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 2011 General Surgery Applicants!  

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Momo_Surgeon wrote:

lord_man , he will not reply a post or a orivate msg

it is really wired that some people gets many benefits from this forum .. and everyone help them .. but they refuse to give just small piece of information to help others ..

are credentials a nuclear weapon secret ?

we dont know u .. ur name .. where u matched .. we know nothing .. ur privacy is safe .. why dont u try to help ?

Please don't take this the wrong way, but I've noticed that many (not all) FMGs are quite self-serving, as evidenced by the amount of those who post on here for help but never give information out. SDN isn't like this forum at all, and we all know who that forum caters to.

Either way, it doesn't matter. If these folks are like this on the forums, rest assured that there will be plenty of openings for the following year, if you get my drift. I highly doubt this sort of behavior would be tolerated in any residency program.

Good luck, and hopefully you get some solid information in other forums.


ibethatsurgeon wrote:

Please don't take this the wrong way, but I've noticed that many (not all) FMGs are quite self-serving, as evidenced by the amount of those who post on here for help but never give information out.

Sad, but so true.
These are my impressions from this year’s match, from personal experience and what I heard from fellow IMGs and an occasional member of the interview committee. Take it with a grain of salt, the sample is small and selection is biased in many ways.

1. I haven’t personally met a single FMG who matched into a categorical position. I did hear of some people moving to categoricals straight from research.

2. Therefore, even some really excellent FMG candidates (great scores, electives and US LoRs, 2010 grads) matched into preliminary spots. In big name programs, though.

3. On average, people had 5 ivs. Mostly for prelims.

4. Due to the problem with NRMP website, I received a complete list of the unfilled positions, both prelim and cat, although I would be normally allowed to see only the advanced positions. There were tons of unfilled prelims. It appears that many programs fill their prelim spots solely through scramble.

5. A realistic plan for an IMG interested in surgery is to obtain a prelim spot in a top place or through research (possibly).

6. Scores matter, a lot. Forget the typical FMG fascination with 99/99/99/99/99, whatever. They are looking for 3 digit scores.

7. Electives are ‘hands on’ experience and the best way to get LoRs. RELATIVELLY easy to get. Lacking this hurt me a lot, regarding the number of iv calls. Although I am really ecstatic about my program now, I could have gone to match with less anxiety if I had been invited invited by 1 or 2 more places like that.

8. Date of graduation and career gaps matter a lot.

9. Due to 7 and 8, it is crucial to start working on your application and USMLE in med school.

10. Do not know about the dilemma prelim vs. research. Research is probably better, but this is just an impression. If you are going to come on j1 - definitely research. Prelim+J1=buy a roundtrip ticket. However, ask me in a year.

11. Is it getting tougher? It apparently does, but you will have to do your homework and check the statistics yourself.

12. Apply early! How early? No idea, majority of programs will download your application in the first week of September, and first iv invitations arrived in late September.

Edited by dzole on Apr 05, 2011 - 1:16 AM


thanks for your insight and for sharing your thaughts. all the best for future !!!


Hi dzole,
Thanks for your info.That was really helpful and we appreciate it.I presume(duldn't find it mentioned) that you got through prelim via scramble.Just checking?
could you tell us from all that you gathered, whih were the programs that gave iv's to FMG's?


and could you tell us the big name programs that took FMG's for prelims?


Congratulations dZole, belated though, on achieving such an  astonishing score! could u please enlist your experience doing with both of these two exams (step1 & 2CK) and notching up this  270+ staggering score.........what went magical with u, or in other words u did right to have catapulted ur score to such heights.....??????



dzole wrote:
Hi guys! I want to join the club. Although I guess we should be good in dealing with anxiety, I still need your company. They say that you should be a crazy bastard to try to get into a GS program as a non-American IMG. If that is the case, then I probably am a crazy bastard. One thing for sure - we all do have guts, so I will enjoy your company. Whatever happens, we are going to have a lot of fun.

This is how I did my boards:

Step 1 274/99, Step 2 CK 275/99, CS - pass, all first attempt.
1 month observership, no LoR.
Need visa.

Pekovic, why do not you share svoje credentials with nama?


I used to have exactly the same concern and worries with everyone up here. I was often surprised by the fact that almost all IMG match forums have very little info regarding surgery match. Now I have been in the system for a while, I may understand more the reason behind that: my guess is that everyone's story is just too different and diverse plus surgical world is small so it is easy to know who is who just by telling a personal story.

Here's my personal (biased) observation: IMG for surgery is extremely difficult- everyone knows that but you can't really feel it until you send out 100+ applications with less than 10 interviews. A lot of people get none. I personally think that asking matched surgical IMG about their credentials such as USMLE is really not the point at all. It is not IM or FP you can just apply with high USMLE and expect yourself match somewhere because they simply need more residents.

The most important factor deciding whether you can match to a surgical program or not is "where you go to med school". All IMG lose big time on that factor. It is also hard for even AMGs who went to not-so-good med school to get into a competitive residency. You are the first in your class? Sorry we are not sure about your med school education; You have 250+ score in all steps? Sorry we are not sure about your med school education; you have 5 first author abstract/paper in the past year? Sorry we are not sure about your med school education; you have green card/citizenship? Sorry it is not even related to med school education (may be a potential factor for programs already have interest in you though, especially for prelim spot). Although gen surg is not the top choice for stronger AMGs and resident staffing is not so saturated, hospitals now hire tons of PA to take care of staffing issues. Additionally, 80hr plus the 16hr rule make the internship at least sound easier and therefore more and more better AMGs are sending their application to this field and further decrease the chance for IMGs.

Every surgical IMG I know went through prelim first and worked their ass off to pursue the categorical spot. It is a extremely hard burden to take both mentally and physically. You are worried that you might make a stupid mistake and let down of your chief/attending/PD. You are also going through the painful match process again and may find out you do not have more interviews than last year. And honestly, people see you differently from categoricals until you secure a good categorical spot. I've seen many of them starting to take prozac, starting to smoke, or drinking. Do not misunderstand me, there are IMGs in ivy league programs/top 10 US hospital surgical programs. But unfortunately I can't tell you what score you need to get to be able to get your dream job, some of them have high score, some of them not; some of them have PhD, some of them not. There is no way you can use as a guidebook in US surgical residency application as IMG. All you can do is to do everything all out (score as high as possible, publish articles as many as possible, impress the attending in US rotation as much as you can), know as many people as possible, and hope for the best.

Good luck.

Edited by Surgintern on Dec 29, 2011 - 12:40 AM


Hello guys.
It's been a long time since I don't write in this forum.
First of all, I'm an IMG 2006, currently doing a prelim surgery PGY-1(already did another prelim PGY-1 surgery, was off cycle that year and did not finish it)
Not to be discouraging but it's almost impossible to get any cat spot in the match(unless you did a prelim year in that program and they like you a lot or if you have some sort of big connection)
I have been around for 2 years and I'm telling you they are a ton of AMG's doing preliminary years and they are reapplying for the match(my program interviewed like 60 candidates and 80% had at least 1 or 2 years of preliminary experience)
As IMG the way we just to get into a categorical spot was through a prelim year and from there on we had to obtain PGY-2 cat spots which usually open as the year passes, but NOW this spots are getting filled by AMG who are also doing PRELIM years. I have noticed this trend for the past 2 years.


Hey Surgintern.....I hear you....The only common factor for obtaining a cat spot is doing preliminary.
Its incredible how programs work, its been 2 years and what I can say is that they love AMG!!!!! they don't care if they are hardworking or whatever, geez they could be the laziest people on the world, but as long as you have a big name medical school under ur belt its ok!!!


is it true that GS programs start looking at applications only mid-October? so as long as u pass Step 1 and Step 2CK + CS by then, you are good to go?

Keeping in mind, AMGs apply with Step 1 scores, some dont even have Step 2CK yet. or CS.

of course, some programs state on their websites that the requirements for FMG to apply is: ECFMG certification in hand already.

i ask this because i am currently doing my step 1 (taking end aug) and i plan to take step 2CK end sept, then CS in 1st wk of Oct.

once i get passing scores online, i plan to call every program (im in the US currently) and ask them to look at my application. because they use the filters in the ERAS right? so calling will circumvent this.

because i see that prelim is way to go, as far as what i read on this thread.. and everyone's common impressions and experience.

thannks btw to everyone who shared!


i want to also post 2 successful stories of FMG categorical matches

3 US clinical electives as a student at MGH, UCLA, and somewhere else i forget where
top student in medical school (multiple awards)
he then took a year after graduation to focus solely on taking the USMLE, and so he achieved the following grades: 266/260/260 in steps 1/2CK/3 + CS Pass 1st attempt
over 40 pubmed-indexed publications
short research stint at hopkins (i would say, less than 10 weeks)
matched: categorical at a uni-affiliated program in NY state
visa: unsure (but either J1 or H1B), applicant does not have greencard

2nd story
harvard MPH on fulbright scholarship
no hands on experience
1 mth observership at MGH
3 publications in reputable US journals - with MGH observership supervisors
15 other pubmed indexed publications
3 grants
junior faculty position (research instructor)

grad year: 2009
starting residency year: 2012 july
matched: categorical in uni-affiliated program in DC
visa: J1 visa


I feel that i need to post the results of the match..a bit late but at least maybe itl help someone
Matched to prelim program..graduated 2007 from eastern europe
one publication
no USCE except of shadowing which is nothing really
what i learned from the whole process is that usmle scores gets u IVs and IVs get u position.
If anyone have question i would be happy to help.

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