Starting up….

Posted by T3012 on January 1, 2009

I decided to start this blog most especially for graduates of Nigerian medical schools.

This is strictly for those interested in residency in the United States. While there are many sites out there that address issues pertaining to International Medical Graduates (IMG), I have also observed a lack of information more dedicated towards Nigerian medical graduates, especially those searching for information to start up. I hope others find this blog useful too.

Why am I writing this? I simply don’t want you to learn by experience if you can acquire the same knowledge by just listening or reading others’ experiences. Before I go any further, I think it is most appropriate to make a disclaimer at this point: I am not an expert on any IMG issue, I am just writing about my own experience. This is in no way a demonstration of expertise in any area. I advise that you do your own research as any information given here might not be up to date.

A little bit about me: I am a 2004 graduate of a Nigerian medical school. I came to the US for a Masters’ degree after which I got a job to work for a year. Between the Masters’ program and my job, I wrote the United States Medical Licensing Examinations (USMLE) steps and started my application for a residency spot for the 2009 match.

I am presently in the midst of interviews and all the ups and downs. While this has been summarized succinctly, there is a lot that I have left unsaid: visa issues, planning for the USMLE, paying for the exams, studying for it ( and acing the exams hopefully), applying for residency programs and a whole lot of other issues. I therefore hope this blog will be helpful fo someone out there.

In this first post, I am going to define some common terms that you will probably be hearing, if you have not heard it already.

1. USMLE ( : these are the exams you need to write to be eligible to apply for residency in the US. You can check out the websites to read more about them. There are 4 exams in all : Step 1, Step 2CK, Step 2CS and Step 3. You do not need the step 3 to be eligible for residency, though many IMGs write it for visa issues. We will talk more about that later.

2. ECFMG ( This stands for the Educational Commission for Foreign Medical Graduates. This is the body you will have to deal with as an IMG. To participate in a residency program, you need to be ECFMG certified. The certification is sort of 2 steps, passing the 3 USMLE exams (Steps 1, 2CK and 2CS) and verification of your medical certificate from your medical school. Passing the exams does not automatically make you eligible for residency, your certificates must be verified.

3. International Medical Graduate (IMG): This simply means your medical school is not in the United States or Canada. This is a rather crude definition but I think it gives you an idea of what that means. It has nothing to do with your visa or citizenship status. You can be an American citizen and still be an IMG.

I plan to write more based on comments I get or questions anyone that reads this may have.