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Low USMLE scores – How to get residency?

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USMLE scores are one of the most important criteria in the evaluation of your application. Low USMLE scores can drastically affect your competitiveness and ability to get a residency. This is truer especially for the international medical graduates. Here are some of the ways in which you can lessen the impact of the low scores.

Get better scores in next exam
If you have taken only one exam and if the score is low, then prepare well for the next exam. Take the exam only if you are very confident of scoring high scores. Even if you have finished both steps, try to score high in the step-3. If at least one of your scores is above 95, program directors will see you in a different light.

Externship will benefit you in several ways. It will give you valuable hands on clinical experience, American LORs and contacts that might help you in securing the residency. But the problem is externships are not easy to get and sometimes very expensive.

This can be easily obtained from any hospital. Alternatively you can observe at the office of any US qualified American doctor. Though observership does not give you hands on clinical experience, it can sometimes get you American letters of recommendation especially if you impress the doctor with your medical knowledge. It is a good idea to observe in a hospital which is more likely to send you an interview and offer residency.

Research Publications
Temporary research positions can be obtained easily by permanent residents and citizens. It can be difficult if you do not have the required visa. In that case observer positions in the research labs are another possibility. Research fellowships are paid positions with H1 or J1 visa and are difficult to obtain for the medical students from foreign countries. The reason is that medical students outside US rarely have research experience and publications. When a principal investigator of a lab decides to hire you and pay salary for you, he expects you to contribute in a meaningful way to the work going on in the lab.

Volunteer Work
You can volunteer in a hospital in a spare time. You can get to know how the hospital functions in US. Your accent will improve as you communicate with the patients and the staff there. May not be very helpful, but can improve your CV. Also you can chat which the residents you regularly see and rarely they might help you.

Apply on the first date
Make sure you work on your application early on and apply on day 1. The later you apply the more chances that your application will not be reviewed or get rejected.


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0 #2 isabel v 2014-03-20 20:12
:lol: thank you so much! You have given hope.
I took my step 1 on feb of this year and got a 204.
God bless!
0 #1 Valbona 2012-01-13 21:51
How can i get a observeship, already got step 1 204, step 2 ck 242 and waiting for the result of step 2 cs.

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