1000 Subs - Your Questions Answered

Hi all, to save you time all the questions are listed below so you can go straight to what you're looking for. I'm so amazed to see how quickly our community is growing, heres to the next 1000! πŸ₯³


Is research mandatory for the match?

Can IMGs match into Dermatology?

Can I use Kaplan for Step 1?

When should I start Uworld?

When should I start studying for Step 1?

Can I use high yield resources if I'm a first year?

USMLE step 1 pass fail, what's changed?

Which NBMEs are the best to focus on?

πŸ§‘β€πŸ”¬ Shaik asks: Are Research/Publications or Volunteering mandatory for the match?

It depends on the specialty you are applying to, competitive specialties like seeing research because it means you are more likely to contribute research to their programme (which benefits them) and you're also someone that probably works well in a team.

We can use the NRMP interactive matching outcomes to investigate dermatology (a competitive specialty). There was a 60% match rate for US grads who had research, and a 25% match rate for those with 0 research.

Comparison of those with research, and those with no research, matching dermatology

Interestingly, there were diminishing returns, those <10 pubs (below) had about the same match rate as those with <25 pubs. These rates differ by specialty so check out the link to investigate your chosen field!

Applicants matching with less than 10 publications

πŸƒ Makul asks: Is it possible for IMGs to match into Dermatology (same goes for any competitive specialty)

The match rate for IMGs is much lower for all specialties, but especially competitive ones. From the NRMP website it can be as low as 27%, but be aware that the sample size is much lower (30 vs 128 applicants). So its statistically your chances of matching are much lower as an IMG... BUT


The most important thing to remember here is that:

Statistics apply to populations, not to individuals (shoutout Dr. Jubbal!)

There are a lot of other factors that go into your application besides USMLE and number of publications that contribute to an IMG matching into Dermatology like:

  • Contacts in the specialty
  • US clinical experience
  • One or two research years (sometimes even a PHD!)
  • Present at international conferences
  • Letters of recommendation from Dermatologists in the US

Aphrodyuti asks: I graduated around 4 years ago, do you recommend Kaplan for someone like me?

I don't usually recommend Kaplan lecture notes for anyone who has less than a year to study for the USMLE because it just takes so long to get through the notes. For most people in medical school they have learnt enough from their medical school curriculum to start a Q-bank right away... however.

In your case its probably been so long since you studied the basic sciences you probably would benefit much more from doing Kaplan. If youre willing to commit the time to it, then yes it could work for you. I don't recommend you just read Kaplan front to back however. You should do an easy Q-bank like USMLE-Rx, and use the questions in that resource to go back to Kaplan and read up on the topics you get wrong.

DRana asks: When should I start Uworld? When I start preparing for the USMLE or a few months down the line? Wouldn't I run out of questions?

As soon as you've started thinking about taking the USMLE I think you should start a Q-bank. Its much more effective to answer practise questions and use that to double back to your main resources like First Aid or Kaplan, to read up on the topic. The earlier you start a Q-bank the better you will do on USMLE.

if you're in a 6 year programme and you're a first year, Uworld will be too tough for you, but you can start the USMLE Rx Q-bank and do that alongside your medical school curriculum. Nearing the end of second year you can start Uworld.

If we add up the Uworld and AMBOSS Q-banks, there are 5790 questions. If you did a block of 40, 5 times a week, it would take you 210 calendar days to complete. Some people will even reset their q-banks and do them again (although I prefer to move to another one).

Essentially: no, you will never run out of questions, and if you do then congratulations! You're probably ready to take step 1 anyway! 🀞

Don't get caught in the trap of preparation over action, start your questions NOW, and make sure to leave a comment down below to thank me after you take your test 😊

Mona asks: Im in the beginning of my second year, should I start studying for step 1?

Towards the end of your second year is a great time to start Uworld as you've probably gained enough clinical knowledge to give it a good go. In your case you can start USMLE Rx, which is an easier Q-bank and you can use it alongside your medical curriculum.

Preet asks: Should I use high yield resources if I just began med school and want to take the USMLE?

I personally believe the best way to build a strong base for the USMLE is to really engage with your medical school curriculum. If you start the USMLE-Rx q-bank as well then you'll probably score very well on step 1. If you want to get ahead on USMLE prep then you can start watching sketchy and pathoma videos to get them done early.

Mohammed asks: Is it worth working hard for USMLE step 1 now its pass/fail?

100% yes. There is a lot of overlap between step 1 and step 2, which still has a numbered score. We know from many years of statistics, that people who do well on step 1 go on to do well on step 2.

It only makes sense to study for step 1 with the same intensity as before. it will make the process of studying for step 2 much easier.

DocOnTheClock asks: Which NBMEs are good and should be focused on?

Which specific NBMEs you do matters less than the number you do. I personally did 27, 28, 29, 30, and UWSA1, UWSA2. I felt like this was a good number for me, but I know people that did way more than that.

The only recommendation I have is to to UW1 before you start dedicated USMLE prep so you can see how far along you are, and do UW2 a week before your test to see if you're ready. Other than that, just do one NBME a week on the weekend in the 5/6 weeks leading up to your test and you'll be grand!

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