For past couple of days, I have been reading everyone’s experiences

For past couple of days, I have been reading everyone’s experiences which has been a humbling experience in itself. I was debating whether penning my experience would even be worth it (hello!! Self- assurance). But I promised myself, I would, so here it goes:

Data (For my data oriented people out there!)

YOG 2017

Step 1- 246

Step 2-256

CS- Pass first attempt (Chicago, reduce fearmongering on centers, I will admit I was scared)

Step 3-221

USCE- 9 months (All private clinics, couldn’t afford paid ones)

CV: No gaps

Visa: Needed

Interview invite- 16

Attended- 15

Ranked-14, 1 pre-match

Matched- IM Presence Saint Joseph, IL


I pass out of MBBS with stellar scores, gold medals and all and decide to pursue USMLE. Real life hits, I have student loan and no funds to back up the dreams. This was a low point in my life, I had my professors, my parents, essentially everyone reminding me of facts: no money, no contacts and opportunity should I make it in my own national entrance (backstory of being stellar), also being a female wasting my prime of successful years. Months into my prep, my dad meets with an accident and is brought to the ER where I work. Fractured ribs, clavicle humerus and loss of consciousness for 5 mins. I have never read a CT scan so many times in my life! This leads to a no studying period.

For next 8 months I work 2 jobs, barely get to study and almost lose my hope. Made some tough decisions, left my job get 4 months of dedicated Step1 study. I remember day before my exam, I was not scared, just wanted it to be over so I could find a new job. I have worked all days from my graduation except for 6 months.

USCE: I emailed private clinics and was able to get one to accept me. They liked, so I asked them to recommend me to their colleagues and so on. I got strong LORS from them (an interviewer commented on it).

YOG- I believe I was filtered out because of this from a lot of programs. However, for every one program who needs less than 3 years of YOG there is another who will take your dedication into account.

Interview Experience: I believe I can now be a travel manager! Tip: United fleeces money.

It was a pleasant experience for most part. I have met the kindest and most compassionate people on this journey. If we just look beyond our problems, we will find there are others struggling as well.

I believe interviewers look for confidence, honesty and who you are as a person. Con: you have 15 minutes to let them know you. As an introvert with some painful memories, it’s hard not to let your eyes sting while recalling moments which were your worst. Don’t hesitate, be open, be genuine. All they want is to see if they can work with you.

All interviewers have their own style, some may sound distant, some sound super friendly. Again, no correlation with how you are evaluated.

Enjoy interviewing, make friends and be professional at all times.


Scores: Anyone who has their exam pending, please focus on your scores. It remains the primary filter. I wish I was less stressed on how things were falling apart and more focused on performing on the day before my step1 (NBME average was 262).

USCE: Everyone is placed differently in regards to opportunities, but doing USCE at University hospitals certainly helps. If you can, please do it. If you cannot, do your best at whichever place you are getting into.

Interviews: Buy a wrinkle free suit. I cannot stress the importance of not having to iron the night before. Don’t get overwhelmed by credentials of people around you. You were invited for a reason.

Believe in yourself: You are bigger than the challenges you are facing. There are people in the world who will recognize your persistence. On your worst days when world seems to end, detach, rest and recharge. Try to face the challenge the next day. (Most things solve when we calm down)

How does it feel? I thought I would feel a sense of achievement (Yay! I made it kind). All I feel is gratitude. I am thankful to people who took a chance on me, who believed in me on days I could not.

Zeeshan Mansuri George Koshy Vilanilam seniors who have guided, motivated and encouraged me and lot of people on this group. They have answered the inanest and ridiculous questions from our end, with immense patience. On best days’ motivation sounds unnecessary and on the worst ones, it keeps you hanging on for a little bit more.

I have had people taking out an hour of their time, calming me when I was left stranded at airport to counselling me on what should I focus on at current moment. All this kindness coming from people I have not even met or known.

For my parents who stood up for my dreams and defended my choice against the society and for my study partner with stellar scores who was my biggest support, I hope I have made you proud.

PS: I parsed portions of the story. Too real to recollect it again.

Feel free to ask any questions in comments below. I won’t be replying to DM’s.