Board Review: The Gunner “Methods to Success” Fallacy

Much of the entire self-help book market is predicated on the idea that copying the habits of successful people will make you successful. This is untrue.1 This isn’t to say that no one benefits from this shared wisdom, but while someone else’s methods may work for you, the most important thing to know about other peoples’ success is that it is theirs. Continue reading


  1. The same can be said any other resource that purports to help you succeed by sharing the secrets of the elite. 

Explanations for the 2014-2015 Official Step 1 Practice Questions

Using the official 2014-15 “USMLE Step 1 Sample Test Questions,” I’ve written explanations and take home points for each of the 138 questions (the “Free 150″). I can’t reproduce the questions themselves of course as they’re super-copyrighted.

An asterisk means it’s a new question (of which there are around 85). The questions and explanations for last year (2013-14) can still be found here. Continue reading

QuantiaMD, now paying for new members

QuantiaMD, the “social learning and collaboration platform that helps physicians,” is now temporarily paying people $10 to sign up. I assume with the rapid growth of Sermo (which has been paying doctors to join for a while now), they’re getting a bit more desperate to compete.

Click the link, confirm your “clinician status,”1 and you earn 10 Q-points, which you can redeem immediately for a $10 Amazon gift card. Finish up your profile (another two minutes), and you’ll have 16 Q-points. Accumulate your Q-points (by referring/harassing your friends and completing the [often pretty good] educational activities), and you can redeem at a higher rate (45 for $50 and 80 for $100).

The short presentations they choose for the Q-point opportunities are usually interesting and often deal with the non-clinical aspects of medicine that most people probably need more exposure to. Also, you can click through them at your own pace (getting the gist and the points in mere moments if you so choose).

I should note that medical students can still join and earn Q-points, they just aren’t able to redeem them for gift cards until graduating and confirming as below.

More information on QuantiaMD, Sermo, and other paying survey opportunities for “clinicians” can be found here.


  1. By confirming the automatically found NPI number associated with your name, for example, followed by clicking a link in an email sent to an institutional email address, a 2 minute process from start to finish 

Applying for a Medical License in Texas

As with most things that really matter, the website, process, and wait for obtaining a medical license in Texas is less than ideal.1 And then, once you have paid for and subsequently obtained your medical license, you will still have to wait first for your DPS number and then your DEA number before you can actually do much with it. The whole process from start to finish will likely take you somewhere in the neighborhood of six+ months.

Applying for your license

The application checklist is exhaustive and wordy to the point where a run-of-mill US-trained physician may not be sure if they’re eligible. In Texas, you must have completed your internship (but not your residency) prior to applying for your medical license. As part of the application process, you will need to supply both proof of both your USMLE Step 3 success and a “Form L” from your internship or residency signifying your successful completion of this task. So, if you take Step 3 during your intern year, you can apply for your license on July 1 of your PGY2 year. You also need to pay for, take, and subsequently pass the Texas Medical Jurisprudence exam. Of course, you can’t do that until you fork over the initial application fee.
Continue reading


  1. This is probably true elsewhere, for that matter, but I wouldn’t know. 

Paying Surveys for Doctors

Medical surveys are an easy way to make a few bucks at a good hourly rate as a resident or less-than-honest medical student, and there are multiple sites offering surveys to physicians. The caveat is that of course most survey sponsors are typically looking for board-certified physicians with multiple years of experience, particularly in general practice or internal medicine sub-specialties. The flip-side to that caveat is that many sites do not appear to meaningfully verify their respondent’s credentials.1 And, oddly, answers to the screening questions of one study do not seem to be carried forth to determine what studies will be sent your way in the future. The best straight-up survey site is probably Sermo, which is a physician-only “online community” and rapidly growing company. Once you maintain a balance of $100 in honoraria, you get preferentially invited to more surveys. If you invite a friend/colleague and they sign up, both you and they get $10 (that’s traditionally called a “win-win”).2 I’ve listed the legitimate additional survey sites, which are a bit less active, are below:

QuantiaMD is another interesting site (another “clinician community”) that can also earn you few dollars. It’s a big site with CME, interesting cases, educational presentations/videos, discussions, etc. Doing some of the activities on the site earns you “Q-points,” which you can redeem (as a physician) for Amazon gift cards at a rate of at least 1 to $1. Even clicking through a video by hitting the “next” button as fast as possible still earns you the Q-points for an activity, and the videos and activities themselves are actually highly educational. You theoretically aren’t able to redeem Q-points if you aren’t a “clinician,” but you can certainly accumulate them even as a medical student prior to later redemption. You do need to confirm your clinician status after signing up in order to be able to redeem Q-points. As an incentive, you can currently earn 10 Q-points ($10!) by joining through the link above and then verifying your status as a “clinician” (takes about 2 minutes; they’re trying to step up their membership growth).


  1. Medical students and even nurses have been known to partake, for example. Verifying that you hold an MD (using your NPI number, for example) is about as tough as it gets (which is done by QuantiaMD). You don’t have to be a cardiologist to say you’re a cardiologist, etc, if that’s your kind of thing. 

  2. In fact, if you would like a referral, you can email me or say so in the comments below (I can see your email, which is kept entirely private) and I’ll invite you.