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How did I get 26 Interviews and PREMATCHED for US Residency? Match Tips and Tric

Author: chennai_doc, Posted on Friday, January 04 @ 21:27:49 IST by RxPG  

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US Residency & Match

Hi everybody, though this might be a bit late for the Match 2008, I hope this post would help at least those who are planning for Match 2009 or later. Here I explain the tips and tricks for the Match.

I applied to 150 Internal Medicine programs It gets more competitive every year especially for the International Medical Graduates (IMGs). Most of the IMG-friendly programs claim that they received more than 3000 applications this year. The record gets broken each year. This might also be due to each applicant applying to more than 100 programs. I thought applying to more programs would fetch more number of interviews. Hence I applied to 150 programs. Also I was planning to apply for Family Medicine (FM) programs if I don't get a good number of interviews in Internal medicine. Thank God I did not have to apply for FM. I should say I went through the eligibility criteria of each program before I applied to it. There is no point in applying to a program where you are not eligible to apply to. It gets filtered probably by their software itself. So please do not blindly apply to a large number of programs thinking that more number would fetch you more interviews. Rather apply to all the programs where you are eligible to apply.

Applying to J1 programs Though I wanted to join only H1b program, it is not a good idea to be choosy. It is always better to keep our options open and applying to both J1 and H1b programs.

Credentials USMLE Scores are by far the most important filtering factor used by programs. Work hard and get good scores. What is a good score? Well, this is a hard question to answer. For Internal Medicine, more than 90 would help. But remember there are a lot of double 99s around. So work hard and put in your maximum effort for USMLE Step 1 and USMLE Step 2 CK. Heard that USMLE Step 3 score is not that important. Don't know how far that is true. I got 86 and a program director during the interview said it is a good score for USMLE STEP 3. Some people say double 99 is required to get into good programs. I don't think that is true. I got 95 and 99. 95 didn't hurt me. Programs mainly use scores just to filter the applicants. After that, they look into the whole application. So DO NOT lose heart if your scores are less. There are people who have joined residency with very low scores like 79. So never give up! What about a failure in USMLE? Work hard and always try to pass the exam in first attempt. But if you fail, that is not the end of the tunnel. Again there are a lot of guys who joined residency with multiple attempts in USMLE. There is always a bright light at the end of the tunnel.

Year of graduation Though I have read that programs prefer fresh graduates, during the interviews I found many candidates who have completed post-graduation in home country. Do programs prefer guys who have already done residency in their home country? I think so. It does not mean that you should do a post-graduation in your country to improve your credentials. If you have decided that you are going to be in America, why waste time doing stuff which are not going to be recognised in the US. There are a lot of guys who have entered US residency straight from med school undergraduation.

ECFMG Certification and USMLE STEP 3 I was ECFMG certified and done with USMLE STEP 3 when I applied to programs. Having USMLE STEP 3 scores in hand when you apply would help you for sure. I am quite sure that it will fetch you some extra interview calls. Especially if your USMLE Step 1 and/or USMLE Step 2 CK scores are less, it will definitely help you if you apply with a USMLE Step 3 score. That does not mean that you should postpone your application until you get the USMLE STEP 3 score.

Research Most of the University programs look for research publications/ presentations in your CV. On the other hand most of the community programs are not bothered about this. US publications/ presentations carry more weightage than those done outside. I did not do research separately in any institution. I just participated in research in the hospital where I had USCE.

US Clinical Experience (USCE) This is another very important thing which the Program Directors (PD) look for in your CV. Many PDs use this as a filtering criteria. Don't waste time thinking whether observership would be considered as USCE or not. Some consider. Some don't. But that does not matter. Because getting observership itself is very difficult and competitive now. So apply to all/both observership and externships. Do whatever and whenever you get. Something is better than nothing. Try to do as many USCE as possible. It is expensive but worth it.

Applying on September 1 This is very important. Never compromise in this. Send your documents (LORs and MSPE) to ERAS as early as possible in August and be ready with your CV and Personal Statement to apply right at September 1 00.00 AM (EST). Take your exams well ahead in order to apply on Sep 1 with at least ECFMG certificate. This is to get a good number of interviews. USMLE Step 1 score alone is enough to get you interviews. But do not take risk. It is always better to apply with all the scores on Sep 1.

God's mercy - A short testimony to God According to me, this is the most important factor. I strongly believe that I got 26 interviews and prematched only because of God's mercy and grace and NOT BECAUSE OF MY CREDENTIALS. I am not writing this statement just like that. I have experienced a lot of obstacles and miracles over the last 2 years especially in my path towards residency in the US. In fact, it is God's miracle that I am writing a blog on tips and tricks for the Match as until recently I was a symbol of failure. My US visa for CS exam was rejected 4 times consecutively and I got my visa on my 5th attempt. (I would blog on my US visa experiences soon). I would have reached a dead-end in my life as well as career if I had not applied for the visa for the 5th time. It had been God's plan. Well, God could have given me the visa at the first attempt itself. Why should he make me run from pillar to post? Firstly, I would NOT have known God if I got it on my own at the first attempt. Secondly, I would have got a false opinion of my capabilities. In reality, I am an average student. It is because of God that I have reached at least to this level. I would not have realised this otherwise. Thirdly, to improve my faith in God. Problems and obstacles in life are the ones which take us closer to God. Also, I would like to confess here that my USCE and Research opportunities were purely God's miracles and they came to me at the right time. Without these, I am sure I would not have got even 10 out of those 26 interviews. Take home message: Praise the Lord. After all, that was the purpose of our creation. Glory be to God Almighty and my Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ.

Note: I am not a frequent visitor to this forum. But thought my experience will be helpful for the guys here. I have also posted about : “USCE-How to apply/Vaccinations/ Is "observership" an USCE?/ FMG MD LORs” elsewhere in this forum. Get my blogs in your email by using the link below: http://www.feedburner.com/fb/a/emailverifySubmit?feedId=1493740&loc=en_US  Thanks.

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