Is it possible to take a gap year DURING medical school or residency?

Aug 12, 2014
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Is it possible to take a gap year during medical school (maybe after 2nd year, etc.)? If so, am I only allowed one year or can I stretch it to two years? Is it a good idea?

Is it possible to take a gap year (or two) just before residency? If I am matched to a residency, can I tell them that I'm taking a gap year and still keep my position, or would I get replaced? Do I have to apply to residencies again? Is this a good idea?

How about during residency?
 

Gladiolus23

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I think taking a gap year in medical school is okay, but I'm not too sure about taking one before residency…
 

Mad Jack

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Some people do between MS-2 and MS-3 for research, to have a child, etc. You need a damn good reason. During residency, not so much.
 
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ndafife

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You generally need a pretty good reason to take a gap year during medical school. I don't know about doing one before residency, but I'd assume if you want to take a gap year before it, you wouldn't participate in the match with the rest of your class and instead do it a year later. During residency? Do you think someone is just going to let you take a year off of a real job?

My advice is this - if you want a gap year, do it before med school.
 
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So taking a year off between MS2 and MS3 to raise a child/start a family is a good enough reason?
 

ndafife

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So taking a year off between MS2 and MS3 to raise a child/start a family is a good enough reason?
Its going to come down to a case by case basis. I wouldn't go about family planning expecting to get a year off.
 

gonnif

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Just to add to this, statistics on graduation rates per year are certainly kept and looked at. A sizable fraction of students who take a 5th year are doing so for inability to complete the curriculum in 4 years. Therefore, deans want to keep close tabs on those who are taking extra year. Surprisingly, the 4-year graduation rate for MD only students has dropped to 82.5%. There is just over 94% 5-year graduation rate going up to just under 97% in 8 years.

https://www.aamc.org/download/379220/data/may2014aib-graduationratesandattritionfactorsforusmedschools.pdf
 
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gyngyn

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Is it possible to take a gap year (or two) just before residency?
US Seniors are the most highly sought-after group of residency applicants. Medical schools do everything possible to extend graduation for those students who neither match nor SOAP into a spot because of the chilling effect of a "gap year" after medical school. Every year that passes without active research or clinical experience will dramatically reduce the number and type of residencies that will consider your candidacy.
 

gyngyn

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Just to add to this, statistics on graduation rates per year are certainly kept and looked at. A sizable fraction of students who take a 5th year are doing so for inability to complete the curriculum in 4 years. Therefore, deans want to keep close tabs on those who are taking extra year. Surprisingly, the 4-year graduation rate for MD only students has dropped to 82.5%. There is just over 94% 5-year graduation rate going up to just under 97% in 8 years.

https://www.aamc.org/download/379220/data/may2014aib-graduationratesandattritionfactorsforusmedschools.pdf
More of the better students are adding a research year (along with a few who can't come to terms with not doing Ortho...).
 
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johnston9234

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More of the best students are adding a research year (along with a few who can't come to terms with not doing Ortho...).
How about students that are seeking to finish an MBA or MS. How are those seen if a year is taken for those.

Is it possible to finish the MBA or MS in the pre-clinical years without taking a year off?
 

gyngyn

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How about students that are seeking to finish an MBA or MS. How are those seen if a year is taken for those.

Is it possible to finish the MBA or MS in the pre-clinical years without taking a year off?
Combined degrees occur while in medical school and do not have the negative effect I described.
 
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moisne

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Yes you can... but I wouldn't. Some places allow a deferral before MS1 (that's probably the best)
 

mymembernames

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More of the better students are adding a research year (along with a few who can't come to terms with not doing Ortho...).
Don't mean to bump an old thread, but thought I ask my questions here rather than making a new one. Will it be a red flag if an applicant does a research year between 2nd and third year and takes Step 1 at the end of the research year?
 
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What if you have multiple children? Can you take two years off for twins and four for quadruplets? What if you have a child every year? For men, what if you have multiple children every year? What if you want to get a dog? Frog? Chia Pet? Can you take a year off to get a nose job?
 

Halcyon32

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What if you have multiple children? Can you take two years off for twins and four for quadruplets? What if you have a child every year? For men, what if you have multiple children every year? What if you want to get a dog? Frog? Chia Pet? Can you take a year off to get a nose job?
I can confirm the Chia pet situation is valid. I know from a friend. Every other situation, tough luck.
 
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7331poas

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So full time research is a good enough reason to have a gap year?
 

Med Ed

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Don't mean to bump an old thread, but thought I ask my questions here rather than making a new one. Will it be a red flag if an applicant does a research year between 2nd and third year and takes Step 1 at the end of the research year?
If you want to spend 12 months prepping for Step 1 I would suggest attending a Caribbean school.
 

mymembernames

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If you want to spend 12 months prepping for Step 1 I would suggest attending a Caribbean school.
Well I'm already at a US MD school and wanted to see if I could take it towards the end of the research year. Will not be spending all that time studying but rather recovering from surgery in addition to getting research projects done.
 

mymembernames

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My school made it seem like it would be fine, but wanted to make sure...as far as residency is concerned
 

nellbot2000

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Honestly, I would say take some time to recover, but still take Step 1 within a reasonable amount of time from the last day of class (ie. within a few months). In my opinion a year of research just puts too much time between you and the course material. Plus, I would want to get it over with.

I have a few classmates dealing with similar situations right now, it's a tough place to be in if you have something like a surgery to worry about.
 
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mimelim

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Not a program director but I doubt it. At some schools it is standard practice to take Step 1 inside or after the clerkship year.
My school made it seem like it would be fine, but wanted to make sure...as far as residency is concerned
Nobody will notice when you took it. Programs simply care that you have taken it and the result.
 
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mymembernames

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Honestly, I would say take some time to recover, but still take Step 1 within a reasonable amount of time from the last day of class (ie. within a few months). In my opinion a year of research just puts too much time between you and the course material. Plus, I would want to get it over with.

I have a few classmates dealing with similar situations right now, it's a tough place to be in if you have something like a surgery to worry about.
Thank you very much, I agree. Even now that I am studying, it's like you learn two new facts and forget one you learned a couple weeks ago.