Wednesday, February 10, 2016

Buying vs renting a house

Lot of debate. It is the biggest purchase for most people . Check your plans, generally if staying 5 to 6 years buying might make sense. Also if renting is cheap esp if small apartment will serve purpose then renting might be reasonable. You do get property tax rebate on your income tax return.

Sunday, February 07, 2016

Hello everyone - long time since I posted. I am a practicing attending for last five years. Busier and older ! Time flies fast. Not even sure if anyone is reading this any more. Well I am here to help, can't forget the hard work and help from friends and blogs !! Supervise medical students and residents these days so even more experience to share.

Saturday, January 16, 2010

Interviewing skills

I hope most of you did well in your interviews. I see applicants fumble when asked routine questions. Will give the two common questions -

Why this speciality ?
Tell us about your experience with Dr......(writer of recommendation letter)/ OR about the reseach you did (mentioned in CV).

Please practice these routine questions - write down answers if it helps.

Please be on time for interview.

Be polite and confident. Sleep well before the interview. It helps if you tell the interviewer how you heard of the Program - esp if another resident/ attending is your known.



Sunday, June 11, 2006

Step 3 Golden Rules

Step 3 Golden Rules

1. Practice the FSMB CD many times.
2. Get familiar with the CCS software.
3. Do USMLE World MCQ portion twice- make notes to revise the important points.
4. Read the D/D portion and investigations to order nicely for CCS prep. Do not cram all cases, have an idea about possible diagnoses (USMLE World CCS) and their presentations.
5. During the test take care while ordering tests-asking for EKG alone won’t suffice. You have to write stat/same day-otherwise the chest pain patient will get an EKG next day.
6. The test is very intense (especially the first day), relax a lot before the test and keep your calm during the test.
7. Don’t waste time on any one question- time management really helps.

Thursday, April 20, 2006

Buying a new car/Lease/Pre-owned Car

If buying a pre-owned car, there are various choices depending on your budget.
If your budget is < $4000-A car with approx 70,000 miles and around four years might be a good buy-Focus / neon / if lucky civic or corolla-all this if you want to drive less than 20 miles a day to get used to US driving. But remember to buy AAA membership-comes in handy for emergency towing. Also when you are ready to buy a new car- don’t worry about selling it, donate it and get a tax rebate at the end of the year.

If your budget<$8000-Try hard for getting old civic/corolla 60,000 miles and four/five years old. Do not invest that kind of money on American cars no matter what kind of a deal you get-they don’t have any resale and the car will die on you.

If your budget is <12,000- Haggle for a pre-owned Camry with 60,000 miles and roughly four to five years on it. Also a good trade off might be a pre-own Honda certified civic LX.

If your budget is $14,000 (basically you can afford installments of $ 250 a month-five years)-best bet New Civic.

If you can afford up to $300/month-Camry is excellent choice.

Lease is not a financially sound option, though it looks tempting!

Helpful websites to do research on car prices for both new and pre owned-, and for checking history of car

Confidently haggle with no shame; you can save thousands! Check the previous post for financing and insurance.

Saturday, April 08, 2006

New Car and Insurance

New car with finance from Car Company is the best option. Try shopping on last weekend of month, better deals as dealers have to reach final sale targets.
Promotional interest rates such as 0% APY is very common during June onwards as 2007 models will come in. For beginners honda civic is the best bet, camry, accord follow suite.

Get insurance quotes, is a favorite for low cost and reliable insurance, try to keep deductibles low-so that when you need it, it won’t hurt. Also be generous while buying coverage.

Finding an Apartment

Useful websites- click on neighborhood info and you can check the crime rate, median household etc of the neighborhood (zip code).

Also ,, look for move in specials.

Thursday, April 06, 2006

Hi friends thanks for visiting the blog, I have made this blog interactive and you can post comments.

Also friends, if you are filing for H1b, you can shop for your attorney. The lawyers offered by the programs are quite expensive and the average fee of attorney is $1000 (unlike $1500-$2000). You can always shop for more inexpensive attorneys! So save money!

Monday, March 20, 2006

Getting US Clinical Experience-More details

I felt that getting in the system is very difficult for IMGs as finding observership or externship might not be very easy. Most of the hospitals have their own Liability Issues.

But remember volunteers are always welcome. Contact the Professors who are conducting research and ask if you can volunteer. Contact the volunteer office of the hospital and they will do your immunization checks and orient you-takes about a month or so. Shadow the Professor in clinic/research/inpatient and get LOR after 3 months.

Also getting Research Assistant job is an excellent thing on the resume, lucky people might get H1 visa sponsored, and people with no visa issues have an advantage in finding such opportunities. The key is to keep trying.

USCE is very important, I can suggest a few places for Observership/Mini Internship-
East Coast-Columbia, Yale NH, U Conn, MSSM-NY, UMDNJ Camden, Miami-MSSM, Michigan-Harbor hospital(not sure of this one), some are free- some charge for iunsurance.
All the best and thanks for blogging.

Monday, March 13, 2006

Hi friends,
I want to share my happiness with you. I matched, it was a very stressful time and I want to thank everyone who visited my site and wished me good. It was not an easy job trust me, specially after participating in last years scramble, I was scared!!
I totally believe in “sharing is caring” and trust me I felt good by trying to help out people by sharing my experience of past few years in US. The USMLE exams, the interviews, the match, MPH it has been a long walk and I feel if all of us help each other it gets easier for everyone and we all can progress. To those friends of mine who did not match- stick together, and remember you are not alone. Feel free to ask me questions; I will be glad to help. All the best.

Saturday, March 11, 2006

Step2CS Tips


In the past people had the opinion that CSA is a simple exam and most of the people who have done medical school in English language pass it easily! Well things have changed with the new Step2CS. So all of you who are going to take this exam please take it seriously and work hard preparing for the test.

Some quick tips-

Thoroughly practice/simulate say 10-15 cases in first aid or in Usmle world Q Bank-the idea is to be 'thorough'. Practice each aspect including writing up the case.

Try practicing with a partner –some quality practice is beneficial. Practice for maybe just 3 hours (quality time) with a friend.

Do common day to day questions patients ask in regular practice viz. Dr. will I die? Dr. I don’t have money for surgery? Dr. Do I have AIDS? (First aid/USMLE world are good resources)

Practice speaking slow (speed), clearly and politely loud (no squeaking). One very helpful tip can be recording your voice on the portable Sony voice recorder available for approximately forty dollars-it is money well spent!

Remember professional limits while answering questions- don’t even go to areas which are beyond doctor’s duties. Recommend a social worker- you don’t have to actually baby sit the patient’s children while they are in surgery (one extreme example)! Don’t make a fool of yourself!

Be confident- act like a careful and gentle doctor!

Never forget to make the patient comfortable, and don’t get rushed by a patient. Don’t get over burdened by mnemonics. Remember you just have fifteen minutes of which three or so minutes will be consumed making you and the patient comfortable. Also offering the patient a sheet or asking if the patient needs water is a good idea to establish rapport.

All centers have extra white coats extra stethoscopes in case you forget- just be there on time! Be courteous, talk to your neighbors (during the breaks!) a little bit, and keep some mints. And don’t I repeat DON’T cheat or talk during the test or discuss case. Keep the "part-ay" off your mind till your test is over!

ALL the best.

Friday, March 10, 2006

Some more scramble tips


Some more scramble tips- Use cell phone to contact the programs and give them the cell phone as call back number(the call does not take long)keep saving the monthly minute allowance, landlines can be used to fax/dial up internet.

Also I felt last year lot of AMGs use scramble and are prefered (eg. Surgery /IM Prelim programs).

Keeping the minimum fax pages is very helpful-especially if you bought the small at home fax machine(panasonic kx-fhd 331)as it has a 5-6 page memory and it says memory full after faxing 5 pages- another way out plug out after every 5 pages wait for 30 seconds and plug again the fax machine so that previous memory gets free.

And remember it is very frustrating- so dont lose hope and keep trying! and pray all of us match!

Tuesday, March 07, 2006

MPH for FMGs


Doing MPH is a very popular option amongst FMGs and I also fell for it. I will share my experience with you. One of the eleven interviews I attended liked my MPH, none other paid any attention to it. All were concerned whether I will be available on time for Residency! It is a very expensive course, and getting on campus job is one option to cut the cost, but I will highly recommend getting exact availability before committing. As lot of Universities are not offering assistance to MPH students. Also if visa is the point of doing MPH then doing masters in nutrition, PhD etc might be better options. The course is very intense and involves lot of work, not forgetting the mathematical skills needed in Statistics. (It's not easy!!!).

Check out for accreditation as and

I will recommend getting USCE especially "hands on experience" as amore valuable asset to your CV towards residency.

Feel free to throw in any questions. All the best.

Monday, March 06, 2006

Scramble Tips

Scramble needs lot of patience and time. Last year I participated in it. I will share my experience. Most of the phone lines were coming busy and the spots were filling up by the same afternoon I will say by evening lot of them had filled up their spots. There were numerous vacancies in Prelim Surgery and on contacting them the coordinators told me they were for designated spots i.e. for people with confirmed PGY2 in specialised streams requiring PGY1 Prelim surgery. So it was a wasted effort contacting them. I noticed one more thing- programs were prefering people with no visa issues. FP programs were requiring USCE and lot of vacancies were present. Fax machines were busy and email was the only method that was atleast sending confirmation SENT!

ERAS has a limit of 30 free applications.

So guys get ready and buy fax machines, scan your documents, get access to national calling phones and dont forget to pray.

All the best. Feel free to throw in any questions.

Sunday, March 05, 2006

Scramble &Match Info

Match Chronology

Result is coming on 13th March. Email regarding status match/not matched will be sent.

March 14th-16th Scramble.

March 16th hospital where (if) matched emailed to the matched applicants.

Tuesday, January 24, 2006

Getting a Credit Card

Most doctors and new immigrants face the problem of getting credit cards. Working to build a history fast helps, getting a loan is the fastest method, e.g. you can add your name to the borrower account with the principle borrower in cases of assisted loans. Getting a prepaid credit card e.g. from Citi or American Express is a great help. If nothing works do not worry within six months of your pay stubbs, house rent payments, phone bills you will start getting automatic prequalified offers.

Interview Travel Tips

Understanding the expensive schedule of interviewing I discovered a few tricks to save some bucks on travelling.

After making search on popular websited v.iz. ,, etc., pick up flights which suit your schedule and look affordable to you. Do not buy it on that website, go to the airline website eg airline), airlines) and buy the tickets there. Two advantages- save on booking fee, and also sometimes the tickets are refundable/changeable for a fee.

Same thing works for Hotels also. Though in hotels I found and to be exceptional websites especially when you are renting a car and travelling is not a problem.

Also finding a hotel providing a reliable shuttle to the interview location and/or pick up from airport is helpful.


Feel free to post your questions, insecurities, thoughts and suggestions. I hope this site will help us stick together and face the tough and stressful process of matching and USMLE. All the best to you all.