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Old 11-24-2010
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Help IMG -some questions...

Hi, I have found this forum really helpful and am sure you guys with be able to help me with my questions. I will be graduating next year and will be an IMG. I am not that familiar with the USMLE world since I was never planning to study for that before.
I will be graduating from China(Shanghai). So usually after I graduate to apply for work in the US(as an intern? ) I will need to have my step1 and step2 done?

I have read about observership(see but don't touch) and I am not interested in doing that, the Externship is the least I plan to get. I believe that I get the adequate time required I will be able to get a decent USMLE score but usually how much is required to be accepted in the hospitals there?

(mods please move the thread to the right forum if I posted that in the wrong one,sorry for that)
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Old 11-24-2010
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Hello dr kg, welcome to the forum. I have found this forum quite useful too. I'm also still a foreign medical student and haven't taken the USMLE yet so am not that familiar with the whole system either, but based on what I found out after searching online:

In the US, the internship year is the first year (called PGY1) of a residency program, the length of which depends upon the specialty but is usually from 3 to 5 years. Internship is not done separately as far as I know but is a part of the residency and you apply for the whole program. You can however do 1 year (PGY1) Preliminary program and again, as far as I know, US graduates do it in order to get into other specialties such as Neurology that start from PGY2. And the residency, I think, is regarded as a training so you can get professional training visas (such as J1 and H1B) and not work visas. But you do work and get paid.

Observerships and externships are not actually formal training/working and I think you need to pay for some of them, let alone getting paid as in working. They are there for you have a chance of getting clinical experience in the US (in short USCE). Usually most residency programs require you to have atleast 3 months USCE to apply to their program and these observerships and externships are your way of getting it as well as Letters of Recommendation(LORs), which is also a requirement of the programs. I'm unsure whether all of them have to be from the US or they can be from your country so I would like to ask this to the others that are going to reply

And a decent USMLE score would be something above the national mean score which is 221 for Step 1, I think. Just a decent score doesn't gaurantee you acceptance into hospitals though, but it is very much essential and helps a lot. In addition you need to have USCE, LORs, etc. Each hospital/residency program have their own requirements so its better to check the ones your interested in individually.

To know more about what is a "Residency", head to this thread

Hope this helps, and a disclaimer again; I'm still a student who hasn't gone through any of the procedures and all the information I've given is based on what I found online so a few things that I mentioned might be incorrect
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Old 11-24-2010
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Its good that you focus on Step 1 now, if I were you I would try to not overlook getting a clerkship before you graduate, it would be much easier and cheaper to get hands on experienced. I think some programs don't require that you have taken any steps, but I could be wrong...a google search will turn something up.
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Old 11-25-2010
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@ ayash I am already doing my clinical rotations in Shanghai as part of my course. I will try to apply for the Step one next year. How many months will suffice?3-4 will be ok? I have studied medicine in Chinese medium as part of a scholarship I won at the university.

I have also been offered a seat to do my masters in my university next year(subject to an interview but I am sure I will be in), will it be wise to continue with my masters and take a sabbatical from it if I ever manage to get something in the US?
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