I'm in middle of a very confusing decision right now: whether to take a year off to do research with my great mentor or to continue through fourth year and do research during 4th year (I'd essentially be able to do 8 months of research as my school's 4th year is completely elective and we're allowed 3 months of research time, 2 months of special study time, 1 month of reading time, and two months I plan to do easy rotations - ones that meet for about 4 hours a week. I feel like either way I'd get a good chunk of research in, and I have other issues weighing on both sides (family, finacee, etc). My question to you all is: how much do you think a year of research affects residency placement? This plays some part in my decision and I can't seem to get a good answer from anyone. My current stats are: 253 on step I, unsure about AOA but fair chance at it as I know I one of the top students in my class last year (recieved the best female student in first two years award, and the year before that won the cell bio/physio award for first year students). Research: did some in college with no publications, did it the summer after first year with no publications, and plan to do some next year (hopefully with publications). Grades: Honors in everything so far except pediatrics (HP) -- I have two more rotations left in 3rd year. How much would a year of research change my residency chances? While this won't decide what I do, I might lean more in favor of taking a year off if doing a year of research would greatly increase my chances of matching into a top program.