Jump to content
Premed 101 Forums

Recommended Posts

Hey all,

 

Currently a first year med at Dal and am looking at potentially writing the USMLE to keep my options open in the future. While I plan on studying for the test, I'm not sure if I'm going to actually write it. I just feel it would be helpful in terms of rounding out my knowledge. Has anyone done this in the past as a Canadian med student and did you find it helpful? What factors went into your choice whether to write or not?

 

Thanks,

 

C. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Wrote it to keep fellowship/work options open in the U.S., although I don't plan on going down to the U.S. for either.

 

I don't think Step 1 is useful at all for rounding out your knowledge (mostly basic science, although some of the physio can be helpful),.

 

Studying for Step 2 CK now along side MCCQE part 1. Its probably more clinically relevant but writing it after I finished all my rotations, so again not super helpful ahha.

 

Its an expensive test that you need to do at least some work for. I would recommend doing it in general to keep options open, but if you know for a fact that you will never set foot in the US clinically, then don't bother.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Look at it this way...  If you don't write your USMLEs, you are only constricting the panel of career and training options you will have down the road, not expanding it.  Sure, you might say that you have no plans to train/work in the US, or you might say that you'll try to train/work at places in the US that don't need the USMLEs...  But again, not writing the USMLEs is only going to narrow your range of options down the road.  You'll never know what may lie ahead.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Depends on the situation. If one wants to ace Step 1, then starting right away in 1st year may be a good idea. Not many people gun for US residencies, but of the 2 people I know both snatched up extremely competitive spots.

 

Doing step 1 in residency is definitely not a great idea, no matter what residency you are in. 

 

I think Step 1 is a great way to consolidate knowledge for clerkship.

 

More importantly half the battle for USMLE is getting used to the format (eg.  the American units, the length of the test, style and phrasing of questions). The earlier you are exposed to the "penmanship" of how USMLE questions are constructed, the easier you'll find it later on.

 

Also Step 2 CK is a great preparation for LMCC1. LMCC1 is like an afternoon stroll in the Luxembourg compared to Step 2 CK.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Depends on the situation. If one wants to ace Step 1, then starting right away in 1st year may be a good idea. Not many people gun for US residencies, but of the 2 people I know both snatched up extremely competitive spots.

 

Doing step 1 in residency is definitely not a great idea, no matter what residency you are in. 

 

I think Step 1 is a great way to consolidate knowledge for clerkship.

 

More importantly half the battle for USMLE is getting used to the format (eg.  the American units, the length of the test, style and phrasing of questions). The earlier you are exposed to the "penmanship" of how USMLE questions are constructed, the easier you'll find it later on.

 

Also Step 2 CK is a great preparation for LMCC1. LMCC1 is like an afternoon stroll in the Luxembourg compared to Step 2 CK.

 

Writing both sounds really appealing now!  

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

My understanding is that some places don't need it while others do...how do people know what fellowship programs need it? 

 

Also, I know that people in certain specialties don't typically take the usmle (e.g. Family, Emerg) whereas in others, it's more common (e.g. surgical) - are there any other specialties where the residents typically have done the usmle?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

My understanding is that some places don't need it while others do...how do people know what fellowship programs need it? 

 

Also, I know that people in certain specialties don't typically take the usmle (e.g. Family, Emerg) whereas in others, it's more common (e.g. surgical) - are there any other specialties where the residents typically have done the usmle?

What do you mean by the bolded?

 

The rationale behind taking USMLEs as a resident, is either so you can do a fellowship in the US, or ultimately make yourself more employable by keeping practicing in the US open as an option. For the latter, it would make sense that surgical specialties are more likely to pursue that option, compared to primary care specialties like FM where there is a much easier time seeking employment in Canada. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

My understanding is that some places don't need it while others do...how do people know what fellowship programs need it? 

 

Also, I know that people in certain specialties don't typically take the usmle (e.g. Family, Emerg) whereas in others, it's more common (e.g. surgical) - are there any other specialties where the residents typically have done the usmle?

 

Sometimes individuals look at fellowship programs in the specialty they wish to pursue... but most don't, most just find out after its too late and have to do it during residency.

 

In my class of the people who wrote Step 1 (and will be going on to write Step 2CK), it was a mix of bag of people interested in various specialties including surgery, internal, family, psych etc... USMLE's are mostly done in order to either do residency or fellowship (or work) in the U.S. If any of these apply at all to someone, I would suggest writing it just in case.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

What do you mean by the bolded?

 

The rationale behind taking USMLEs as a resident, is either so you can do a fellowship in the US, or ultimately make yourself more employable by keeping practicing in the US open as an option. For the latter, it would make sense that surgical specialties are more likely to pursue that option, compared to primary care specialties like FM where there is a much easier time seeking employment in Canada. 

This was what I mean by the bolded. If I'm interested in FM, the only reason I would have to writing it is if I wanted to work in the states, not so much to make myself more employable

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

So this is what I understand, correct me if I am wrong.

 

1) to get board certification in US you don't necessarily need the USMLE.

 

2) for many states to get a state medical license you don't necessarily need the USMLE (as long as you pass LMCC1 and 2)

 

3) however, to get a H1B visa you definitely need the USMLE

 

4) H1B visa is much more desirable than J1 visa and has the potential for green card application later.

 

5) many fellowship programs states you must have passed the USMLE. Of course there's great variance between specialties and programs.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

So this is what I understand, correct me if I am wrong.

 

1) to get board certification in US you don't necessarily need the USMLE.

 

2) for many states to get a state medical license you don't necessarily need the USMLE (as long as you pass LMCC1 and 2)

 

3) however, to get a H1B visa you definitely need the USMLE

 

4) H1B visa is much more desirable than J1 visa and has the potential for green card application later.

 

5) many fellowship programs states you must have passed the USMLE. Of course there's great variance between specialties and programs.

Yep, so pretty much you should just plan to take the USMLEs to keep all options open if you want to practice in the US or do a good fellowship.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I am a little confused with respect to points 1 and 2.

 

I was under the impression that you always needed the usmle to get the working licence (i.e board certification)...

I thought thats why a lot of students recommended writing the USMLE saying that even if the state/fellowship program doesn't require it to do the fellowship, having the USMLE means that after u finish your fellowship you can work there if u get hired.  

 

Can anyone clarify this?

 

So this is what I understand, correct me if I am wrong.

 

1) to get board certification in US you don't necessarily need the USMLE.

 

2) for many states to get a state medical license you don't necessarily need the USMLE (as long as you pass LMCC1 and 2)

 

3) however, to get a H1B visa you definitely need the USMLE

 

4) H1B visa is much more desirable than J1 visa and has the potential for green card application later.

 

5) many fellowship programs states you must have passed the USMLE. Of course there's great variance between specialties and programs.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I am a little confused with respect to points 1 and 2.

 

I was under the impression that you always needed the usmle to get the working licence (i.e board certification)...

I thought thats why a lot of students recommended writing the USMLE saying that even if the state/fellowship program doesn't require it to do the fellowship, having the USMLE means that after u finish your fellowship you can work there if u get hired.  

 

Can anyone clarify this?

 

It's pretty much strictly a visa situation - here's a link I found and posted on another thread (so no problem for dual citizens) describing the issue (there may be a time delay it seems too): 

 

http://medicalemployers.com/us-immigration-for-canadian-physicians/

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I am a little confused with respect to points 1 and 2.

 

I was under the impression that you always needed the usmle to get the working licence (i.e board certification)...

I thought thats why a lot of students recommended writing the USMLE saying that even if the state/fellowship program doesn't require it to do the fellowship, having the USMLE means that after u finish your fellowship you can work there if u get hired.  

 

Can anyone clarify this?

 

In the states board certification and state licensing are two different issues:

 

1) you DON'T need to be board certified to obtain a medical license. For most states passing the USMLE (or recognized equivalent, such as COMPLEX or LMCC) + 1 or 2 years of residency is sufficient.

http://www.visalaw.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/10/physicianchart.pdf

 

2) you DON'T need a state license to obtain board certification.

 

3) you need USMLE for H1B visa for certain. You could apply for a J1 visa but unlike H1B it does not lead to green card application.

 

4) Just because you have a state license and board certification doesn't mean hiring won't be an issue. For a hospital/program to sponsor you they may set requirement that you've passed USMLE. This is dealt with on an individual case basis.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

This is an interesting forum.

I am hoping for a surgical career and have been told by most people to write the usmle in order to keep options open.

 

Does anybody know if we have to do exceptionally well on step 1 in order to keep options for US practice open? Or is it just a matter of "having taken the USMLE" in general that would allow you to practice down south?

 

I anticipate doing a residency in Canada, but maybe a fellowship in the States and want to keep options open.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

This is an interesting forum.

I am hoping for a surgical career and have been told by most people to write the usmle in order to keep options open.

 

Does anybody know if we have to do exceptionally well on step 1 in order to keep options for US practice open? Or is it just a matter of "having taken the USMLE" in general that would allow you to practice down south?

 

I anticipate doing a residency in Canada, but maybe a fellowship in the States and want to keep options open.

Best to still try and do best as you can - even passing isn't a guarantee if you half-heartedly prep for it.

 

But yes, generally you just need a pass for fellowships. But what happens if you end up in a situation that you don't get into a Canadian surgical specialty? You'll be kicking yourself if you closed the option to a US residency off.

 

You can never predict if you will be that unlucky one. If you're going to do the USMLES, you may as well do it right.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I agree if you are serious about going for surgery (especially something that's competitive on both sides of the border like plastic, ophtho, etc) then you should gave Step 1 a serious attempt. Remember NRMP match day is usually after CaRMS so it's the best backup option you'll get (remember if you match to another backup here, say family, then transferring into a surgical residency would be a difficult and uncertain task)

 

But to answer your other question, you only need to have passed USMLE (and completed certain years of residency) to obtain a medical license in US. Most states have a limit as to number of attempts you can do for each step.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I agree if you are serious about going for surgery (especially something that's competitive on both sides of the border like plastic, ophtho, etc) then you should gave Step 1 a serious attempt. Remember NRMP match day is usually after CaRMS so it's the best backup option you'll get (remember if you match to another backup here, say family, then transferring into a surgical residency would be a difficult and uncertain task)

 

But to answer your other question, you only need to have passed USMLE (and completed certain years of residency) to obtain a medical license in US. Most states have a limit as to number of attempts you can do for each step.

If you pass step 1 for example, you cannot retake it again later if you decided you need a strong score rather than just a pass. 

 

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

What I meant was that each state limits the number of failures you can have for each step. For example, if you fail any step of the USMLE 3 times but pass on the 4th attempt, you are still not eligible for licensure in state of Texas (barring some exceptions as outlined on their website)

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

What I meant was that each state limits the number of failures you can have for each step. For example, if you fail any step of the USMLE 3 times but pass on the 4th attempt, you are still not eligible for licensure in state of Texas (barring some exceptions as outlined on their website)

Ah yes, though I hope no one on these forums would be I'm the position to have to have paid for the steps 3+ times! Let alone the pressure of continually failing it.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Hey all,

 

Currently a first year med at Dal and am looking at potentially writing the USMLE to keep my options open in the future. While I plan on studying for the test, I'm not sure if I'm going to actually write it. I just feel it would be helpful in terms of rounding out my knowledge. Has anyone done this in the past as a Canadian med student and did you find it helpful? What factors went into your choice whether to write or not?

 

Thanks,

 

C. 

 

i wrote it and did well (>260) but that was after i graduated during residency. might not be applicable to you. 

 

it takes a lot of effort to do this but its very possible. i started studying in october and sat for it in april. it requires heavy understanding and memorization skills, which you have since you got into med and sound very ambitious.

 

i used red-dit and sdn to find strategies for studying. but study the way that works for you. i wrote out summaries of concepts over the course of studying and did recall on a whiteboard for the hard memorization stuff a few weeks up to the exam. but what i did wont work for everyone. just do something that you think will work.

 

ufap is key. that is usmleworld, first-aid, and pathoma. 

 

you are in your first year so nothing is going to make sense to you so dont try preparing for it yet. i think that if you were to buy those resources now it would be a waste of money. 

 

i would start heavily preparing when second year starts. dal is a four year program. write step 1 after your first year summer, and take step 2 along with the mccqe1.

 

if you have any other qs pm me.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.

Guest
Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

Loading...

×
×
  • Create New...