ERAS Token is now available!

For those IMGs out there, you can now purchase your ERAS “token”, which is basically a long identification number. You can also access “MyEras” to start uploading your personal information and getting the official LOR request form too, among other tasks to do. Get on it! Best of luck this application season!

another rotation in the books!

I am officially 4 rotations away from finishing medical school! I have completed the necessary board exams to graduate, so I just have ECFMG certification and USMLE Step 3 pending once I wrap up my rotations. I am looking forward to the final stretch of rotations, but I wonder what I will do with all that extra time once things are said and done. I have been looking into clinical positions or just any job really to keep me on my toes. Sure, I can travel and “enjoy” my time off, but medicine is a way of life, and it’s always enjoyable to me.

I discussed this earlier, but I would highly recommend students look into sub-internship and elective rotations earlier on because it can really set up your clinical years well. For example, if you are able to work at non-affiliated hospitals, that gives you a foot in the door when you apply to residency. Programs that don’t typically see students from your school might have a different opinion of it after you work there, and can set up future students well too. That has been my experience, as long as you do a great job that is, lol.

If students have any questions or comments, I am open to answering them or making additional posts here! I am planning to apply to residency this upcoming application cycle, so stay tuned for posts on that, finances, personal statements, etc. Good luck!

Mock exam for Step 2 CS

I used a supplemental program called NYCSPREP. They offer courses to prepare for Step 2 CK and CS. I only used their program for Step 2 CS. They have a couple of different options based on how prepared you are for the exam. If you have the time and are in the locations they offer, you should definitely consider it, especially if you feel particularly weak in any of the components of CS.

I felt my prior rotations have really helped me develop my abilities in taking a history and connecting with patients. The only area I lacked was in note writing. Even if you practice and memorize the cases in FA CS, there is that element of nerve that can beat you sometimes if you aren’t adequately prepared for that specific testing setting. This is where NYCSPREP came in handy. I received this name as a suggestion from another colleague, who mentioned it probably was the reason he passed the exam. For non-english speakers, it is the best practice. The actors act the part and prepare you for more rigorous cases. It is basically like a much more difficult version of an exam, so that when you take the actual exam, you’re more than prepared. Hopefully that makes sense!

With that being said, the one day mock exam is pricey, but not nearly as pricey as it would cost to re-take/schedule CS if you did not perform as well as you had hoped. As a chronically anxious test taker, I felt it was what I needed to get my nerves in order. The standardized patients provide real-time feedback based on how you performed with their specific case. They are honest and straight forward given the time constraints. Your notes are also reviewed by a physician in charge of the program, so the advice is priceless. Something to consider as you move ahead in your board preparation!

Step 2 CS passed

That was the longest wait I have ever had to endure during medical school. As if the several hours in basic sciences spent waiting for our block exam scores to be uploaded wasn’t enough. Then I had to sit through step 1 and wait that treacherous three wednesdays. Oh, and don’t forget taking CK! Again, the same deal, waiting the three wednesdays before you can get your score. That is, unless you take your exam after the wednesday of the week. In that case, you’ll find yourself waiting until the following wednesday for your exam. I don’t know what it is about “wednesday” and why our exams get uploaded at that point, but CS score release is no different. My score was released around 11 am, but I was basically up for hours already obsessively refreshing my inbox to see if anything was there. I hated seeing advertisements in my emails because as the loading bar loaded, I’d jump to see if it was my score release. I had gotten so anxious to the point where I logged into ECFMG OASIS and just kept refreshing the main page for score information. My getting my CS “pass” was one week after getting my CK score, so needless to say it was a busy week that basically determined whether I would apply for residency this year and even be that competitive.

I’ll make a separate tab for CS study prep and useful websites to use! Best of luck to everyone. I’m planning to apply to residency this year now. Fingers crossed!

Passed Step 2 CK

I am so ecstatic to say that I have successfully passed USMLE Step 2 CK! I dedicated time after my core rotations to study and sit for the exam before beginning my fourth year electives. I would like to say that if I was able to do it, then other people probably do not have an excuse not to either. As a chronically anxious person, the weight of the exam for a Caribbean IMG naturally hit me halfway through the exam. I have a hard enough time sitting for the NBME exams after each of my core rotations. Even then, I only need to wait 1-2 weeks to get that score. For CK, you have to wait three wednesdays after the day you take your exam. I had since started a rotation in the meanwhile, which had really taken up my time and made me tired enough to not think about it until the very day before. (My idea of setting a reminder when I would receive my score did not help my anxiety!). So that is that. I’ll post a separate tab with my study habits and any tips/tricks I can recall. Take care and good luck to anyone else taking it soon!

note on elective rotations

During your 4th year and occasionally during your third year, you may have opportunities to fill in gaps in your schedule with electives. More than just selecting “what is available” to fill it time and finish as fast as possible, it is your chance to enhance any other physician relationships you had made connections with in the past. No matter who it was I met, I typically trade emails with that provider and every now and then, I like to send them a friendly email reminding them who I am and what I am up to. As you get closer to your 4th year and applying for residency, that contact becomes ever more useful.

UMHS has a 5th semester program in Maine. During this program, we also complete a preceptorship, which is essentially our first exposure to practiced medicine. I had worked with a great physician at the time and kept in touch throughout my third year. As my 4th year came around, I considered asking if she would be interested in allowing me back for an elective. She was more than happy to have me, and the experience has since been a sub-internship experience. It is strictly a one-on-one experience and the work environment allows me to actively care for “my patients” with the preceptor. It is your golden opportunity to show what you have learned. Whether you end up receiving a letter of recommendation or not, you would have strengthened a professional relationship with great benefit in the future.

Something to consider as you meet physicians throughout any of your rotations. It never hurts to ask if they would be interested in taking students for a rotation!