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  #1  
Old 10-09-2010
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Portugal Timing the USMLE Prep for a sixth year medical student from Portugal

Hello you all,

First off, a big thank you to the people who created this website.

I am a 6th year medical student from Portugal who has recently decided to pursue a career in the US.

However, since I'm already doing my final year and have barely started studying for step 1, time is sort of an issue to me.

Basically, I have a few questions concerning the following:

- when you apply for the CS step, does it usually take long until they give you an exam date (since they say the test-taking period consists of a full year and not trimesters, like the other two)?

- do you guys, based on your experience, think that if I start studying really hard now, I will be able to have done all of the three tests by June 2011? I have always been a good and dedicated student in my faculty, but I do realize the USMLE isn't exactly easy and my background as a good student could end up meaning nothing.

- in case that isn't actually feasible and I end up completing the exams later on (say, August/September 2011), will I still be on time to apply for the residency programs starting in July 2012 or will there already be limitations concerning program deadlines?

- I'm basically inclined to Ob&Gynecology, however I haven't had a chance to do an elective program in the US. I do nevertheless have some international experience (i've done a full academic year in Paris, which should be a bonus right, and I'm considering the possibility of doing a MSc in England next year on Clinical Embryology to get an extra edge) and my grades so far have actually been above average in most subjects. Do you think I could get a nice program if my test grades are good?

Thanks for your time, guys, and sorry for all the questions.
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  #2  
Old 10-09-2010
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Hi Mojo,

Glad to have you here with us.

Here are the answers;

CS Exam Date Availability:
Yes, they will give a one year eligibility period but that doesn't mean that you won't get a date until after one year. If you follow this trick you can even get a date as soon as two weeks before the intended exam date. I also recommend you read this recent discussion here How often to test spots open up?

Time to finish all steps
Yes, I think if you are dedicated and you take the issue seriously then you can finish them all before June or July 2011. However, preparation usually gets longer specially if you have some other responsibilities. In general fresh graduates are way faster than old graduates as the knowledge is still fresh in their brains they just need orientation and guidance toward focusing it towards the high yield information. I recommend you have a look at some of our polls such these
http://www.usmle-forums.com/usmle-st...-step-1-a.html
http://www.usmle-forums.com/usmle-st...step-2-ck.html
Time needed for medical students to prepare for the CK Exam
Timed Needed for Medical Students to prepare for USMLE Step 1

Finishing after September 2011
Even if you get your results by late September or early October in 2011 you still have a very good chance in matching. The reason is that you are still a very fresh graduate and they don't mind you even without full results. The important thing to remember here is that you apply with STep 1 and CS results and you can leave the CK for the end.
Why CS is important? > Your are an IMG and they want to make sure that you have reasonable language and communication skills.
Why Step 1 is important? > read here Why USMLE Step 1 Score is more important than USMLE Step 2 Score

Obgyn Matching
Obstetrics and Gynecology is certainly a competitive specialty and it not easy to get. However, you can get it if you achieve the following:
High USMLE scores (above 95)
Passing exams all from first attempt
Applying before 2 years after graduation have passed
ObGyn-oriented CV, such as the master degree and the courses you mentioned, they all work.
I recommend you read the threads listed here Threads Tagged with ObGyn-Matching

US Clinical Experience
Definitely, if you are able to come to US and have some sort of clinical experience here whether in the form of electives, observerships, externships, or research is going to help you a lot in matching in a great program. For further info about USCE check out our dedicated forum here Externships, Observerships, Clerkships
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  #3  
Old 10-09-2010
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Thank you StepTaker for your answer!

Concerning the US clinical experience, if it consists of a month doing a Pediatrics elective in a major university (say, Harvard or Cornell) with an LOR, will it still be useful to apply for Ob&Gyn?

Thank you again.
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Old 10-09-2010
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mojo View Post
Thank you StepTaker for your answer!

Concerning the US clinical experience, if it consists of a month doing a Pediatrics elective in a major university (say, Harvard or Cornell) with an LOR, will it still be useful to apply for Ob&Gyn?

Thank you again.
Although it's not a grave mistake but most programs would like to see your full dedication towards their specialty.
A Harvard LoR is certainly the biggest boost (even more important than scores sometimes) but it's better to be in ObGyn if you are determined about it.
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Ok then, I'm probably going to apply for the Harvard elective in Pediatrics. I cannot do the Ob/Gyn elective anymore because I start that clerkship here in Portugal in two weeks and there's not enough time to apply.

I'll try and see if they can accept me for an externship or observership in Ob/Gyn later on, in the months following my graduation.

Thanks!
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Old 11-06-2010
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Hey guys,

Do all residency programs begin in July? And if so, is it feasible to have your program allow you to start later -- say, in October?

I ask this because if I do end up taking the Master program in England it's possible that they won't let me leave before the beginning of october, since I need to do a research segment from May to September.

Thank you!
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Old 11-07-2010
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mojo View Post
Hey guys,

Do all residency programs begin in July? And if so, is it feasible to have your program allow you to start later -- say, in October?

I ask this because if I do end up taking the Master program in England it's possible that they won't let me leave before the beginning of october, since I need to do a research segment from May to September.

Thank you!
Yes. All of them start in July.
They may tell you OK come late in October. But that's after you already match with them in March. So don't tell them until you match with them
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  #8  
Old 09-25-2011
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Hey guys,

So, I took step 1 about a month ago (yes, I know, it has kinda been a long time since my last post, but I've been through some motivation issues towards doing a residency in the States before I actually decided to go ahead and start this usmle journey).

My score was 99/233, which is OK I guess, although I was kinda hoping for more (4 days before NBME 7 had predicted a 99/245). In general I found the exam to be tough.

I will start my one-year master's degree in Oxford next month (Clinical Embryology, ObsGyn department) while studying for step 2 CK and step 2 CS, which hopefully I'll be able to sit before April 2012, for a 2013 match (fingers crossed).

Now that I have my step 1 score I am going to start sending emails to ObGyn chiefs all over the states asking for an observership this Christmas. Also, luckily enough I managed to be the top student of my 250-people class with a final GPA of 18/20 which is a CV bonus I reckon, and in paper that could give me a leg up, right?

So my questions are mainly two:

1) how good are my chances to be chosen for a good program (NY, Boston, Chicago... you know the major ones lol) in ObsGyn with a 233? Sure, it's a 99, but it sure ain't a 250+ and competition is probably very fierce;

2) do you know any good IMG-friendly places that would accept a recently graduated MD for simply an observership (given that I no longer am a med student, so externships don't seem to be an option anymore)?

I would appreciate any input/advice/suggestions.

Thanks!
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