VTBuc

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So, I know that there's a few rotations that are absolutely required..surgery, IM, Psychiatry, Peds, and Ob/Gyn...but how do the other specialties work? I was looking at my med school curriculum and electives start in September of 4th year..isn't this when you start applying for residencies? Do what rotations you've done in medical school play a large role in getting residencies in competitive specialties?

Would a school that doesn't start electives until September of 4th year be limiting students who want to go into the more competitive specialties(i.e. ROAD)?

Also, how do electives work? Do you just call up a doctor in an area you are interested in and ask to do your rotation with them?
 

LizzyM

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Residencies are interested in knowing that you have a fund of knowledge (demonstrated by your grades in the first 3 years of medical school and your Step 1 score) and the work ethic (demonstrated by your grades in the 3rd year of medical school and what used to be called "the Dean's letter" but is now called something else) to be a great resident. Some are also interested in your research experience in the field (for which some people take a year off between 3rd & 4th) It isn't so much about your knowledge and skill s in a particular area as it is about the fund of knowledge and work ethic. The point of the residency is to learn to practice that specialty.

Most of the ROAD residencies require a year of internship before you even go into your specialty.

Fourth year rotation are established by your school. You can also apply to do an away rotation at another school. Sometimes these are characterized as "auditions" for residencies.
 

mvenus929

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I was looking at my med school curriculum and electives start in September of 4th year..isn't this when you start applying for residencies??
Why yes, yes it is. Which is one reason why many schools are moving towards an extended fourth year in their curriculum. My fourth year will start in March, I think :)
 

Disinence2

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Why yes, yes it is. Which is one reason why many schools are moving towards an extended fourth year in their curriculum. My fourth year will start in March, I think :)
Whether allowing elective during 3rd year is a true "advantage" is highly debatable.

Though most will agree that becoming exposed to these specialties/subspecialties earlier aids in making a decision sooner. Although if you are truly interested most of these fields can be dabbled in during your 3rd year rotations if you talk to the right people.

Look at what 3rd year rotations your school has! I for one was shocked to learn that neurology and EM were only 4th year electives. And all "core" rotations were 8 weeks long. Oh man.... 12 more weeks of 3rd year....

Good luck!
 

VTBuc

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Residencies are interested in knowing that you have a fund of knowledge (demonstrated by your grades in the first 3 years of medical school and your Step 1 score) and the work ethic (demonstrated by your grades in the 3rd year of medical school and what used to be called "the Dean's letter" but is now called something else) to be a great resident. Some are also interested in your research experience in the field (for which some people take a year off between 3rd & 4th) It isn't so much about your knowledge and skill s in a particular area as it is about the fund of knowledge and work ethic. The point of the residency is to learn to practice that specialty.

Most of the ROAD residencies require a year of internship before you even go into your specialty.

Fourth year rotation are established by your school. You can also apply to do an away rotation at another school. Sometimes these are characterized as "auditions" for residencies.
Thanks for the response. Since you mention grades, I'm also curious as to whether you think a P/F grading system is a disadvantage when it comes to applying for competitive residencies.
 

justdoit31

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Thanks for the response. Since you mention grades, I'm also curious as to whether you think a P/F grading system is a disadvantage when it comes to applying for competitive residencies.
I don't think the P/F is a disadvantage- we have a H/HP/P/MP/F system for pre-clinical courses and then H/P/F for clinical years. The grades from the first 2 years aren't as important as 3rd year grades and Step 1 scores. Most schools are adding honors for clerkships now.

Our school sets up rotations like this:

3rd year- Ped/FM/IM/Surgery/OB-GYN/ and Psych (2 months each)

4th year we have a few requirements- Neuro is required then you have ambulatory (adults/peds your choice), critical care (ER, ICU, PICU, NICU, etc), and subinternship (in field of choice)... then you still have several months for elective rotations, research, international rotation.
 

obiwan

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At my institution, our 4th year started in June/July so we had quite a few students who were interested in one specialty through basically process of elimination during 3rd year do some rotations in that particular specialty and then find out that they don't like it so they're having to change specialties during August/September which pretty much sucks... so yeah it can put you in a tough position espeically if you're aiming for those more competitive fields
 

mvenus929

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I don't think the P/F is a disadvantage- we have a H/HP/P/MP/F system for pre-clinical courses and then H/P/F for clinical years. The grades from the first 2 years aren't as important as 3rd year grades and Step 1 scores. Most schools are adding honors for clerkships now.
You don't have a pass/fail system for pre-clinical courses, and I've seen a number of schools on my interview trail that do the opposite of yours... they have honors/pass/fail for pre-clinical years, and then a more traditional ABCDF system for third year grades, precisely because those are the ones that matter more.

Of course, like the MCAT, Step 1 seems to be the great equalizer.