the U.K. Are there advantages/difficulties in that? Also, is it a good idea to do my electives in my 5-of-6 yr, or my final 6-of-6 year?

I will certainly look into the VISA issue, thank you Arb.

Also, what exactly are LOR's? I haven't seen that before unless, it is Letter of Recommendation? And if so when do I get these and from whom?

Woah, lots of questions...thank you all for your patience.

Regards.
 

Winged Scapula

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The benefit of doing your electives in the US is two-fold:

1) the experience of working in the US medical system, which can be different than that you are used to;

2) working with US medical faculty and the oportunity to get LORs( letters of recommendation) from them.

However, if you are forbidden from doing electives in the US your only opportunity may be either to do a rotation during your vacation time (if your school will allow - remember they may not cover your medical liability insurance, so you may be limited to programs which will or to do a research or non-clinical rotation). This may not be possible or difficult to arrange.

LORs should be obtained from faculty members, usually from your clinical rotations, who know you well and can offer a good evaluation. If they have some knowledge or experience in the US medical system, that would be an advantage as one of the reasons US letters are preferred as it is assumed that US faculty know what it takes to do well in a US residency.
 

neilc

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i am finished with usmle step 1 and 2 (well, i hope i passed 2, don't know yet. cross fingers!)

i am currently in prague, doing rotations. i was home for a few months, and fit some rotations in in california. i also did some over the summer.

i think it is a good idea to get at least 2 or 3 rotations in. you need to show that you at least are able to work in the US system, and that it won't be completely new to you. also, a LOR from a US doc or two will help a ton on applications for residency. so, do them, even if you cannot get credit for them. i know that if you are a hard worker in the EE schools, it is pretty easy to get 2-3 months free in the summer. do some electives than.

best of luck
 

Kate D

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I can't help with the when-to-take-USMLE question, but I can help with the how-to-stand-out question. I really believe that my personal statement was what got my foot in the door when it came to applying for residencies. I thought being a non-citizen, IMG, 6-years out of medical school, with average USMLE scores would have doomed me to the scramble in an undesirable location. But I put a lot of effort into my personal statement and had a very positive response from it.
Good luck!
 

IMbound

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I am a MSIV w/ SGU and I took the Kaplan live courses for Step 1 and 2. I think you should take the exam soon after completing the course. Maybe 1 month max after completing the course. I felt that the live courses really helped my scores.
 
OP
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S_R

IMbound said:
I am a MSIV w/ SGU and I took the Kaplan live courses for Step 1 and 2. I think you should take the exam soon after completing the course. Maybe 1 month max after completing the course. I felt that the live courses really helped my scores.

IMbound - do you mean that I should take the Kaplan live courses AFTER finishing my two years of Basic Sciences - during the same summer I write my USMLE exam?
 

IMbound

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IMbound - do you mean that I should take the Kaplan live courses AFTER finishing my two years of Basic Sciences - during the same summer I write my USMLE exam?
Yes, I think you should take the USMLE just 1 month after you finish the course. That is what Kaplan suggests and I agree with it. The longer you wait after the course, the more info you lose. So if you plan to take the USMLE step 1 after your first 2 years, take the Kaplan couse that May or June. Then take 1-2 months after the course to prepare/do lots of questions and take the exam. I don't think you should take the course one summer and then take the exam the next summer unless you are going to take the course again. I hope this helps.