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  #1  
Old 02-03-2014
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Help USMLE: to go for or not to ??!!!

Hi there,
It might sound a little weird, but for me, right now, the most complicated decision is to start studying for USMLE or just stay at home country and take our national residency exams.

I would be sooo grateful if you comment on this thread and just tell me your own attitudes. Annnddd I know, at the end that IS my shot, not yours Happy

A little about myself : I have just been graduated. Have never thought about USMLE seriously, just want to take the journey. That is because here, in this country, the subject I loved to study ( gyn) is forbidden for males to go. So , I have apparently two ways: staying at home and study a specialty I am not so attracted to ( maybe Radiology, or Urology or ENT, I don't know, got no strings attached to them), or try hard and pass the burdens to become a gynie in the USA.

About the first way: it is definitely easier. I am familiar with the process, most of my friends are doing that. and that is not an impossible job for me, if I try hard and do my best I might be accepted in Uro or ENT ( maybe not Radio ); none of them really taste delicious to me, honestly @
The income of these specialties in the home country is good, but still I am residing in a third world country, albeit near my family !!

The second way: None of my near family members live in the US, I ve got literally no one there: some far relatives actually. The process is long( let's say taking 3 years for me) and money consuming ( which I rely on my father's). Every step toward USMLE steps is vague and cloudy for me, since I know only a few people around me have taken that path. I have got no VISA and so even after passing all the exams with flying scores I might face some " NO VISA AT ALL" problems; which can make everything gone ! but the good points are that I can become gynie there, which I die for ( well, don't want to close my eyes, there are chances I won't be matched for gyn at the end and so become for example family physician there ) and I can live in the US which is far much better than my home country for no doubts.

Now, It would be soooow nice of you if just let me know your point of view here,

Regards,
Evanescence_

Last edited by evanescence_; 02-03-2014 at 01:52 AM.
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  #2  
Old 02-03-2014
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just stay in your home country and do residency there only. it is much easier than usmle. usmle is very difficult so dont take risk if u are not complete ready
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  #3  
Old 02-03-2014
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Totally disagree! You have one life in which you can do everything you ever wanted to... Dont forget that. If your Dream is doing OBGyn you should try and go for it. You might regret your decision in a few years down the road, or you may not --- you will never know --- if you dont try.
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  #4  
Old 02-03-2014
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hey curaco, suppose his dream was to do radiology residency in usa and he is not getting radiology residency in home country. even then will u say that "You have one life in which you can do everything you ever wanted to... Dont forget that." ??
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  #5  
Old 02-03-2014
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dwijesh_sheth & Curacao ! Hahahh...you two are exactly the symbol of my two ways I have been stuck into !

thank you both,

@ dwijesh_sheth: well , that would be a completely different story ! Radiology sounds almost an irrational choice for an IMG. Gyn considers to be more IMG friendly. Although, it REALLY seems to be a hazy foggy way to go !

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Old 02-03-2014
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Well I can only speak for myself, I can purse anykind of residency here in my homecountry, but I am aiming for gen surg in the US. I couldnt imagine being stuck in a job I dont like for the rest of my life. Always aim high.
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  #7  
Old 02-03-2014
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Hello there well I the process of taking USMLE isnt very long if you put your time into it (1 year for the step 1 and 2 which are mandatory). Now wether you should pursue it or not depends on how much work are you willing to put into it.

This isnt an exam where you can just casually study and expect good results (this was the hardest thing for me to learn), also even if you do give it all you got failure is still an option. If you are willing to study 8 hours a day for 4-5 months then go ahead try but know that succes isnt guaranteed

My strategy (which is what I have planned too) is to apply to both (USA and my home country) but I dont know if thats an option to you.
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  #8  
Old 02-04-2014
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@evanescence_ thanks for asking this question, actually I'm having a same problem, It's really hard to decide, leaving your family and a good salary and live in a country that you have no one...
the good thing for me is that I still have 2-3 years of med school left, so I may have a lot of time to think
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Old 02-04-2014
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Evanescence and Sepehr,

I think that the question that you're asking about going for it vs staying in your home country is a question that everyone has wrestled with at at least one point on their journey.

As you said, the road to the U.S. is long and costly with no guarantees of getting into the specialty that you want. OBGYN I believe is not the easiest specialty to get into for IMG's. I don't want to discourage you, but if you have a look at the stats there were 1237 positions in the entire country in 2013, and 62 of the accepted residents were non-U.S. citizen IMG's ("NRMP" have put out data for this). So if you're a positive person, you can say yes it's very hard, but it can be done! You just need to try to be a real stand-out applicant with good scores, CV, etc.

If you broaden your view, you will find that some other specialties have a better acceptance rate for IMG's and hopefully they will be a good fit for you.

My own experience going to the States from Australia is that the training in U.S. has been great (I'm in a psychiatry program at a university hospital) and I like living in the states, but it definitely is a sacrifice being so far away from family and friends back at my home country.

I would really work out the pros/cons carefully for yourself, speaking with your mentors at home and with the people around you who know you best (which you both are probably doing already). and if you decide to go for it, then really put all your energy into it!

Good luck to both of you in making your decision.
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  #10  
Old 02-04-2014
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Sepehr View Post
@evanescence_ thanks for asking this question, actually I'm having a same problem, It's really hard to decide, leaving your family and a good salary and live in a country that you have no one...
the good thing for me is that I still have 2-3 years of med school left, so I may have a lot of time to think
Time Flies Sepehr jan, I did have complete 7 years to think, and after all, still haven't concluded yet.
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Old 02-04-2014
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Quote:
Originally Posted by StepsToResidency View Post
Evanescence and Sepehr,

I think that the question that you're asking about going for it vs staying in your home country is a question that everyone has wrestled with at at least one point on their journey.

As you said, the road to the U.S. is long and costly with no guarantees of getting into the specialty that you want. OBGYN I believe is not the easiest specialty to get into for IMG's. I don't want to discourage you, but if you have a look at the stats there were 1237 positions in the entire country in 2013, and 62 of the accepted residents were non-U.S. citizen IMG's ("NRMP" have put out data for this). So if you're a positive person, you can say yes it's very hard, but it can be done! You just need to try to be a real stand-out applicant with good scores, CV, etc.

If you broaden your view, you will find that some other specialties have a better acceptance rate for IMG's and hopefully they will be a good fit for you.

My own experience going to the States from Australia is that the training in U.S. has been great (I'm in a psychiatry program at a university hospital) and I like living in the states, but it definitely is a sacrifice being so far away from family and friends back at my home country.

I would really work out the pros/cons carefully for yourself, speaking with your mentors at home and with the people around you who know you best (which you both are probably doing already). and if you decide to go for it, then really put all your energy into it!

Good luck to both of you in making your decision.
Thank you VERY much. Actually it was exactly the thing I needed to be told. Your statistics sounds new to me, I have heard that approximately 1/4 of the residents are IMGs. Off course, you are talking about one specific year.

Hmmm, I don't think if I broaden my view, I will be satisfied doing a residency program ( other than Gyn) in the US, actually I think if it is not possible for me to become a Gynie, My home country would be more preferred. Well, that is the reason of my immigration

I am actually soOo interested in hearing your story; I mean your own story on these struggles during your journey. If it is possible for you to write it down, let me know.
Once again, thank you very much for sharing your views with me, it was helpful.
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  #12  
Old 02-05-2014
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Sure, you're welcome. And yes, the stats are from one year only and so I have no idea how it fluctuates each year in OBGYN. I don't want you to think too much about the data because I think you can easily get discouraged by it (but I think it's good to be realistic about it though, so that you have a general idea of what your exam goals are, etc). You can google "NRMP and ECFMG Charting Outcomes in the Match for International Medical Graduates " to get to the document if you want to see it for yourself too. Again, don't let it discourage you if you want to go for it!

A bit about my story. I worked in psychiatry in my home country for a few years (as well as emergency med as well). I decided to try to get a residency in the U.S. when I was an intern after doing my pros/cons. Although my biggest con was leaving my family in my home country, a pro for me was that I also had family ties in the U.S. as well.

Some of my challenges were:
-I had to study many hours when I was working many hours (this was definitely the most painful)! Not much time left over for living life during those years I studied.
-I had to say no to completing a psychiatry training program in my home country.
-My career timeline was delayed (I started again from internship in the U.S.) and the pay is much less during training compared to Australia
-And don't underestimate how difficult it can be to be so far away from your own family! Skype and Facetime is great, but it's still a challenge to be away from them.

But looking back, the time I spent preparing for the steps and working in my country helped my application too. The most important for me was that I had much more clinical experience than U.S. grads.

And I am now a happy resident.

I hope that helps.
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  #13  
Old 02-05-2014
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Sure, no problem. As you say, the stats are from one year and I don't have an idea of how much it fluctuates each year for OBGYN. I definitely don't want you to get discouraged by the stats, but I think it's important to be realistic when you're deciding to prepare. If you do want to have a look at the data yourself, you can google NRMP and ECFMG Charting Outcomes in the Match for International Medical Graduates Revised. If you do have a look, just let the numbers motivate you to do well!

My own story in brief (maybe one day I'll write a longer version for people to see):
I did my own pros/cons during my intern year at my home country. My biggest con was being far away from family and friends, but on the other hand I do have family ties in the U.S. and that was a pro. Getting U.S. training in a good quality program was also a big pro.

So for the next few years I spent the majority of my time studying and working (mainly in psychiatry and emergency), which was really the biggest challenge for me. It's time away from family and friends. It's very tiring and difficult because of the isolation as an IMG as well (I definitely used a USMLE forum during my prep for encouragement).

I also sacrificed training in psychiatry in my home country and had to delay an increase in income as well as add years of training.

I had a great mentor in my home country during that time who encouraged me to train in psychiatry at a good program in the States as he knew the quality was excellent. And now I am a happy resident!

Hope that helps.
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Old 02-05-2014
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Quote:
Originally Posted by evanescence_ View Post
Thank you VERY much. Actually it was exactly the thing I needed to be told. Your statistics sounds new to me, I have heard that approximately 1/4 of the residents are IMGs. Off course, you are talking about one specific year.

Hmmm, I don't think if I broaden my view, I will be satisfied doing a residency program ( other than Gyn) in the US, actually I think if it is not possible for me to become a Gynie, My home country would be more preferred. Well, that is the reason of my immigration

I am actually soOo interested in hearing your story; I mean your own story on these struggles during your journey. If it is possible for you to write it down, let me know.
Once again, thank you very much for sharing your views with me, it was helpful.
may I ask where you are from?
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Old 02-05-2014
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Quote:
Originally Posted by val7 View Post
may I ask where you are from?
Tehran .........
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  #16  
Old 02-06-2014
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@Evanescence

I'm glad to be helpful. When I went through my preparation I didn' t focus on the stats at all apart from knowing that IMG's have an overall match rate of less than 1 in 2. After I decided to apply for a residency program in the States, I focused my professional energy on doing what I could to make it happen.

The biggest challenges for me were
-long hours of studying on top of working as a physician. This really was a big sacrifice for me, but I was prepared for it.
-prolonging training (starting from internship again)
-sacrifice in pay
-moving away from family and friends
-not knowing if it will all work out!

I definitely was part of a forum community and that was extremely helpful. I did not know anyone else around me sitting for the exams. I also made sure to have balance in my life. I spent time with family, friends, exercised, tried to eat well, etc. That was very important for me and kept me going. It was all very difficult, but it was doable!
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Old 02-07-2014
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@ StepstoResidency:
Thank you for your reply.
Definitely I am so facing the last challenge you mentioned; -not knowing if it will all work out !! That is a devastating one !
Like you, none of my friends are sitting for the exams, that makes the whole situation seem more like a neverland.
May I ask you which forum community you were member?
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Old 02-07-2014
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Yes, a community is definitely very helpful. I was part of Prep4Usmle. It's structured a bit differently to this forum. If you do decide to take the exams, then you may want to look at that forum too. One thing it has is a "journal" section which was one of my biggest motivators. You got good support from colleagues from all around the world. You can also give back a lot as well.
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Old 02-08-2014
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@StepsToResidency:

Thank you . As I more read your list of problems, I more understand how much it sounds logical and calculated.
Thanks.
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Old 02-08-2014
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my situation is very similar to u but i love to take the risk and fight for a chance then if i failed at least i tried(and residency in the home is waiting me and believe me after USMLE exams every exam is a piece of cake so will not cost a lot of work) if i succeeded that will be excellent

should say this with regards that chances is good in IM and not so that much in the Obse&Gyne as far as i know so balance ur self and ur priorities
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Old 02-09-2014
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@ msa88
Thank you for your post and for your motivation.
Hope you reach to whatever you like.
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Old 02-09-2014
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Nothing really worth it, is easy. If you put your heart on it you will do it.
Besides IMG have a unique advantages that if it did not work as expected they can always go bak to their home countries an practice


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  #23  
Old 03-30-2014
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I still feel doubty sometimes
It is really a big confusing decision to make...
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Old 03-30-2014
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What's more important to you? Your time and money or being happy? If its happiness and you're willing to potentially lose a little time and money, here is my suggestion:

Study for the next 4 to 6 months very hard for your step 1. Pay the associated fee (about 1000 USD) and sit for the exam. Now let the exam score decide for you. If you fail/get a sub par score for OBGYN then stop right there. Proceed with a residency in your own country and live happy knowing you gave it a shot and have no regrets. On the other hand, if you get a stellar score then you owe it to yourself to keep going down the USMLE road. You've already passed the hardest part and it would be stupid to quit just as the road is getting easier.Yes there are multiple obstacles (money, visa, etc...) but its definitely doable.

Best of luck to you.
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