Never Lose Confidence in Yourself

  • US IMG
  • Took an extra year to complete medical school due to failure and withdrawal
  • Below average board scores
  • Didn't match 2 years in a row.

Here's my success story:

I am a US citizen IMG. I graduated in 2014 and tried twice to match, unsuccessfully. I did not have any USMLE failures (216 step 1, 228 step 2, pass on CK), but I did take an extra year to complete medical school due to having to repeat two courses (1 failure and 1 withdrawal).

The first time I applied, I applied to pediatrics and psychiatry, and went on 13 interviews total. I chose programs from every state, both small and university-based, just as we are advised to do. Despite what I felt was a decent amount of interviews, I did not match, and instead took a job as a research fellow at my medical school right after graduation. Although I am not a shy person, I came to realize that through this position, I was able to gain a great deal of confidence as I was facilitating year 1 med lab sessions in basic science courses and interacting with students on a daily basis. If you remember back, I am sure you can recall how confused and also demanding first year medical students can be, so I also needed to be on top of my game as far as providing succinct and memorable explanations in order to gain their respect (Thanks to Dr. Barone for first showing me how to make learning FUN). Additionally, I was able to publish papers in peer-reviewed journals.

My second time applying, I applied strictly to Peds, and was only invited on 4 interviews. Again, I did not match, and stayed on in my role as a fellow. This time, I used my weekends to study for and take my Step 3, which I passed.

This year, my third attempt, I applied in Pediatrics, FM, and IM. I went on 12 interviews, and finally got that good news on match day.

The points I wish to stress the most, more than any USMLE score data or publications, etc, are that:

  1. you should never give up! if you are financially able and it is your dream, keep applying!

  2. don't beat yourself up... after not matching twice, I started to feel as if it was due to a personal flaw, and I lost a lot of confidence as a result.

  3. having an MD is a big deal. there are so many doors that are open to us, so if residency doesn't work out for whatever reason, just know that the world is still your oyster!


What do you think made the difference in matching this year?

I believe that expanding my options to include Family Medicine made a huge difference in the number of interviews I received. Additionally, I changed my strategy this year and did not wait for the interviewer to ask me questions about my research or work experiences, but rather used their questions as segways into discussing how these experiences had changed me for the better. In other words... I worked a lot harder to sell myself! I tried to keep them talking instead of having long silences. Lastly, I was able to show them that I passed step 3 by December, which was a great way to reestablish contact with programs I had already visited to remind them who I was.


I think if I did it again, I would have taken step 3 earlier so that the pass might have resulted in more interviews.


My mother shared thsi quote with me once and I think it is applicable....   "The most glorious moments in your life are not the so-called days of success, but rather those days when out of dejection and despair you feel rise in you a challenge to life, and the promise of future accomplishments." By Gustave Flaubert


Best of luck to everyone!

M. R.

March 15, 2016


#6 Lexie R 2016-03-17 22:32
The success stories and messages which say never give up in your blog are helping me go strong now :-)
#5 Dhaval S 2016-03-16 22:56
Nice message by strong person shared by great teacher
#4 Mary Jo R 2016-03-16 22:26
This MD is quite right! Keep positive and you CAN do it!
#3 Shahnaz D 2016-03-16 22:25
Thanks Dr Barone.
#2 Anum K 2016-03-16 22:24
Dr. Barone you are the best !
#1 Roze-ann B 2016-03-16 22:24
We heart you, Dr. Barone!!
Category: Success

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