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Residency Match Experience Step 1 Preparation and Experience Step 2CK Preparation and Experience Step 2CS Preparation and Experience USMLE General Advice USMLE Residency Interview

A Difficult Internal Medicine IMG Match Experience

Creds – 245/260/cs first-pass/ 2013 Yog/3 months USCE

Matched into IM

About Me

Low key IMG, bottom 10% of the class, from a govt medical in Kerala, India. And boy, when I say bottom 10% of the class, I actually mean like I am in the bottom 5% lol.

I passed MBBS with bare minimum marks and I had some failures by Grace of HODs (bless them lol).

After my graduation, I started preparing for the Indian residency entrance exam. I worked my ass off and got MD anesthesia. I was not disappointed because I knew I didn’t deserve a better rank. But I was not really interested to join Anesthesia because like every other Indian medico I wanted IM or rads or peds.

Since I was done with studies, I thought I might as well join this and done with my PG I was like “Cool… my life’s set…” and I started imagining my future life as anesthetist lol. But little did I knew about the shit that’s gonna happen to me.

Since my rank was not good enough, I got into a north Indian college only. I was not really interested to go there with my bare minimum “Tumhare Naam kya hai” Hindi, but I had no choice. I took solace from the fact that it’s only for 3 years and finally joined there.

My residency life was full shit…. hospital and work environment was utter worse than I expected. I graduated from a govt medical college in Kerala and so I knew about the limitations and atmosphere of a govt hospital. In almost all govt colleges in residency, you will be treated like shit (Unless you are a fair-skinned hottie ).

But here it was 100 times worse than I expected… duty hours ..professors…everything was shit and they treated me like utter shit.. only me …because I was the only outsider there. From the first day, I understood that I was not welcome there. They made it clear.
Professors and fkking senior pgs even started mocking me in front of mbbs students.. made fun of my accent and these people even said bad things about my parents. Can you imagine that feeling like an outsider in your own country?

After 6 months I resigned from my residency as it was too much for me…
My parents obviously disappointed…My father begged me to complete the course, but I already made my decision by then.

Then I applied for Indian army medical services. I came from a family with two freedom fighters. So my family supported my decision. I thought Nobody wants to join the army after going all the shit way via MBBS, So I would easily get selected lol. Guess what I didn’t.

Then I started working as an MBBS doctor in a govt hospital far away from my home.

The worse phase of my life – I resumed my bad habit from medical school. Alcohol.

Being born in a very religious Muslim family, I was the only one who even touched alcohol in my family. Since I was staying far from my home, I thought nobody will get to know this. I made some friends and started drinking with them like no tomorrow.

Basically, I was like Shahid Kapoor from Kabir Singh movie (Kabir Singh was at least getting laid lol).

Then I got a marriage proposal .. arranged marriage thing ( if any of you non-Desi friends reading this, please excuse me lol. Arranged marriage is like an Indian form of Tinder where parents ‘Swipe ‘ for us and real action takes place after marriage only, mostly.)

I was happy with this marriage proposal. The girl was too pretty for a loser like me and somehow that girl also liked me.

Shit happened again- My alcoholic story reached a girl’s family (I still don’t know how).

Marriage got called off. Mom cried… cried and cried. My uncle asked me to come home urgently. When I reached home, I realized the damage. Nobody in my family didn’t say a word to me. My otherwise chirpy sister, my sister in law. nobody.. seemed like nobody wanted to even talk to me. I felt really bad about my choices. Two days passed and still, nobody didn’t utter a word to me. I couldn’t hold it longer. I went to my father and cried my heart out. I apologized and promised that this won’t ever happen again (I still haven’t broken it alhamdulillah).

My family strictly asked me to work in a hospital nearby home only. (So that they could keep a watch on me lol) So I started working in a private hospital near my home.

Again marriage proposals came but due to my previous alcoholism history, nothing worked

I realized that I am fucked up. No residency, no marriage..no reputation (if there was any lol).

I was not interested to study again for neet.

So I started looking for alternative career options. Finally, I decided to pursue usmle. ( I told my family that I taking usmle exams for Qatar residency only and they believed it).

To my surprise my parents supported me.

USMLE

STEP One

I messaged my classmate who just got matched at that time, asking for some tips regarding step one. She replied”, it’s too tough bro, why couldn’t you try NEET again”?

Score- 245 duration 10 months.

Sources- UFAP

I started studying really hard. I had that feeling you know.. fire in the belly… I really wanted to succeed…

After six months of continuous study, my assessments were not improving. I was only getting around 230-240 range only. I knew that being a visa requiring IMG with no contacts, my best bet is to scores.
Extended my triad .. I worked on my weaknesses..exam-taking skills.
Finally, I got it done and got 245. I felt like I could have done better with my duration of preparation.

I think I messed up my exam day lol. Anyway I was happy with my score

My advice- there is no hard and fast rule for step one. Some take 3 months, some 6 and some take years. So make your own script. If you are taking longer than your peers, let it be. It’s okay. Don’t compromise your scores.

CK

score –260 Plus

Duration –4 months only. Uworld only. ( I did Uworld twice)

I started CK prep right after step one and it really benefitted me. In my experience, CK is much easier than step 1

CS

Scariest exam of my life. I prepared for 2 months, still passed with borderline performance only lol. I just practiced with my online SP for two 1 months and then practiced 2 weeks in Houston.

Interview season

7 interviews in total.

I practiced with my cousin who is an English professor in my country. I also practiced with one Latin American IMG peads applicant. It worked out great. I also practiced so much in front of the mirror…That’s all. Nothing fancy like usmle ——- or brian mark course.

I matched into a university associated community program. I am old AF and I am not planning to do fellowships. I just want to be a hospitalist.

Mistakes I Made During My Journey

🍁 Wasted so much during step 1 looking for the ideal study plan. There is no ideal study plan. Make your own plan. It’s okay to make mistakes

🍁 Trusted many people blindly without realizing that its a war and everybody is there out to take your spot lol.

I think my friend from across the border deserves special mention. Dude was with me from the beginning of my prep. I gave him my materials, helped in his exams. even arranged USCE in the place where rotated.
When I asked him about Interview experience at a program he interviewed earlier, dude gave me completely opposite info. I prepared like what he said and got fucked up on the interview day. When I called to ask him about this guy ignored my calls lol. He also owes me a couple hundred $ as well. This made me reassess my plans. I stopped interacting with other IM applicants. I would say it was a good decision.

🍁 I didn’t do anything during the IV season like rotations or research work. I was asked about this.

🍁 not taking step3

I had time but still, I couldn’t proceed with my step 3 plans. Having step 3 would have fetched me a couple of IVs for sure

🍁 I declined a prematch offer.

I would say it was a bad decision but anyway I am not doing a fellowship. still, somehow I declined that offer due to some shitty and weird reasons.

a)didn’t like the location.

b)Residents seemed too busy

c)not much diversity in the residents-almost everyone is an Indian or Pakistani lol. I am all for “Aman ki Asha ” stuff or India – Pakistan Bhai Bhai, but the last thing I want is my co-residents asking me if Babar Azam is better than Virat- Kohli lol. ( trust me guys, this happened a lot in Houston ).

All these made me reject that offer.

Later I started to doubt my decision. I lost so much sleep due to this. All those negative thoughts came to mind. I imagined seeing Facebook posts about me after matchday like “… Guys, please accept the prematch offer. I know a guy..245/260. Dude got arrogant and declined a prematch offer .. guess what he is unmatched … ” lol.

I definitely matched into a better program but still, I would say it’s not worth the trouble since I don’t have plans for fellowship.

There is something about me you guys should know. I am one of those people who gets nervous easily …Some say I am too soft..I never did anything outside my comfort zone. I was one of those people who cried all day when Sachin Tendulkar retired( I cried when Mufasa died too ). So for a softie like me, going to the US, doing rotations, Interviews.. everything was outside my comfort zone. There were times when I doubted my decision. I am glad that I persisted.

YOU NEVER KNOW HOW STRONG YOU ARE UNTIL BEING STRONG IS THE ONLY OPTION YOU HAVE-BOB MARLEY

May the force be with you all

Author

John Honai

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