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Usmle For Australian Student - Help

Discussion in 'Step I' started by Dapo, Oct 25, 2002.

  1. Dapo

    Dapo Junior Member
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    Hi,
    I'm a first year Aussie med student at the University of Sydney (www.medfac.usyd.edu.au).

    I have family in the US (including doctors) and I am interested in working at some stage there. I was wondering if you could give me some advice on the USMLE.

    I am literally starting from scratch. What should I study and do to prepare for this? What is the timeline in terms of taking Steps I-III? What are recommended texts? As I said, I'm really starting from scratch.

    Any help would be much appreciated.

    Thanks alot.

    Dapo
     
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  3. palmmeds

    palmmeds New Member

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    check the bulletins page on the GMP website ;)

    i think that meeting will clarify a lot.
     
  4. Dapo

    Dapo Junior Member
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    Thanks Palmmeds:clap:

    Anyone from the U.S. got any particular tips on the best books or ways to prepare?

    Thanks.

    Dapo:)
     
  5. kansan

    kansan Junior Member
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    Dapo-
    One of the best things you can do is buy a copy of "First Aid for the USMLE Step 1", assuming that you'll start with Step 1 (virtually all U.S. med students taking USMLE Step 1 have a copy of First Aid). In the back of the book is a section called "Review Resources", which has reviews of different books for each of the USMLE subjects. You can buy all of them on the internet or possibly at your medical school. If you go through the high-yield facts in the First Aid book, review the individual subject areas with review books, and practice some questions, you should be fine. There are also First Aid books for Step 2 and 3, I believe.
    You may also want to check out a question bank put out by Kaplan, a test review company here in the US. The question bank is called Qbank.
    You'll probably want to schedule at least a few months (if not more) to study for Step 1, longer if you've been away from the basic science material for a while. I'm not sure about Step 2 or 3, but I assume you'll need about the same amount.
    Good luck.
     
  6. Dapo

    Dapo Junior Member
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    Thanks for your very informative post Kansan?

    Just another quick question if you don't mind. In terms of getting a residency, is the mark you get in Step 1 important? How does the marking work? I mean, is it a percentage score or other score, and what should you really be aiming for to have a good chance of getting a decent residency? Sorry to sound so naive, but USMLE is very new to me.

    Thanks.

    Dapo:)
     
  7. kansan

    kansan Junior Member
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    Dapo-
    It is my understanding that residency programs differ in how they use scores from Step 1. Some of the more competitive residency programs, such as those in dermatology, orthopedic surgery, otolaryngology, and radiology seem to use the Step 1 scores heavily in their selection process (and you should shoot for a pretty high score if you're interested in these areas). Some other residency programs may not use the scores quite as much. The best plan of action would probably be to shoot for a high score regardless of what you're interested in doing, because 1) a high score will never hurt you, and 2) it may open some doors that wouldn't have been opened otherwise, such as residencies in competitive geographical areas, etc.
    As far as how the scores are figured and what they mean, the First Aid book I mentioned has an excellent section which describes this, and they do it a lot better than I ever will.
    It is very easy to get lost in the details when it comes to the USMLE, and it seems that everyone has opinions as to the scores you will need to get into this program or that program, but if you keep your eye on the ball and do the best you can, things will work out. I know of people who scored in the upper 1% of the country on Step 1 who have trouble finding a program to take them because their personality is so horrible, and one person who failed Step 1 three times and is in a successful surgery residency now.
    All the best and let me know if you need anything else.
     
  8. BellKicker

    BellKicker Twisted Miler
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    Hey Dapo.

    First of all, it's great that you've started your preparation so early. I was in my 4th year before it dawned on me that one couldn't just move to the US and apply for a job.... Aha, there's a step 1....and a step 2.....you get the picture.

    As for specific books, just search this forum a couple of months back and you'll get more advice than you need.

    Scores.... By now you have probably realized that when you move to the US you'll be given a wonderful title: Dapo, IMG. IMG's are apparently the scum of the earth and programs only hire us because there are too few American grads. Some people say that it's a little easier if you're from a rich country but some say that doesn't even matter much. The consensus is that your scores are very, very important. What kansan said about non-competitive specialties is probably not true for IMGs, either. I have no first hand experience with any of this but that's what I've seen again and again on these boards.


    Good luck.
     
  9. Dapo

    Dapo Junior Member
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    Thanks Kansan and Bellkicker for your very informative replies. Yes, I think that the earlier I start preparing for USMLE, the better. I plan to take Step I in second year, and probably take Step II in early fourth year.

    Thanks once again.

    Dapo:clap:
     

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