HYJunkie

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I am wondering what is the relevance and the risk of the fact that I have taken a year off med school. I am an IMG looking to start a residency in the US. I am preparing for the USMLE examinations - will take Step 1 soon. My achievements in med school were somewhere in the 'upper middle tier' so to say - nothing impressive, but I have always passed the exams with decent grades, and I never had any relevant trouble except this year off (somewhere right in the middle of my 6 year curriculum).

Here are my concerns. First of all, is there any known issue regarding such record? Do you happen to be able to assess the potential impact this issue could have on my application? Should I provide an explanation for this gap beforehand in order to improve my chances to getting an interview, or should I only address it if asked? (On a side note, any disquisition regarding 'good' and 'bad' reasons that could be provided for such gap may prove extremely useful to me; the real reason is that I considered giving up medicine for something more lucrative since in my country most doctors can barely survive, but I needed to go back because I actually couldn't bear to stay away from medicine).

I realize that scores are probably important determinants in a 'normal' situation. Suppose (pray the Lord) that my scores will be high. I realize that any 'bad' thing, or the lack of 'ancillary' elements such as USCE and relevant research activity are presumably lost points, but my question is really about proportions. I am, obviously, going to struggle for the highest possible scores, there is some amount of research in my resumé, but I can't help pondering on the possiblity that all these may be outweighed by my 'track record' issue. Bottom line - will my year off add significant drag into the equation?



 

Winged Scapula

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While it is conventional wisdom that taking time off from medical school is not well received by the US medical establishment, IMHO your description of the reason sounds thoughtful and a mature decision.

The fact is that you cannot do anything about its occurence now, but perhaps you may address the situation (and how your love of medicine drew you back) in your residency personal statement. This may make your application more well received in the initial evaluation process and of course, if asked about it on interviews, you can expound upon it.

As long as your transcript and letters do not hint at any other reasons for the time off, this may actually serve you well (ie, in regards to your dedication to medicine).
 
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HYJunkie

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Thank you. Forgetting all this for the time being. Back to Path review, a little more relaxed.