Jan 4, 2015
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Just starting second year and thinking about going into a competitive specialty. So far, I have a summer project resulting in a first author pub in this specialty and several coauthors on pubs during first year in research unrelated to this specialty. Should I try to connect with a PI in this specific specialty during second year and try to pump out another pub or would my time be better used for studying and concentrating on step1?
 

Entadus

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I'm trying to do some research this year, although I don't have any publications yet. I have a project that I started late in M1 year that I will be continuing this semester. I'm hoping to have an abstract by December and a poster presentation in the Spring. Maybe a publication after that depending on how the project is going and how my USMLE prep is coming around.
 

bashwell

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Just starting second year and thinking about going into a competitive specialty. So far, I have a summer project resulting in a first author pub in this specialty and several coauthors on pubs during first year in research unrelated to this specialty. Should I try to connect with a PI in this specific specialty during second year and try to pump out another pub or would my time be better used for studying and concentrating on step1?
There may be exceptions, but it's probably unlikely you'll be able to get into a competitive specialty without a good to great Step 1 score. If doing more research is going to impede you from getting a good to great Step 1 score, then I'd say forget the research and focus on Step 1 (especially since you've already done a lot of research).

However, if you're applying to a field like rad onc where lots of people have a lot of good research, sometimes get LORs from PIs who are in a position to help them get an interview, etc., then this is something else to factor into the equation.

There are also other questions like how you've been doing in med school (if you're at the top of your class then you may not need as much time to study for Step 1 and can possibly devote more to research), what the quality of your research is like so far (although to be fair as a med student almost any research likely looks pretty good), what research the PI in this specific specialty wants you to do (if it's worth doing), whether you'd be happy in any program in your competitive specialty or if you're also aiming for the very top tier in your competitive specialty (which may an indication for how hard you have to work to get there), etc. You don't need to reveal anything you don't want, but more details might help people better help you.
 
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CubsFan314

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Mar 28, 2014
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I similarly had a great research experience this summer before starting second year and will try to continue this in some respect in the coming year(s). The advice I have gotten regarding this is that programs will not care that you have a first author publication(s) if you don't do well in school AND have good USMLE scores. But most of the competitive residency programs are geared towards research and having a proven interest and capacity for research may help separate you from the other applicants who also have done well in school and have good USMLE scores.
 

NickNaylor

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I think concentrating on step 1 should be your main goal, but you should still have some time to put into a research project outside of your independent study time. Depending on what you're doing for your project, I doubt it'd take up the remainder of your free time - especially if it's something more clinically oriented.
 
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