IMG Friendly States by Specialty


By Edison Cano

IMG Friendly States by Specialty 1Selecting residency programs is one of the biggest dilemmas International Medical Graduates (IMGs) face every year. Reviewing every program is a very difficult task when you don’t know where to start among the 4,000 programs in the United States. However, knowing which states are more (IMG) friendly for your specialty of interest can help you narrow your search.

The following specialty maps are a synthesis of data from the National Residency Match Program (NRMP), Accreditation Council on Graduate Medical Education (ACGME), American Academy of Medical Colleges (AAMC), and the J-1 Visa Exchange Visitor Program.

These maps are meant to represent the “big picture” for IMGs in the US. Each state shows the percentage of residency positions filled by IMG graduates. The colors represent the total number of IMG residents in each state, as indicated by the legend.

Let us know what you think on the comments below!

Having Outlets in Med School: A Step 1 Sonnet


By Tim Durso

Having Outlets in Med School - My Step 1 SonnetI’ve long since admired a poet’s ability to take an experience and mold it into a relatable and elegant form. I’ve dabbled with my own poetry (which admittedly is rough at best) from time to time as a sort of creative outlet for whenever I’m feeling stressed or bored (a.k.a. throughout med school). I don’t always write them down, but sometimes they help me work through my emotions and release them in a constructive way.

Below I’ve included a sonnet about my experiences leading up to taking Step 1: (more…)

Achieving Happiness While Studying for the Boards


By Mark Ard

“Don’t aim at success—the more you aim at it and make it a target, the more you are going to miss it. For success, like happiness, cannot be pursued; it must ensue…as the unintended side-effect of one’s personal dedication to a course greater than oneself.”
– Vicktor Frankl, Man’s Search for Meaning

In the bestselling book “Flow: The Psychology of Optimal Experience,” author Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi’s takes on the very difficult topic of happiness and what conditions put people into the state of “flow” that only seems achievable to world-class extreme athletes (think about the Red Bull Wingsuit). Below are six conditions to achieving this state of eudaemonia and how you can get there yourself while studying for boards. I also highly recommend the book for people who need an answer to “what books have you read recently?” (more…)

What’s Your (Learning) Type: The MBTI Approach to Learning


By Mark Ard

Whats Your Learning Type 1“Hey gurl, you’re an ISFP? I’m an ENTJ, wanna make some flashcards together?”

What? You’ve never used a Myers-Briggs pick up line? Yeah me neither, but if you want to classify and better approach how you relate to knowledge and learning, then hopefully my next couple of posts will help you become a more awesome medical student by better knowing thyself.

The Myers-Briggs Type Indicator (MBTI) is broken down across four domains to determine how individuals perceive, process, and ultimately interact with the world. It’s one of the most researched psychometric personality inventories around. (more…)

Annotation Nation


By Tim Durso

Annotation NationOne of the greatest challenges in studying for Step 1 is deciding what information is worth trying to remember. In an ideal world, you’d be able to memorize every bit of information you come across the first two years of med school, but if you could do that you’d be playing blackjack in Las Vegas with Tom Cruise instead of cramming your brain full of lysosomal storage diseases (that’s a Rain Man reference for those less movie-inclined). One of the best ways to machete your way through the thicket of medical knowledge out there is to annotate your handy-dandy version of First Aid (see here for the latest and greatest version).

While everyone agrees that annotation is an essential part of the sacred rite that is Step 1 studying, everyone seems to have a different approach. I’m going to try to help analyze some of these different approaches, and hopefully you’ll come away with a better understanding of what might work for you in your preparation. To accomplish this, I’m going to borrow elements from the famous children’s tale of “Goldilocks and the Three Bears.” If you haven’t heard of this story, call your parents and ask them why, and then Google it before reading further. (more…)

USMLE-Rx Step 1 Qmax Challenge #3493


Check out today’s Step 1 Qmax Question Challenge.

Know the answer? Post it below! Don’t forget to check back for an update with the correct answer and explanation (we’ll post it in the comments section below).

USMLE-Rx Step 1 Qmax Challenge #3493A 45-year-old man presents with a low-grade fever, hoarseness, cough, and a sore throat. On physical examination, he has swollen cervical lymph nodes. Gram stain of his sputum is obtained, and the specimen is shown in the image. Secretions obtained from the patient’s tonsils are analyzed using polymerase chain reaction, and a diagnostic protein subunit is found.

The exotoxin responsible for his symptoms inhibits protein synthesis by which of the following mechanisms?

A. Activation of adenyl cyclase by adenosine diphosphate ribosylation
B. Activation of Gs
C. Adenosine diphosphate ribosylation of elongation factor 2
D. Inhibition of Gi
E. Stimulating macrophages to release tumor necrosis factor-?


Want to know the ‘bottom line?’ Purchase a USMLE-Rx Subscription and get many more features, more questions, and passages from First Aid, including images, references, and other facts relevant to this question.

This practice question is an actual question from the USMLE-Rx Step 1 test bank. For more USMLE Step 1 prep, subscribe to our Flash Facts and Step 1 Express video series. Score the best deal on all three products with a Step 1 Triple Play Bundle.

Mnemonic Monday: Hypersensitivity Reactions


By Haley Masterson

The 4 categories of hypersensitivity reactions is one of those subjects many students suspect we’ll never need to remember. But, in fact, this topic will likely haunt us for the rest of our medical career no matter what field we go into (even surgical residents have to review this topic for their ABSITE exam), so you may as well memorize the 4 categories now.


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