Keep on Knocking on Doors till One Opens!


Here's the story of a young doctor from Venezuela who was struggling to make ends meet while studying at the same time! Sound familiar to anyone?!?!?!? Despite low board scores and a family health issue that limited where she could apply, she continued to knock on doors until she made it to her goal!!!


  • US IMG
  • STEP 1 : 219
  • STEP 2 : 225
  • Working and shadowing while studying for boards.
  • Family health issues that limited where she could apply.



Hi Dr Barone.


Thank you so much for your mnemonics!! I matched! Here's my story:

I graduated medical school in Venezuela in 2013 and decided to come to the US to try my luck. I began to study but I needed money to pay my car because unfortunately my father passed away and my mother is not making much money due to the current economic crisis we have in Venezuela. I was living with an aunt in Texas at that moment and was not paying rent. While studying I was a baby sitter (working from 5 am) and studying in my free time. I was running out of money by February 2015 and my mother told me to either take the test now or go back to Venezuela.   I took the NBME 13 score 207 and NBME 15 score 210 the week before I took my step 1.  I prayed a lot!!    I took the step 1 and got my score... STEP 1 : 219


Then my aunt moved and I had to rent a place... While studying for the Step 2CK, I found my first shadowing rotation (full time) for my first LOR. I took the CK and got a 225 on STEP 2CK.   I passed Step 2CS on first attempt.  I got ECFMG certified in Aug 2015... but I had no money to apply to the match and needed 2 more LORs. So I began working full time as a medical transcription assistant and as a gym instructor on the weekends. In April I still was needing the 2 LOR.. I told the first Doctor, that I was shadowing at the time, that I needed to leave to do more shadowing... and she fired me so now I needed 3 LORs again and it was now April 2016.

One day I decided to Google doctors near me and began to knock doors. I showed up at one doctor's house and he was in his pajamas (lol).    He told me that he was moving to Seattle and gave me another doctors name. Now I'm working with this doctor and at the gym. Very flexible and amazing bosses who allowed me miss some days so I can to more shadowing rotations while working. I was able to get my 3 LOR by July 2016. I only applied to hospitals in one area of Texas because I just got married and my husband has family here with health issues so we cannot move out of the County.
I only got 3 interviews.

I Matched 2017!!!!


L.A.  March 2017



Did you need a visa?

No. I have a green card.


How many programs did you apply to?

Applied to 55 programs. ( I knew my chances of getting interviews when just applying to only one geographic area were very low because my scores were not very good so I had to try everything!..I also knew sending applications to different specialties was risky as well)


Texas is one of the most competitive states... What do you think was the most important factor in you matching at the program that you did?

God helped! I only applied to programs in one part of Texas! It was my last interview so I was more relaxed and knew what to expect. I think that remaining calm during your interview is the most important factor.


Finally what advice would you give to others who find themselves struggling like you did?

Obstacles are there to help us realize we are more capable than we think we are. Use every situation you find in your path to grow as a human being and as a professional. Everything is an opportunity to learn and we need to make the most out of it


#5 Amalia N 2017-03-26 22:43
Yeh....I know how it feels
#4 Bill M 2017-03-24 18:27
I hear you doctor
#3 Zoraya C 2017-03-24 18:26
With a green card you can do wonders, its us IMGs without it who struggle the most I think :sad:
#2 Dr. Akash P 2017-03-24 16:29
Congratulations to an inspiration!
#1 Nic 2017-03-24 05:32
CONGRATS! What program did she match? :eek:
Category: Success

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