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Make the most out of your Electives!

Make the most of out of your electives! What do I mean by this! Obviously you should try to get a good LOR and Evaluation Form signed but you can do a lot more than that in your electives.

  • First of all you can get your electives experience published in few well-reputed journals like British Medical Journal(BMJ) and The Lancet; it counts a full publication.
    • For Student- BMJ, visit the following link for further details
    • Have a look at what The Lancet Student says about such elective reports
      Elective Reports
      As most medical students go on an Elective at some point, it may be easiest to start off with an Elective report. We want this section to be a useful resource to all students. Therefore, as you all have very different experiences of your electives, we have decided to make this an "anything goes" section so elective reports can now be as long or as short as you like (within reason), remain unedited (unless for typos or MASSIVELY long etc), and will no longer be peer reviewed by our student reviewers. It is your chance to write an honest, personal, and informative account of your elective and to show off some of your photos. So in addition to details of where you went and what you did, witnessed, and experienced etc, please include some useful information for others. All elective reports must also include a short paragraph about what you learned from your experience. Although not imperative, we strongly encourage you to submit photos with your reports (as separate attachments NOT embedded please!). Please note that if any photos are of patients, you will need to provide us with some evidence of their consent.
    • Visit the following links for Lancet
  • Secondly, depending upon the total working hours and no. of days of your electives, it is strongly advised to volunteer yourself in evenings/ other free time in various research labs of faculty members in the specialty of your choice(even if you are not doing electives there). You would establish good contacts this way and might be able to help you secure a spot for research or even residency later on. Moreover if you did work on a research project and can get it published, it goes a long way. Although everyone says it is very very difficult to do research during electives and to get it published but its not impossible. I know a few people who did this. Always try to achieve whatever you can.... aim for the moon and conquer the world, if not moon... there is no harm in being ambitious!
  • If there is no research spot available, you can try voluntarily shadowing(observership) in the specialty of your choice in your free time. Again you would establish good contacts this way which help you secure a spot for research or even residency later on.
  • But before everything, if your tough routine during electives do not allow to do some extra research/observership, its always better to concentrate on the elective you have got and give your best in it. A bird in hand is better than two in bush.
  • The above mentioned two possibilities are only in that situation when you have less no. of days per week for electives or less working hours per day but keep one thing in mind, during electives the thing which is of prime importance is the electives itself and all the additional things can be icing on the cake but not the cake itself. Its always better to be practical rather than over-ambitious.

Brown Univ Elective

First of all I would like to thank everyone who make contributions to this wonderful website.

I have been selected for an elective in Brown Univ for the month of Jan 2012. Is there anyone going to that univ at the same time ? Or anyone who has done an elective there previously, any advice ?

I would also like to know where I can find free pdf downloads of MLE books, specially first aid fro CS.

hi shilpa. i'll be going

hi shilpa. i'll be going there in april. which dept have you been accepted for? is this your first elective? 

hi, i completed my elective

Hi, i completed my elective at brown in the dept of pediatric neurology. Which dept will u be working in ? yes it was my first elective, wat abt  u?

brown univ elective

hi.. I ll be going to brown university in the month of april 2012.. I am mentioned in the elective catalogue that i ll need to give some case presentation in the conferences in the concerned department..Do i really need to give a presentation definitely or does it depend on the situation...

What do i need to prepare in advance for this...I ll be glad if u reply for this..

for presentations

if u get a chance to make a presentation do not let it pass. it is a great opportunity to impress ur attendings and do not hesitate cause the attendings are all very nice and anything u do will be appreciated. there are first aid books available for clerkships so download it and read before ur clerkship begins if possible. it will help u in picking a topic for ur presentation as well. it does depend on the situation but it is always good to give a presentation.


i'll be heading off to brown in april as well. i was in the cardio dept at the vamc a few months ago and i was asked to give a presentation. you don't need to worry about it, as the attending gives you a topic to present on and the fellows give you enough guidance on the content. it's usually on recent researches so there's not much you can do to prepare for it as such. 

what to expect?

Hello, I would like to thank the site owner especially Umar bhai for the help he is providing to students like me.

I have been accepted in University of Toronto in Toronto General Hosp. in nephrology. And waiting for other's reply.

I want to know what should we expect during electives & what are our duties?

Does clinical experience & LORs from Canada help in US residency application? as I have seen many US Uni. residency sites saying requirement of prior US/Canada clinical exp..  

Thanks in advance. will appreciate your help.

What is best ?

 AOA umar bhai ! hope you are in good health, your doing an amazing job and a great work of chairty by spreading knowledge, something this nation really needs. I plan on specializing in interventional radiology. i know its tough, but i'm ready to do whatever it takes. there's an elective available for radiology at UCSF in march/april. i'm also applying for john hopkins research elective for march, april and may , also i'm trying to get a sponor from emory for a radiology elective in may. I'm in contact with a professor of radiology in Harvard who says i can come and work with him for research (unpaid) anytime. Now can u please tell me what would be best ? it now costs 1800 dollars for tution fees at UCSF alone !(total will be around 3000 with accomodation etc) is it worth that much ? i can pay it but with some difficulty. Or is the research elective at hopkins better (its way cheaper as well) since i plan on going in radiology? Thank you very much ! . 

I think both are very good

umar's picture

I think both are very good places and both are worth it; it's purely your call... actually both of them are equally good...

I am very busy these days and won't be replying to anymore queries. Apologies for any inconvenience and thank you for your understanding. All the best.


Thanks bro for the phenomenonal effort. I just had a report accepted and all the credit goes to you for showin me the way!

 GOd Bless

Thanks a lot for your kind

umar's picture

Thanks a lot for your kind words purav... God bless you!

I am very busy these days and won't be replying to anymore queries. Apologies for any inconvenience and thank you for your understanding. All the best.

hello umar

hello umar bhai,

                     i am proud to say that with the help of you, i ve managed to secure an im elective position in weill cornell med school. but my telephonic interview is in this week so, i need ur help that what can be the questions they might ask and their appropriate answers + any advice in general about the interview.

     also i drop u an e-mail at your gmail address a week ago regarding nyu electives. does it require malpractice proof alongwith the application or not? bcz in its site it mentions only application. & is there any online option on site as there is only paper based application available and it has all sorts of calculations in there. should i send this paper based application + 96$ bank draft and wait for a month?

  sorry, if i ve messed it up but there r all sorts of things going on my mind .....please respond quickly.

 Congrats Usman! Well I did

umar's picture

 Congrats Usman!

Well I did not have a telephonic interview at Cornell... so m not ur sure about...

I dont think is the right legal choice for malpractice insurance for electives...

I am very busy these days and won't be replying to anymore queries. Apologies for any inconvenience and thank you for your understanding. All the best.

preparing for electives


Can any one guide me on how to prepare for electives? Like what am I expected to know? Should I read up the subject?

What books should I be taking with me if I am going for IM electives and planning to give my Step 2 CS immediately after? Is it possible to study for CS during electives?

This website is a blessing!



Thanks for your kind words.

umar's picture

Thanks for your kind words.

Just study the subject... preferably ask anyone you are working with... which books you should generally read. Having a good grasp of the subject is also helpful. Study the books that you read for your internal medicine like davidson, kumar or even kaplan.

Varies from person to person... u can use USMLEworld, First Aid or Kaplan... prefer using one book and sticking to it... moreover try going through the USMLE step 2 CS section in this website...

I am very busy these days and won't be replying to anymore queries. Apologies for any inconvenience and thank you for your understanding. All the best.

 Thanks Umar Bhai. GOD bless

 Thanks Umar Bhai.

GOD bless you.

How to send my elective report

 Hello Umar Bhai,

I have prepared my elective report, how do i send it for publishing and how to attach the photographs(i mean should i send the pics as attachment or should i add them in the word file only), kindly guide me


If you are submitting it to

umar's picture

If you are submitting it to S-BMJ then they dont accept any pictures in electives reports as far as I know..... but if you are submitting it to Lancet then attach it in your email.... rather putting the pictures in word document!

I am very busy these days and won't be replying to anymore queries. Apologies for any inconvenience and thank you for your understanding. All the best.


 Well done Umar bhai for ur brilliant work. I just wanted to ask that do these publications of elective experience in The Lancet or BMJ  get the tag of publication in thePUBMED 

thanks a lot for your kind

umar's picture

thanks a lot for your kind words..... they are not indexed in pubmed but even then they are considered as publications and something is better than n best of luck!

I am very busy these days and won't be replying to anymore queries. Apologies for any inconvenience and thank you for your understanding. All the best.

hey umarbhai, does

hey umarbhai,

does publication in an indexed journal with very low impact factor matter?

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