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IMG Residency Match Forum International Medical Graduates (IMGs) discussing the residency matching process.


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  #1  
Old 05-02-2016
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Wink My 2 year journey to MATCH !

Since I've learned so much from this forum, I thought I might return the favor to you all. (Warning : it is long . Sorry)

I didn't get matched in 2015. Though me and my husband applied without much expectation, I was really depressed in winter. I got my CS score in winter, so there was really nothing much to review for many programs. So I applied to 100 or so, and ended up with 0 interview.

I moved on. I was done with step 1 & 2 with some LOR from professors of my school in Hungary, but I had no USCE. So I applied for a scribe position. Though I was excited during training (which lasted for a month or so, kinda like medical terminology course) , working wasn't that pleasant.
(Doctors didn't even ask for help sometimes & job wasn't challenging) I quit in 2 months, because I couldn't imagine staying there till next match season.

Since I was bilingual, I could easily get a job at local clinic as a medical assistant. Training was so tough (surprising, I know), because I had to learn everything about "American" clinic. Everyday, I literally wished my supervisor, whom I think is a great doctor now, would retire tomorrow lol.
I had to do everything except cleaning toilet & sweeping floors.
Only job I ever had in America was working at sushi restaurant, so I wasn't that confident in speaking in English by then. Over 6 months or so, I've learned and changed so much that I can't even describe. Taking vitals & lab work was really tiny bit of my job. Regarding the details of MA, my other post might help.

While preparing for another match season, my husband and I decided to go "All-In" this time. We saved up to $ 5-6000 just for application and applied to +500 FM, IM, PEDS programs throughout the country (States with most IMG & where my school degree was accepted). Prior to application, I researched programs' requirements every night. I applied anyway if I was lacking 1-2 requirements. Though I was tempted to study textbooks, I was more worried about interviews.

Thanks to volunteering at church during medical school & this job, I could write something down in personal statements.

After thorough editing & re-writing of personal statements, we applied to +500 programs. Slowly, programs responded with LOTS of rejection & 4 invitation E-mails. I was invited to 1 university, 3 community hospitals by February. (One depressing news: 1 of the interview that I attended meant nothing, because that program lost accreditation suddenly. )

My impression from interviews :
- Practice interview with someone for sure! (Thank you, husband )
Speak confidently in front of mirror. Don't assume that you'll do fine because you have all the answers to Qs. I was really nervous.
- 1 person out of like..15 people asked me a medical question. In my opinion, personality should shine more than medical knowledge. The reason you can't answer their questions = you haven't been trained yet. That's why.
- Speak clearly & loudly. (Thanks to my MA job, I now speak very loudly. lol)
- Smile & relax. Pray before you go for interviews. Pray for confidence !

I've seen candidates asking each other about # of interviews / usmle scores / schools at the interviews. It will only makes you feel inferior & desperate.
ONCE you get an interview offer, it all depends on how you present yourself. Programs call you because they consider you as their "future coworker".
Always think that you're the lucky one to HAVE interview. Enjoy the moment & thank God.

Plus, write down "3 strengths of myself" on the wall and memorize by heart. Write it and carry it to your interview (I did. You don't wanna go, "Uh..." to this question lol).

The reason why current job / experience is important is because they'll ask about it during interview. I had passion for what I'm doing as MA, so it wasn't difficult.

I binge-watched TV shows till match day, because waiting for match result was not fun for me. ... After a dreadful day, I was surprised to find out that I was matched to very unexpected place (where I thought I had no chance, because my interview was so so. Only 2 interviewer interviewed me for like 10 mins, and I waited for interviewers for 2 hours doing nothing.) It all worked out! Thank God!

Side note : I found 2 brand-new program during last 2 weeks prior to match day, and actually attended one in person. Another one was done through Skype. So don't forget to google / freida search new programs opening every year.

My training will start soon, and i can proudly say that it was all possible because of Christ. I hope God will grant you all amazing future & unforgettable experience in following match season!
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  #2  
Old 05-03-2016
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Default 5-6000

How did you apply to 500 programs w/ 5-6000? The cost to apply to one program after I think 30 is 26 dollars a pop. 500 would land you more than double?
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  #3  
Old 05-03-2016
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Default

Quote:
Originally Posted by Eeter View Post
How did you apply to 500 programs w/ 5-6000? The cost to apply to one program after I think 30 is 26 dollars a pop. 500 would land you more than double?
I dont remember exact cost, but I might have spent more to apply to all of them.
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  #4  
Old 05-03-2016
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HI,

Thanks for sharing your inspirational Story,

Can you post your grades please for steps,,,would be helpful..


Thank you and congratzzz
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  #5  
Old 05-03-2016
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Hey, congrats on matching! I see that you mentioned being a scribe for a bit and felt that becoming a medical assistant gave you more clinical exposure. Wouldn't being a scribe also help one see patients along with a physician, get exposed to patient history, observing physical examination findings and help document all this in a patient notes? However, like you mentioned, there's no patient contact. Is that why you decided to be a medical assistant? So, do you think it was your experience being a medical assistant over a scribe that helped you match? Were you able to get any LORs from physicians you worked with?
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  #6  
Old 05-03-2016
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Congratulations.
May I know the procedure to become MA as an IMG. I am thinking to do this till I get match In sha Allah.

Another ques is how do you learn by freida about new programs? I am there are hundreds if prog but how did you know that a particular is new program opened just 2wks before match?

Thank you so much for sharing.
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  #7  
Old 05-03-2016
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Default oh so many great questions !

@Sameer12343 : My scores are very average ( or so so), 217 & 227. thankfully passed on first attempt

@Flyhigh : It's very hard to compare scribe & MA, but here are some good & bad facts.
- scribe : You'll learn a lot about EMR system & charting (eg : how to describe symptoms, lesions, accidents..etc) You might get to see many procedures if you work at ER & with docs who will let you come inside during examination ( Some docs won't due to privacy). BUT, it's not challenging once you are familiar with charting. You'll feel like a writing robot following docs with huge computer cart. lol (at least that's how I felt) You might not feel appreciated as many docs won't rely completely on scribes. Some re-write in addition to your writings. Some don't even ask you to accompany them for actual patient encounter. (I studied Spanish while I had nothing to do at hospital...enough said)
(Forgot to mention, since I worked there only 2 months, I couldn't ask for a GOOD LOR...decided to just use it as gap-filling experience )
-MA : If you choose a vibrant clinic, you'll learn more as you work & do better. It felt like being a scribe with some additional clinical work. I learned from writing & reading charts & physician's decision-making process. (I still read doc's comments on plan & assessment to learn more) If it's PCP's office, you might learn about laboratory tests (types of tubes/tests/Dg..) & process of referring pts.
BUT you need to build good relationship with doc, first. Then you can ask about plans & advices &etc. This job can be boring once you get comfortable, too. Strangely, i can't think of major bad aspect of MA. Physically challenging, maybe?
(I didn't need LOR from this doc since i matched..)

@Bird : As far as I can remember, you can get certified as MA with a LOR written by a physician who closely observed you for a year. (Checkout official MA certification website..requirements might change) Once it's approved, you'll be certified & it'll help you get a job as MA in "hospitals". You can still get a job at local "clinics" as uncertified MA.
Also, I looked through freida to learn about "existing" programs. usmle forums / acgme website are useful to find "new" programs. Look for newly accredited programs at (https://apps.acgme.org/ads/public/) frequently & open positions at http://www.ama-assn.org/ama/pub/abou...llowship.page?. You never know !
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  #8  
Old 05-03-2016
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Default Leaving it here just because this forum won't let me send msg lol

@ faith225 (forgive my public messaging lol I'm a newbie here)

If I were you... I would apply to as many as I can, but apply evenly to many specialties. If you're into primary care & don't mind other specialties as well, consider IM / FM / FM-PEDs combined program / OBGYN / PEDS. Applying to psychiatry is not a bad idea, if you're interested. (I was, but didn't have time for personal statement)
While researching for programs, go to freida --> always visit their website & read through requirements. If there's a strong red sign ( score limit is off / visa requirement / all the residents are from particular med school /YOG, etc), consider NOT applying to that program. Or at least mark it red. : P When I realized I don't have enough $, I had to let those red flagged ones go.

I can't give you exact number in order to get IVs, but try attracting eyes of directors by great personalized & specialty-focused personal statements with emphasis on your USCE. Once they ask you Qs about your personal statement & your experience, i think you'll shine.
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  #9  
Old 05-03-2016
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Default Reply to Q !

@sudha1985 (I hope you see this, since I can't send msg to people yet lol)
I really had to think hard about your situation. I would never tell anyone to stop applying, since you'll get it as long as you keep trying !
Probably YOG & attempts in step exams might seem not so appealing to programs. (In my opinion) I still think 190 programs are not enough for application, and try avoiding programs that strictly mention YOG requirements on their websites. (Can be waste of money, which can be precious for applying to other programs)
Regarding the list of programs, my preferred programs won't be same as yours. Thus, I recommend doing your own research & make your list. It can really save you thousands. Applying to right programs is very important ! : ) I wish you all the best, really.
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  #10  
Old 05-04-2016
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Default

Thank you very much for taking the time to respond to my questions. Really appreciate your sincere advice.
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  #11  
Old 05-04-2016
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Default Lor

Grace you applied to FM IM peds did you have LORs for all 3 specialties? Or did you have general usce with maybe FM or IM and ran with it for peds?

Thanks!
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  #12  
Old 05-04-2016
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Default LORs!

I applied with 1 IM (us), 1 PEDS (us) and 1 obgyn(foreign) LORs.

I had extra LORs from psych & dermatology, too...but they were all from

prof of my school, so..I used American ones It felt like letters written by

US docs leave better impression ( Last year I used letters of foreign docs)
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  #13  
Old 05-04-2016
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thanks for sharing your experience, congratulations on the match, and enjoy residency!!
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  #14  
Old 05-06-2016
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Default Congratulations!

Congratulations on your match!

I wanted to ask 2 questions.

1. Which field did you match into?
2. Did your husband also match, since I assume you guys did the couples match?

Thanks!
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  #15  
Old 05-07-2016
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Quote:
Originally Posted by reja fatima View Post
Congratulations on your match!

I wanted to ask 2 questions.

1. Which field did you match into?
2. Did your husband also match, since I assume you guys did the couples match?

Thanks!
Hi Fatima, I matched to IM program and my husband just helped me to get matched . He has non medical profession :blush: Spouse's support really matters !
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  #16  
Old 05-07-2016
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Thanks for the reply.
I have 2 more questions.

1. In which field you did residency in your native country?
2. What is your year of graduation?

I am a grad of 2006, I completed my residency in OB/GYN in 2013 in Pakistan. I then got married and move here to the US. I think its too difficult to match into OB/GYN. I will apply in all IMG-friendly fields but will also try in OB/GYN as well.

If you know any places I can get OB/GYN or PEDS observership where you have done them please do let me know if possible!
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  #17  
Old 05-07-2016
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Default @reja fatima

@reja fatima , I graduated a European med school in 2013 and haven't done any residency so far.
Regarding obgyn matching, I totally agree with you. It did seem more competitive than other specialties. (Only because most program's current residents were not IMGs with strict greencard requirement)

Still, I wouldn't suggest giving up on obgyn, but do apply to FM as well. FM physicians do prenatal care & deliver babies as well in US. You can always switch to obgyn later on as well.
I did observership in local clinics (where I could work because I could speak certain language), and I'm sure you can try the same as well ( especially at clinics owned by docs from your country / speak your language / where a lot of immigrants from your country are taken care of). This is only because such docs can share their experience in US & be good mentors for matching.
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  #18  
Old 05-12-2016
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Thanks for sharing, an example of how overcome the difficulties. Good luck.
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