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Anyone familiar with British Sysytem of Education?

Discussion in 'Pre-Medical - MD' started by Resident Alien, Aug 3, 2001.

  1. Resident Alien

    Resident Alien What? 7+ Year Member

    Jul 21, 2001
    The reason im asking this is that i took the A-level examinations (University of London Examinations and Assessment Council aka ULEAC), and transferred credit for my gen bio, gen chem, and one semester of physics.

    The problem arises here: i got 6 credits for each of them (the person waived lab work for them too, since the A-level courses had practical components). Most medical schools i have researched require a year of each.
    I have taken higher level courses in bio, and finished the other semester of physics, but i havent taken any gen. chem courses (did the orgo stuff).

    I was wondering whether A-level is considered post-secondary (since it comes after the O-level examinations), since this would eliminate my worries, being in the application cycle for entering 2002. I have the syllabi at hand for these courses i had taken, and i could copy those for adcoms.

    Besides this, my application is pretty decent (gpa, MCAT etc), with only these courses causing a worry now.

    Any, any, any advice would be appreciated. Thanks a lot in advance.
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  3. Resident Alien

    Resident Alien What? 7+ Year Member

    Jul 21, 2001
    excuse the sp. error in the topic line :rolleyes:
  4. Resident Alien

    Resident Alien What? 7+ Year Member

    Jul 21, 2001
    Can anyone hel me on this, pleaaaaseeee :confused:
  5. Georgey

    Georgey Senior Member 7+ Year Member

    Aug 1, 2001
    Austin, TX
    If your premed advisor isn't helping I would contact three to five of the schools you're applying to and get your answer directly from the horse's mouth. You may feel you are risking bringing undue attention to yourself and the possibility of being exposed, but in the end it would only be a small amount of schools that you are forsaking. And if they comeback with a positive answer you can rest assured most med schools would answer in a similar manner. If all else fails there are companies that deal directly in transferring credits from foreign institutions into american academic language. The osteopathic med school application acutally requires that you use one of these companies if you took any classes oversees. So you may want to consult one such company.
  6. gower

    gower 1K Member 10+ Year Member

    Oct 14, 2000
    New York
    You should ask for help from the admissions office of your own college/university. College admissions deal with this constantly. There are several commerical enterprises who do this work. Your college admissions office can refer you to some of them.

    Foreign-schooled admits to undergraduate US colleges go through this same routine.

    If as such an admit your undergraduate college gave you advanced standing credits for some of the required science courses, your transcript usually shows, WITHOUT SPECIFYING INDIVIDUAL COURSES AND WITHOUT GRADES, only that you were granted X credits toward the requirements for your undergrad degree.

    Suppose then, for example, you do not become a chemistry major but YOUR CHEMISTRY DEPARTMENT then CHOSE to allow you to bypass the year of intro chem (based on your foreign work) and start with Organic I, then take Organic II, technically you appear to have a year each of general chem and organic chem. BUT, THERE ARE NO CREDITS specified and no GRADES SHOWN FOR THE GENERAL CHEM. What then? YOU MUST TAKE ANOTHER YEAR OF CHEMISTRY ELECTIVES AT YOUR US COLLEGE, WITH GRADES, TO MEET THE MEDICAL SCHOOL CHEMISTRY REQUIREMENT! Biochemistry, advanced orgo, PChem, for example.

    As a related aside, AP (US) credits in the sciences and English may technically meet US medical school admission requirements, but many medical schools say, and those that are silent on the issue expect, a student to take electives beyond the AP level. Most US college TRANSCRIPTS also show only total # of AP credits without specifying courses. (Departments approve the CREDITS for which courses and may allow students to start with an advanced course). Before I read stories of how "I" or a "friend" didn't have courses/grades specified and were accepted to medical school, don't bother. Yes, some are, for whatever reasons, but since I, and others reading this, have no idea of anything else about said applicants, the information is interesting but unhelpful.

    Most students glom on to accepting AP credits in the sciences (why else did they take AP courses?), but for a not inconsiderable number it proved harmful or fatal in the end. Thrown into advanced classes when first a rookie college student, in a new and different environment, with experienced students who already passed the first "weeding out", suddenly they are not such hot shots anymore. Instead, they may get shot down. They are as bewildered as Dorothy when she arrived in OZ: "Toto, I have a feeling we're not in Kansas any more."

    Be careful what you wish for: you may get it!

    The kindly folks who gave you the advanced credits were not necessarily doing you a favor. How so? Read this related bit of wisdom, sans the story itself of the nonconformist sparrow who decided not to fly south for the winter. The moral:

    1. Everyone who ****s on you is not nececessarily your enemy.

    2. Everyone who gets you out of the **** is not necessarily your friend.

    3. And if you are warm and happy in a pile of ****, keep your mouth shut.
  7. netrin

    netrin New Member

    Jul 21, 2001
    Stanford, CA

    I came from the British A-Level system. I took the A-Levels too, and my U.S. university granted me AP equivalent credit. The deal is that, although the british A-L is postsecondary, and despite the fact that it is a tough test, most American med schools are not aware of this fact.
    As a result, they will accept this credit in most cases (except for a few adamant schools) in the cases of MATH and PHYSICS.
    However, BIOLOGY and O-CHEM, G-CHEM are NOT accepted.

    I have searched this myself. Furthermore, I was told that it will be to my advantage to retake the physics sequence here to prove myself. I did, and aced it without a problem. But as I said, the decisions change from school to school. Most schools that say that they will accept AP credit, will consider your ALevel work acceptable if your university accepted the credit. But they may not necessarily like it. Since you need to take Chemistry, however, I would encourage you to apply to medical school. But tell them that you are planning on taking more O-CHEM and G-CHEM courses at the college level. I don't think without that they would give strong consideration to your application.
    I received AP Credit from Stanford for my A-Level work which included PHYSICS, CHEMISTRY, BIOLOGY and MATH. However, I repeated PHYSICS and MATH, and took more advanced courses in BIOLOGY and CHEMISTRY.

    Also as many others suggested, talk to the individual schools. They are the ONLY source that can tell you EXACTLY what they want. In most cases it will work out. If not, you can always take upper level courses to prove your worth. This is how it works out.

    It sucks that people like us coming from the british system have to re-take courses that teach the exact same thing... Sometimes just to show we can handle it.

    Hope it works out for you. :)

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