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  #1  
Old 11-04-2010
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Indonesia IMG from Indonesia (timeline for match 2012, is it realistic ?)

Hi guys,
This is officially my first post and thread. I am an IMG from Indonesia, graduated 2 years ago. Pursuing residency training in US has been playing in my head since my 2nd year at med school but I never had the commitment to prepare for it. Some of my friends gave the Step 1 exam after finishing the preclinical years (after 3rd year in my country) but I just didn't have the gut to nail it, too bad huh. Well it's never too late rite.

Presently I am working as pediatric intern (equal to PGY-1 in US). I am lucky to get accepted in this residency program as it's a very competitive program (one of top 5 specialty) here in Indonesia (unlike in US). But until recently I feel something lost in this program, I just didn't get what I expect so far. I decided to leave the program (I know it sounds stupid ya !!!) Hoping that I will get a residency spot in US...what a risky move !!!! But I just wanna do something that I really want....and taking residency in US is one of my biggest dream...

Ok enough with the introduction lol...back to the main bussiness here...
I am planning to participate in Match 2012. My ultimate goal is to clear all the exam before the 1 st of September. So here is my study and exam timeline :
Nov 2010 - March 2011 : preparing for step 1
Early April 2011 : take the step 1 exam
April 2011 - June 2011 : preparing dor step 2
End of June : take the step 2CK exam
July-August : externship/observership while preparing for CS (4-8 weeks)
End of August : take the step 2 CS

With this timeline, I do realize that I won't get my step 2 CS score before the end of October but I can't figure out any other studyplan to get maximum benefit of taking USCE for my step 2 CS exam.

Based on this timeline, consider that I pass all the exam in 1st attempt and get 90+ hehehe hope so...., do you think It won't affect my chance of getting interview since I won't have my CS result until the end of october. I need your suggestion guys or probably you have better alternative for me. I do appreciate it

Btw I will take Kaplan prep course (live + center prep) next month but still don't know where to attend. Any suggestion for me ? A city which is IMG friendly lol, cheaper living cost, and has lots of access / opportunity to nearby hospitals / clinic which offer externship/observership...hmm any idea ???
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Old 11-04-2010
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Your best bet is to have a look at this form on this site.

Externships Observerships Clerkships Forum

that could answer some of your questions.

Taking the Kaplan course is good, if you've been out of the study mode for awhile.

There is kaplan videos and you can download or buy the kaplan books and study on your own. (check around the internet for these)

Kaplan course will run you about 5000 dollars USA, plus meals. If you are not a USA resident then you might need a visa to do this.
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Old 11-04-2010
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Once you do Kaplan you'll have an understanding of where you're missing stuff in your knowledge / preparation. Definitely use First Aid as a guide and start using qbanks already. 3 months per exam is short but if your concepts are clear its do-able.
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Idea! One suggestion

Quote:
Originally Posted by harlesmd View Post
Hi guys,
This is officially my first post and thread. ......
Hi harlesmd,

Welcome to USMLE Forums.

Your plan seems doable.

I just have one suggestion for you; Take the CS exam before you do the July-August clinicals. This way you'll get the results before September 1st, 2011.
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Thumbs Up agree with lee-usmle

i agree with lee-usmle. since u are a pediatrics resident already, i dont think nailing cs will be difficult for u, as it tests clinical skills.. for people who are working in a hospital,, the preparation time can be as less as 15 days!.. so u can take ur cs exam before ur externships.. ul have a higer chance at the match. all the best
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Old 11-04-2010
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hi harlesmd,
i might not the best person to say anything about this, but since i did kaplan and i am from id, i feel compelled to say something.
i read that you quit your pediatric residency recently. what a bold move!=)
if you're going to study full time, you are a hard-worker, self-motivated, discipline, and can GUARANTEED yourself some hours of HIGH QUALITY study (i.e focused, fully concentrated, no daydreaming/browsing/chatting email etc) everyday 6 days a week for some months, and able to get yourself all, up-to-date kaplan materials (notes and videos), spent enough time on qbank and usmleworld, FA +/- goljan, then i don't see any difference between you studying in kaplan center full time and studying yourself at home.
if you're going to enroll in kaplan center anyway, consider manila. living expenses there are much cheaper. manila has lots of MDs doing USMLEs as well, and many ended up in residency. so you can get your networking as well.
if you're going to be a H1 applicant later on, you need all the Steps done (including step 3), apply before your 5-years grad cut off passed, get 90+ scores, and some good quality USCEs/LoRs. H1 is very difficult and your resume must be shiny. those are just basic requirements and these days everybody has those so there's lots of X factors playing as well. if you think being in US will boost your chance through networking, getting used to the culture, get local connections etc, then by all means, do it. but keep strict to your deadline! if you're on F1, remember you have only 18 months (the time duration for your I20 from kaplan), while you will need time for applications and interviews later on, so put in into consideration.
chicago, houston, philadelphia, new york, they have indonesian consulates, and they are definitely IMG friendly.
if you're F1, you can't get california letter so you might consider building your network somewhere other than los angeles.
hope it helps. these are all i know so far.
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  #7  
Old 11-04-2010
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Unhappy sorry - wrong posting

sorry harlesmd, i should have post it under your other thread, the one asking about doing kaplan.
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Old 11-04-2010
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Peewee View Post
Your best bet is to have a look at this form on this site.

Externships Observerships Clerkships Forum

that could answer some of your questions.

Taking the Kaplan course is good, if you've been out of the study mode for awhile.

There is kaplan videos and you can download or buy the kaplan books and study on your own. (check around the internet for these)

Kaplan course will run you about 5000 dollars USA, plus meals. If you are not a USA resident then you might need a visa to do this.
Hei Pewee...thx for the link..
Yeah I do realize that, I've been considering taking this course for years, even last year I already got my visa and everything was set for this course, then I got accepted at residency position in my country. I know I waste one year but that's not that bad...I got lots of clinical skills and basic pediatric knowledge during my intern year.

I believe in myself, I know what I am doing, call me stupid or whatever...hehehe...I have faith this is what I really want to do...wish me luck ya...
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Originally Posted by ashishkabir View Post
Once you do Kaplan you'll have an understanding of where you're missing stuff in your knowledge / preparation. Definitely use First Aid as a guide and start using qbanks already. 3 months per exam is short but if your concepts are clear its do-able.
Hi Ashishkabir, thx for the suggestion....
With only 3-4 months for preparing step 1, how long do you recommend me to study per day ?
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Old 11-05-2010
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Originally Posted by harlesmd View Post
Hi Ashishkabir, thx for the suggestion....
With only 3-4 months for preparing step 1, how long do you recommend me to study per day ?
No problem - I'd say about 10-12 hours is good at this point - near the end you will automatically increase the time as you want to "just finish this one more thing" per day but try and schedule 10-12 hours as consistently as possible. if you are a normal human that may in reality become 3-5 hours of actual studying and the remaining time of going to random websites and getting distracted Still if you sit for 10 hours you'll absorb a lot.

Make sure you leave a realistic amount of break time in your schedule. Try and limit it to one day a week - not two but understand that that will happen.
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  #11  
Old 11-05-2010
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Originally Posted by lee-usmle View Post
Hi harlesmd,

Welcome to USMLE Forums.

Your plan seems doable.

I just have one suggestion for you; Take the CS exam before you do the July-August clinicals. This way you'll get the results before September 1st, 2011.
Hi lee-usmle,
Thx for ur suggestion, it sounds great....we'll see my progress in the next few months...hope can meet the deadline i
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I am those 3-5 hours types. I usually read 45-75min blocks. Then I will keep 15-45 min pause and do something else. I try to do 2-3 blocks per day. If I have day off then I try to do 4-6 this kind of sessions so 3-5 hours reading is my comfort zone. And you must little bit squeeze your comfort zone to have best effort.

I have 37-40h weeks in research and time to time I will do some clinical work to get little etra cash (as to have something when I start residency now am dreaming of). But I have chosen to 9 months preparing so it is like 8-12 hours if you would like to do it in three months.

And btw i have decided to pass pediatric residency here in Finland (which is quite top-rated residency here). I have done research in our program directors research group and he asked if i would like to do residency here, but when he heard that I am going to pursue to US he encouraged me to do so.
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Old 11-05-2010
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Quote:
Originally Posted by appu View Post
i agree with lee-usmle. since u are a pediatrics resident already, i dont think nailing cs will be difficult for u, as it tests clinical skills.. for people who are working in a hospital,, the preparation time can be as less as 15 days!.. so u can take ur cs exam before ur externships.. ul have a higer chance at the match. all the best
Well I do hope so Appu...worst case I will give my CS exam at the and of July so I will have 4 weeks solid to prepare for CS.
In this case I will only manage to do 4 weeks of externship before 1 st of Sept
Well...better than not at all.
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Quote:
Originally Posted by aoba View Post
hi harlesmd,
i might not the best person to say anything about this, but since i did kaplan and i am from id, i feel compelled to say something.
i read that you quit your pediatric residency recently. what a bold move!=)
if you're going to study full time, you are a hard-worker, self-motivated, discipline, and can GUARANTEED yourself some hours of HIGH QUALITY study (i.e focused, fully concentrated, no daydreaming/browsing/chatting email etc) everyday 6 days a week for some months, and able to get yourself all, up-to-date kaplan materials (notes and videos), spent enough time on qbank and usmleworld, FA +/- goljan, then i don't see any difference between you studying in kaplan center full time and studying yourself at home.
if you're going to enroll in kaplan center anyway, consider manila. living expenses there are much cheaper. manila has lots of MDs doing USMLEs as well, and many ended up in residency. so you can get your networking as well.
if you're going to be a H1 applicant later on, you need all the Steps done (including step 3), apply before your 5-years grad cut off passed, get 90+ scores, and some good quality USCEs/LoRs. H1 is very difficult and your resume must be shiny. those are just basic requirements and these days everybody has those so there's lots of X factors playing as well. if you think being in US will boost your chance through networking, getting used to the culture, get local connections etc, then by all means, do it. but keep strict to your deadline! if you're on F1, remember you have only 18 months (the time duration for your I20 from kaplan), while you will need time for applications and interviews later on, so put in into consideration.
chicago, houston, philadelphia, new york, they have indonesian consulates, and they are definitely IMG friendly.
if you're F1, you can't get california letter so you might consider building your network somewhere other than los angeles.
hope it helps. these are all i know so far.
Hi Aoba, you're from Indonesia ? From which school ?? I read ur profile that you graduated more than 6 yo ago so probably I won't know u LOL...
You have cleared all the steps rite, well congrats !!! I do hope you will get your residency spot soon.
Anyway thanks for the advice. Keeping myself focus on this exam has been my biggest problem so far. Why ?? So many distractions here ; your family, friends, works etc..etc...and I don't know how to get the latest resources for this exam. I've been following many forums, reading many posts on prep strategy,downloading many study plans and getting many inputs from fellow med graduates here. I am overwhelming by the bulk of materials need to be reviewed for this exam. The fact that I don't have a study partner in Jakarta who can remind me of my final goal or help me during the hardtime, really drives me to enroll with Kaplan. Somehow...I believe I can do it my self, I have friend who has cleared all the exam with self study and got triple 99. Well it's so amazing rite !!! But unfortunately she hasn't landed yet to any program. She tparticipated in Match 2 years in a row, applying to IM and FM, but only got 3 innterviews, and she didn't match to any of it. She returned home and now taking residency here in Indonesia. I learn a lot from this story that high score won't guaratee u to get a program here. I learn from her that USCE/LoR play a vital role in your application. I am thinking that taking Kaplan prep course in US will help me build network, and as you said, familiarize myself with the healthcare system, improve this "broken" english , and of course still aiming to ace the exam with triple 99.

Manila is a great place to prepare for usmle. But recently many Indonesian IMG relocate to New Zealand as it's an english-speaking country and the living cost is much better comparing to other developed contries. I am tempted to go there but like in Manila...you can start building network there.
Fortunately I have some relatives in California, LA and Loma Linda to be exact, but I concern about the regulation that physicians in CA can't give letters to IMG as it's against the law.Now...I'm getting really confuse. What the point of moving there if eventually I can't get any letter upon completion of my externship.The problem...I don't have any relatives in other states
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Old 11-06-2010
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hi harlesmd,
first of all, if you were a pediatri PPDS, i suggest you to check website of uni nebraska pediatric residency, there's a FKUI graduate doing PGY2 there if i remember correctly, maybe she can be your starting point for networking.

distraction and motivation can exists anywhere and there's no sure way to say that if you attend kaplan then you'll have no distraction and pure motivation how if you get homesick? then it will be GREAT distraction... =)

to overcome distraction, perhaps you can rent a room apart from your family or whatever your distraction is, and study. for motivation... well... there's no easy way... you can try get a skype study partner, fix a schedule, and then punish each other whenever one skip the schedule my biggest concern is, can you fulfill your three months target? if you can do that it's ok, being in kaplan will boost your perfomance. but if you "molor" (sorry i can't find better translation for it) then kaplan will be a pricey business.

speaking from the end-point of score alone, there's not much thing being-physically-in-kaplan can add if you already have all the materials at hand, provided you are still academically sharp and can absorb those materials on your own. and be SUPER DISCIPLINE.

but if still distraction is too big to handle, then yeah kaplan has lots of nice small white cubicles for you to immerse yourself for months until you don't want to see it anymore and just want to scream for fresh air... i wish they will paint it bright yellow/blue/green someday... any kaplan official out there reading this post? i know they will kill me since i owed my score to them but... going to US, paying kaplan, do nothing except study, it's a BIG money. i just hope that you make informed decision. kaplan is not a must. if you can do it on your own, do it. you will need your money later on for other things which you'll definitely need to be in US soil for that. you need to think for one year, two years after you finish your exams. how will you support yourself during that time? match is tricky, and even the best people might have to do it more than once.

as for networking, kaplan IS great. to find fellows-in-suffering? yes it IS great too. i won't deny those facts. to learn US culture? well, you need to be out there socializing with local people. kaplan is a pool of IMGs. you end up learn a lot about world culture but not US culture. will be fun though

i understand your concern about your friend who has triple 99s, didn't match, and had no network. if your main argument is networking, then well i will be neutral. if it's score... if you think you have the same capabilities with your 99 friend...
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Old 11-06-2010
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Originally Posted by harlesmd View Post


Fortunately I have some relatives in California, LA and Loma Linda to be exact, but I concern about the regulation that physicians in CA can't give letters to IMG as it's against the law.Now...I'm getting really confuse. What the point of moving there if eventually I can't get any letter upon completion of my externship.The problem...I don't have any relatives in other states
yeah that warning sucks.... advice : set your foot somewhere out of CA, if possible. chicago, new york. better networking, better USCE. you won't be able to get into CA programs anyway if you're F1, so why bother building network there? money of course is a source of concern (if you can save money by living with your relatives) but if it's not, then do consider other states.

actually i'm not sure about that.. is there a way to get cal letter by being F1? maybe should post a separate thread
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Old 11-06-2010
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hi harlesmd, .......if you think you have the same capabilities with your 99 friend...
Gosh....thx a lot for your input...
Yup...I am Pediatric Resident (PGY-1) from UI, better to communicate in private then...I've sent u message, please check ur inbox. Really need your help here....
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Old 11-17-2010
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my concern is not ur step 1..m actually thinking if only 1 month for step 2 is reasonable??
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Old 11-17-2010
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Default Hi Meka

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Originally Posted by meka View Post
my concern is not ur step 1..m actually thinking if only 1 month for step 2 is reasonable??
Thanks for stopping by at my thread. Actually I have revised my study plan since I will attend Kaplan Prep Course in Pasadena, yeah...finally I decided to attend it !!!

So here is my plan :
November-Early January (8 weeks) : first read of Kaplan Lecture Notes + DVD+Qbook, I will supplement it with other resources for some subjects eg. Goljan RR+audio and HY Neuroanatomy
Early January-End February (7 weeks) : attending Kaplan Live Lecture which will give me opportunity to review Kaplan Lecture Notes (second read), reinforcing my weak subjects
End February-Mid April : FA + Qbanks only (Kaplan and USMLE World) + NBME

I will dedicate 8-10 hours per day for studying

Mid April-Mid May : USMLE Step2 CS prep, give the exam by end of May

June-August : Kaplan Lecture Notes for Step 2 + Live Lecture (I havent decided yet how to struture it, but one thing for sure I wont spend less than 10 weeks to prep for step 2), plan to give the exam by end of August. I notice that I wont receive my step 2 score before end of September.

I will put effort to do some clinicals during my step 2 cs- ck exam prep, at least observership....
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