Improving medical students

Archive for February, 2009

Exam Brownout

Posted by medliorator on February 26, 2009

Regular content aggregation will resume on 3/6/09.  For light reading in the interim, please see the link below:

How to Afford Spring Break: 26 Tips That Can Save You 62%

Posted in Tips & Advice | Comments Off on Exam Brownout

Quick Productivity Tips

Posted by medliorator on February 25, 2009

1. Leave the house. Go to a working environment, It it may be the library, coffee shop or a designated study area on campus. Regardless, leave the distractions behind

2. Disconnect. Get off Facebook, Twitter and turn off your cell phone. These time sinks are useless… Most coffee shops make you pay for WiFi, take advantage of this fact.

3. Isolate. Put on your headphones, put in some ear plugs, listen to white noise. By blocking your hearing, you eliminate a great deal of distractions. The feeling of isolation will help you get your work done.

4. Get dressed. Act like you mean business… Take a shower, do your hair, get dressed for the day, eat breakfast and get in the working mood.

5 Quick and Dirty Anti-Procrastination Tips [Hack College]

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The Cost of Residency Application

Posted by medliorator on February 24, 2009

From MedObsession…

Application Fees

  • $290 – ERAS fee for 30 programs in 1 specialty ($60 for 10 programs, $8 each for 11-20, $15 each for 21-30)
  • $60 – USMLE transcript fee
  • $40 – NRMP registration fee


  • $2069 – 10 plane flights (it pays to cluster interviews regionally if you can)
  • $141 – rental car for 2 days (in a city where I had 2 interviews and 2 socials to attend)
  • $78 – cab/airport shuttle fares (share cabs where you can, or book round trip shuttles to save)
  • $34 – parking fees for the 2 programs that didn’t reimburse (UCSF and UCLA)


  • $266 – 3 hotel nights (roommates and Inns cut costs)

Grand Total


The Cost of Applying to Residency [MedObsession]

Posted in Finance, Interviewing | Comments Off on The Cost of Residency Application

The Best Predictors of Match Success

Posted by medliorator on February 23, 2009

From the 2007 match

Of 9 application parameters, the best predictors of match success for U.S. seniors in competitive specialties (Dermatology, Orthopaedic Surgery, Otolaryngology, Plastic Surgery and Radiation Oncology) were:

Rank Application Parameter Odds ratio
1. Number of Contiguous Ranks 1.30
2. USMLE Step I (>=235) 3.15
3. USMLE Step II (>=235) 2.73
4. AOA Member 1.90
5. PH.D. Degree 2.88

Charting Outcomes in the Match [NRMP]

Correlate: The Most Important Components of your Residency Application

Correlate: The Most Important Components of your Residency Application – Part II

Posted in Matching | 2 Comments »

Kaplan USMLE Step 1 Qbank – Free 2-Week Trial

Posted by medliorator on February 20, 2009

We’re happy to provide you an exclusive 2-week free trial offer to Kaplan’s highly rated USMLE Step 1 Qbank.  The offer is valid for currently enrolled second year medical students, and student must use their offers before February 28, 2009

Free Offer: Kaplan QBank 2009 2-Week Free Trial [MD Connector]

Posted in USMLE | 1 Comment »

Reduce Your Rent with a Letter

Posted by medliorator on February 19, 2009

To Whom It May Concern:

We’re writing in regards to the renewal of our lease at [insert your address here].

On [date you moved in], we [names of tenants] moved into a unit in the aforementioned property. Since then, property values in Manhattan [replace with your city or neighborhood] have declined by 5.6% for two-bedrooms units, much more steeply than the nationwide drop of 0.4%. Further, apartment vacancies overall rose to 6.6% in the quarter from 5.7% a year earlier. [I used footnotes here to cite the WSJ story. I suggest also putting in data about your local market from local papers, etc..] Economists and real estate experts predict the decline to continue through 2009-2010.

In our building, that has meant facing an empty unit for several months. Units similar to ours have been rented in recent months to tenants with credit scores and incomes lower than ours at even cheaper rates than what we’ve paid. A rent hike seems inconsistent with recent market conditions and unfair to paying tenants like us with flawless records.

We’ve confirmed that a unit nearly identical to ours is renting at $2,350 a month for a one-year lease. We ask that our lease, at the least, should match that. This would satisfy your interest in keeping our unit occupied and our interest in staying in our apartment at a reasonable rate. Ideally, a discount would be lowering our rent to $2,100 a month for a one-year lease. [At first, I thought this was too bold, but I’m glad I started low.]

As one property manager recently told The Wall Street Journal: “If they’re good payers, we will give them a discount.” Here we are, good payers, asking for a reasonable discount. The $50 off our current rate [original manager] and Ms. Pilon spoke about is inconsistent with other rates in our building and current market activity and projections.

We look forward to continuing the conversation and hearing from you shortly.

[Names and contact information of tenants here]

How to Reduce Your Rent [WSJ]

Posted in Finance, Housing | 1 Comment »

The Most Important Components of your Residency Application – Part II

Posted by medliorator on February 18, 2009

METHODS: A 29-question online survey was designed to discern desired qualities regarding resident selection, interview processes, resident participation, and program director satisfaction with the current process.

RESULTS: 43 of 49 program directors responded (87.8% response rate).

Academic Quality
Average Rank
“What letters of recommendation say” 3.81
“Who says it” 4.31
AOA membership 4.60
USMLE step 1 score 4.63
Clinical grades 4.83
Letters from plastic surgeons (vs general surgery, and so on) 5.74
Research experience 6.44
USMLE step 2 score 6.80
Medical school reputation 6.98
Dean’s letter strength 8.73
Subjective Quality
Average Rank
Performance on away/subinternship rotation 2.29
Performance on interview 3.34
Personality 4.03
Maturity 4.07
Leadership potential 4.23
Research experience 6.00
Interest in academics 6.20
Publications 6.46
Appearance 8.13

Janis JE. Hatef DA. Resident selection protocols in plastic surgery: a national survey of plastic surgery program directors. [Journal Article] Plastic & Reconstructive Surgery. 122(6):1929-41, 2008 Dec.

Correlate: The Most Important Components of your Residency Application

Posted in Matching | 1 Comment »

Top 10 Most Common Residency Interview Questions

Posted by medliorator on February 17, 2009

Ben Bryner shares the most common questions from residency interviewing…

10. What do you do in your spare time?
9.  Tell me about your research.
8.  Why do you want to be a surgeon?
7.  What separates you from all the other applicants / What do you bring to the table / Why should we take you over someone else?
6.  What are you looking for in a training program?
5.  Do you know [some person at my home institution]?
4.  If you suddenly became unable to perform any kind of surgery, what would you do instead?
3.  What other programs have you interviewed at?
2.  Tell me about yourself.
here it is…number one…wait for it….
1.  Where do you see yourself in 10 (or 15) years?

Step into my office [The Differential]

Posted in Interviewing | 4 Comments »

Most Common Bank Fees

Posted by medliorator on February 16, 2009

Here’s a list of the three most common bank fees and how you can easily avoid them.

Overdraft fees: …charged when you make a financial commitment (a check or debit card charge) you can’t fulfill …the fees get larger each time …they’re the result of carelessness, you need to keep close tabs on how much is in your account. At the back of your checkbook there should be a “check register,” …By keeping an up to date check register, including debit transactions, you can practically prevent these fees from happening.

ATM fees: Whenever you use an ATM that isn’t affiliate with your bank, you will get charged ATM fees. First, the ATM owner will charge you a fee. Then, your bank may charge you a fee. S

Minimum balance fees: If you fail… to have a daily balance above this minimum, they’ll hit you with an “administrative” or minimum balance fee …avoid all accounts with this requirement. There are plenty of banks that offer free checking without a minimum balance requirement

Battle Bank Fees [Consumerist]

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USMLE on Facebook: Qbank Challenge

Posted by medliorator on February 15, 2009

As if your Aunt’s friend request wasn’t awkward enough, Kaplan has launched a “Qbank Challenge” application on Facebook.  This application allows users to take a daily three-question mini-test for free.

Kaplan Qbank Challenge Application

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