Ukranian IMG struggle: Man proposes, God disposes

Hey guys,

I have been waiting for this day for a long time now. I will try to be as honest as much as I can with this message.
I am a graduate from a med-school in Ukraine. I took 2 years to clear this exam. Yeah that’s a long time but I had few disturbances and other things to take care of in between but I will still count that as the time I have taken to give the exam cause I graduated in 2011 and have passed the exam in 2013 and that is what it will be looked as by everyone.

My knowledge of medicine was zero. I did not know what beta-blockers was, I did not know what sympathetic and para-sympathetic systems meant, I did not know what renin or hormones were – basically I had no medical knowledge when I walked out of my med-school with my degree. Why? I blame no one but myself. Sure conditions there are harder to study but if a person really wants to study they can no matter what happens. So I will not blame my med-school or Ukraine for my lack of knowledge.

From Ukraine I went to the US and stayed at my sisters place (luckily I have family that were going to support me).

For 7-9 months I did videos and notes (basically building vocabulary). I did Najeeb videos (very good for building basics but very long). I primarily focused on Kaplan videos and notes.
Then I started doing uworld questions (untimed, subject wise) which i think was my biggest mistake/cause for taking so long. Because my knowledge then wasn’t strong enough to tackle MCQs. I should have done FA or DIT or Pathoma.
So I did one round of uworld and kaplan q bank – that took me a hell of a lot of time. I wouldn’t say wasted but it wasn’t the most ideal way to study at that stage.

I did a bunch of NBMEs in between (will post scores later). I was still very disappointed with my scores, then I found DIT and pathoma. If I could go back and do something I think I would have done DIT and pathoma again to consolidate my knowledge which would have helped me understand the MCQs better.
My uworld scores (random, timed) gradually improved from 30’s to 40’s to 50’s to 60’s and sometimes hit 70’s as well – I became quite confident at that time that I can do something worthy in the exam.

July 31st was the last date of my EXTENDED eligibility period and that was like the only session available in that one week time in that prometric center and it had been 3 years since I went back home (which is India) so it was like all factors were pointing to me just going for it and seeing what happens and I’m glad I did.

I have a problem with reading. I cant just sit and read a book like that. So doing FA for me was next to impossible which is why DIT and pathoma helped immensely.

There were plenty of days/weeks even months ill say I tried reading FA so that I could finish it and give a test but I never managed to finish the book and my test scores were awful so that was a real downer – so if someone wants to take something away from this – my message would be – figure out what works for you and study accordingly cause fitting into other peoples method is (maybe possible) but not worth it, and it will make you feel more content if you do it your way. cause all the concepts are actually very interesting even if you dont like to read. there are still interesting concepts about the human body which we will use for the rest of our lives.

My hope now is to study for the step2 exams and finish them by august and apply for residency. I’m not aiming for any of the high end fields. In fact the exact opposite. I always was very interested in sports so ideally I would like to do sports medicine but I shall take each challenge as it comes.

NBME 5 —–15th February——300/175
NBME 6 ——2nd March——260/165
UWSA 2 ——-15th March —— 440/204
NBME 11 —— 26th March ——340/184
UWSA 1 ——– 30th March —— ?/194
NBME 15 ——–15th July ——- 330/182
NBME 13 ——– 22nd July ——-380/193

Step 1 score —– 31st July —– 198

Again it was very risky to give it with those scores but I had tremendous amount of help from many people in this forum but especially from pawan malchandani. he gave me a lot of confidence in the end and some guidance which i think was key in getting me a passing score.
I shall work as hard as possible now for the next exams and hopefully I match into a residency program.
a big thank you to the moderators of this forum, i learnt a great deal from this forum even if it was opening it randomly and reading a question posted by someone. that could have possibly helped me in some question.

So good luck to everyone preparing for this exam and congrats to everyone who are done with it.
I dont really have a punch line to end my long message with but ill give it a shot – Man plans and God laughs, but if man works God rewards.

If this experience helped you, check out the following experiences:

USMLE STEP 1 – 253 Experience – Indian IMG (Malak Modi)

USMLE Step 1 – 261 – Experience – IMG 2017


December 26, 2017
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