5 Things Medical School Doesn’t Teach You

Medical school can only teach you so much. Experience covers the rest.

Medical school can only teach you so much. Experience covers the rest.

1. There is a difference between Qbank and the real world.


Qbank: Patient arrives in your ED with the “worst headache of her life.”


Real world: Patient arrives in your ED with a headache that she cannot localize. She has a history of seizures and IV drug abuse. She is A&Ox2 and uncooperative with physical examination.


After four years of medical school, many of us are brainwashed to believe that UWorld is an accurate representation of practicing medicine. Unfortunately, patients often have numerous comorbidities, complex social histories and a murky history that is not so cut and dry and requires deeper knowledge and insight.


Residency is meant to train us to weed out the pertinent information and determine an appropriate treatment plan.


2. You will feel like an imposter


My first day walking view full post »

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USMLE® Step 3: The Final Hurdle

Make this the last time you open a review book for the USMLE!

Make this the last time you open a review book for the USMLE!

The old adage for the three steps of the USMLE – Two months for Step 1, two weeks for Step 2 and a #2 pencil for Step 3 – still rings relatively true to this day. As much as I’d love to just show up to Step 3 without worrying about preparation, I’m extremely risk-adverse and know that this isn’t realistic for me. Thus, I’ve armed myself with a couple of tools and a rough study plan in order to knock this last Step of the USMLE series out of the park.


Basic Information About the USMLE Step 3:

  • Two-day examination
  • Day 1 focuses on “Foundations of Independent Practice (FIP),” which is essentially 6 blocks of 42-43 questions
    • Day 2 shifts the attention toward “Advanced Clinical Medicine (ACM),” which is broken down into 6
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What happens if I fail the USMLE®?

You can learn as much from failing the USMLE as passing it.

You can learn as much from failing the USMLE as passing it.


Failure is the number one fear among medical students… especially since it can literally be a matter of life and death. This fear really starts to set in when it comes time to taking the USMLE.


While it’s true we are no strangers to test-taking and medical assessments, the USMLE is not a commonplace exam and should never be taken as such.


In 2014, a total of 23,627 foreign medical graduates took the USMLE® Step 1 exam and 78% passed. This means that 22% of first time test-takers had another year of studying, a year missed of residency and, worst of all, disappointment.


I consider it my responsibility to provide you with a 360-degree view of the examination process. One such part of that is what to do when you fail an exam and view full post »

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Time Management for New Residents

new residents need to stick together.

Tips for new residents from someone who’s been there, done that.

When I started residency, I was not prepared for the long hours and emotional toll patient care would take on me. I started on the hardest inpatient subspecialty month. This particular floor always had a high census of very sick patients with plenty of transfers to and from the ICU. My medical program was also randomized into the experimental arm of the iCompare trial, which meant that I had to take 30 hour call up to 3 times each inpatient floor month.


Needless to say, my schedule during the first week of residency was long and arduous. I was often at work from 6am-7pm on non-call days and went a stretch of 14 days without a day off. Looking back, there’s nothing that could have armed me for the challenge of being a brand new physician at view full post »

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5 Surprising Truths About Residency

Residency—the best education a doctor can receive.

Medical school can only teach you so much. Then comes Residency.

It is crazy that just 4 months ago, I signed my contract for a medical residency in internal medicine. Fortunately, I had an elective block between two busy floor months, so I had some time to reflect on the first couple months of residency. Here are some surprising truths I’ve learned so far:


1. They weren’t kidding about the STEEP learning curve.


I don’t think it is possible to understand the learning curve during your medical residency until you actually go through it. All those medical school years equip you with a foundation to deal with most medical conditions—that is, a few at a time. As a new intern, you are suddenly responsible for double or triple the number of patients at times, with multiple concurrent medical and psychosocial problems that make their clinical picture infinitely more view full post »

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No Interviews From Residency Programs…Now What?

waiting to hear from residency program directors for interviews

So your application didn’t impress residency programs? Here are some things that will.

So you did everything by the book and still no interviews from residency programs.

This can seem like a devastating setback, especially after already investing so much time and energy towards the USMLE. This might even be your second year of applying, and not getting an interview can make you feel desperate.

Before you throw out your scrubs and head for home, there are a few things you can do to be proactive while you wait and turn the situation around.

Contact residency programs

Some students contact programs to request interviews when they know they will be in the area interviewing for a different program. Occasionally, these programs may even help you coordinate your travel plans.


Though it’s not recommended generally, you can contact a program you are interested in if they haven’t offered view full post »

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Choosing USMLE Prep Materials–the Good, the Bad, and the Ugly


The best USMLE prep prepares you for success after the test.

Among all the stressors associated with graduating medical school, number one among international medical graduates is fear of failing the USMLE®. Many graduates know if you fail your test, it puts your chances to match in your preferred residency program significantly lower than the rest of the pool.


Thus, USMLE prep is crucial and can determine the rest of a graduate’s medical career. Here are some tips to keep in mind when choosing preparation materials:


Time Tells All


When choosing USMLE prep, it is easy to get hand-me-downs from family or upper classmen in medical school, but remember that the 1st edition of Kick Butt on the Boards is very outdated, compared to the current 15th edition. I recommend going no further back than the two latest editions, as those are the most refreshed in terms view full post »

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How Do I Know if I Will Get a Residency Position?

If you’re an IMG, you’re probably worried about getting a residency position. We’ll help you get rid of some of your fears.

Stressed about getting a residency position? Don’t worry. We can help.

We know that finding out if you’ll get a residency position is stressful, especially if you’re an IMG. You’ve spent a lot of time studying for USMLE and preparing your applications for a residency position. On Match Day, you’re wondering if all the hard work is going to pay off. The night before, your mind is racing with questions:

  • Did I say the right things during my interview?
  • What if I ranked my programs incorrectly?
  • Are my scores on the USMLE Step 1 and Step 2CK good enough?


Take a deep breath. Don’t panic! We believe in you. Recently, the National Resident Matching Program surveyed program directors to see what they were looking for in applicants seeking a residency position.


Here are a few highlights from the survey. See what you can do today to increase view full post »

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4 Tips on Staying Healthy During Residency Interviews

Avoid runny-nose woes at your residency interviews. Follow these tips to stay healthy.

Wondering how to stay fit and strong during residency interviews? Take a look.

In the midst of all the excitement about your upcoming residency interviews, here’s something you’ll want to remember: your health.

You’re a doctor. You’re not a road warrior. And sometimes all this traveling for residency interviews can really be exhausting, especially with the stress that comes along with being in medical school.

In a recent survey of candidates interviewing for fellowships after residency, 50 percent said they didn’t know how to handle the fatigue and 75 percent said they felt they caught a cold from all the “running around” of their residency interviews.

So what can you do to stay healthy while traveling and avoid showing up to your residency interviews with a box of tissues in hand? Take a look at these tips.

Why sleep matters

While pulling all-nighters might seem normal when you’re view full post »

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Coming to America for Residency: 5 Tips to Follow

Get ready for Medical residency in the U.S.

When you come to the U.S. for residency, what should you know?

If you’re ready to do your medical residency in America, you’ve probably done all the nitty gritty preparations of getting your paperwork and credentialing straightened out. If you need a quick refresher, take a look at this handy checklist.

But once you’ve got the forms figured out and your plane ticket booked, how can you make America feel like home?

Besides understanding the difference between Celsius and Fahrenheit and that football isn’t called football over here — there are a few other things you can do to help ease your adjustment into American culture during your residency.

Let’s get started:

1. Stay connected to home

Once you move here, you’re going to experience culture shock. That’s completely normal, but to minimize the “strangeness” of everything, remind yourself of home. Download your favorite TV shows or movies … view full post »

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