5 Tips for Great Residency Letters of Recommendation

Best Tips for Residency Letters of Recommendation No matter what application you’re preparing right now, there is one thing I can guarantee is true: You’ve been preparing for this application for years. Between classes, training, school activities, MCAT, SAT, USMLE (or any other number of test acronyms), it’s been a long road to get to this point, and you’ve put in a TON of effort. You’ve checked all the boxes: Grades? Check. Test scores? Check.…

Lecturio Review (USMLE, MCA,T, & NCLEX)

Overview: Preparation for the USMLE is a daunting task. With so much material to learn and a ton of potential resources available, so many test-takers waste valuable time simply deciding which resources to use. How do you rate Lecturio Review ? Enter Lecturio. Lecturio is a fully comprehensive medical curriculum and medical boards review resource that covers all pre-clinical and clinical material required for the USMLE Step 1, COMLEX Level 1, USMLE Step 2 CK,…

NYCS Review

When it comes to medical certifications like the USMLE, you can never be too prepared. For that reason, it’s always a good idea to look into the idea of brushing up on your medical knowledge before taking the exam; after all, it can play a substantial role in determining your future career prospects. But how can you prepare yourself for such a difficult exam? New York Clinical Schools Prep USMLE is a company that seeks…

Best USMLE Step 1 Question Banks

Starting a career in medicine is no easy feat. Whether you’re interested in becoming a doctor, a nurse, or any other medical professional, the educational requirements are steep and will often incorporate a combination of university education, postgraduate education, and additional certifications. One of these certifications is the USMLE, a notoriously difficult licensing exam that comes in multiple parts. Looking to pass the USMLE? Don’t worry, we’ve got your back: One of the best ways…

USMLE vs. COMLEX

What is the difference between the USMLE vs Comlex

What’s the difference between the COMLEX vs USMLE?

If you are just starting the process of acquiring a license to practice medicine in the United States, be prepared: Medical licensing in the United States can be confusing.   For US-based allopathic students, the path forward is fairly straight forward. But if you fall outside of that category (US-based osteopathic student, international medical graduate (IMG)), the path forward is likely a little more convoluted. Let’s consider a simple case first: International Medical Graduates.   For all physicians licensed to practice in the US (with few exceptions), you’ll be required to enter a residency match program (either allopathic or osteopathic programs) and complete additional clinical training. As it currently stands, international medical graduates (IMG’s) are only eligible for the allopathic National Residency Match Program (NRMP) and thus should only consider taking the USMLE, not COMLEX (the licensing exam for osteopathic physicians). So, as of now, it’s a relatively simple answer for IMG’s: Take the USMLE exam, not COMLEX.  

Who should take both the USMLE and COMLEX?

What if you are an osteopathic student based in the US? You currently are required to take and pass COMLEX in order to practice as a osteopathic physician and be eligible for an osteopathic residency program. However, osteopathic students have another option: Take the USMLE AND COMLEX.   Many students may wonder why it would be worth subjecting yourself to multiple exams (3 for COMLEX, and 4 for the USMLE including Step 2 CS). Students decide to not take the USMLE for many reasons: It can cost A LOT of money – cost preparation, exam registration, travel, additional fees. It can take A LOT of time – anywhere from a week to a few months depending on when you decide to take the exam. An allopathic residency isn’t something they want to pursue.   However, there are multiple reasons students decide to take it: If you time it correctly, it can overlap with preparation for each COMLEX level, limiting additional study time required. It makes you eligible for allopathic residency programs AND osteopathic programs, expanding your options for post-graduate training. It can increase your competitiveness for both types of residency programs if you perform well. USMLE Competitiveness It can be taken at any time during your training as it is not required for graduation from osteopathic programs. If you are still on the fence about doubling down and taking the USMLE, try to answer this one question:   What do you want to do for your residency training?   At the end of the day, your choice of specialty, program location, type of residency will dictate whether or not it’s a good idea to take both exams. If you’re interested in something highly competitive (dermatology, plastic surgery, radiation oncology), in many cases it makes sense to broaden the number of programs for your application, especially for very specialized fields. Because there are many more allopathic residency programs than osteopathic, if location for residency training is important to you, it may make sense to take the USMLE increasing your chance of being able to match in a specific location. Residency is a difficult and exciting time in your training, so it’s worth considering what your goals are as early as possible to make sure you can take appropriate steps to prepare for the necessary exams.   Based on your answer, you may decide the USMLE is not for you. If, however, you decide to take the USMLE in addition to COMLEX, it is important to have a plan. Here are key things to consider:
  1. Timing – Because there is a sizeable amount of overlapping information across both COMLEX and the USMLE, many students opt to take them at the same time, or in close proximity. Because COMLEX is required for graduation, it’s often recommended you focus on passing those exams first. Upon completing COMLEX, students often go directly into a brief study period for the USMLE and take the exam soon after. However, some students opt to take the USMLE first as it is considered to be more difficult, and then take a brief period to study COMLEX specific topics, such as OMM, before sitting for COMLEX.
  2. Overlapping information – similar to timing, the overlap of information allows the use of similar resources. In selecting resources, follow this mantra: “As much as necessary, as little as possible.” Select the fewest number of resources you need to ace both COMLEX and the USMLE. Know them inside and out. Being familiar with all the material through the entirety of the study period will help on both exams.
  3. Question styles – COMLEX questions and USMLE questions test much of the same material but with different styles of questions. It is important to expose yourself to both styles of questions before each exam. Using QBanks specific to each is an option followed by many students. Alternatively, students choose a single comprehensive QBank (such as Kaplan’s USMLE Qbank) and use National Board of Osteopathic Medical Examiners (NBOME) and National Board of Medical Examiners (NBME) practice exams to learn question styles.
  In the end, it’s always worth speaking to an academic advisor to discuss what your goals are and the best way to reach them. School advisors can also give insight as to how test preparation fits into your school’s curriculum and what previous students in your program have had success with in the past. For IMG’s, there are advisory services available through US based companies that help develop a plan and help prepare applications for the residency match program. And many of these services can include help in preparing for exams.   It’s also worth noting that the ACGME and AOA (the governing bodies for allopathic and osteopathic residency programs, respectively) have reached an agreement that will allow a single application service and match program across all types of residencies. This program is set to go into effect in 2020, but it is still unclear exactly how this will impact COMLEX and USMLE examinees, both US-based and abroad.

FREE USMLE Practice Test Online

FREE USMLE Step 1 Practice Tests Smash USMLE Step 1 Review The USMLE Step 1 Exam is your first board exam to take during medical school. Start off right by taking your studying seriously and being consistent with taking USMLE Step 1 practice questions.

FREE USMLE Step 1 Questions

Here are 50 free USMLE Step practice test from the Smash USMLE Step 1 question bank.   What was your score? Are you ready to take the USMLE Step 1 exam? The USMLE Step 1 Exam is administered over the course of one day consisting seven 60-minute sessions. Each session will have 40 or fewer questions. The following topics are found on this exam:
  • Anatomy
  • Behavioral Sciences
  • Biochemistry
  • Biostatistics and Epidemiology
  • Microbiology
  • Pathology
  • Pharmacology
  • Physiology
In addition to the above topics, the USMLE Step 1 Exam also covers interdisciplinary areas related to the following:
  • Aging
  • Genetics
  • Immunology
  • Molecular and Cell Biology
  • Nutrition
  Smash USMLE provides a USMLE Step 1 Prep Courses and Qbanks which have 2,000+ USMLE Step 1 practice questions. These questions are written in the same format found on the exam and have detailed explanations like the ones you’ll see here.  Each of the categories found on the exam is covered by the Smash USMLE question bank and will provide you with hands-on experience for what to expect on the testing day. Want more practice? Compare the best USMLE Step 1 review courses here.

Best USMLE Step 1 Prep Courses

Choosing the right USMLE Step 1 prep course is the most important decision you will make on your journey towards passing your exam. You will be spending many hours studying, so it’s crucial to find the USMLE course that best fits your learning style and background. The difference between successfully passing or failing the USMLE Step 1 exam largely depends on how well your study materials prepare you for it. Using a prep course that isn’t a good…
USMLE Exam Strategies & Tips

USMLE Exams: Myths, Facts and Strategies for Overcoming Failures

Any medical student applying for residency programs dreads the idea of failing the USMLE exam, believing there’s no way to overcome this failure and be considered for interviews. However, it isn’t really the end of the world, and there’s a lot you can still do for USMLE success. Let’s decode some common myths about the USMLE, and look at some strategies for residency applications with multiple attempts. Common USMLE Myths vs. the Truth Here are…

Best USMLE Step 1 Prep Study Materials

Finding the right USMLE Step 1 Study Materials could be the single most important decision you will make on your journey towards passing your exam. You will be spending countrless hours studying, so it’s crucial to find the course that best fits your learning style and background. The difference between passing or failing your exam largely depends on how well your USMLE Step 1 study materials prepare you for it. Using a course that isn’t a…

USMLE Step 2 CK Prep Courses

You will be spending many hours preparing for the USMLE Step 2 CK, so it’s crucial to find a study guide that best fits your learning style and background. Don’t let a prep course that is not compatible with your learning style get in the way of passing this important exam! Your goal is to pass the Step 2 CK exam the first time you take it, so you need to pick the course that is the…

USMLE Step 2 CS Courses

Choosing the right USMLE Step 2 CS prep course is essential if you want to pass the exam the first time you take it. It will save you both time and money if you take the time to explore the various online options before you commit to a specific prep program. If you choose a prep course that isn’t a good fit for your learning style you won’t be as well prepared for the exam.…

USMLE Step 3 Review Courses

Choosing the USMLE Step 3 prep course that is the best fit for your individual learning style is the most important decision you will make when it comes to passing this final USMLE test on the first try. You will be spending many hours studying, and the difference between successfully passing or failing the USMLE Step 3 exam could well depend on how well your study materials prepare you. A prep course that isn’t a good fit…