drk

7+ Year Member
Apr 16, 2013
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I am an NRI. I went to Medical School in India. I completed it in the required time (i.e. I didn't fail any years). I just recently gave my USMLE Step 1. Anyways here is my take on it and hopefully you can learn something. This is more geared to someone who was born and raised in America and is now considering Medical School in India. I'll try to break up the post point wise.

I. Be damned sure about YOUR decision!

a. This is a 5.5 year commitment. Longer if you fail. After considering your time to prepare for the USMLE exams(assuming you don't take them concurrently with your course work) it will be near to 6.5 years before you apply for residency.

b. You will probably have to learn a new language.

c. Life in India is nothing like life in America. It's fairly dirty and boring in most places. I got used to all this and didn't mind it much as I am fairly easy going and just accept things as they are but some people are set in their ways and you should be prepared to deal with this along with the poverty and some horrific things you may see everyday. That said there are also amazing things to see in India.

II. Location of the Medical School you choose!

a. Choosing a medical school nearer to your own place of origin would be ideal as you would have people you know who could help you should you fall ill or need money or any help at all. You may also have a house to live in with relatives. Dormitories in India are beyond ****(most of them) and you will not be able to improve anything in them. At least if you have your own place you can get an Air Conditioner(your best friend in India) etc.

III. Type of Medical School!

a. Like America, India has private medical schools and government(or state schools as we call them in the USA). There is a glaring difference between these two types of schools. A private medical school or deemed basically means the students got in there without any merit. They paid a donation because they couldn't get in elsewhere due to poor scores(since your considering India your probably in this boat also, haha). That's not to say these students are dumb, many just fall prey to the crappy system that reserves seats for 'backwards class' students who get admission with much lower scores.

However, generally speaking, demmed/private universities generally do not have the patient flow that a government medical school would have. As basically the only genuine advantage you will get from coming to India is the vast clinical experience, it is better to choose a school with good patient flow.

I have heard stories of Professors/Heads of Departments demanding money to pass students in some Deemed/private universities but this was only rumors/second hand information so I can't comment.

The trade off is that Deemed/Private Universities generally have more famous doctors working for them though I don't think you will get much time with them anyways and they are probably 'honorary' professors more than anything.

b. Government Medical Schools - Great place to learn, but you will be on your own. The entire staff is generally so overwhelmed by patients that you will find many lectures cancelled and professors just not able to give the time you would expect. Especially coming from America where the teacher:student ratio is such an important factor when choosing schools, you can throw this out the window. These professors are also paid next to nothing so don't expect them to work extra hours teaching you + their usual rounds/patient care. If you apply yourself and volunteer yourself you can find that most professors/residents will allow you to help them with nearly anything. I was assisting in operations/plastering/all types of out patient procedures. Invaluable hands on experience can be had.

IV. Cost!

a. Not much to say here. It is generally much cheaper than completing the USA undergraduate + medical school years but prices are rising! Donations are about 40-50 lakhs and places that have special NRI seats it is approaching 20,000 USD/year.

V. Schedule/Exams

a. 5.5 years.
- First Year(1 Year Long) - Anatomy, Physiology, Biochemistry. Genetics/Histology/Embryology is wrapped up as part of Anatomy and you will find yourself severely lacking in knowledge when you go to prepare for your USMLE. Especially Genetics!
- Second Year (1.5 Years Long) - Microbiology, Pathology, Forensic Medicine, Pharmacology. Probably the easiest year as it is so long.
- Third Year (1 Year Long)- E.N.T., Ophthalmology, Preventive and Social Medicine, another easy year. GIVE YOUR STEP 1 AT THE BEGINNING OF THIS YEAR IF YOU CAN!!! Probably the ideal time to give it. The subjects are tiny this year and 4-5 months to study for them is ample time.
- Fourth Year (1 Year Long) - Surgery, Pediatrics, Medicine, Ob/Gyn. Orthopedics is part of surgery generally. Tough year. So much reading.

b. Exams - So this was probably the biggest and hardest part for me to get past. Exams here are not MCQ. They are long essay style questions. Generally the exam is 40 points(for half of a subject, I.E. Anatomy 1 = 40 Points, Anatomy 2 = 40 ponts,) You will have 1 main question asking you like "What is the anatomy and clinical relevance of the Breast" This might be worth 8 points or 10 points. Then you may have like 3-4 questions worth 4-5 points and then 5 or so questions worth 2 points.

The problem with this type of set-up is if you don't know a question and its worth a good amount of points, your screwed. 50% is passing(20/40). It's easy enough but you have to remember NO-ONE gets full marks for a question. At-least no one in my school or state did. If you wrote that Breast question perfectly straight from a Graduate Surgery Book you would probably get a max of 6.5/8 on it. I'm not sure why they do this but it's India so you will find yourself asking that question a lot. Most people in my school scored around 55%-60% overall.

There are usually only 2 exams you have to care about. Your Pre-liminary exams and your University exams. Pre-lim exams are basically internal exams your college takes to "qualify" you for taking the University. I believe you need to score a 35% to qualify. However, the 15% you lack(if you scored a 35%) will have to be made up in your University exam so that you average a 50%. Its all weighted and scaled weird so usually you only have to make up 3-4 points at max. I.E. If your University Exam is out of 100 for Anatomy, and you scored a 45/100 in your prelims, you would require a 55/100 in your University exam to pass. A good thing is if you score higher than 50% on your prelims than those points can then be added to your university so if you had scored 55/100 in your Prelim, and 45/100 in your University, you would pass.

Passing is tough. At least in the Government school I went to was. 35% of my first year class failed. 10% failed in second year. 5% failed in Third year. 25% failed in fourth year.

c. Failing. To go on to the next year, you must pass all the subjects of the previous year. If you pass Anatomy and Physiology but fail Biochemistry. They let you join the lectures of second year but you have to pass Biochemistry before being allowed to sit for second year exams. After the first round of exams, if you failed one, then 40 days later they give the exam again to everyone who failed. If you fail again you can then only take it 6 months later. This is for first year only. During second year and beyond, if you fail a subject you can continue on but the repeat exam is only offered every 6months from now on. Basically if you fail more than once you will join a "minor" batch which is a group of people from varying batches who have failed. Your classmates generally move on ahead of you and its pretty tough to catch up again.

VI. Internship

a. After you complete your 4.5 years of exams you're required to do a rotating internship. 2 months medicine, 2 months surgery 2 months ob/gyn etc. Make sure you choose Psychiatry as your elective as you need 1 month of Psychiatry as per USA requirements. Learn as much as you can and start studying for your Steps. LoR from India have no value but get some just in case you decide to do an observership/random job/research/anything else.

VII. Things to note.

b. If you have the option of going to Medical School in America but wasting a year or 2 and going to India and saving a year or 2, I would most strongly suggest you stay in America if you are sure you will get admission! Something most people don't think about is that once you take that step and graduate from a medical school outside of the States you are now placed in the category of an FMG. This severely limits your residency chances. It doesn't make matching impossible but going into the more competitive fields is certainly more difficult. Even matching into IM will require you to score higher than your average US graduate. If your only goal is to just be a doctor and get into IM sure India is great. There IS a difference however in doing IM in a lesser known IM place in America and doing IM in a Harvard Associated Hospital, something pretty out of reach for an FMG.

Whatever you decide just be sure and firm and follow through with your decision. I thoroughly enjoyed my time in India, made some great friends, learned 2 new languages, learned how to drive there, learned so much about my culture, got into cricket, and many other great things that while it may not make me a great candidate for residency but it is something that I have done that most medical students - or anyone for that matter will never get the chance to do. The different perspective you get on life after living here will give you a new found appreciation of America and I personally think having this perspective makes you a better clinician.

Best of luck!

P.S. I apologize if I offended any one by my posting about India, it was not my intention. If there is any mis-information I posted feel free to post your thoughts, I just wrote what I experienced/heard/saw. Every country has it's pro's and con's, including the USA.
 
Feb 27, 2013
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Hey drk. thanks for the post. i have a question. you said you went to government medical school in india. How did you apply there? I thought that there were no government seats for NRI's. If you could tell me the application process for NRI's in Government schools that would be really helpful. Thanks.
 

drk

7+ Year Member
Apr 16, 2013
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Resident [Any Field]
I'm not sure about all of the schools that offer NRI seats but I know NHL in Ahmedebad Gujarat and I think SMIMER in Surat offer NRI seats. One or 2 in Baroda also offer it and these are all government or municipal schools - cheaper than a private university and probably 100 times the patient flow.

You can go to their websites and they have the application online and requirements. I would advise finding out what time Applications open up and going to India a month or two in advance in case you have to run around for paper work like I did.
 
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Hello drk, I'm currently a freshmen in college and doing the pre med track, but I would like to go to India next year so I can do MBBS there and come back and do my residency after taking the USMLES. The thing is that I don't know which school I should apply to. Would you tell me which school you went to in India hopefully it's somewhere in Gujarat as that's where my family and friends are and I'm not really worried about fitting in and all since I was originally born in India and came to the US at the age of 12. Any help will be appreciated. Btw all that you wrote above has helped a lot and it made me even more sure about my decision as going there will help me save at least 2-3 years.
 
Nov 29, 2013
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Hello drk, I've put quite a bit of time into deciding whether or not to travel abroad for my medical studies and in turn decided it would be best financially and a great experience, preferably in India- either Gujarat or Karnataka. I'm certain it's what I want to do. However, I've researched quite a few schools via the internet and can't really determine if they are affiliated with the US or not in order for me to come back here (US), to finish my clinical studies back home which was recommended to me by a Doctor I've been in close contact with since making my decision. The only difference is you've actually already done this, whereas we were only talking about it from sources he's had conversations with, without him having any passion of doing it himself. Anyways, how did you apply for schools and get funding? Was it relatively easy? How did you study/prepare for the entrance exams- were they pretty standard?(easy questions?, advanced questions?, types of questions?[math?, anatomy?, etc.]) Do you have any recommendations on books to prep for those exams? When do the semesters start and end, or is it different from college to college? I remember you mentioning, you were there for about 2 months filling out paper work.. what kind of paper work? I am currently working full time to have some money to pay for at least some of the additional costs to live or visit if necessary- but with that being said I would need to quit my job in order to travel there for a month or two much like you have mentioned prior to actually being accepted or deemed a student. My work is already aware of my decision to take my studies overseas, so that wouldn't be a problem. I realize I have asked a lot of questions, only because I'm constantly wondering them myself. Your response would be greatly valued.
 

drk

7+ Year Member
Apr 16, 2013
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Resident [Any Field]
Sorry I haven't replied sooner, I haven't really been checking this thread. If you have any questions you can private message me. Manipal is a college I know that has USA connections(I believe not 100 percent sure). Most in India will not allow you to go for clerkships in the USA during your time. You can definitely go during your internship though but all time lost must be made up. You should definitely think 10000x before making this decision. Competition this year is insane for residency, I have very high scores and have secured far fewer interviews than I would have liked. In 6 years when you would be done I imagine the competition will be even more.
 
Jul 11, 2014
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Hi! I'm about to enter my second year at a college in the United States. I'm an American citizen and was wondering if I could apply to one of these programs without having completed my undergraduate degree. How could I transfer to a medical program after my second year is over? Thanks
 

rkaz

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Mar 18, 2008
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Why would you want to leave your undergraduate degree (a sure thing) for some unknown of going to India in a different educational system? That would be a very foolish choice, in my opinion. Go to India for medical school if it is your last resort. I love going to India and visiting there.... but going there for education when you have no experience of the educational system there is a huge risk. If medical school doesn't work out, you at least want to have your bachelor's degree completed, no?

If you are the typical Indian person with overbearing parents pressuring you to "save time" by skipping years and going into medical school in India.... well, your parents are not informed about the realities of getting into a residency in the US. Getting a residency in the US is very difficult for those coming from foreign countries, as residency spots have not increased much despite growing number of US MD/DO students matriculating in American medical schools. So foreign grads are getting increasingly pushed out of spots. Even if your parents are physicians themselves, they may have come here for residency about 20-30 years ago when it was a LOT easier for foreign grads to get jobs.... so they don't realize the present situation now.

I also don't like this concept of pressure to be ahead of everyone else and 'save time' that most Indian parents pressure their kids for. Life isn't always about one-upping someone else. It's a journey to get the most out of it on YOUR own terms, not just about spending your life pleasing your parents. Enjoy your classes, do a minor or concentration in something that totally interests you (even non-health related). Enjoy the process, and your present time... rather than trying to rush off to some future destination. Use your education to actually LEARN something that interests and excites you rather than just to get your professional degree as fast as possible to please your parents.

Do things the right way. Finish undergrad, and then apply to US MD/DO schools. If you are getting poor undergrad grades, don't expect to be able to go to India and have medical school be some kind of breeze there, as I'd expect the competition within Indian medical schools to be a lot more brutal with far less resources. Not having multiple choice tests, and having to provide essays on your exams does not sound all that pleasant to me.... on top of being in a different environment that you are unaccustomed to, far from home. I have an acquaintance (a US citizen of Indian origin) who went to India for medical school, and I know that it has not been easy.
 
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Medstart108

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Mar 24, 2012
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Why would you want to leave your undergraduate degree (a sure thing) for some unknown of going to India in a different educational system? That would be a very foolish choice, in my opinion. Go to India for medical school if it is your last resort. I love going to India and visiting there.... but going there for education when you have no experience of the educational system there is a huge risk. If medical school doesn't work out, you at least want to have your bachelor's degree completed, no?

If you are the typical Indian person with overbearing parents pressuring you to "save time" by skipping years and going into medical school in India.... well, your parents are not informed about the realities of getting into a residency in the US. Getting a residency in the US is very difficult for those coming from foreign countries, as residency spots have not increased much despite growing number of US MD/DO students matriculating in American medical schools. So foreign grads are getting increasingly pushed out of spots. Even if your parents are physicians themselves, they may have come here for residency about 20-30 years ago when it was a LOT easier for foreign grads to get jobs.... so they don't realize the present situation now.

I also don't like this concept of pressure to be ahead of everyone else and 'save time' that most Indian parents pressure their kids for. Life isn't always about one-upping someone else. It's a journey to get the most out of it on YOUR own terms, not just about spending your life pleasing your parents. Enjoy your classes, do a minor or concentration in something that totally interests you (even non-health related). Enjoy the process, and your present time... rather than trying to rush off to some future destination. Use your education to actually LEARN something that interests and excites you rather than just to get your professional degree as fast as possible to please your parents.

Do things the right way. Finish undergrad, and then apply to US MD/DO schools. If you are getting poor undergrad grades, don't expect to be able to go to India and have medical school be some kind of breeze there, as I'd expect the competition within Indian medical schools to be a lot more brutal with far less resources. Not having multiple choice tests, and having to provide essays on your exams does not sound all that pleasant to me.... on top of being in a different environment that you are unaccustomed to, far from home. I have an acquaintance (a US citizen of Indian origin) who went to India for medical school, and I know that it has not been easy.
I agree with everything except your pretty hardcore stereotyping. First off its not "pressure" to be ahead of everyone else. Nobody goes around thinking wow i'm so much better than everyone else i'm going to save 2-3 years and possibly not get matched. People do it because first of all, not everyone wants to be in school for 8 years, spending 4 of those studying a subject they perhaps don't want to study. Has it ever occurred to you that some people prefer studying the human body over the anatomy of a prokaryote? Tell me in 10 years if you still remember more than 20% of what you learned in your undergrad. If you don't use it you lose it, if you know being a doctor is what you want, spending 4 years studying something else won't necessarily be useful for you.

Another thing, you assume that the people who are going back to India are all just parent pleasers, as if they have no independent mind of your own. See its attitude's like that that make people think, why are you so upset, are you just projecting your own personal beliefs and fears onto others?

When people truly think its better to do "so and so route" they don't feel the need to denigrate the other "route" through stereotyping. I agree with the substance of your argument, don't go to India, complete medical school in the US, but because matching to residency is a lot tougher and medical school in India can be a major culture shock.
 
Nov 1, 2015
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Hi. So I know this is a two year old thread since the last comment, but I was just googling some things and found this thread, and if anyone can help me out that would be great.I read through all of it, as I am in a position like this now. So I am a female freshman student in college in the USA, and I really want to be a doctor. I am in love with the profession and literally cannot imagine doing anything else. But for personal and financial reasons, I am unable to pursue medical dental or pharmacy school here. My father is from Pakistan, and my mother is from India. We have thought about sending me to India for medical school, but idk how that plan would go. I have lived in the USA since I was 3, so basically my whole life, and how no idea of how the education system, people, or life functions in India. I am scared of not being able to fit in to the schools or the society. I can only speak english and idk how people or students there would view me? Idk how safe it is over there, or how intense their education is. Many of our neighbors here have gone to medical school in pakistan and back, but because of my parents' citizenship I am not able to go to pakistan. my options are india or bangledesh, but idk really what to do. So if anyone please has any advice, or experience that would help me out that would be very helpful!! What schools would you recommend that are more easy to fit into coming and growing up in america? Would you recommend going for me? And how is the rigor of schoolwork?Plz it would really help!!! Thanks in advance!
 
Jun 15, 2017
1
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Hi. So I know this is a two year old thread since the last comment, but I was just googling some things and found this thread, and if anyone can help me out that would be great.I read through all of it, as I am in a position like this now. So I am a female freshman student in college in the USA, and I really want to be a doctor. I am in love with the profession and literally cannot imagine doing anything else. But for personal and financial reasons, I am unable to pursue medical dental or pharmacy school here. My father is from Pakistan, and my mother is from India. We have thought about sending me to India for medical school, but idk how that plan would go. I have lived in the USA since I was 3, so basically my whole life, and how no idea of how the education system, people, or life functions in India. I am scared of not being able to fit in to the schools or the society. I can only speak english and idk how people or students there would view me? Idk how safe it is over there, or how intense their education is. Many of our neighbors here have gone to medical school in pakistan and back, but because of my parents' citizenship I am not able to go to pakistan. my options are india or bangledesh, but idk really what to do. So if anyone please has any advice, or experience that would help me out that would be very helpful!! What schools would you recommend that are more easy to fit into coming and growing up in america? Would you recommend going for me? And how is the rigor of schoolwork?Plz it would really help!!! Thanks in advance!
Hi . I grew up in India and am currently in USA . So not exactly the situation that you are in . But I can help answer your questions.

Medical school options: manipal, some Med schools in Gujarat. beyond this I don't know much about which schools take NRIs anymore. I have also heard about osmania medical school in india. Medical schools for internationals is becoming quite expensive in india. Especially the private medical schools. It's run like a business. So it might not end up being cheaper to go to India as was the case earlier. Also think about Seychelles ( not india) . It has a 4 year program right after high school . And when a friend of mine had gone there , it was not terribly expensive . In fact it was cheaper than Indian private schools.

Time saved : you will not end up saving much time by coming to india. 5.5 years Med school ( which is actually almost 6 years) . Also one year of transition time is standard to come to USA and apply for residency . No matter what you do , this can't be cut short. So you are looking at 7 years anyways. So the only benefit is 1 year provided that you are able to finish everything on time and not fail any Indian Med exams and do good on your Usmle's.

Would I do it if I were in your shoes: Do you think you can get into us medical school or not. If you can then that is your best bet. Because if you can't get into a USA medical school then what are the chances that you will be able to excel in usmle , which is very very essential for every international student trying to get into USA residency program. I really mean you need very high scores. And even after that surgical residencies are pretty much out of reach.

So I would personally either think about any English speaking country where Med school can be done in 4 years or study in USA .

If you have more questions , pm me.
 
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guppythefish

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Jun 19, 2011
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In this context I will highly encourage applicants to evaluate thoroughly, as suggested by so many others in this forum.

In saying that, some students claim on premed forums that the DO schools are considered “less competitive” than MD, and therefore easier to matriculate into. However, given the increasing number of students applying to med school in recent years, the competitive gaps between DO and MD are closing quickly. The difference in scores for students accepted into either program is projected to shrink.

In this situation to learn about the both, ideal things would be to shadow MD and DO doctors, read articles that gives comparisons, join discussion forums and network to ask the right questions to make it easier for you to make a decision.

Good luck!!

Thanks
 
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