Every International Medical Graduate has to undergo clinical electives as an essential part of residency program in the USA. But what if you lack proper guidance and are confused about how his whole process of clinical electives works? So, bother yourself to read the article below and get to know about the clinical electives in the US.


The US Clinical Elective enables you to get your hands on the US healthcare system. You will be treated equivalent to a fourth year medical student which suffice you to take note of the patient’s historical background, carrying out physical examination, etc. While doing the Clinical Electives, you also gain access to the system of medical records of the hospital so that you can review the patient previous medications and medical reports.

Moreover, don’t get confused with Clinical Electives as Observer-ships. There are a couple of ways in which the medical electives in USA can be set apart from Observer-ships. One would be the access to the electronic medical records which you don’t get in an observer-ship. Another would be the physical examination of the patients which you may consider impossible during the observer-ship.

Also, while doing clinical electives, you must be in your final year of medical studies as this is a qualifying criterion for the students who wish to attend clinical electives. And to further bring to your attention, you cannot apply to the medical electives in USA provided you have completed your graduation. So to give you a rough idea of the ideal time for applying to these electives, make sure you do it six to eight months prior to the date when you will be attending these medical electives in USA . That’s because the application process is quite lengthy and so, takes a lot of time to complete.

Also, there is a lot misconception among people that one can only apply for the elective in USA only if they possess their USMLE step 1 scores. Although there are some comforts enjoyed by those who have their step 1 scores, it isn’t necessary that one must have this. The requirements differ from institutions to institutions and there are chances to find a good spot in the electives even without a step 1 score.


  • These elective clerkships play a crucial role in strengthening your application for residencies. They are often referred to as a subordinate of the various types of United States Clinical Experiences (USCE) which the students should gain during their college days as once you have graduated from your university, you no longer hold the eligibility of taking part in such activities.
  • You shouldn’t be considering these Clinical Electives as an optional but a very integral part of your medical career and this is often used as a one of the many filters that are used by various residency programs while analyzing your application. So the more experience you have gained during the medical electives in USA , the better it would be in improvising your residency application.
  • As it name suggests, these medical electives in USA would enable to get your hands on the healthcare system in the United States. You will attend the elective in USA as a ‘visiting student’ in the US hospitals which makes you eligible to do anything a medical student of 4th year is expected to do. This involves participating in conferences, working on cases, taking physical examination of the patient and preparation of cases as well. So now, you must have made up your mind as to which of the following you should go for – Electives or Observership.
  • Since you have chosen the path of USMLE, then it’s time for you to build some contacts as keeping some network is a must in this process. While doing the medical electives in USA , you will meet fellows, residents, students of different regions as well. And it only comes through sharing experiences that you get an idea of how you should prepare your mind for the USMLE series. You will get an idea of how different people from different regions (both American and international) are doing preparations for this exam. And you can further take assistance from these connections to secure a residency spot in the nearby future too.
  • The elective in USA can be of great help if you complete them before appearing for practical exams such as the USMLE Step 2 CS. Being an international medical graduate (or IMG), it might not be so easy to deal with patients in the United States. And so, the Step 2 CS is a practical exam that tests your capabilities of taking note of the medical history of the patient, physically examining the patient, your fluency in the English language and whether you adhere to the basic bedside manners or not. So what we would recommend is that you should take the Step 2 CS after completing the electives since while doing so, you get used to the basic clinical habits that the examining panel expects from a candidate to represent during the Step 2 CS.
  • While you are engaged in your electives, make sure you are able to portray the best version of yourself in front of the authorities which will ultimately write your letter of recommendation for you. Try to come early and leave late, take part in every conferences and seminar and give your opinions as this shows how much you are interested in the activities. And such performance from your side will result in a stronger letter of recommendation rather than just a generic one which is handed over to everyone else.

Moksh has partnered with many ACGME Accredited hospitals for clinical rotation in case you are interested to apply for clinical rotation with help of Moksh Expert Guidance contact our expert USMLE on 7024240996


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