About a year ago, Sarah did an excellent post on common IMG interview questions. Now that we are firmly into interview season, I felt that it would be helpful to revisit this topic and add more questions that could be encountered by IMGs. Many IMGs get only a limited number of interviews, so it is even more important to stand out and make a positive impression on the interviewer.
IMG Perspectives: Common Reasons Why IMGs Do Not Match and How to Ensure A Spot in an American Residency0
Unfortunately, it happens sometimes that qualified IMG applicants do not match. Having gathered information from fellow international graduates on this topic, some who have succeeded and some who have failed, I have assembled a list of common mistakes people make when applying, only to be disappointed on match day.
After finishing my final year of medical school, I had a month off and considered taking the Step 3 in order to “get it over with” before PGY1 year. But after some thought and consulting individuals who had already moved to the U.S., I decided against it. While I do not advocate any specific time frame for taking the Step 3, I do encourage applicants to base their decision on the following considerations: specialty, visa status, specific program, and level of work experience in the U.S. before residency.
Congrats, you have matched! At this point, the euphoria of matching might be wearing off as you begin to receive zillions of emails and packets from your respective programs. You have probably already discovered that you are going to need to gather a ton of paperwork before you head across the pond to your U.S. residency. I would like to discuss one of the documents you will need – the ECFMG (Educational Commission for Foreign Medical Graduates) certificate.
By Sarah Wesley
Recently, a number of sources have raised the concern that match statistics were worse for IMGs this year, including particular alarmism about the few Family Med and Pediatric spots that went to IMGs and DOs. In particular, these sources have caused a great deal of angst as people have conjectured that this year’s primary care stats may reflect a general trend for the future involving all types of residency programs. I wish to address the error of reading into isolated statistics, with the hope that my viewpoint will ease the minds of international medical school graduates minds and encourage them to continue applying to residencies in the US.
Once you have endured the hassle of arranging a sub-internship, buying plane tickets, and obtaining housing, traveler’s insurance, the works, you may find yourself having a moment of panic as you realize that the only thing you know about the workings of American hospitals is what you garnered from watching Greys Anatomy, ER, and Scrubs.
Before you begin to hyperventilate and perhaps even syncopize, take a deep breath and be assured that this is the plight of the majority of international medical students who find themselves attempting to navigate a foreign medical system. This article is meant to preempt some of your questions, the same questions I had, and to provide tips to ease the transition.
Among English-speaking graduates, the Step 2 Clinical Skills exam generally produces the least amount of study angst. As long as you can take a decent history, communicate effectively, exhibit empathy, and come up with a reasonable differential diagnosis and plan, you will pass. There is no numerical score, and the exam consists of only twelve patient stations with actors. The tasks of communication and note writing under pressure can be more daunting when you are dealing with a language barrier or/and an unfamiliar system of notation for writing your assessment.