Adapt

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I have a few questions for all you knowledgeable DO students.

Just how important are the 1st and 2nd year grades? I mean if the 2nd ranked person in the class does average on the boards, while the last ranked person in the class does above average on the boards, who is in a better position for residency? Basically I'm just trying to gauge the importance of getting good grades the first 2 years.

Also, is it correct that all students take the COMLEX in the summer after your 2nd year?

Finally, I am particularly interested in getting into an MD residency for internal medicine or family practice in CA. Would you recommend that I take both the COMLEX and USMLE to improve my chances of accomplishing my goal, or is the COMLEX good enough?

I have heard that in CA, most of the allopathic residencies for primary care know how to read the COMLEX scores so DOs would not need to take the USMLE. Can anyone shed some light on this? Thanks.
 

H0mersimps0n

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Grades are no more/less important now than they were when you were applying to get into medical school. It's never just about the grades it's the big picture. Passing is fine, B's are good and A's are great but none of that matters if you're a prick and everyone you talk to hates you. My point being you should shoot for better than "just passing" grades, have a nice personality, enjoy life/HAVE FUN (i.e. don't self-destruct over A's if you can live a little and get B's), study hard for the boards and do your best, get good recommendations and let the chips fall as they may...

Many hospitals around the country, not just CA, are accepting COMLEX scores now.

No, COMLEX is not taken in the summer, it's taken IMMEDIATELY following second year so that third year rotations can begin ASAP. You will have no summer or otherwise break following your second year so when you get to that post-MSI summer vacation time LIVE IT UP!

Good luck!
 

DOtobe

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Regarding grades, I think that although your grades in your MS-III year are a little more important (as they are an indication of how you will be as a resident), grades during the MS-I and MS-II year are important as well. Since you want to do FP or IM, they may not be as important as someone who wants to do derm, radiology, etc. Like HomerSimpson said, I think you should just shoot for the best grade you can get without really burning yourself out.

COMLEX I is taken in the first week of June on a Tuesday and Wednesday (ours was June 3-4 last year). The start time of rotations is different for different schools, but at LECOM we start our rotations the following Monday. Don't know how it will be for you at COMP. (That is where you're going, right?)

And since you are thinking of going into a field that is DO-friendly, I think the COMLEX would be enough. Although I am in PA, which is a very DO-friendly state. How DO-friendly is California?

Just my two cents' worth. Hope it helped :)
 
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Adapt

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Yes I'll most likely be going to COMP. As far as how DO friendly it is, I'm not sure. COMP grads do pretty well in getting in getting into allopathic residencies in primary care fields so I'm happy about that.

It seems like both of you are saying that the COMLEX is enough and I shouldn't bother taking the USMLE if I just stay in primary care. Other people have told me to take both. It seems like if the COMLEX is right after your second year you won't even have time to study for it. :confused:
 

DrMom

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The COMLEX is over your first 2 years (obviously) so all of the studying you're doing for classes at the end of second year is essentially board review. I belive that most of the schools provide at least a couple of weeks between the end of the semester and COMLEX so that you can study more intensely, although someone posted the other day that they have to start rotations before boards (!!!!)...don't know what school.

I'm also going to go along with the no-need-to-take-the-USMLE-for-primary-care crowd. Unless there is a specific program you're interested in that has said they won't take a COMLEX score, you're likely wasting your time and money.
 

VentdependenT

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If you are going DO and are focusing on Cali then rotating at sites in that state will help you greatly. As I've warned you 2 times before, as Slickness, if you have any inkling of specializing go allopathic as it will be EASIER to match. Especially if you are limiting yourself to Cali. However, plenty of folks from my class matched in the sunny state. I can say that most of them rotated moderately-heavily there and had above average USMLE scores/rank/letters.

On to your original qestion. MS I/II grades don't mean anything to PD's. However your RANK (aim for top 1/3-1/4 to be competitive) does have posess some weight. Rank is usually posted in your Dean's letter and is easily retrieved by tired eyes of app reviewers...nobody is going to check out how you did in physiology. Its time consuming and ultimately pointless. Personaly I believe working hard your 2nd year will also make boards easier.

I would highly recommend you take the USMLE step I no matter what you THINK you will be doing. Minds change (mine did about 8 flippen times! Pure madness! =)) and who knows what you will truly end up loving. Is it possible to match FP in cali with only COMLEX? Indubitably, but depends where you want to live. IM? Maybe. Depends where you want to live. OBGYN, doubtful. Or you could go allo and only take one exam. I know the person who matched peds at Stanford from our class this year took USMLE I&II...don't think that match would have been possible with only COMLEX scores. Catch my drift?

Vent
 

DrMom

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VentdependenT said:
Minds change (mine did about 8 flippen times! Pure madness! =)) and who knows what you will truly end up loving.
Vent

This is a very good point, of course.
 

OSUdoc08

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This is from "Selection Criteria for Emergency Medicine Residency Applicants" by Crane & Ferraro. While it only applies to ER, I'm sure that alot of this will be the same for other residencies.

The Elements of an EM residency application in descending order of importance:

1. EM rotation grade
2. Interview
3. Clinical grades
4. Other
5. Recommendations
6. Grades (overall)
7. Elective at insitution applied for
8. Boards (overall)
9. USMLE II (COMLEX II)
10. Interest Expressed
11. USMLE I (COMLEX I)
12. Awards/achievements
13. AOA
14. Medical school attended
15. Extracurricular activities
16. Basic Science Grades
17. Publications
18. Personal Statement

---------------------------------------------------------
There. That should give you a basic idea on what Residency Directors look at when deciding on applicants. Also, contrary to what I've heard from several current students, notice that CLASS RANK is NOT on there.
 

Adapt

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OSUdoc08 said:
Also, contrary to what I've heard from several current students, notice that CLASS RANK is NOT on there.
:laugh: There seems to me more disagreement then anything. So what I gather from the posts is that class grades do matter to a point, but then they don't. Class rank is important according to Ventdependent, but OSUdoc says they're not.

As DrMom said, the general consensus is if I stick with primary care than the COMLEX is fine. If I feel like I may change my mind and specialize, then I should take both tests. Through pms and on this thread, I have about the same amount of people telling me to take the USMLE as to only take the COMLEX.

I guess I should wait till school starts and see what the professor and schools recommend about if I should take the USMLE.
 

Chrisobean

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my information is probably useless since i am a MS -0.5, but...
my friend, who is from michigan and graduating nycom this year, is doing a rotating internship next year. she is in the top 5% of her class and received numerous awards. she's taken both the COMLEX and USMLE and did amazingly well on both (higher on the USMLE). she wants to match IM at mount sinai, and she said they would never take her w/o her internship. she did her GI rotation there and got a glowing rec, but she said it would've been almost impossible to match there right out of school. (i dont know the exact reason for this) she is also doing her internship in case she ever wants to go back to michigan.
yes i know this is just anecdotal. but after speaking to her, it just seems that its important to take all the options available to you, b/c it will only make you look better. i think taking both exams is ideal. the majority of the material is the same, and i would even think you need to know more for your COMLEX with OMT being on it. everyone i've talked to has taken the USMLE about a week or 2 after the COMLEX. so it doesnt seem like its that much extra work. but ask me that again in 2 years... :)
 

Clue

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The COMLEX and USMLE are based on the same material, with the USMLE having more stats, immunology and biochem. Do well and it will only help your application. Do poorly and you don't have to release your scores. So pay the extra fee, study an extra 3 days and take the test.
 

VentdependenT

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OSUdoc08 said:
This is from "Selection Criteria for Emergency Medicine Residency Applicants" by Crane & Ferraro. While it only applies to ER, I'm sure that alot of this will be the same for other residencies.

The Elements of an EM residency application in descending order of importance:

1. EM rotation grade
2. Interview
3. Clinical grades
4. Other
5. Recommendations
6. Grades (overall)
7. Elective at insitution applied for
8. Boards (overall)
9. USMLE II (COMLEX II)
10. Interest Expressed
11. USMLE I (COMLEX I)
12. Awards/achievements
13. AOA
14. Medical school attended
15. Extracurricular activities
16. Basic Science Grades
17. Publications
18. Personal Statement

---------------------------------------------------------
There. That should give you a basic idea on what Residency Directors look at when deciding on applicants. Also, contrary to what I've heard from several current students, notice that CLASS RANK is NOT on there.
Just going by what I have heard. On interviews nobody ever commented on my rank or my grades. Go figure. At AZCOM I believe our rank is determined by our overall grades. However the litany you have posted seems to include the clinical years, which definitely count. As is apparent on ye ol' list.

I still maintain that grades from 1st two years don't mean diddley. Thats right, I dropped a "diddley." Interesting how low the personal statement is on the list.
 

DrMom

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Class rank becomes important in the highly competitive specialties. OSUdoc08's list is good, but there will be some variation from specialty-to-specialty (and from program-to-program).

As I see it, the point of the first 2 years is so that you have some knowledge to work from when you go on rotations.
 

bgibney

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Adapt -

Why not just give yourself as many options as possible (ie, take the USMLE as well as the COMLEX)? It just makes sense - I wouldn't think one would want to be in a situation where they have a change of heart late in the game (say FP to maybe Ophtho), have not taken the USMLE and as such dwindled their options.

As for grades, I've just heard that your preclinical grades are low on the list of importance. Yet, especially in competitive specialties, class rank (and for allo students, AOA status) is. And since class rank is determined on your grades, grades should therefore matter.

I personally am just taking the stance of work hard, take both sets of boards, keep busy with things I am interested in and rotate at places I wish to go - hopefully this works - I guess I can let you know in 3 years.
 

joedogma

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My advice is to do the best you can (obviously) and let your grades take care of themselves. A good work ethic and motivation will be more important in an interviewer's eyes than whether or not you know the krebs cycle. In terms of grades, as long as your academic career has been respectable I wouldn't sweat it. In my opinion there are two groups in terms of rank, the top 10%/honors society and everybody else. Being able to say that you are top half of your class or top third is nice, can only help you, but at the end of the day, I just don't think it will have a big impact on your application. That said, red flags in your academic record can be a killer. Failing courses, having to repeat a year, etc...can be big hurdles to overcome because chances are you will have to give an explanation in your personal statement and the topic may come up on interviews.
My advice is to take the USMLE. It will cost you some cash but after the two day love affair that is comlex it should be a breeze for you :D
Good luck!
 

Adapt

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Ok I'm going to take the USMLE also because if I don't do as well, I guess I could just not release the scores.

As for grades in the first 2 years, it seems it only matters if you are ranked pretty high. I'll keep that in mind.
 
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