Stephen Canton is a third year MD/MS candidate at the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine/College of Business. You can follow him on instagram and linkedin.
Navigating medical school is a unique challenge but we hope this timeline will provide some clarity on the steps you should aim to take for optimal success!
Medical Student Timeline- Printable
Prior to MS1 year
- Download Anki (or similar app); become familiar with Anki.
- Look into pre-matriculation programs.
- Example: Prologue-to-Medicine at University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine.
- These can very beneficial to getting your feet wet with the pace of the medical school curriculum to establish a tentative plan.
- Download Anki (or similar app); become familiar with Anki .
- Note: many people give up on Anki because the user-interface is not very intuitive initially. However, give it a chance because the algorithm is conducive to learning and, more importantly, retention.
- Build relationship with academic/ department advisor.
- Apply for summer research programs (shadowing is also an option) at your home institution or another institution
- Examples: Nth Dimensions, Rabb Venable, MOM, Vanderbilt Student Research Training Program
- These programs should include presentation based deliverable (preferably a poster session) at the end of the research program.
- This is an opportunity for you to build mentorship with your PI and potentially continue research during the MS2 year at your home institution.
- Choose 3 potential specialties and reach out to possible mentors in that field. It is essential that you do this early.
- Look into purchasing Kaplan or First Aid Rx
- Begin to incorporate board-style questions into your regimen
- Seek organizations that are of interest to you and pursue some leadership roles
- Note: During pre-medical undergraduate education, many individuals sought organization leadership to pad their CVs for medical school, an unfortunate reality of the process. However, now as a medical student, you should primarily pursue opportunities that are absolutely of interest to you. Your energy will be pulled in so many different directions during this time – It is essential that begin focusing that energy into your most meaningful pursuits in medicine.
- Stay connected with your lead advisor during your summer research or shadowing.
- Some people like to start studying some of the second-year material using First Aid Rx.
- Complete summer research program and present research in poster session or symposium
- Start to solidify YOUR study strategy.
- This is much easier said than done, but is crucial before board exams, 3rd year, and beyond. Medicine is continuous learning – you will be learning medicine every day for the rest of your life.
- Purchase UWorld for Step 1 (possibly Rx or Kaplan)
- Seek discounts. Many people bring together their respective class/cohort to receive group discounts. Contact your school or class president about this opportunity.
- Begin to incorporate more board-style questions into your regimen
- Start to prepare your 3rd year schedule and plan accordingly. Meet with advisor/advisory dean for strategies. Never be afraid to ask for help in medical school.
- Step 1
- Some year-off opportunities take place between 2nd and 3rd year. Explore these options.
- Begin to look into possible year-off programs (research, Master’s, MPH, MBA). Do not miss the deadline and ask your institution early.
- Become familiar with Online MedEd
- Purchase UWorld for Step 2
- Begin to practice your presentation skills
- Check out MS3 Survival Guide Tips
- Check out Internal Medicine Recipe for Success for a proven internal medicine strategy for success
- Start to approach mentors for letters of recommendation EARLY for residency
- Begin to establish your subinternships (SUBIs) and away rotations, if applicable
- Become familiar with VSAS and ERAS strategies
- Make appointments to get the necessary titers (this can be the biggest rate-limiting step, so get this started soon than later)
- Figure out the deadline for when you must take necessary courses to have the grades incorporated into your ERAS
- Establish schedule for MS4. Careful with your vacation time; For example, may be needed for MS4 depending on how your institution’s schedule lines up with other institutions for away rotations.
- Step 2 CK and CS
- Register for Step 2 CK. Spots fill up quickly!
- Step 2 CS and CK, if still applicable. Must take this before November to be on the safe side.
- Finalize LORs
- Submit ERAS for residency in September (EXCITING!)
- Interviews (October-January)
- Submit Rank List! (February)
- MATCH!!!! (March)