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


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  #1  
Old 03-19-2014
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Default 2014 Match - my expereince and tips

I so happy that I matched! Thank you all for your support and encouragement. I am posting my interview experience and tips. These are my personal opinions and things I feel would help aspiring match applicants.
Iím an IMG and I graduated in late 2010. Step 1 Ė 239, Step 2 Ė 240 and CS Ė Pass; all in first attempt. I had 1 month of shadowing experience. Do not need visa.
For those of you wondering if being an ďoldĒ graduate, or scores or visa will be a problem. It depends on where you are applying to. If youíre an old graduate, make sure there are no gaps in your CV where you have not been productive in the field of medicine.
I did not rely on any paid service to make my list of programs. I individually went to each program website, looked at their requirements and then decided whether or not to apply there. It also helps to look at the current and previous residents to know whether the program is IMG friendly or not. Donít be fooled by names. A resident with a foreign sounding name may well be a US citizen, who is an AMG.
This process is time consuming but is totally worth it. You will be confident about your list, save money and will not spend the next 6 months worrying if your list was adequate.
USCE Ė yes it is very important. As you will see when you go through program websites, most have a fixed requirement of USCE. Try to get as much as you can. Through contacts, through friends, people at church, you family doctor, just anyone and everyone. Write e-mails requesting observerships, externships or research spots. I know for fact that these work. Most of the IMGís I met at interviews said they got into positions just by trying persistently. You have nothing to lose by asking for help. If things donít work out you will be back where you started, no harm done. But if someone agrees to help you, or introduces you to someone else, you will be leaping forward in your path to residency.
About paid Externships and observerships. I personally do not recommend these unless it is your last resort. If you do decide to use such services, please do so only after you talk to someone who has previously used that service. Do not trust online reviews and websites. They can be extremely deceiving. I speak from personal experience. I almost paid a company a ridiculous amount of money. Just before paying I finally managed to reach a senior from college who had used the same service. She spoke very poorly about the service and I luckily backed out before paying. Itís not just the fee you pay them, be prepared for travel expenses, accommodation and food etc. Do your research first.
I managed to get just 1 month shadowing experience at a county hospital through a friend of a friend of a friend. How you make use of your clinical experience is totally up to you. Through that short experience I got 2 awesome LORís that were waived. How do I know they were awesome?? I was told so at 1 of my interviews.
Personal statements - I think they are very important. Donít be fooled. A good personal statement takes time to prepare. Lots of time. Draft several rough samples, edit, re-write, ask someone else to read, re draft, etc ,etc. Just start early. It is one of the only things in your CV that is truly personal. It will make you stand out from everyone else. Hopefully, in a good way.
Iím not exactly sure who all read the PS, but during one of my interviews, the residency co-coordinator commented that my personal statement was very thoughtful and we spoke about the circumstances around it for a while before my interviews began. So donít underestimate the power of your personal statement. It can make or break your CV.
Apply on time. If you have a stellar CV, you may be able to afford applying late. If not, just apply at as soon as possible, but it can badly affect your application. September 15th 2013, was the official date that programs started receiving applications. I had almost all my invites before the end of September.
Keep organized. Interview slots fill up quickly. Keep a journal/ calendar. Note interviews, travel dates, flights, hotels etc. Things can get hectic and crazy quickly.
Interview day - Read about all the tips on interviews you can get your hands on. If you are an IMG, chances are you have never been to this type of interview before. Your cumulative years of study at medical school, all the time you spent studying for USMLE and then applying for residency, it all comes down to 15-30 minutes of interview time.
Dress appropriately. First impressions matter. Itís not about wearing branded suits or expensive clothes. It is about looking smart, neat and professional. Carry a portfolio bag/file. Ladies please leave the bulky handbags with junk in it at home or in your car. Avoid flashy jewelry, too much makeup, perfume and please donít chew gum (use mint). You do not want to be remembered as ďoh yes! That one with the obnoxious shirtĒ. Wear comfy shoes. You may be taken for a hospital tour. This may involve long brisk walks, climbing stairs or joining rounds. The last thing you want is aching feet or a broken heel.
Have multiple copies of your CV with you. Place it in a file/folder that looks presentable. You never know who might ask for it. At one interview, my interviewer walked in straight from rounds and he didnít bring his copy of candidate CVís. He apologized during the interview and asked me if I had a copy of my CV. I did. So just be prepared.
Do not waste time during interview talking about things irrelevant to your application. Yes, when asked if you watched the game last night, respond yes and talk about it for a minute or 2. But, donít make the mistake of spending the next 10 minutes discussing highlights of the game. Yes, it is fun. You can make the attending laugh. You share a common interest. But at the end of 15 minutes, you leave. What have you done to improve your chances of securing a residency spot?
Be Well Prepared. Know the program well. There is no other way to answer the question- why this program? Know your CV inside out. Be prepared to talk about each work/ volunteer experience/hobby in detail. Know current events. There is no other way to fill awkward silences when sitting in a room full of candidates. Remember you are always being watched. Cracking knuckles or staring at the floor is not the way to go.
Practice answering the frequently asked questions in a concise and relevant manner. A list of these commonly asked questions is available everywhere online. Try not to be boastful and at the same time ensure you let your interviewer know the strong points about you and your application. Learn to deviate the topic toward the things you wish to emphasize. Sometimes attendings may be unaware of an entire part of your CV because they have so much on their mind. For e.g.: you are doing research but it has not been brought up yet. How can you respectfully bring it up without being offensive? Question: How do you like our town? Have you been anywhere around the city? Answer: Yes, etc etc, but I have been spending more time at the hotel reading up for the research I am working on. Question: Oh! You are doing research? Answer: yes, etc etc.
You must learn to do this to get the most of out of interviews. Do not forget to answer the primary question that was asked first before trying to deviate! And donít talk for over a minute at a time. Itís a conversation. Not a monologue or a speech. But above all, be honest. They have done hundreds of interviews. They can spot a liar in an instant.
Write thoughtful Thank you emails. This can be frustrating, especially when you have so much going on. It is tempting to send the same prototypical email. ďThank you for your time. I look forward to blah blah...Ē Again, this is your chance to stand out. Write something that will make the interviewer remember you and feel you are genuinely interested and not just going through the motions of saying thanks.
Carry a journal and make note of the things you liked or disliked about the program. Make detailed notes and be honest. This is a huge help when itís time for Rank Order Lists. You tend to remember you last few interviews and the first ones seem fuzzy and you become unsure of which you liked better.
Phew! I guess thatís about it. Please feel free to ask me if you have specific questions. I will be happy to help. I havenít included specifics about hospitals and programs here because, I really donít think it would help much anyway. Each program is different and different people like/dislike different things about them. Also, I would like some amount of privacy.
Good luck to all and just keep persevering. It works!
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  #2  
Old 03-19-2014
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thank you! appreciate it cause i know it takes a lot of effort to sit and write lenghty experiences to help your fellow students... god bless!
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Quote:
Originally Posted by geo82 View Post
I so happy that I matched! Thank you all for your support and encouragement. I am posting my interview experience and tips. These are my personal opinions and things I feel would help aspiring match applicants.
Iím an IMG and I graduated in late 2010. Step 1 Ė 239, Step 2 Ė 240 and CS Ė Pass; all in first attempt. I had 1 month of shadowing experience. Do not need visa.
For those of you wondering if being an ďoldĒ graduate, or scores or visa will be a problem. It depends on where you are applying to. If youíre an old graduate, make sure there are no gaps in your CV where you have not been productive in the field of medicine.
I did not rely on any paid service to make my list of programs. I individually went to each program website, looked at their requirements and then decided whether or not to apply there. It also helps to look at the current and previous residents to know whether the program is IMG friendly or not. Donít be fooled by names. A resident with a foreign sounding name may well be a US citizen, who is an AMG.
This process is time consuming but is totally worth it. You will be confident about your list, save money and will not spend the next 6 months worrying if your list was adequate.
USCE Ė yes it is very important. As you will see when you go through program websites, most have a fixed requirement of USCE. Try to get as much as you can. Through contacts, through friends, people at church, you family doctor, just anyone and everyone. Write e-mails requesting observerships, externships or research spots. I know for fact that these work. Most of the IMGís I met at interviews said they got into positions just by trying persistently. You have nothing to lose by asking for help. If things donít work out you will be back where you started, no harm done. But if someone agrees to help you, or introduces you to someone else, you will be leaping forward in your path to residency.
About paid Externships and observerships. I personally do not recommend these unless it is your last resort. If you do decide to use such services, please do so only after you talk to someone who has previously used that service. Do not trust online reviews and websites. They can be extremely deceiving. I speak from personal experience. I almost paid a company a ridiculous amount of money. Just before paying I finally managed to reach a senior from college who had used the same service. She spoke very poorly about the service and I luckily backed out before paying. Itís not just the fee you pay them, be prepared for travel expenses, accommodation and food etc. Do your research first.
I managed to get just 1 month shadowing experience at a county hospital through a friend of a friend of a friend. How you make use of your clinical experience is totally up to you. Through that short experience I got 2 awesome LORís that were waived. How do I know they were awesome?? I was told so at 1 of my interviews.
Personal statements - I think they are very important. Donít be fooled. A good personal statement takes time to prepare. Lots of time. Draft several rough samples, edit, re-write, ask someone else to read, re draft, etc ,etc. Just start early. It is one of the only things in your CV that is truly personal. It will make you stand out from everyone else. Hopefully, in a good way.
Iím not exactly sure who all read the PS, but during one of my interviews, the residency co-coordinator commented that my personal statement was very thoughtful and we spoke about the circumstances around it for a while before my interviews began. So donít underestimate the power of your personal statement. It can make or break your CV.
Apply on time. If you have a stellar CV, you may be able to afford applying late. If not, just apply at as soon as possible, but it can badly affect your application. September 15th 2013, was the official date that programs started receiving applications. I had almost all my invites before the end of September.
Keep organized. Interview slots fill up quickly. Keep a journal/ calendar. Note interviews, travel dates, flights, hotels etc. Things can get hectic and crazy quickly.
Interview day - Read about all the tips on interviews you can get your hands on. If you are an IMG, chances are you have never been to this type of interview before. Your cumulative years of study at medical school, all the time you spent studying for USMLE and then applying for residency, it all comes down to 15-30 minutes of interview time.
Dress appropriately. First impressions matter. Itís not about wearing branded suits or expensive clothes. It is about looking smart, neat and professional. Carry a portfolio bag/file. Ladies please leave the bulky handbags with junk in it at home or in your car. Avoid flashy jewelry, too much makeup, perfume and please donít chew gum (use mint). You do not want to be remembered as ďoh yes! That one with the obnoxious shirtĒ. Wear comfy shoes. You may be taken for a hospital tour. This may involve long brisk walks, climbing stairs or joining rounds. The last thing you want is aching feet or a broken heel.
Have multiple copies of your CV with you. Place it in a file/folder that looks presentable. You never know who might ask for it. At one interview, my interviewer walked in straight from rounds and he didnít bring his copy of candidate CVís. He apologized during the interview and asked me if I had a copy of my CV. I did. So just be prepared.
Do not waste time during interview talking about things irrelevant to your application. Yes, when asked if you watched the game last night, respond yes and talk about it for a minute or 2. But, donít make the mistake of spending the next 10 minutes discussing highlights of the game. Yes, it is fun. You can make the attending laugh. You share a common interest. But at the end of 15 minutes, you leave. What have you done to improve your chances of securing a residency spot?
Be Well Prepared. Know the program well. There is no other way to answer the question- why this program? Know your CV inside out. Be prepared to talk about each work/ volunteer experience/hobby in detail. Know current events. There is no other way to fill awkward silences when sitting in a room full of candidates. Remember you are always being watched. Cracking knuckles or staring at the floor is not the way to go.
Practice answering the frequently asked questions in a concise and relevant manner. A list of these commonly asked questions is available everywhere online. Try not to be boastful and at the same time ensure you let your interviewer know the strong points about you and your application. Learn to deviate the topic toward the things you wish to emphasize. Sometimes attendings may be unaware of an entire part of your CV because they have so much on their mind. For e.g.: you are doing research but it has not been brought up yet. How can you respectfully bring it up without being offensive? Question: How do you like our town? Have you been anywhere around the city? Answer: Yes, etc etc, but I have been spending more time at the hotel reading up for the research I am working on. Question: Oh! You are doing research? Answer: yes, etc etc.
You must learn to do this to get the most of out of interviews. Do not forget to answer the primary question that was asked first before trying to deviate! And donít talk for over a minute at a time. Itís a conversation. Not a monologue or a speech. But above all, be honest. They have done hundreds of interviews. They can spot a liar in an instant.
Write thoughtful Thank you emails. This can be frustrating, especially when you have so much going on. It is tempting to send the same prototypical email. ďThank you for your time. I look forward to blah blah...Ē Again, this is your chance to stand out. Write something that will make the interviewer remember you and feel you are genuinely interested and not just going through the motions of saying thanks.
Carry a journal and make note of the things you liked or disliked about the program. Make detailed notes and be honest. This is a huge help when itís time for Rank Order Lists. You tend to remember you last few interviews and the first ones seem fuzzy and you become unsure of which you liked better.
Phew! I guess thatís about it. Please feel free to ask me if you have specific questions. I will be happy to help. I havenít included specifics about hospitals and programs here because, I really donít think it would help much anyway. Each program is different and different people like/dislike different things about them. Also, I would like some amount of privacy.
Good luck to all and just keep persevering. It works!
That was one good piece of advice..Thanks a lot!!
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  #4  
Old 03-21-2014
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Default The wait is over!

I matched at my 2nd choice.. very happy.
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  #5  
Old 03-21-2014
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Congratulations and thank you so much for taking your time and wrote all these recommendations for us (who going to apply in next 2015)

God bless you!!
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  #6  
Old 03-21-2014
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Thank you very much for the detailed experience.
We will benefit a lot from it !
Quote:
Originally Posted by geo82 View Post
I so happy that I matched! Thank you all for your support and encouragement. I am posting my interview experience and tips. These are my personal opinions and things I feel would help aspiring match applicants.
Iím an IMG and I graduated in late 2010. Step 1 Ė 239, Step 2 Ė 240 and CS Ė Pass; all in first attempt. I had 1 month of shadowing experience. Do not need visa.
For those of you wondering if being an ďoldĒ graduate, or scores or visa will be a problem. It depends on where you are applying to. If youíre an old graduate, make sure there are no gaps in your CV where you have not been productive in the field of medicine.
I did not rely on any paid service to make my list of programs. I individually went to each program website, looked at their requirements and then decided whether or not to apply there. It also helps to look at the current and previous residents to know whether the program is IMG friendly or not. Donít be fooled by names. A resident with a foreign sounding name may well be a US citizen, who is an AMG.
This process is time consuming but is totally worth it. You will be confident about your list, save money and will not spend the next 6 months worrying if your list was adequate.
USCE Ė yes it is very important. As you will see when you go through program websites, most have a fixed requirement of USCE. Try to get as much as you can. Through contacts, through friends, people at church, you family doctor, just anyone and everyone. Write e-mails requesting observerships, externships or research spots. I know for fact that these work. Most of the IMGís I met at interviews said they got into positions just by trying persistently. You have nothing to lose by asking for help. If things donít work out you will be back where you started, no harm done. But if someone agrees to help you, or introduces you to someone else, you will be leaping forward in your path to residency.
About paid Externships and observerships. I personally do not recommend these unless it is your last resort. If you do decide to use such services, please do so only after you talk to someone who has previously used that service. Do not trust online reviews and websites. They can be extremely deceiving. I speak from personal experience. I almost paid a company a ridiculous amount of money. Just before paying I finally managed to reach a senior from college who had used the same service. She spoke very poorly about the service and I luckily backed out before paying. Itís not just the fee you pay them, be prepared for travel expenses, accommodation and food etc. Do your research first.
I managed to get just 1 month shadowing experience at a county hospital through a friend of a friend of a friend. How you make use of your clinical experience is totally up to you. Through that short experience I got 2 awesome LORís that were waived. How do I know they were awesome?? I was told so at 1 of my interviews.
Personal statements - I think they are very important. Donít be fooled. A good personal statement takes time to prepare. Lots of time. Draft several rough samples, edit, re-write, ask someone else to read, re draft, etc ,etc. Just start early. It is one of the only things in your CV that is truly personal. It will make you stand out from everyone else. Hopefully, in a good way.
Iím not exactly sure who all read the PS, but during one of my interviews, the residency co-coordinator commented that my personal statement was very thoughtful and we spoke about the circumstances around it for a while before my interviews began. So donít underestimate the power of your personal statement. It can make or break your CV.
Apply on time. If you have a stellar CV, you may be able to afford applying late. If not, just apply at as soon as possible, but it can badly affect your application. September 15th 2013, was the official date that programs started receiving applications. I had almost all my invites before the end of September.
Keep organized. Interview slots fill up quickly. Keep a journal/ calendar. Note interviews, travel dates, flights, hotels etc. Things can get hectic and crazy quickly.
Interview day - Read about all the tips on interviews you can get your hands on. If you are an IMG, chances are you have never been to this type of interview before. Your cumulative years of study at medical school, all the time you spent studying for USMLE and then applying for residency, it all comes down to 15-30 minutes of interview time.
Dress appropriately. First impressions matter. Itís not about wearing branded suits or expensive clothes. It is about looking smart, neat and professional. Carry a portfolio bag/file. Ladies please leave the bulky handbags with junk in it at home or in your car. Avoid flashy jewelry, too much makeup, perfume and please donít chew gum (use mint). You do not want to be remembered as ďoh yes! That one with the obnoxious shirtĒ. Wear comfy shoes. You may be taken for a hospital tour. This may involve long brisk walks, climbing stairs or joining rounds. The last thing you want is aching feet or a broken heel.
Have multiple copies of your CV with you. Place it in a file/folder that looks presentable. You never know who might ask for it. At one interview, my interviewer walked in straight from rounds and he didnít bring his copy of candidate CVís. He apologized during the interview and asked me if I had a copy of my CV. I did. So just be prepared.
Do not waste time during interview talking about things irrelevant to your application. Yes, when asked if you watched the game last night, respond yes and talk about it for a minute or 2. But, donít make the mistake of spending the next 10 minutes discussing highlights of the game. Yes, it is fun. You can make the attending laugh. You share a common interest. But at the end of 15 minutes, you leave. What have you done to improve your chances of securing a residency spot?
Be Well Prepared. Know the program well. There is no other way to answer the question- why this program? Know your CV inside out. Be prepared to talk about each work/ volunteer experience/hobby in detail. Know current events. There is no other way to fill awkward silences when sitting in a room full of candidates. Remember you are always being watched. Cracking knuckles or staring at the floor is not the way to go.
Practice answering the frequently asked questions in a concise and relevant manner. A list of these commonly asked questions is available everywhere online. Try not to be boastful and at the same time ensure you let your interviewer know the strong points about you and your application. Learn to deviate the topic toward the things you wish to emphasize. Sometimes attendings may be unaware of an entire part of your CV because they have so much on their mind. For e.g.: you are doing research but it has not been brought up yet. How can you respectfully bring it up without being offensive? Question: How do you like our town? Have you been anywhere around the city? Answer: Yes, etc etc, but I have been spending more time at the hotel reading up for the research I am working on. Question: Oh! You are doing research? Answer: yes, etc etc.
You must learn to do this to get the most of out of interviews. Do not forget to answer the primary question that was asked first before trying to deviate! And donít talk for over a minute at a time. Itís a conversation. Not a monologue or a speech. But above all, be honest. They have done hundreds of interviews. They can spot a liar in an instant.
Write thoughtful Thank you emails. This can be frustrating, especially when you have so much going on. It is tempting to send the same prototypical email. ďThank you for your time. I look forward to blah blah...Ē Again, this is your chance to stand out. Write something that will make the interviewer remember you and feel you are genuinely interested and not just going through the motions of saying thanks.
Carry a journal and make note of the things you liked or disliked about the program. Make detailed notes and be honest. This is a huge help when itís time for Rank Order Lists. You tend to remember you last few interviews and the first ones seem fuzzy and you become unsure of which you liked better.
Phew! I guess thatís about it. Please feel free to ask me if you have specific questions. I will be happy to help. I havenít included specifics about hospitals and programs here because, I really donít think it would help much anyway. Each program is different and different people like/dislike different things about them. Also, I would like some amount of privacy.
Good luck to all and just keep persevering. It works!
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  #7  
Old 03-21-2014
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Thank you !!!!
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Knowing trees, I understand the meaning of Patience.
Knowing grass, I can appreciate Persistence.
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  #8  
Old 03-22-2014
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Originally Posted by abeer View Post
Thank you !!!!

My friend are you from Georgia (country)? I want to apply to pediatrics and your experience would be very helpful for me if i could get in touch with you personally.
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  #9  
Old 03-22-2014
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My friend are you from Georgia (country)? I want to apply to pediatrics and your experience would be very helpful for me if i could get in touch with you personally.
No, I am not. If you have any specific questions I would be happy to help through this forum.
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  #10  
Old 03-23-2014
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Quote:
Originally Posted by geo82 View Post
No, I am not. If you have any specific questions I would be happy to help through this forum.
Hey congratulations on your success. How did you practice IV question? Can you suggest any book or advice related to that? I think IV is my weak point of the entire application. Can you give any advice on how to approach questions?
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Hey congratulations on your success. How did you practice IV question? Can you suggest any book or advice related to that? I think IV is my weak point of the entire application. Can you give any advice on how to approach questions?

I used "Why Medicine?" by Sujay Kansagra, M.D. It was given to me by a friend. I know there are several books out there that help prepare for interviews, but I cannot give you a fair opinion as I have just used this one.

The book just lists 500 questions you may be asked during a residency interview. I liked the fact that the book covers questions in sections; like question about "you", questions about your application, questions about your academics etc.

The book does not however give you any answers to any of these questions. You have to figure out what you wish to answer on your own.

While some of the questions in the book are frequently asked, others may seem quite absurd . Personally I think you should be prepared to answer absurd questions. It is not so much about the answer, but how you react to the question that matters.

Just thinking about how you would answer such a question in advance will help you a lot when its time for the actual interview.

I marked the questions I thought I needed to practice and scribbled some points in the book. During my actual interview I used those points to answer 90% of questions. It is only for first 1-2 interviews that you need think about your answers. After that it becomes easier and you sort of know how to tailor your answer towards what they are looking for in a candidate.

Also I want to add that it is crucial you are prepared to present a case. I had prepared 3 cases in advance. At 1 interview I was asked to present an interesting case I had seen during my clinics. Phew! I was so glad I had practiced presenting cases! And don't forget to know how that patient was further managed and treated.

For any question about experiences- good or bad - be prepared for the next most likely question - what did you learn from that experience

Keep all answers relevant, short and to the point. They are trying to hire a good doctor, whatever your hobbies/achievements are, try to direct them in such a way that it shows you are a better candidate than others.

" I like playing soccer, I think it requires the same amount of team work and dedication as being a good doctor does..blah blah. "

well, maybe not exactly those words , but you get the point right?

Don't overdo it though- you don't want to sound arrogant or worse rehersed!

I hope this helps you, Good Luck .
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I used "Why Medicine?" by Sujay Kansagra, M.D. It was given to me by a friend. I know there are several books out there that help prepare for interviews, but I cannot give you a fair opinion as I have just used this one.

The book just lists 500 questions you may be asked during a residency interview. I liked the fact that the book covers questions in sections; like question about "you", questions about your application, questions about your academics etc.

The book does not however give you any answers to any of these questions. You have to figure out what you wish to answer on your own.

While some of the questions in the book are frequently asked, others may seem quite absurd . Personally I think you should be prepared to answer absurd questions. It is not so much about the answer, but how you react to the question that matters.

Just thinking about how you would answer such a question in advance will help you a lot when its time for the actual interview.

I marked the questions I thought I needed to practice and scribbled some points in the book. During my actual interview I used those points to answer 90% of questions. It is only for first 1-2 interviews that you need think about your answers. After that it becomes easier and you sort of know how to tailor your answer towards what they are looking for in a candidate.

Also I want to add that it is crucial you are prepared to present a case. I had prepared 3 cases in advance. At 1 interview I was asked to present an interesting case I had seen during my clinics. Phew! I was so glad I had practiced presenting cases! And don't forget to know how that patient was further managed and treated.

For any question about experiences- good or bad - be prepared for the next most likely question - what did you learn from that experience

Keep all answers relevant, short and to the point. They are trying to hire a good doctor, whatever your hobbies/achievements are, try to direct them in such a way that it shows you are a better candidate than others.

" I like playing soccer, I think it requires the same amount of team work and dedication as being a good doctor does..blah blah. "

well, maybe not exactly those words , but you get the point right?

Don't overdo it though- you don't want to sound arrogant or worse rehersed!

I hope this helps you, Good Luck .
Thank you so much for taking your time to reply! I will surely check out the book that you mentioned. As for case presentations, do you present like them you would during rounds?
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As for case presentations, do you present like them you would during rounds?
Yes, in the right format, brief and to the point. Avoid using any personal information of the patient, like name.

Just say "When I was doing my IM rotations, I had a patient, a 25 year old male who presented with... etc,etc.."
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Congratulation and thank you for sharing your experience with us...I would be really grateful if you could tell us if you had any research experience, publications...thank you in advance...
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Could not have said it better myself!

Very informative and very true!
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Once ecfmg certified, do we need to carry our original certificates where ever we go......
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Congratulation and thank you for sharing your experience with us...I would be really grateful if you could tell us if you had any research experience, publications...thank you in advance...

No, I have no research experience or publications.

I was asked about this during an interview. I replyed that I have no such expereince yet. My main interest is primary care. During the course of my training, if I get the opportunity, I would be excited at the prospect of joining an ongoing research project that I find interesting.

I know I said something like that.. not exactly those words but I was not asked anything further..
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Once ecfmg certified, do we need to carry our original certificates where ever we go......
It depends on the program. Usually, if they want to see your documents they will tell you so in the interview confirmation email.

Some programs I went to needed no ducuments, while others specifically asked for original Diploma, Visa proof, etc.

If in doubt just email/call the residency coordinator. Better not to carry originals around when travelling unless absolutely necessary!
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thank you Geo82 for your detailed responses!

I would like to ask, whats with this CONTACTS angle ive been hearing so much about. People tell me candidates with good CVs may not match but candidates with contacts do. Can you please elaborate and share your personal experience regarding having or not having Contacts for the Match?
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thank you Geo82 for your detailed responses!

I would like to ask, whats with this CONTACTS angle ive been hearing so much about. People tell me candidates with good CVs may not match but candidates with contacts do. Can you please elaborate and share your personal experience regarding having or not having Contacts for the Match?
I would say contacts are definitely important. I had no contacts in Pediatrics that could help me with my match. All I had were 2 seniors who finished residency in IM couple years ago. They guided me on whole application process and exams as best they could.

As to why contacts can help - Lets say you get cut out a program interview selection filter (for example- a program that does not take candidates who graduated more than 5 years ago).

If you have no contacts you will not hear from that program ever again. If you have a good contact, they can manage to talk to program director or attending etc and somehow get you an interview.

Once you get an interview, the playing field is level. Now you are at par with all the other selected candidates. Now your residency solely depends on how much you can impress your interviewer.

Of course even if you have a good contact, if you are poor at communication or your CV is not as good as the other interview candidates at the program you will still not get a residency spot.

I think the reason why everyone says contacts are important is because sometimes a person with 250 + on all steps, research, publications etc might get 1 interview. And someone with 210, and average CV but 1 good contact will also get 1 interview. It seems unfair. And hence the mantra contacts, contacts, contacts!

I hope this helps you
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I am really glad i hear that about research...I want to have patients, give treatments....I would do research only if i had to...most of the US candidates don't have publications...it is just a step for IMG...I hope I will get high scores and not need to have research....
Thank you very muh for your information, they are priceless...
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Geo 82,

Thank you so much for sharing your experience thoroughly. Indeed, its very helpful for aspiring candidates.
question please, am a 2010 graduate and I hear peds programs, unlike med, commonly have this grad cut off! From your experience am I a too old grad for peds (ill apply the coming match)

If I may ask, how many programs you applied to and how many IV you got?

Again, thanks for spending the time to do this.

All the best.
God bless.
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Thanks for the help. All the best in your future career.
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Geo 82,

If I may ask, how many programs you applied to and how many IV you got?

Again, thanks for spending the time to do this.

All the best.
God bless.

I applied to around 100 programs. I got 12 interviews.

Don't go by numbers. Some who get 20 interviews don't match, and some match with just 1.

Good Luck !
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I so happy that I matched! Thank you all for your support and encouragement. I am posting my interview experience and tips. These are my personal opinions and things I feel would help aspiring match applicants.
Iím an IMG and I graduated in late 2010. Step 1 Ė 239, Step 2 Ė 240 and CS Ė Pass; all in first attempt. I had 1 month of shadowing experience. Do not need visa.
For those of you wondering if being an ďoldĒ graduate, or scores or visa will be a problem. It depends on where you are applying to. If youíre an old graduate, make sure there are no gaps in your CV where you have not been productive in the field of medicine.
I did not rely on any paid service to make my list of programs. I individually went to each program website, looked at their requirements and then decided whether or not to apply there. It also helps to look at the current and previous residents to know whether the program is IMG friendly or not. Donít be fooled by names. A resident with a foreign sounding name may well be a US citizen, who is an AMG.
This process is time consuming but is totally worth it. You will be confident about your list, save money and will not spend the next 6 months worrying if your list was adequate.
USCE Ė yes it is very important. As you will see when you go through program websites, most have a fixed requirement of USCE. Try to get as much as you can. Through contacts, through friends, people at church, you family doctor, just anyone and everyone. Write e-mails requesting observerships, externships or research spots. I know for fact that these work. Most of the IMGís I met at interviews said they got into positions just by trying persistently. You have nothing to lose by asking for help. If things donít work out you will be back where you started, no harm done. But if someone agrees to help you, or introduces you to someone else, you will be leaping forward in your path to residency.
About paid Externships and observerships. I personally do not recommend these unless it is your last resort. If you do decide to use such services, please do so only after you talk to someone who has previously used that service. Do not trust online reviews and websites. They can be extremely deceiving. I speak from personal experience. I almost paid a company a ridiculous amount of money. Just before paying I finally managed to reach a senior from college who had used the same service. She spoke very poorly about the service and I luckily backed out before paying. Itís not just the fee you pay them, be prepared for travel expenses, accommodation and food etc. Do your research first.
I managed to get just 1 month shadowing experience at a county hospital through a friend of a friend of a friend. How you make use of your clinical experience is totally up to you. Through that short experience I got 2 awesome LORís that were waived. How do I know they were awesome?? I was told so at 1 of my interviews.
Personal statements - I think they are very important. Donít be fooled. A good personal statement takes time to prepare. Lots of time. Draft several rough samples, edit, re-write, ask someone else to read, re draft, etc ,etc. Just start early. It is one of the only things in your CV that is truly personal. It will make you stand out from everyone else. Hopefully, in a good way.
Iím not exactly sure who all read the PS, but during one of my interviews, the residency co-coordinator commented that my personal statement was very thoughtful and we spoke about the circumstances around it for a while before my interviews began. So donít underestimate the power of your personal statement. It can make or break your CV.
Apply on time. If you have a stellar CV, you may be able to afford applying late. If not, just apply at as soon as possible, but it can badly affect your application. September 15th 2013, was the official date that programs started receiving applications. I had almost all my invites before the end of September.
Keep organized. Interview slots fill up quickly. Keep a journal/ calendar. Note interviews, travel dates, flights, hotels etc. Things can get hectic and crazy quickly.
Interview day - Read about all the tips on interviews you can get your hands on. If you are an IMG, chances are you have never been to this type of interview before. Your cumulative years of study at medical school, all the time you spent studying for USMLE and then applying for residency, it all comes down to 15-30 minutes of interview time.
Dress appropriately. First impressions matter. Itís not about wearing branded suits or expensive clothes. It is about looking smart, neat and professional. Carry a portfolio bag/file. Ladies please leave the bulky handbags with junk in it at home or in your car. Avoid flashy jewelry, too much makeup, perfume and please donít chew gum (use mint). You do not want to be remembered as ďoh yes! That one with the obnoxious shirtĒ. Wear comfy shoes. You may be taken for a hospital tour. This may involve long brisk walks, climbing stairs or joining rounds. The last thing you want is aching feet or a broken heel.
Have multiple copies of your CV with you. Place it in a file/folder that looks presentable. You never know who might ask for it. At one interview, my interviewer walked in straight from rounds and he didnít bring his copy of candidate CVís. He apologized during the interview and asked me if I had a copy of my CV. I did. So just be prepared.
Do not waste time during interview talking about things irrelevant to your application. Yes, when asked if you watched the game last night, respond yes and talk about it for a minute or 2. But, donít make the mistake of spending the next 10 minutes discussing highlights of the game. Yes, it is fun. You can make the attending laugh. You share a common interest. But at the end of 15 minutes, you leave. What have you done to improve your chances of securing a residency spot?
Be Well Prepared. Know the program well. There is no other way to answer the question- why this program? Know your CV inside out. Be prepared to talk about each work/ volunteer experience/hobby in detail. Know current events. There is no other way to fill awkward silences when sitting in a room full of candidates. Remember you are always being watched. Cracking knuckles or staring at the floor is not the way to go.
Practice answering the frequently asked questions in a concise and relevant manner. A list of these commonly asked questions is available everywhere online. Try not to be boastful and at the same time ensure you let your interviewer know the strong points about you and your application. Learn to deviate the topic toward the things you wish to emphasize. Sometimes attendings may be unaware of an entire part of your CV because they have so much on their mind. For e.g.: you are doing research but it has not been brought up yet. How can you respectfully bring it up without being offensive? Question: How do you like our town? Have you been anywhere around the city? Answer: Yes, etc etc, but I have been spending more time at the hotel reading up for the research I am working on. Question: Oh! You are doing research? Answer: yes, etc etc.
You must learn to do this to get the most of out of interviews. Do not forget to answer the primary question that was asked first before trying to deviate! And donít talk for over a minute at a time. Itís a conversation. Not a monologue or a speech. But above all, be honest. They have done hundreds of interviews. They can spot a liar in an instant.
Write thoughtful Thank you emails. This can be frustrating, especially when you have so much going on. It is tempting to send the same prototypical email. ďThank you for your time. I look forward to blah blah...Ē Again, this is your chance to stand out. Write something that will make the interviewer remember you and feel you are genuinely interested and not just going through the motions of saying thanks.
Carry a journal and make note of the things you liked or disliked about the program. Make detailed notes and be honest. This is a huge help when itís time for Rank Order Lists. You tend to remember you last few interviews and the first ones seem fuzzy and you become unsure of which you liked better.
Phew! I guess thatís about it. Please feel free to ask me if you have specific questions. I will be happy to help. I havenít included specifics about hospitals and programs here because, I really donít think it would help much anyway. Each program is different and different people like/dislike different things about them. Also, I would like some amount of privacy.
Good luck to all and just keep persevering. It works!
Congratulations and thank you so much for taking your time and elaborating things in detail for us.i have a question please if u can answer that if an IMG US citizen step1 pass step 2 pas cs pass apply for 2015 match without USCE or only one LOR and did not match is it bad to be applying for the next match a second time???or not applying for 2015 but apply next year with step3 and a lot of USCE ? please i need a good answer for this situation i have this doubt in my mind wether it affect my chances of getting into residency with premature attempt for the first time and becoming a second attempt candidate for next year match? which scenario is bad? 2011 graduate
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Congratulations and thank you so much for taking your time and elaborating things in detail for us.i have a question please if u can answer that if an IMG US citizen step1 pass step 2 pas cs pass apply for 2015 match without USCE or only one LOR and did not match is it bad to be applying for the next match a second time???or not applying for 2015 but apply next year with step3 and a lot of USCE ? please i need a good answer for this situation i have this doubt in my mind wether it affect my chances of getting into residency with premature attempt for the first time and becoming a second attempt candidate for next year match? which scenario is bad? 2011 graduate
Before I answer this, you should know that each person's situation is different and what works for one person may not work for all.

Here is my opinion:

You have no visa issues.

If you have good scores for all exams + at least 1 month USCE ( and 1 good US LOR amongst your other LORs) + ECFMG certified by September 15th = Apply 2015.

If poor score/scores or NO US clinical experience or gaps in CV since graduation in 2011 or unable to apply by September = Apply 2016 .
(With Step 3, USCE/ research etc etc to boost your chances.)

I am not an expert. I just went through this process once and I hope others who have been through the same will contribute their opinions as well.

Good Luck!
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Old 04-18-2014
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I matched at my 2nd choice.. very happy.
Thanks geo82 for this valuable post. Congratulations for being matched
Did you apply to 100 programs for one speciality only? If I plan to apply in 2/3 specialities, do I need to have 3 LORs for each speciality?
Did you upload non-US LORs as well?
Best wishes for the future
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Thanks geo82 for this valuable post. Congratulations for being matched
Did you apply to 100 programs for one speciality only? If I plan to apply in 2/3 specialities, do I need to have 3 LORs for each speciality?
Did you upload non-US LORs as well?
Best wishes for the future

Hi drglo,

Thanks for your wishes.

I applied only to peds. Yes, I think it is best if you have at least 3 LORs that are specific to each speciality. Residency is very competitive and applying to IM with a Peds LOR will not look good at all.

Rather than apply widely with poor CV, apply wisely with a strong speciality specific cv.

Good Luck.
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Old 05-02-2014
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[QUOTE=drglo;308449] Did you upload non-US LORs as well?

Yes, I did use 2 non US LOR's. One was from my med school Head of Peds and other was a waived letter from a senior doctor.
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Old 05-24-2014
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Im rereading your post and it is really very helpful.
Can you tell me more please about searching the programs.
throught Freida searching all possible Pediatric residency programs then you mail them asking: if they are IMG friendly? like asking how many percent of IMG physicians they have?
Ask about their minimum requirements?
if they demand y to have USCE?
YOG cutoff?
what else can i ask them and mail them about
thank you again.

and one more question please, can y give some helpful hints how to start doing this hard really hard process of Personal Statement writing
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Old 05-24-2014
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Thank you for sharing.
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Thanks for sharing!
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