“USMLE To Match” Step By Step


Here are all the steps you need to know from medical school to residency in an order to make it easy for you.

“The earlier the better” with respect to starting your USMLE preparation. If you know some one who took Step 1 recently, meet them personally and know as much information as possible. You should realize that there is a lot of variation in how people prepare and what books people read. Your are solely responsible for the methods and books you select.

Make sure your medical school/college is recognized. The World Directory Of Medical Schools should have your university name. In addition to membership of this site, there should be a sponsorship note from ECFMG to make you eligible for USMLE which you can see in the above site. The easiest way otherwise is if your senior got in to residency previously, then you are okay as far as eligibility.

For those in early stages of MBBS: Go through the Kaplan lecture notes of basic subjects along with your respective courses in medical school. From ANY medical book shop, buy only 2016 or latest Kaplan Anatomy, Physiology and Biochemistry. You can buy the latest editions of the rest of the subjects when you need them.

Like “USMLE Motivation Page” to boost your preparation. It is better to know “Components of a Strong Residency Application” so that you know exactly what to do to from now to plan the best way in advance to get into residency.

Obtain Latest Kaplan text books for USMLE Step 1 any time during or after second MBBS [Once you finish Anatomy, Physiology, Biochemistry, Microbiology, Pharmacology, Pathology]. Also select a Qbank to solve questions while reading these books. As you go along with preparation, you can add more resources based on your plan. Step 1 includes  testing on Anatomy, Physiology, Biochemistry, Pathology, Microbiology, Pharmacology, Behavioral sciences. 
Step 2 CK includes testing on Medicine, Surgery, Pediatrics, OBGYN, Psychiatry etc. 

You should know the best books to prepare for various USMLE steps.

Finish one reading of Kaplan books at a good speed even though you might not remember everything. You will at least get a good idea of the material you have to remember and plan your study speed and style to finish preparation in the time you planned to take exam.

Go to ECFMG to register with them so you can take USMLE step exams. The fees associated with various USMLE Steps can be found at this link.

Read all the instructions. At the bottom of the page, Put a tick mark in front of ‘I confirm that I have read the above instructions’ and click next.

Follow the step by step  instructions to establish the account with ECFMG. ECFMG will send you the UserID and Password in approximately 2-5 days through email.
Log on to IWA using the ID and password —> Begin A New Application –>Choose USMLE Step 1 , Step 2 CK or Step 2 CS  whichever one you want to take –>Pay with credit card
This is actually the ONLINE part of the form 186 that you are filling to get registered with ECFMG.
Once you complete the application , review and submit it.
After submitting the application , IWA will generate the Paper Part of the form 186–>PRINT it and fill it out. Attach one photograph on it and get it signed by the Dean.
IWA  will also print out the relevant forms pertaining to the exam you opt along  with form 186. Print and fill them. –> Send  the above forms filled and signed back to the ECFMG.

Now, this varies slightly for graduates and students.
a) Student: Fill 186 and your school will send the form and transcripts back to ECFMG in a sealed envelope.
b) Graduate with diploma: Fill out 186,187 and the relevant forms  given by IWA. A photocopy of your diploma  stamped by  the college  and the college authorities will send it  to ecfmg.
c) Graduates WITHOUT a diploma:  Fill the same as (b) provide the ECFMG with a SUPPLEMENTAL LETTER FROM THE DEAN stating that you have graduated and you will be issued the diploma in some time.
Once your stuff  is mailed to ECFMG, it takes them approximately 3-4 weeks for processing the application.You can check the status of your application go to ECFMG OASIS.

Book a date for your exam couple of months into preparation so you know when to take the exam.

Read for at least 6 months for step 1. Do not be in a rush to take the exam.

Finish USMLE step 1 and 2 CK first with out any other disturbances and and get good scores. You should get more than 240 to be on safe side. You can proceed even if you get more than 220. The lesser the score, the more the difficulty to get into residency. Try to finish Step 3 and have the result by the time of applying for residency in the middle of September.

Get at least 4 letters of recommendation from your medical colleges. Get from the medicine chief, principal or which ever specialty you are interested in.

Now time to come to US to take USMLE Step 2 CS and Step 3. Also for doing Observership, research, Externship, MPH, or whatever. Some come here through marriage [easy way] but be careful whom you marry. You have to live for your entire life with them.

At this point, you get ECFMG certification- To obtain the ECFMG certificate, you need to have finished the USMLE steps 1, 2 CK, and 2 CS, and complete the credentials verification process (verification of medical diploma). ECFMG will send letter to your medical college principal and you send someone in your city to go to medical school to make sure they send those attested documents back. Sometimes, your medical college may ask copies of all your certificates so they can simply sign them and post them to ECFMG. Never lose those individual mark sheets for each MBBS exam you take during your medical school.

Start writing your Personal Statement. Read “Writing Personal Statement Tips

July-Buy the TOKEN [a fourteen digit number] from ECFMG. Then, you go to the ERAS support section, and pay for the token

Official residency application timeline is available in ERAS

July- register for MyERAS on AAMC

Here are the documents that you need to upload
Information about programs is at freida. Browse through the website and know more about the programs. After selecting the programs, try visiting their own websites to find out extra requirements e.g. applicant should have stayed in the states for at least a year before applying

Application Submission Day: Select the programs–> Pay the money–>Pay money for transcript–> assign transcripts to all programs–> assign photo to all programs–>assign PS to all programs–>assign LoR’s to each program

Dates of match events from NRMP here

You can read “Residency Application Process” and “Complete Residency Interview Preparation for FREE“.

September to November 30th deadline – register for NRMP.

September 15 –Submit your application and pay the fees in NRMP. Don’t delay in applying for programs.

Apply to as many programs as you qualify. I would apply for 100 programs. It is up to you. The main specialties are IM, FM, Pediatrics, Psychiatry, Anesthesiology, Neurology etc.

Make sure the programs have gotten your application by revisiting the site.

Start preparing for residency interviews. Join “Residency Interview Preparation“.

Get a credit card if possible so you don’t have to carry cash as you will travel a lot for interviews.

Wait for interviews. You will get emails. You can get email early or late. Most emails come by December usually.

You receive interviews in mid to late September and start attending interviews starting October approximately.

Submit your rank order list sometime during February.
Middle of March – NRMP match results.

Your program coordinator where you are matched will tell you all the paper work you need prior to starting your residency.

Join H1B residents group on facebook to discuss process of getting a H1B for your residency. Regarding J1 visa, you can join the J1 visa waiver group.

Here are some good “Tips for New Residents“.

Start Residency.

Board Certification and State Licensure of your choice. You need Full Medical License from each state you wish to practice after your residency. Read how to get “Texas Medical License

If you feel this information is useful, please like Our facebook page.

Good Luck.