I just matched: what I have learnd (A letter to those who are about to step on this path) - USMLE Forums
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  #1  
Old 03-18-2014
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Star I just matched: what I have learnd (A letter to those who are about to step on this path)

It was a long way, but its only the beginning.

Brief about me: I am a 2010 IMG graduate (so 4 years out of med school), passed all of my USMLE's from first attempt with a bit above average scores.
The whole thing costed me a lot of money and time - I was working full time in order to support myself and pay for exams and Q banks.
ECFMG and USMLE fees turned out to be about $5-6 k and probably another 2K on books, qbanks and other resources.
I took Kaplan 14 wk course and wasted about 7k on it.

From my Kaplan class only 3 people including myself matched (out of 90+ students) others either failed steps or could not match or had visa issues

Few things for you to remember:

1. do not believe anybody!
trust only yourself, study hard, do not get your spirits low looking on other's posted scores (299 and 299.9 on both steps) - there is a fair amount of BS around internet.

2. Choose your recourses wisely - USMLE changes every year, although not by much. THere is a little point in buying the latest version of core books (like Kaplan or Goljan's) - previous year version is just fine! You will understand it from your qbank performance. Use Usmle World Qbank as your Bible (or Koran or whatever you want to use it as, but stick to it as your main source) Use this qbank several times 3-5 - the more the better. You are studying for the test, so become a test taker. This is true to both Step 1 and CK.
You must have a fresh First Aid book (current year version) as it is pretty much a short content's list of your exam.

3. check yourself before you wreck yourself!
Do NBME and UWSA before going to the test - as they will accurately predict your score range on the actual test. Do not go without taking them!

4. Do not fall into scam.
There are a ton of offers like "guarantee to pass" "pass with us" "pass with your eyes closed" - at the end of the day - none of them will pass for you, you must sit down and study by yourself 1 on 1 vs books. That is the only way. You do not have to study 8 hours per day (although it is better) but study every day.
There are programs offering clerkships and observerships and letters of recommendations - none of these counts as USCE - clinical experience and therefore is insignificant, but you will pay a ton of money for them.

5. Believe only in yourself, study hard and work hard.

If you are not sure - its better to quit now then quit a few years after half-way through and without money.

But if you think you've got what it takes - welcome to the club!
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  #2  
Old 03-18-2014
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Quote:
Originally Posted by DocSikorski View Post
It was a long way, but its only the beginning.

Brief about me: I am a 2010 IMG graduate (so 4 years out of med school), passed all of my USMLE's from first attempt with a bit above average scores.
The whole thing costed me a lot of money and time - I was working full time in order to support myself and pay for exams and Q banks.
ECFMG and USMLE fees turned out to be about $5-6 k and probably another 2K on books, qbanks and other resources.
I took Kaplan 14 wk course and wasted about 7k on it.

From my Kaplan class only 3 people including myself matched (out of 90+ students) others either failed steps or could not match or had visa issues

Few things for you to remember:

1. do not believe anybody!
trust only yourself, study hard, do not get your spirits low looking on other's posted scores (299 and 299.9 on both steps) - there is a fair amount of BS around internet.

2. Choose your recourses wisely - USMLE changes every year, although not by much. THere is a little point in buying the latest version of core books (like Kaplan or Goljan's) - previous year version is just fine! You will understand it from your qbank performance. Use Usmle World Qbank as your Bible (or Koran or whatever you want to use it as, but stick to it as your main source) Use this qbank several times 3-5 - the more the better. You are studying for the test, so become a test taker. This is true to both Step 1 and CK.
You must have a fresh First Aid book (current year version) as it is pretty much a short content's list of your exam.

3. check yourself before you wreck yourself!
Do NBME and UWSA before going to the test - as they will accurately predict your score range on the actual test. Do not go without taking them!

4. Do not fall into scam.
There are a ton of offers like "guarantee to pass" "pass with us" "pass with your eyes closed" - at the end of the day - none of them will pass for you, you must sit down and study by yourself 1 on 1 vs books. That is the only way. You do not have to study 8 hours per day (although it is better) but study every day.
There are programs offering clerkships and observerships and letters of recommendations - none of these counts as USCE - clinical experience and therefore is insignificant, but you will pay a ton of money for them.

5. Believe only in yourself, study hard and work hard.

If you are not sure - its better to quit now then quit a few years after half-way through and without money.

But if you think you've got what it takes - welcome to the club!
Hi. Congratulations on your achievement. You must be so happy. It's tough to find an honest opinion. Most people are bitter and jaded. Those who succeed don't bother to post I guess.
I graduated in 2010 too. I need a visa and only just passed step one on the first attempt with 245. What are my chances. I'd love to hear your thoughts.
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Old 03-18-2014
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Originally Posted by Volkmann View Post
Hi. Congratulations on your achievement. You must be so happy. It's tough to find an honest opinion. Most people are bitter and jaded. Those who succeed don't bother to post I guess.
I graduated in 2010 too. I need a visa and only just passed step one on the first attempt with 245. What are my chances. I'd love to hear your thoughts.
245 is very good

From all the scores this is the one that matters. (Make sure you do not do bad on CK, but anything above average will be great). Study day and night and take all your steps now before july-august and get everything ready for next years match. Make sure to get USCE
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  #4  
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Quote:
Originally Posted by DocSikorski View Post
245 is very good

From all the scores this is the one that matters. (Make sure you do not do bad on CK, but anything above average will be great). Study day and night and take all your steps now before july-august and get everything ready for next years match. Make sure to get USCE
Thanks a lot for your reply. I'm kind of lost about how to get USCE. How do I find out places and ways of getting experience?? I've been so busy concentrating on studying that I have no idea what to do once I get there. Thank you for your help.
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  #5  
Old 03-18-2014
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Originally Posted by Volkmann View Post
Thanks a lot for your reply. I'm kind of lost about how to get USCE. How do I find out places and ways of getting experience?? I've been so busy concentrating on studying that I have no idea what to do once I get there. Thank you for your help.
No clue. Its only up to you to figure this out...
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Congratulations for the Match.
Can you please write briefly about your Matching experience.
What helped and what did not.
Thanks
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Old 03-18-2014
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congrats Doc
thank you for an inspirational post ...
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  #8  
Old 03-18-2014
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oo wow congrats man!

So quick question, what did you do differently that you got residency? Did you apply to more than 200+ programs. Did you do a year of US clinical skills? What is that key factor that you did?

I am a IMG, I know I need US Skills and a strong letter of recommendation...but you implied it is useless so now what.....? haha

I would be very very thankful for your help and to many others who are left in the dark about this big mess .......residency residency residency!!
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  #9  
Old 03-19-2014
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Originally Posted by w-guru07 View Post
What is that key factor that you did?

I am a IMG, I know I need US Skills and a strong letter of recommendation...but you implied it is useless so now what.....? haha

Key factor?
I was blunt and stubborn as a ram and when they closed doors in my face - I entered through the window...

LORs are very important, but not from scammers
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  #10  
Old 03-19-2014
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Hi DocSikorski
i got few questions..
my step 1 score is 239..your comment pls
how important it is to have my step 3 result before rank ordering
am interested in psychiatry n am an img 2011 graduated..
is there any difference btw 239 and 240..i heard some programes set 240 as their cut off for filtering applications
Thank you
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Old 03-19-2014
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hi DOCSIKORSKI, first- congrats!
Second- you wrote that you "wasted" 7k on kaplan.
I can understand you were not so satisfied with them...may I ask why, and for
which step did you use them?
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  #12  
Old 03-19-2014
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Quote:
Originally Posted by coolncrazy View Post
Hi DocSikorski
i got few questions..
my step 1 score is 239..your comment pls
how important it is to have my step 3 result before rank ordering
am interested in psychiatry n am an img 2011 graduated..
is there any difference btw 239 and 240..i heard some programes set 240 as their cut off for filtering applications
Thank you
If psychiatry progs have a cutoff it will be like +2 points above passing USMLE score... It is not a competitive specialty (although very interesting).
Your score is a kick-a55 rockstar score, so you should be good.
Step 3? - I don't know... Haven't taken it yet and no one asked me for it as well...
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  #13  
Old 03-19-2014
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Default Why Kaplan prep sucks

Quote:
Originally Posted by skeleton View Post
hi DOCSIKORSKI, first- congrats!
Second- you wrote that you "wasted" 7k on kaplan.
I can understand you were not so satisfied with them...may I ask why, and for
which step did you use them?
If you like covering a whole pathology in one week - than the course is for you.
Used Kaplan 14 wk course for USMLE step 1.
Most teachers never took any USMLE, so they assumed they knew what they were talking about (they were too scientific and way too off from the exam material).

Their Video lectures class was very outdated, probably from 2003-2007 (some people say you can easily get them on the internet for free if you use google search)

Its a good resource to get acquainted with the exam material, but overal its a waste of time and money in my opinion.
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