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BeBlessed: 我的考试及面试经历
作者:USMedEdu
发表时间:2009-12-28
更新时间:2009-12-28
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发信人: BeBlessed (BeBlessed), 信区: MedicalCareer
标 题: 我的考试及面试经历
发信站: BBS 未名空间站 (Mon Dec 28 21:34:03 2009, 美东)

我的考试及面试经历

First, I want to apologize that I have to type in English, because I don’t
have a good Chinese typing software, the one I had is really difficult to
use.

我自己的experience实在是缺乏可圈可点的地方,不过Dr. Dok 让我写一写, 我想我得
完成他给的homework。 因为我刚到美国时,是他在华夏文摘上的那些文章伴随我度过
了在lab 做实验时许多个夜晚的incubation time;而且在麦地版上,我也是读着他的
文章一路走来的。 I hope my post can give the old CMGs like myself some
encouragement, then I will be happy enough.

My credential: step1/2/CS; >95/>95/ pass, all on 1st attempt, US PhD, GC,
graduated 14yrs, >10 publications in Chinese medical Journals, 8 papers in
English (four 1st author, one manuscript in submission, all in so so
journals).

I. USMLE exams

I have worked in hospital clinical labs for couple of years before I came
to US to pursue my Ph.D degree. After graduation, I worked as postdoctoral
fellow until a family issue came out, and I had to quit job to take care of
it. When my family burden got resolved, I decided to study for the USMLE.
At that time, our parents of my husband and me could not come to US to help
me with my one-year old baby. Based on my own health condition ( I was very
exhausted both physically and emotionally at that time) and my weak
clinical medicine background, I didn’t think I can handle a fulltime
research job and my baby, and at the same time to prepare for the USMLE, so
I decided to stay at home taking care of my baby and studying.

It took me more than a year to prepare step1, and it was the most difficult
time during the whole process of preparation. I remembered that one
Saturday morning, I droved to the library to study. After I stop the engine
in the parking lot, I watched the leaves falling down from the trees,
thinking of my son’s crying for mommy when I left home, and my parents who
were suffering the long-term chronic illness oversea, and the gloomy future
of my road preparing the exams, I felt that my heart was as grey as the
color of the winter’s sky. Days pasted between my guilty feeling for my
family and the unconfident and doubt on my ability to prepare for the exams.
Before step1 exam, I only finished UW Q bank and there was no time for
Kaplan Q bank, but my exam deadline came. I didn’t want to waste the $600,
and took the exam anyway. After exam, I had no idea about how I performed,
and then after 3 weeks, when I played with my son, my husband called me
from work, told me that my score was 99, and I thought he was joking.

After step 1, I gained more confidence for myself, and the road of
preparation became a little easier and brighter for me. However, compared
with most people on this forum who prepared for the exam, I felt myself like
a snail with a heavy shell moving really slowly. It took me more than half
year to finish step2. One month before the exam, my scores of NBME like
sitting on a roller coaster, the highest score was over 600, but the lowest
was below 500. I found out that my reading speed was slow. Due to without
practicing Kaplan Q bank, I ordered the Kaplan Q bank in the last week
before exam, and try to do as many questions as possible. On the exam day,
I had difficulty to finish most blocks on time. In the last 4 blocks, I had
to guess the answers of at least 3 or 4 questions at the end with only a
glance of the question stems due to the tightness of time. After I came
home, I told my husband that I would pass it but the score will be low 80s,
if it was over 90, it would be a miracle. After I got the score, I thought
this time, it was God’s mercy on me, and I was blessed.

I practiced CS couple of times with a local partner, but most of the time, I
practice with my husband. I practiced all FA and UW cases with him. The
funny thing was that, when I practicing, my son held his toy stethoscope
knocking on his daddy at the same time, and told me he was a little Doc too.
After the exam, I knew I would pass, which was the only time that I had
some confidence after I walked out the exam room.

II. Observership

I started to do some observership since this spring, trying to find all the
possibilities. I was shy about to ask strangers, so all my opportunities
was through some familiar people or friends, or the physicians I knew that
they had FMG as observers in the past, then I called or email them to ask if
there any chances for me. I followed an internist in his clinic once a
week for 3 months. I followed a family doctor for 2 months full time. This
experience was really valuable, which gave me lots of confidence, since he
had American MS-3 and MS-4 in his clinic at the same time. Compared with
them, I found out my advantage and disadvantage. I gained the confidence
and skills about how to talk with pts, nurses, meds students and physicians.
Since I aimed at applying for pathology, I followed a pathologist in a
local hospital path lab. First, I joined him in the afternoon sign out.
After a while, his partner was sick and had to take some time off, and he
became very busy, so I only went to their conferences. The conferences were
good learning opportunities too, and couple of times every week. Internal
physicians, surgeons, and radiologist joined the case discussions, and then
the pathologists gave the biopsy reports. I felt that I not only learned
the knowledge, but also can get more understanding about the role of being a
pathologist and learn how pathologists have conversations with other
specialty physicians.

III. Interviews

I had 4 LOR, one from my PhD mentor ( I think this is the strongest one), 2
from pathologists ( one is my committee member) and one from the physician
I followed. My total interview number was not big. By end of October, I
only had 5, after November, several more came. I went to 2 community
programs in the early of November, they all offer pre-match, but I didn’t
get it. One reason was that I was not very relaxed during the interview. I
answered the questions according to what I prepared beforehand, but always
interrupted by the interviewers, and didn’t have time to finish everything
I wanted to say. Later on, I changed the strategies, if the interviewer
showed interesting on my answers, then I will elaborated, otherwise, I only
mentioned the most important points which I wanted to say and then moved on
or changed the topics. Another reason was the timing. I remembered that Dr
. Jimmy Zhang said in his post that the best time for IV was end Nov to Dec,
and I think he was totally right. One chairman told me, although they
offer pre-match, they just started to interview candidates in the early Nov,
so have to wait to interview more to make decision. I sent them holiday
cards around thanksgiving time, but no reply, I guessed they already forgot
who I am. Too much research backgrounds also not a plus for community
program, at least in my case. A faculty directly told me that “you have so
much research experience, I don’t think you will like our program. Even
we offer you a position, and I don’t think you will come.” Although I
explained that I really enjoyed clinical service, and wanted to focus on
clinical skill training in my residency, but I didn’t think that I
convinced him. After these 2, I went to 3 more IVs by end of Nov, all were
university programs. However, I still didn’t have any feeling about how I
performed. I was a little anxious at that time, and didn’t know whether I
will find a position at the end. I thought about my experiences of my
previous exams, I asked God, if the final results is good, please give me
the peace and confidence, and help me walk through the rest of my journey of
IVs.

I guessed that the beginning of Dec was a turning point for me. All the IVs
I did in Dec had some promising signs. I don’t know if it was my IV
skills improved or the timing is better. Two PDs told me that they offer pre
-match without waiting for me to ask first, and then told me when they would
make decision. Another program, after I send out thank you email, the
Chairman replied me immediately, and PD said that they will rank me high.
The week of Christmas, I received a prematch offer from one of them. In the
later IVs, I was more relaxed. I didn’t prepare my standard answers any
more, because most of them I had practiced so many time in previous IVs, I
knew what I wanted to say. I will follow the flow of the conversation to
modify my answers. I didn’t have so much broad knowledge in other areas
like Dr Dok and Dr. Jimmy Zhang, who would talk about History of Medicine or
paintings with PD or Chair, so I always used small talks to have a
conversation, like weather, kids or news I just heard on the radio. One old
gentleman asked me about what I usually do with free time. I told him that
I love traveling, reading and exercise before I had my son, then after my
son came, all my free time was occupied by him. However, I enjoyed every
minute with him. I still read, but only read kids books. I still travel,
but just a much shorter trip to the Zoo or local museum. I still exercise,
only running around on the playground. I still watch movies, but with my
son together, we watched Lion king, Bambi, Kungfu panda and etc. . I told
him I learned something new every time. I remembered that when I first came
to US, I watched the soap Friends and didn’t understand why Chandler got
all of his friend’s criticizing just because he didn’t cry at the scene of
the death of Bambi’s mom. After I watched the movie Bambi, I understood
totally, because I can’t hold my tears when I watched. He said he was
surprised that today’s kids still love Bambi, because it was his favorite
story when he was a little boy. Then we talked more about children’s
stories, and he even mentioned several Chinese children’s stories to me.

When I talked with a faculty, whose research related with breast cancer, I
mentioned the controversy topic, wjether screening breast cancer at age of
40 is appropriate or not, which I heard on air several days ago, and asked
his opinion about if plant estrogen has effect on breast cancer, since most
Asians love tofu and soy milk, and also mentioned that all ladies would
appreciate his research results about an integrant in dark chocolate can
inhibit the cancer cells metastasizes, because his research give us a reason
to spoil ourselves with chocolate. If the interviewers liked to talk, I
just listened and added a little comment in the middle. If they were the
type of interviewers who began to ask you if you have any Qs only after 5
mins of the conversation, I will make more comments after they answered my
1st Q. As an applicant, I don’t know much about the American pathology
field; all my questions were common Qs, not mentioning about the faculty’s
feeling, even me felt boring about these types of Qs. If we talked about
teaching of the program, I would continue my comments like this: I think
teaching is very important in residency training, especially the one to one
teaching during the time of singing out slides with attendings. I think
every pathology resident learned little by a little from different faculty
every day. I would also mention I love teaching, hoping I would like to be
involved in teaching in future. Since I have met so many great teachers who
encouraged me in the past, I would love to do the same for others. And
then mentioned one or two of my role models in the past, who impressed me a
lot in my career. By this way, time passed and I didn’t need to come up
with more questions to ask them.

Before I started my IVs, one AMG resident gave me the suggestion: wearing a
pair of comfortable shoes and be yourself. I didn’t get it at that time,
and thought what she said almost means saying nothing. However, I totally
agree with her now. It was really hard to change anything on your CV or
personality during the 2-3 months of IV period. Better be yourself and show
other ppl who you really are, but try to show them the positive side of
yourself. The whole message I wanted to send to others is: I am mature,
determined, and easy-going. At work, I was productive and hard-working for
my career; at home, try my best to be a good mom, daughter and wife. I have
sympathy for patients, want to help others, and decided to use rest of my
life serve patients directly or indirectly. When facing crisis or challenge
in my life, I have the ability to handle it, to keep my spirit high and
continue pursuing my dream. I guess that is something most ppl will agree
with.

啰啰嗦嗦敲了一大堆,其实也没什么新意,都是前人经验的重复,只不过我又在实践中
practice了一下。如果我的经历能给大家一些信心,我就很高兴了。衷心感谢Dr. Dok
, Dr. Jimmy Zhang及许多在这个forum 或不在这个forum上的朋友的帮助和鼓励。很庆
幸能找到麦地版,并伴随我一路走来。希望大家来年好运,考试的都考出好成绩;
match的都能进入心仪的program; 工作的一切都顺利, 麦地更加兴旺。



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