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Spin-transfer induced magnetization switching in MgO based magnetic tunnel junction has been studied at a wide time range. We observed a discrepancy between experimental data and thermal activation model prediction on switching current mean and variation as a function of pulse width. The discrepancy is mainly due to Joule heating and the theoretical limitation of the analytical model. It can be overcome by using the notion of an effective temperature. We also compare the fitting result of the averaged switching current versus pulse width to that of switching current probability at each individual pulse width. Finally, we present the identically switching currents measured by both finite pulse width and current sweep rate schemes.