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


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  #1  
Old 06-05-2014
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Good day everyone! I am a fresh graduate from St. Luke's Medical Center (Class 2014) and me and my girlfriend are planning to take the USMLE. We are hoping to finish soon so that we can apply for ERAS on July 2015, apply to NRMP on September 2015 and get matched on March 2016, hopefully starting residency on July 2016. I have always loved neurosurgery while my girlfriend loves ophthalmology.

1. I know odds are against us with these programs so what I would like to ask is, what neurosurgery or ophthalmology programs are most IMG friendly? I have seen the stats so no need to bring me down. I just wanted some point of views from people who already tried applying or know the works behind these programs.

2. Do we need to take step 3? Or a J1 Visa is enough for residency? If we do need it, when is it advisable to take it.

3. Is our timeline ok?

Our Timeline
May to Jul 2014 - Review for PLE, register for ECFMG and USMLE
August 2014 - Philippines Licensure Exam
Sep to Dec 2014 - Review for USMLE
Jan 2015 - USMLE Step 1
Feb - Apr - Review for USMLE
May 2015 - USMLE Step 2 CK
Jun 2015 - Review for USMLE
Jul 2015 - USMLE Step 2 CS, ERAS Registration
Aug 2015- Observership
Sep 2015 - NRMP Registration
Oct to Dec 2015 - Observership/Interviews (hopefully!)
Jan 2016 - ROL Entry
Feb 2016 - Prayers!
Mar 2016 - Match Day!
Apr to Jun 2016 - Completion of Requirements
July 2016 - Start of Residency

Thank you in advance for your kind replies!
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Old 06-05-2014
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I think your plan is very good. You have allocated plenty of time to study for each of the steps. You don't need the 6-12 months of studying full time that others go through, since you just finishing medical school, which is really helpful when doing the USMLE steps.

As for matching in Neurosurgery: I am wanting to do that as well, and I was wondering if anyone else can share some opinions and thoughts about scores need and what needs to be done?

And yes, I agree with you in terms, there is no need for people to post comments putting people down. I have also looked at statistics and people from all over the world do match into neurosurgery every year. There are much lower number of spots available but there are some. If you put the work in, there is no reason why you can't get it.

Hope this helped,

All the best and let us know how things go.
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Old 06-05-2014
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Hahaha! That's not purely studying. I plan on moonlighting while studying so that I have money to spend when I'm in the US. But yeah, we allocated that much time so that we are most prepared and have a very high score. Thanks for your reply!
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Old 06-05-2014
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You plan to moonlight as a doctor? Without a license?

Use your spare time for research and observership.
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Old 06-05-2014
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@Baiken17:
-Your timeline looks good. I would make sure that you have everything in order for letters of recommendation (if you're planning to ask for them) to be sent quickly by your preceptor in order for you to be able to apply on time to residency programs.
-I'm not aware of IMG-friendly programs in those fields. You can register for FREIDA Online (database for ACGME-accredited residency programs) on the AMA site for free and search for IMG-friendly programs. I've written a couple of articles about matching at difficult programs and searching for IMG-friendly programs that may be helpful.
-My understanding is that you need to take Step 3 if you want to apply for a H1B visa. You don't need it for J1. What visa you go for depends on your ultimate goal after you finish residency (stay in the US vs going back to your home country). You can start by reading the ECFMG website about this. Remember that programs will need to do paperwork for your visa, so the earlier they know what they're in for, the better it may be. As visa requirements can change, I would double check everything yourself by going to the official websites.
-I moonlighted before my residency to save money. This was for me a great decision. I assume you're moonlighting in your home country, right?
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Old 06-05-2014
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BTW, there's a presentation on the ECFMG website about J1 vs H1B here. It is a little older but it has good explanations. Again, I would go and check the most current information yourself.

Good luck!
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Old 06-05-2014
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Quote:
Originally Posted by GamX View Post
You plan to moonlight as a doctor? Without a license?

Use your spare time for research and observership.
I'll be taking my board exam this August 2014, results come out in 3 working days and I'll be getting my license then.

Yes, I was planning to apply for observership while in the US (since I will be going there for step 2 CS). The problem is, do they accept medical graduates? As far as I know, institutions only accept "medical students" for "internship". Can you recommend any program that will accept neurosurgery observership and ophthalmology observership (for my girlfriend) for "medical graduates"?
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Old 06-05-2014
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Quote:
Originally Posted by StepsToResidency View Post
@Baiken17:
-Your timeline looks good. I would make sure that you have everything in order for letters of recommendation (if you're planning to ask for them) to be sent quickly by your preceptor in order for you to be able to apply on time to residency programs.
-I moonlighted before my residency to save money. This was for me a great decision. I assume you're moonlighting in your home country, right?
Yes sir! I plan on moonlighting here in the Philippines, after I got my license. As you can see in my timeline, after going in the US on July 2015 for Step 2 CS, we plan on staying there until Dec 2015 for observership and hopefully, interviews.

Is this a good idea? Any advice on what institutions accept medical graduates as observers? Of course in neurosurgery and ophthalmology.
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Old 06-05-2014
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In terms of whether or not that idea is a good one depends on a few factors:
-doing an observership from July to December may or may not be helpful in terms of getting interviews. What counts is July to August/Sept with regards to LORs. You will need LORs uploaded onto ERAS in time for you to apply for programs. Experience between Sept-Dec may benefit you and give you contacts, but it will not be helpful with regards to LORs.
-the quality of observership and where you do it is important. Length of observership can vary.
-you can search for observerships on the internet. For example, you can see http://chicago.medicine.uic.edu/depa.../observership/
-another avenue of getting US clinical experience is called "externship" which is more hands-on as clinical experience. This usually involves going through a paid company.
-other things to consider is to try and work on a publication (even a case report in a journal) and volunteer work in a relevant field.
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Last edited by StepsToResidency; 06-05-2014 at 11:45 AM. Reason: clarify
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