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USMLEs for UK medical student - pros and cons?

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    Hi,

    I'm currently coming up to final year at warwick medical school. One of my consultants (in his late 40s I think) was mentioning to me how he regretted not doing his USMLEs at the same time of his finals as this would have at least given him the option to consider working in the USA.

    I'm in my 20s and at this moment in time I dont really see myself working in the states. But who knows what the future holds.

    So anyway, are they worth taking? Are they very similar to UK finals? Are they likely to be valid for many years/decades?

    thanks for any input/advice.
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    From what I understand, the first part is considerably harder than finals and requires a lot more work. The other steps aren't easy either, and are not cheap! If you don't have active plans to move to the USA, personally I wouldn't think it was worth the time/money/effort. Digitalis will be able to tell you more though...

    (Original post by digitalis)
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    (Original post by MedicUK)
    Hi,

    I'm currently coming up to final year at warwick medical school. One of my consultants (in his late 40s I think) was mentioning to me how he regretted not doing his USMLEs at the same time of his finals as this would have at least given him the option to consider working in the USA.

    I'm in my 20s and at this moment in time I dont really see myself working in the states. But who knows what the future holds.

    So anyway, are they worth taking? Are they very similar to UK finals? Are they likely to be valid for many years/decades?

    thanks for any input/advice.
    Step 1 is far, far, far harder than finals. Step 2 is harder than finals. They are valid for 7 years and then they expire. If you pass an exam, you must keep that score. If you fail an exam, your application will be very poor.

    Personally? I'd sit at LEAST step 1 during med school if you are considering it. I am damn glad I did mine during 5th year. Then do a rotation out in the US and see if you like it.

    For what it is worth, your value (which already starts off low by being an international graduate) drops rapidly the longer you leave after graduation. 1 or 2 years after graduation is preferable to many programs, five years is exceptional.
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    (Original post by digitalis)
    Step 1 is far, far, far harder than finals. Step 2 is harder than finals. They are valid for 7 years and then they expire. If you pass an exam, you must keep that score. If you fail an exam, your application will be very poor.

    Personally? I'd sit at LEAST step 1 during med school if you are considering it. I am damn glad I did mine during 5th year. Then do a rotation out in the US and see if you like it.

    For what it is worth, your value (which already starts off low by being an international graduate) drops rapidly the longer you leave after graduation. 1 or 2 years after graduation is preferable to many programs, five years is exceptional.
    What is your oppinion of the European board of medical assessors- international medical knowledge test?

    It is being piloted this year for 4th and 5th years and Foundation doctors.

    Blurb is attached
    Attached Files
  1. File Type: docx EKT student guide (pms).docx (15.0 KB, 148 views)
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    (Original post by carcinoma)
    What is your oppinion of the European board of medical assessors- international medical knowledge test?

    It is being piloted this year for 4th and 5th years and Foundation doctors.

    Blurb is attached
    Never heard of it mate
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    Hey, so I have an offer from the University of Manchester for Medicine and I have also got into Boston University for their 4 year Pre-Med course.

    Eventually I would like to practice in the US, unsure about where to study.

    It would just be 6 years at Manchester, while at BU I would have to apply for Medical School again so it would total up to 8 years.

    Advice?
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    (Original post by djsabi93)
    Hey, so I have an offer from the University of Manchester for Medicine and I have also got into Boston University for their 4 year Pre-Med course.

    Eventually I would like to practice in the US, unsure about where to study.

    It would just be 6 years at Manchester, while at BU I would have to apply for Medical School again so it would total up to 8 years.

    Advice?
    5 years at Manchester :-D Unless you are planning on intercalating in which case yes, 6 years!
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    (Original post by digitalis)
    Step 1 is far, far, far harder than finals. Step 2 is harder than finals. They are valid for 7 years and then they expire. If you pass an exam, you must keep that score. If you fail an exam, your application will be very poor.

    Personally? I'd sit at LEAST step 1 during med school if you are considering it. I am damn glad I did mine during 5th year. Then do a rotation out in the US and see if you like it.

    For what it is worth, your value (which already starts off low by being an international graduate) drops rapidly the longer you leave after graduation. 1 or 2 years after graduation is preferable to many programs, five years is exceptional.
    Hi Digitalis,

    Thanks for your reply, didnt seem to get an email notification for some reason.

    I'm planning on become a GP before I even consider going anywhere else i.e. 5 years from when I qualify...but if I'm understanding what you're saying, by that point theres little chance of working in the US and so little point in me doing USMLEs now?

    Also, where would I fit a rotation in? F1, F2?

    Just out of curiosity, how did it work out for you, are you working in the states now?

    thanks again
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    (Original post by MedicUK)
    Hi Digitalis,

    Thanks for your reply, didnt seem to get an email notification for some reason.

    I'm planning on become a GP before I even consider going anywhere else i.e. 5 years from when I qualify...but if I'm understanding what you're saying, by that point theres little chance of working in the US and so little point in me doing USMLEs now?

    Also, where would I fit a rotation in? F1, F2?

    Just out of curiosity, how did it work out for you, are you working in the states now?

    thanks again
    So bear in mind, if you become a GP in the UK, that is not recognised in the US. You would have to redo a family medicine residency. The residency field is going to be a completely different ball game in five years time, that is the general consensus amongst many US people in the know. Browse SDN for more info. If you definitely want to do GP training, it might be worth considering Canada. You will have no problems working as a family doctor in Canada as GP who has finished training (google HealthMatchBC)

    You would fit rotations in during summer holidays or SSC periods at medical school.

    As for me, I am sitting my last USMLE (done Step 1 and Step 2CK) and I am applying for the Match in September. Done two sub-internships in internal medicine in the US (the highest quality of US clinical experience you can get)
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    Cool, thanks again Digitalis. I'll have a read around.

    It's a shame re GP program, it's a very attractive option for Brits (unless it's completely not your cup of tea but I loved GP block when I was on it). But from what I hear it seems many countries around the world don't recognise it as such.
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    (Original post by MedicUK)
    Cool, thanks again Digitalis. I'll have a read around.

    It's a shame re GP program, it's a very attractive option for Brits (unless it's completely not your cup of tea but I loved GP block when I was on it). But from what I hear it seems many countries around the world don't recognise it as such.
    On the contrary, many countries accept it, just not America.
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    (Original post by digitalis)
    On the contrary, many countries accept it, just not America.
    Americans, thinking they are so special, eh?

    Mr Seal might be moving to America on a permanent basis, so I might have to go with him. When did you sit the first step? Does the first step allow you to practise in America and get an internship? Or do you have to sit all steps first, and when should you expect to complete these by?

    I figure if I need to sit them at medical school, I will need to prepare for it now just in case?

    I know that I shouldn't sit them unless I have definitive plans, but definitive plans are few and far between in my life :rollseyes:
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    How difficult is it to study for the USMLE and keep up with your regular course work? Does studying for the USMLE help you in the regular school examinations, or does it usually affect the writer's school marks?
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    (Original post by Glia)
    How difficult is it to study for the USMLE and keep up with your regular course work? Does studying for the USMLE help you in the regular school examinations, or does it usually affect the writer's school marks?
    It will make your medical school exams look like a primary school exam.
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    (Original post by Harbour Seal)
    Americans, thinking they are so special, eh?

    Mr Seal might be moving to America on a permanent basis, so I might have to go with him. When did you sit the first step? Does the first step allow you to practise in America and get an internship? Or do you have to sit all steps first, and when should you expect to complete these by?

    I figure if I need to sit them at medical school, I will need to prepare for it now just in case?

    I know that I shouldn't sit them unless I have definitive plans, but definitive plans are few and far between in my life :rollseyes:

    I sat the first step after my last long summer holiday, at the end of 4th year. I thought this was best because I had a pretty solid understanding of clinical medicine by then which is useful for a clinically orientated exam.

    The first step is worth nothing. In fact, neither Step 1, 2CK or 2CS are of anything in isolation. Once you have all three, you get ECFMG certified which basically states your level of knowledge is equivalent to a US MD.

    I would definitely sit them during med school. I know friends who are seriously struggling studying for them during foundation years. In fact, I doubt any who are actually studying for them now will ever get to the US.

    I am in that fortunate situation of being Step 1 and 2CK + and hopefully will have CS done in a fortnight. Made for a pretty tough 5th year, but was worth it.
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    (Original post by digitalis)
    I sat the first step after my last long summer holiday, at the end of 4th year. I thought this was best because I had a pretty solid understanding of clinical medicine by then which is useful for a clinically orientated exam.

    The first step is worth nothing. In fact, neither Step 1, 2CK or 2CS are of anything in isolation. Once you have all three, you get ECFMG certified which basically states your level of knowledge is equivalent to a US MD.

    I would definitely sit them during med school. I know friends who are seriously struggling studying for them during foundation years. In fact, I doubt any who are actually studying for them now will ever get to the US.

    I am in that fortunate situation of being Step 1 and 2CK + and hopefully will have CS done in a fortnight. Made for a pretty tough 5th year, but was worth it.
    What are you doing this year, apart from the CS? Have you been studying for that alongside FY1?
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    (Original post by KCosmo)
    What are you doing this year, apart from the CS? Have you been studying for that alongside FY1?
    I've done UK finals and Step 1 and 2CK. I haven't started FY1.
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    (Original post by digitalis)
    I've done UK finals and Step 1 and 2CK. I haven't started FY1.
    Ah ok, so did you basically take a year out after med school to focus on step 2? Also, what's the difference between step 1 and CS?
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    (Original post by KCosmo)
    Ah ok, so did you basically take a year out after med school to focus on step 2? Also, what's the difference between step 1 and CS?
    :s no, not even close...

    As for the latter, Google is your friend.
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    (Original post by digitalis)
    On the contrary, many countries accept it, just not America.
    Interesting. The other place I would consider working in the future is the middle east. But a friend told me a GP 'had no place' over there, since apparently they only have specialist doctors that patients go to see.

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