As an Old IMG, you will typically face more challenges in your medical career than AMGs or American Medical Graduates. Many training hospitals in the country don’t accept IMGs at all, and finding a residency match becomes even tougher if you’re classified as an Old IMG!
What is an Old IMG and Why Does It Matter If You Are One?
An IMG or International Medical Graduate is someone who attended medical school outside the U.S., and you’re considered an Old IMG if you graduated more than 5 years ago. Despite what the name suggests, age doesn’t make a difference here.
What are the potential roadblocks standing in the way of your U.S. medical career?
- Having to compete against fresh medical school graduates (both IMGs and AMGs) for a residency match.
- Lower chances of getting residency, since many hospitals have a cutoff of 5 years after graduation.
- Some training hospitals will not interview candidates who graduated more than 3 years back.
- Acquiring a license to practice medicine can be a problem in some states.
- Preparation for USMLE for Old IMGs also poses unique challenges.
Common Issues for Old IMGs in USMLE Prep
If you graduated from med school a while back, here are 7 specific concerns to address while preparing for the USMLE:
1.Relearning Basic Concepts – You may have forgotten basic concepts that will be tested in the USMLE, because so much time has gone by since learning them. As a result, you may need to spend more time on exam prep than fresh grads.
2.Outdated Medical Know- How – What you learned in med school may have become obsolete by the time you take the USMLE. Before learning about modern advances in the field, you might just need to unlearn what you already knew.
3.Irrelevant Specialized Knowledge – It’s likely that you have specialized knowledge about certain aspects of medicine, especially if you were already in practice. Since the USMLE tests for general medical awareness, this knowledge often becomes irrelevant.
4.Few Study Resources and Plans – Most USMLE study plans, prep materials, courses and reviewers are geared towards fresh grads or third-year medical students. These don’t address specific requirements of Old IMGs, and finding the right resources can be a challenge.
5.Absence of Study Practice – Studying for lengthy tests takes a lot of time, concentration and effort. Fresh grads and medical students have practice with long hours of focused study, but you may no longer be used to doing this if you graduated years back.
6.Lack of Test-Taking Skills – Taking extensive examinations such as the USMLE requires specialized skills and preparation. You will have to relearn the steps involved, as well as strategies for test-taking, dealing with exam pressure, time management, etc.
7.Less Motivation and Social Support – You may also lack the support structure that new grads and medical students take for granted. Since you aren’t graduating or taking the test with people you know, remaining motivated can sometimes be a problem.
If you’re an Old IMG taking the USMLE, being aware of these challenges helps you plan ahead. To learn how to overcome these problems and get the help you need for improving your USMLE score, contact New York Clinical Skills Prep today!