USMLE Step I 2011 Practice and Orientation materials are available already.

The United States Medical Licencing Examination materials for Step I are already available at the USMLE website.

The materials can be downloaded in pdf format in:

The content outlines for this exam has been updated by a subcommittee of the step I committee.

The updated content can be found in this link:

USMLE committee recommends to students considering to exam Step I after May 2011 to be familiarized with the previous (2010) and the updated content outlines.

In future posts we will discuss the topics associated to the sample questions related to Biochemistry that are included in these materials.


AMEE Releases Agenda for the Next General Assembly

The International Association for Medical Education in Europe (AMEE) has released  a provisional Agenda for its General Assembly that will be held in Malaga, Spain, on September 1st.


Palacio de los Congresos, Malaga

Palacio de los Congresos, Malaga


General Assembly 2009

Palacio de Ferias y Congresos de Málaga, Málaga, Spain

Tuesday 1 September: 1300-1400 hrs


Draft Agenda


1.   Welcome and apologies   
2.   Minutes of the General Assembly of AMEE held on 2 September in Prague, Czech Republic   GA1/09 
3.   President’s Report   
4.   Financial Statement  GA2/09 
  4.1 Proposed increase in the AMEE Individual Membership Fee GA3/09
5.   Elections to the Executive Committee GA4/09
6   Conferences GA5/09
  6.1 AMEE 2009 Malaga, Spain  
  6.2 AMEE 2010 Glasgow, UK  
  6.3 AMEE 2011 Vienna Option  
  6.4 AMEE 2012 Marseille Option  
  6.5 Other potential venues for AMEE Conferences  
  6.6 Ottawa Conference 2010  
7   Update on AMEE’s activities GA6/09
  7.1 MedEdWorld and AMEE member benefits  
  7.2 Medical Teacher  
  7.3 Best Evidence Medical Education (BEME)  
  7.4 AMEE Position Paper on Bologna Process  
  7.5 A Medical Teachers Charter  
  7.6 Accreditation of Teaching  
  7.7 Orpheus  
  7.8 AMEE courses  
  7.9 Other activities  
8   Report from WFME and Regional Associations  
9   Have your say: an opportunity for suggestions from members   
10   Any other business   
11   Date of next meeting   

USMLE and the H1N1 Influenza.

N1H1 Virus (CDC Influenza Lab)

N1H1 Virus (CDC Influenza Lab)


USMLE committee has announced that it is allowing that those candidates that are concerned about their ability to test safely, to reschedule USMLE test appointments without paying the additional fees.


If the current threat level continues, the eligibility period that end on July 31, will be extended beyond that date (please, visit the USMLE site for details)


USMLE recommends to monitor the website for updated information.


And of course, if you have flu-like symptoms, or you may have been recently exposed to a Flu patient, you should reschedule your exam.


Read the complete information here.

April 25, DNA Day


‘We wish to suggest a structure for the salt of deoxyribose nucleic acid (D.N.A.).

This structure has novel features which are of considerable biological interest.”…

John Watson and Francis Crick in Molecular Structure of Nucleic Acids. A structure for deoxyribose nucleic acid.

Nature No. 4356, April 25, 1953


DNA Day also marks the completion of the Human Genome Project, the 13-year international effort that identified the order, or sequence, of more than 3 billion bases in human DNA. The Human Genome Project was finished in 2003, 50 years after Watson and Crick described DNA as a double helix. (Source: National  Library of Medicine)




I would like to invite you to see two presentations courtesy of the National Genome Research Institute, that, at different levels, present different aspects of Genetics research (the pictures are from the U.S. Department of Energy Genome Program’s Genome Management Information System -GMIS):

1.- How Proteins Are Made



2.- Single Nucleotide Polimorphism:

Making SNPs Make Sense


Additional interesting presentations can be found at:

Online Education Kit: Understanding the Human Genome Project



                                                                                       HAPPY DNA DAY!!!


About Residency Match 2009

The largest match in History!


                   “Almost once” (aka “The Big Match”), Domain Sculpture Walk, Sidney, Australia.


According to a press release  of the NRMP, this was the largest match in History.


Active applicants:


15 638 seniors from US Med schools

10 874 graduates from International Schools

  2 015   from Osteopathic schools

  1 222 previously graduated



Total:  29 890 active applicants


PGY-1 Positions offered: 22 427 (the most ever offered by the NRMP)


Which active applicants matched in Post Graduate Year I (PGY-1)?


I have used the numbers in the tables of the NRMP for organizing this “gradient”  that illustrates the percentage of each population of graduates that matched. 


a) 93.1 % of active applicants of seniors of US allopathic medical schools.


b) 71.4 % of active applicants from Canadian Medical Schools matched


c) 69.9 % of active applicants of osteopathic medical schools matched


d) 61.3 % of active applicants of Fifth Pathway programs


e) 47.8 % of US citizens active applicants of International Medical Schools


f) 44.6 % of active applicants previously graduated of US allopathic medical schools


g) 41.6 % of Non-US citizens active applicants of International Medical Schools.


In total:



71,4 % of the active applicants for PGY-1 matched.


95.2 % of the positions were filled during the match.


64.9 % of the offered positions were filled by US Seniors, and 30.3 by other applicants.


A complete information, including all the tables can be found at the site of the NRMP


Advance Data Tables.

2009 Main Residence Match


                                                       Artist Brett Whitely, 1991; photo: Lyn Jones




How medical specialties select residents



The National Residence Matching program (NRMP) conducted in 2008 a survey of programs directors, with the purpose of knowing the factors that they use for ranking  applicants for the residence match.


Specialties included in the survey were Anesthesiology, Dermatology, Diagnostic Radiology,  emergency Medicine, Family Medicine, General Surgery, Internal Medicine, Internal Medicine/Pediatrics, Neurology, Obstetrics and Gynecology, Orthopedic Surgery, Otolaryngology, Pathology-anatomic and Clinical,  Pediatrics, Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation, Plastic Surgery, Psychiatry, Radiation Oncology and Transitional Year.


The report presents global charts and charts for each individual speciality.


The complete report (144 pages!) can be read at:


National Residence Matching Program

Results of the 2008 NRMP Program Directory Survey


Related post: How residence program directors choose medical students

How residence program directors choose medical students?

Medical  students always have speculated about the main criteria used by  Residence Programs Directors for choosing which candidates that apply for resident positions are going to be selected:  Step I score?  Reputation of the Medical school?   Research experience?  Step II Clinical Knowledge? Recommendation letters?


The last issue of Academic Medicine, (March, 2009) the Journal of the Association of the American Medical College, includes an article devoted to this topic: “Selection Criteria for Residence: Results of a National Program Directors Survey”, written by M. Green, P. Jones and J.Thomas.  


The authors  did a survey to around 2 500 program directors asking the relative importance of the different criteria they used to make the selection of an applicant.


Clinical performance, expressed in different ways  (Grades in required clerkships, Step II Clinical Skills pass,  Step II Clinical Knowledge results, etc ) together to  USMLE Step I score were among the first 6 ranked selection criteria.


The article includes the ranking of 14 Academic Selection Criteria, and even show tables for different specialties, so I strongly encourage all medical students, independently of the step  in which they are now in their medical school, to review this article, since some of the required strengths should be built in the medical school, and before the moment to apply to the match.


The complete article can be found here:

Green, Marianne; Jones, Paul, Thomas, John X. Jr.:  Selection Criteria for Residence: Results of a National Program Directors Survey.

Academic Medicine: March 2009,  Vol 24 –Issue 3 –pp362-367


Related post: How medical specialties select residents