A Little bit of my introduction,I graduated from Bangladesh Medical College in 2014.I appeared my Step 1 in 2017,Step2 Ck 2018 and CS also in 2018.
I recently got my ECFMG certification which makes me eligible to apply for residency.So, I will be applying for my residency InshaAllah,However, I have no clue when I will be able to see the light of the tunnel.
So my post today,will be directed towards –
1.When and how to start
2.Cost of the exams
3.Common mistakes and obstacles
4.US clinical experience
I decided to give my step 1 during my internship.Tthat was back in 2014.It took me 2 yrs to actually seat for the exam.The thing I was lacking is proper information , exact guideline and to some extent determination.
What information do we need before we start ?Get an idea about how this process is.
First thing to know-USMLE is doable as long as we want to do it.
When to start:
Sooner after our graduation ,the better.Student from India,Nigeria,Malaysia they do it during their 3rd yr/4th yr.It depends on maturity of one`s clinical knowledge.I would say during internship is the best time to preparation.Although USMLE step 1 is about basic subjects but its highly clinical.
How to start:
There are groups like USMLE step 1 preparation forum,USMLE preparation forum Step 2 Ck, Usmle preparation forum CS and for step 3 also. In those groups file section ,one can find experience written by different people. Best way to read some of those, get to know what are the main resources and make your own plan.
for Step 1:
- Kaplan videos and lectures.
- First aid
# Videos can be found in those forums file section.
#Books are available at keya book store in Nilkhet including first aids.
#Uworld- online is best,but you have to master the concepts from UW.
For Step 2 CK:
MTB2 and Uw are main resources.If you take step 1 before step 2 you will probably don`t need Kaplan lectures but if you have confusion about your fundaments do Kaplan lectures.
For step 2 CS:
First aid and try to find a good study partner over skype or live.If possible take a course.`NYCprep` and `Gold` these two are well known courses.
For CS one has to come to USA and here comes the big obstacle getting a visa.Usually people apply for B1/B2 but at this point , visa rejection has become very common.But for the whole USMLE journey there is only one rule `Not giving up`.So even if your visa gets rejected,apply again.Best way to strengthen your ground for visa application is to have a job in Bangladesh.(It ensures ties to home country)
Cost of the exams:
# Step 1 and CK 800$.
# CS (most expensive one)-Exam fee 1500$.
But you need to budget this exam with your travel expense eg,air ticket,accommodation,food. All information will be found in CS preparation group in more details.
Common mistakes and obstacles:
Like I mentioned earlier main obstacle is getting a visa. Major mistake is not communicating with people if you have any confusion or question.
USCE-US Clinical Experience:
There are two window period to do it.Like as a student or as a graduate.
As a student, its easier to get USCE,here it calls “clerkship“.You need to apply to a medical school like Harvard,Temple for clerkship position ,there are some paper work you need to do like permission from your own med school.Problem is ,it is hard to take this huge step while you are a medical student because it is expensive.But people from other countries do it.I would say if you are visiting USA or Canada for any purpose or if you have Green card studying in Bangladesh try to use this opportunity.
As a graduate one has to do Observership or Extenship. Usually when people come for CS exam they try to do it once they are done with the exam.If one has any form of visa ,USCE will not be a major problem.
USMLE is highly analytical exam.Its not how much we study ,its about how fast we can think in a fraction of a second.To think,one has to know and to know one has to study.
Another problem I faced is that, diseases in our country and diseases here are different.So we have to change our thinking patterns.
There are different range of scores get matched.Try to get a good score,if you fail to get an expected score ,there is no point of giving up.
This is our difference between us and people from other countries. They keep on trying even with an attempt and we get scared rather easily.
Information regarding registration:
Dr. Tahsin Salam Nodi