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Importance of Research verus Better Board Score

Discussion in 'Medical Students - MD' started by Roy7, Nov 29, 2005.

  1. Roy7

    Roy7 Senior Member
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    Hey, I was wondering if having research with no publication would be more beneficial for obtaining competitive residencies than doing better on the boards?

    I did a lot of research in undergrad and genuinely dont like it. If I researched it would be almost purely for resume purposes or something to make a few bucks - but if it's something that makes me a much more competitive applicant I'd definitely be willing to pursue it to the best of my ability.

    But I was thinking instead of doing those 8 hours of research daily in the summer what if I spent those 8 hours just studying for the boards and doing something I enjoy? I'm at school on a scholarship, dont have any financial obligations or burdens, I'd much rather just spend the summer exercising (i used to do a lot of MMA), sleeping, studying and spending time w/friends/family.

    I volunteer at a hospital weekly and help out at an HMO clinic every other week, but I'm not sure if that'd make any difference in terms of residencies.

    Thanks.
     
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  3. tigershark

    tigershark Senior Member
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    Research is really only useful to buff your app for the high-powered academic programs and set you apart from the other 100 people applying with 250+ boards.

    If you dont have the high boards to go with the research it wont do you much good.

    From your post it sounds like you have no interest in the elite programs so I wouldnt bother with too much research and would just focus on step 1.
     
  4. fantasty

    Physician 10+ Year Member

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    Does your school offer any clinical experiences during the summer? It seems like half of our students do some form of research, and the other half do either rural clinical electives or go abroad for a clinical experience.
     
  5. Roy7

    Roy7 Senior Member
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    I'm not sure actually. But if they do would the clinical experiences help more than a better board score? I know the previous poster mentioned the importance of step 1 - while I dont know what I want to specialize in, i'd rather not have doors shut because my scores werent good enough or my extracirriculars werent up to par.

    Thanks again.
     
  6. quideam

    quideam Too tired to complain
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    As far as I understand (based on talking to residents, 4th years, and of course SDN), the most important factors for matching (in general and in no specific order) are:

    1. Clinical grades (years 3 and 4)
    2. Board scores (USMLE 1 > 2)
    3. Recommendations

    If one of these isn't great, having the other two be really good can help (though I imagine really horrible letters of rec would hurt a lot, etc.).

    Research, ECs, things like that - only seem to matter if
    a) they're really, really good (president of something, published something)
    b) you're applying somewhere academic and research-oriented for the research (neurosurgery, etc.).

    But in general, ECs, what you do in the summer after MS1, research, etc., are not nearly as important as #1-3 above.

    Q
     
  7. Iwy Em Hotep

    Iwy Em Hotep The Welcomer
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    If you are a first year, and you are considering using your summer between 1st and 2nd year to study for the boards, stop. It is not a good use of time, and believe me, I tried. Do the research, or get clinical experience.
     
  8. VincentAdultman

    VincentAdultman Senior Member
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    Or you can do what I did and take the summer between 1st and 2nd year and, like, have fun and do something non-medical for a change.

    There, I said it.
     
  9. NRAI2001

    NRAI2001 3K Member
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    Yea, can you use to summers to just relax and have fun? Or would it look bad if you were doing something unproductive?
     
  10. felipe5

    felipe5 Fingerpickin' Good
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    inb/w years 1 and 2, i traveled abroad and saw family that I hadn't seen in years.....it was a blast and I came back refreshed and rejuvinated to start another year. I would definitely NOT call that 'unproductive' and it was totally worthwhile in my opinion....i guess the only thing is you can't put "had a freakin' blast" on your CV.
     
  11. Roy7

    Roy7 Senior Member
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    Did you guys that spent the summers enjoying yourselves and travelling - do you think that may have affected your getting a residency?

    I'd love not do anything academic this summer.
     
  12. quideam

    quideam Too tired to complain
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    hmm, oops, i totally missed the part where the OP said that he was considering studying for be boards (!!!) between MS1 and MS2. DON'T DO IT!!!!!! Seriously, you'll need to be relaxed when you start MS2 - it's a long year and a lot of work.

    Definetely travel, relax, do what you enjoy... if you can work in some medical stuff with it, great, but seriously, residencies are not going to care. If you want, you can always do some international medical thing, this way you get to travel and have something for your application (but it's not that importnat).

    Q
     
  13. DOCTORSAIB

    DOCTORSAIB Ophtho or bust!
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    You should definitely NOT study for boards this summer. Use this summer wisely. Contact the program director of whatever field you're thinking of going into and do research with him/her. Try to get your name on a publication and continue this relationship as you progress through med school. When it comes time to apply for residency, you'll not only get an awesome LOR but you'll greatly increase your chances of matching at that particular department.

    If research is not your cup of tea, I'd start looking into doing some type of international medical mission. I cannot even begin to explain to you how amazing of an experience this will prove to be. You will learn ALOT, have a different perspective on life, and you'll stand out from the crowd when applying for residency. Often times your interviews will be based on this experience.

    The 3rd thing I recommend you do, since you're concerned about boards, is to read the USMLE/COMLEX forum on SDN as much as possible starting May-August. Current 2nd years will be dishing out some invaluable advice on how they studied, what books they used, and how they did on the boards. Do this for a few months and you will be a superstar when it comes time for you to take the boards.

    Take this advice from someone who's done all 3 of the above. ;) G'luck.
     
  14. Mephisto

    Mephisto Senior Member
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    www.phius.com

    Check out that site.

    "Good residencies" imply "big name" residencies, which are usually research/academically oriented. Research can be one of the most IMPORTANT things you can do to set yourself apart from others. Most of the residencies in nice big cities like New York, Boston, San Fran, etc. and at nice big medical centers LOVE research on your app. even if they don't require research time during your residency.

    If you are okay with a community hospital residency in a non-competitive location, then research doesn't make a difference at all.
     
  15. Roy7

    Roy7 Senior Member
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    Well, I'd like to to a good residency in that a place in the Washington DC metropolitan area in a competitive field. I dont care whether or not it's a Big Name residency...

    The thing is, how do I determine if a school's hospital is research oriented or not?
     
  16. quideam

    quideam Too tired to complain
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    Doctorsaib, I hear what you're saying about the research, but unless you're going for something REALLY competitive (derm, ENT, plastics), I don't think you really need to do research. I've talked to a bunch of EM people, and research really doesn't seem to be especially important at all. Anyway, just a thought.

    Q
     
  17. physiclas87

    physiclas87 Member
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    hahahaaaaaa. haaaahahhaaaaa. omg ahhhhhhhhhaaaaahahahaaaaa.
     
  18. DOCTORSAIB

    DOCTORSAIB Ophtho or bust!
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    Yes, you're right. Research is not necessary for every field. It's importance is directly related to the competitiveness of the residency. I was just trying to point out the pluses of doing research. If I had to choose, I'd go on an international mission anyday over doing research but that's just me. (Not to mention I went to Public health school b/f starting med school).
     
  19. NRAI2001

    NRAI2001 3K Member
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    :confused:
     

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