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Caribbean or the U.K.?

Discussion in 'UK & Ireland' started by Boots229, Nov 18, 2005.

  1. Boots229

    Boots229 Junior Member
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    Hi, dont know if anyone can help. I am trying to decide between medical school in the caribbean (AUC, SGU, or ROSS) or the U.K.? Sometimes I hear the caribbean is better because it mirrors U.S. training...and other times I hear that the U.K. is better because better chances of getting residency of your choice.

    If anyone knows anything on this subject, please respond.

    Thanks
     
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  3. ronin13

    ronin13 Member
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    I think you need to calm down a bit, the multiple threads are a bit excessive.

    I'm not a UK student, but as far as I know, not many UK schools take North American applicants. And those that do, only take a few. If you're having trouble getting into a US allopathic school (which I can only assume if you're considering Carribbean), then your numbers probably aren't going to get you into any of these schools. They aren't a backup like the Carribbean.

    Now if you're talking about IRISH schools, it's a bit different, since there is a program that specifically seeks out North Americans (Atlantic Bridge). But I can only assume that you're looking at the British schools.

    I doubt anyone can offer up solid admissions numbers (GPA, MCAT, etc) for you, since so few N. Americans are accepted. It's kind of a running theme on this forum.
     
  4. Waiting4Ganong

    Waiting4Ganong Senior Member
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    Agreed.




    <rest of post deleted:too harsh>
     
  5. This is a complicated question. As opposed to giving you opinions let me give you some facts about each:

    Carib. Pro's

    1) Carib schools are created based on the US system. Regardless of the caliber of a UK school, none are setup to emulate the US or set you up for the USMLE's.

    2) Carib schools are only 1.5-2 yrs in the carib. You then do all your clinical time in the US (usually eastern US). This also sets you up well for the USMLE's, and making contacts for residencys both in, and outside, the match.

    3) Carib schools are mandated to get you back into the USA as 70-90% of their students are US bound post graduation. Therefore, you are in school with people in the same situation. Sometimes it is easier when you have people aound you who can create a support group.

    Carib Cons:

    1) Very expensive. Not that it would be more than going to the UK or even out of state schools here in the USA.

    2) A little more difficult with a family as neither can work and your in a 3rd world country, but depends on your situation

    3) Some people are concerned with the stigma of being a carib. grad. As a nurse working with physicians on a regular basis, noone cares where you trained after people get to know you.

    4) There are some states that dont allow carib grads to practice depending on the school you came from (though that seems to be changing)

    5) Carib schools are FOR PROFIT and setup FOR PROFIT. This causes admissions to be easier but also failure rate to be quite high.

    UK Pro's:

    1) Get to live in europe for 4-5 years.

    2) Excellent education all around (i dont include places like St Chris in this assessment, they are NOT UK schools)

    3) Still in a similar country so the culture shock wont be as bad.

    UK Cons:

    1) US money exchange to pounds isnt the greatest.

    2) Higher cost of living

    3) Not prepared for the USMLE's

    4) Increased difficulty getting a residency with fewer US contacts

    5) 5 years instead of 4 in the carib and all 5 are in the UK

    6) No 3rd and 4th year US clinicals, only option for electives.


    Though this is by no means a comprehensive list. I think it gives you an idea what sortof things you should be looking at.
     
  6. Boots229

    Boots229 Junior Member
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    I agree with much of what you said, but I am not here to hear about your hangups with what you call "NA rejects". And yes you did sound harsh..but I do agree that tough work will get you anywhere you want, however, you dont know my case, my life, or my particular situation. And trust me, you dont have to school me on how difficult it is to be a doctor, i'm fully aware. The only reason i asked this question is because I am on major time constraints and have a wonderful opportunity to go to a great school in the U.K..

    I appreciate the time you took to write your long response, however, please ask more specific questions before you jump to conclusions about someone you know nothing about.
     
  7. Boots229

    Boots229 Junior Member
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    Thanks a lot.
     
  8. Hey no problem.

    I hope it was helpful.

    My opinion is that if you want a world class education, goto a UK school. If your under a serious time constraint then goto carib. In either case you'll be a physician. More importantly, you will have your whole career to be a high caliber physician regardless of where you go.
     
  9. Waiting4Ganong

    Waiting4Ganong Senior Member
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    Yeah - fair point. Which is why I deleted post mins after posting it (and before you posted this reply). I used the term "na rejects" to make clear I was discussing a whole type of wannabe med students not you personally. I obviously know nothing of your situation - you could be a 4.0 GPA 45 MCATs guy who just wants to go to the Caribbean rather than Boston b/c you like the weather.

    I get hundreds of requests a year from NAs wanting to come my school or other top UK schools, with academic records that would get them shown the door at St Elsewhere State or wherever in US.

    1) I wouldn't like UK education being used to train doctors who won't be used ultimately as consultants in our National Health Service (except those going back to developing world). Pretty unethical as even international fees are limited by UK taxpayer contributions.

    2) The academics needed to get in UK vs. those needed to get into Caribbean are night and day apart. UK medical schools are much more competitive to enter for UK students than the situation in US schools (2:1 applied to accepted in US vs. 3-5:1 applied:accepted in UK). It is like saying - should I go Ivy league or Big 3 Caribbean - please advise? It is insulting.

    3) Getting in is less than half the battle. Getting through med school is only part of it. There are a lot of *****y doctors out there who never should have been allowed in in the first place. I spent my day yesterday clearing the trail of destruction left by such a marginal, back-door, candidate yesterday. Hence the bad mood.

    I deleted the comments b/c I realised a) I was having a bad day and b) it wasn't fair to treat you as responsible for every student who can't get into medical school in their own country but still dreams and schemes of being a doctor. I'm sorry you saw and were offended by my comments - as general comments to all "na rejects" however I stand by them.
     
  10. dr strangelove

    dr strangelove Senior Member
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    ALL UK schools will take North American applicants. That's the way the system is. The only limiting factor is that only 10% of a given year at any UK medical school can be made up of foreign students. Some might be more receptive to North Americans (e.g. more receptive to graduates in general) than others though.

    I disagree with what Waiting4Ganong says about people that can't get go to med school in their own country. I had to go to the UK to study medicine because I can't get into an Irish school, but believe me, I have what it takes to be a doctor - top 10% of the class in fact. There are plenty of other Irish people over here outperforming British students. Just because a person can't get into med school in their own country it does not mean they will not make excellent doctors. In fact you could argue that we're even more determined than most people because we go the extra bit to get the education we want.

    I don't know, maybe you deleted your entire post because you didn't agree with any of it when you sat down to think, in which case forget what I said above. :)
     
  11. Waiting4Ganong

    Waiting4Ganong Senior Member
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    Dr Strangelove,

    I agree that there are some people who unfairly because of bad national workforce planning (both Ireland and UK!) or personal circumstances don't get the chance to be doctors and they should certainly have a backup/2nd chance. In the US this is a post-bacc course and/or the Carib. schools, for Canadians it is often the US, and for Ireland is often the UK, and in the UK it is typically re-taking A-levels and having a gap year. This makes sense geographically and culturally.

    As you are top 10% in a UK school I'm sure you would have made it anywhere!! I'd certainly never question that you'll make an outstanding doctor and suspect if you stay in the UK then in 10yrs time I may well be sending patients to you!

    There seems to be a whole cohort from the US however who have been unsuccessful at every stage of their academic careers yet still believe they deserve to be doctors (and interestingly, always doctors - never physios, nurses, or other caring professions). These in my experience they are often from upper middle class homes - who have every opportunity to succeed but never quite made it. They still see medical education as a "right" however and spend large amounts of time and energy trying to look for back doors or short cuts (in terms of both time and effort) into the medical education.

    I've come across these people in several contexts now, and while it is a gross stereotype many don't seem to be able to take responsibility for any of their actions. With enough scheming and financial support from mummy and daddy they have always been able to "beat the system". They don't seem to me to have the characteristics I'd want in my doctor.

    This scares me.

    I've seen how cr*p doctors from shaddy backgrounds can be (as a major teaching center we get referrals from a wide net of local hospitals) and the consequences their mistakes have on patients.

    Hence the rant.
     
  12. dinesh

    dinesh Senior Member
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    UK schools sometimes take in only ONE international student for the Medical program and sometimes 0 for dental. It's reallly quite competitive.
    Newcastyle Upon Tyne for eg only accepted one international for the Medical program this year as far as I know.

    The UK medical degree is 4 years not 5, well most of them anyway.
     
  13. Waiting4Ganong

    Waiting4Ganong Senior Member
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    UK programs:

    Most are 5yrs and start after secondary education (high school).

    Some are 6yrs and include a year doing a BSc

    Some are 4yrs and are graduate entry (even more difficult to get into than others!)
     
  14. in defense of some people in North America looking for other options in the carib. or UK/Ireland I will say this:

    US schools have a terrible case of tunnel vision. If they dont see a GPA and MCAT of a certain cutoff then they dismiss applicants. Are these really predictors of good physicians? I think that is a heated debate and unclear. Is there a better way? I havent seen any proposals.

    What is unfortunate is how many horrible physicians I know who did very well on the MCAT and had excellent GPA's. Also, how many people i know who took 4 years to get in and turned out to be stellar physicians, delayed by years because they didnt have the perfect scores.

    One thing I do like about the irish schools is how they are interested in your CV and experience. They seem to take a holistic approach to north american students (which they dont at all to native Irish).

    For someone like me, these are important factors. Im a 31 year old married guy. Ive been an RN for years and maxed out my career, i feel its time to move onto the next step, medicine. Sadly, my GPA is 3.1 and i have yet to write the MCATS. My options are extremely limited. To bring that GPA up to a more competitive 3.5+ would take me 2-3 years of part time classes as I have to work. Thats just not an option. Will I be a bad physician because my GPA is 3.1? I dont think so.

    Since becomming an RN I have done research, published in academic journals and moved into an independant practice role as a flight RN (we do chest tubes, central lines, intubation with RSI etc etc). I have gone well beyond the role of a typcial RN and the typical knowledge base. Sadly, none of this is taken into account in North America. I have to hope for DO schools here and consider the UK/Ireland and the carib. Does that make me a reject?

    You should consider choosing your words more carefully. The truth of the matter is there are alot more people out there who arent "fresh out of univ." with experience that easily makes up for the "C" in physics that is irrelevant to medicine. Those of us who fit inton that catagory are certainly not "na rejects" as you describe them. The system here in the States simply has no incentive or interest in recognizing anything but numbers on paper. Afterall, if they accepted someone with a 3.1 GPA well, that might bring down the admission averages which they are all so proud of. There is less of an interest in creating well rounded excellent physicians and more of a focus on making the schools numbers look good.

    Ill get off my soapbox now ;)
     
  15. Waiting4Ganong

    Waiting4Ganong Senior Member
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    Mike,

    I'm also from a non-trad background. You are right about there being much much more to being a doctor than the numbers (Shipman did well in medical school...). I also think other health professionals training in medicine is a GREAT idea. You must however have come across the kind of rejected medical students I'm talking about though - never achieved anything, wasted every opportunity, wouldn't know hard work if it slapped them in the face :laugh: .

    The issue of what route other health professionals should take into medicine is an interesting one - as you say - looking at the whole person would definately tip the balance in your favour over some 21yr old with no work or life experience but slightly better grades. The downside it is very time-intensive and presumes that the training school cares about what kind of humans it trains to be doctors. In the UK Leciester-Warwick has been good at recruiting health workers into the program and judging their applications on all their merits - even so, they HAS to be some evidence of academic strength - even if that means applicants retaking some classes or tests (and an ability to work hard) - just to show that that person will cope with the bookwork needed to build the knowledge base needed to be a competent doctor.

    I think/hope you know what kind of applicant I have issues with.

    Huge congrats. on your acceptance - I'm sure you'll make the most of your time in Ireland (and hopefully consider the UK once you qualify!).

    All the best.
     
  16. dr strangelove

    dr strangelove Senior Member
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    No offence, but are you sure you know what you're talking about? Is your information for Newcastle accurate? The reason I'm questioning this is because you don't even seem to know that 4 year programmes are only for graduate entry and are therefore still quite few in number compared to 5 year courses.

    Off the top of my head, my year in Glasgow has at least 20 non-EU students out of a class size of 250.
     
  17. Hey

    Yes i think we agree!

    Well i havent been accepted yet. I actually did apply to Leciester-Warwick as well :) Ill know in march if im accepted anywhere, if not, ill work harder. Good luck in your studies! If i do get into a UK or ireland school my wife and i have talked about staying (if its an option to stay) so who knows! :)
     
  18. brightblueeyes

    brightblueeyes Senior Member
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    ntoma1013, even if you're under a time constraint and even if it means studying under a system that doesn't focus on USMLE prep, I think you'll regret it if you turn down a school in the UK for a Caribbean school.

    I think the benefits of studying in a system that "focuses" on USMLE prep are often grossly exaggerated. If you're a good enough student to have got into a UK school as a North American, then the degree to which your school focuses on USMLE prep seems kind of irrelevant.

    I doubt that curriculum planners at HMS see USMLE prep as the ultimate goal of a Harvard education. ;)
     
  19. Waiting4Ganong

    Waiting4Ganong Senior Member
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    Best of Luck!! Fingers crossed for you.
     
  20. Hey Have to disagree here

    The fact of the matter is that if you want to come back to the USA you have to do better on the USMLE's than the typical US student for the same residency. Your reentrance into the USA as a physician 100% hinges upon your USMLE scores. Especially if your interested in a competitive residency.

    Now dont get me wrong, im Pro-UK/Ireland but this is something to seriously consider if you plan to go there. Will the education be better than the carib? I think so. Could a Carib do better on the USMLE's and beat you out of a residency? Absolutely. Something to think about and not dismiss.
     
  21. dinesh

    dinesh Senior Member
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    I believe so. They have 2 courses , 4 or 5 I think.
    Reason was because all the international students were invited to a dinner , and a friend of mines was the only medical student.
    He said he asked , and only one international was taken in...
    I could be wrong.
     
  22. brightblueeyes

    brightblueeyes Senior Member
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    I'm not downplaying the need to do well on USMLEs.

    My point was that good students will likely do well on the USMLEs regardless. Having a school that focuses on USMLE prep is probably a lot more helpful for weaker students.

    From what I hear, students who have gone to good non-USMLE focused schools tend to do well on the USMLEs. I think good students should simply try to go to the school that will provide them with the best training.
     
  23. Waiting4Ganong

    Waiting4Ganong Senior Member
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    Advice withdrawn.
     
  24. BlondeCookie

    BlondeCookie Senior Member
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    I'm going to have to agree with the concensus that going to a University that supposedly focuses on "USMLE preparation" isn't necessarily going to make you score any higher on the USMLE, if you choose to take it.

    A Pathology question is still a Pathology question. Making a diagnosis is still making a diagnosis. The USMLE is just a standardized test. So what? A person who wants extra preparation for the format and question types of the USMLE exam can take a prep course, like Kaplan. Indeed, there are students at American schools that even take time off to study for the USMLE like their other peers.

    The training in anywhere in the UK or other Commonwealth countries is vastly superior to the Caribbean. The whole notion that the Caribbean offers better USMLE test prep is bogus marketing material that the Carib schools like to harp on. It's a farce. The training is what is important.
     
  25. Blondcookie.

    I agree with your assessment that carib. schools use this as PR but i defer to the scores those students get who are taught in the system which the USMLE tests. Your step scores directly relate to the residency you may get. Your suggesting that "any question on pathology is just that" is totally fallacious. Anyone who has studied standardized testing will tell you that and research backs it up 100%. Taking a standardized US test is 60% knoweldge and 40% understanding the way questions are asked and learning how to "test take" for the USMLE. The MCAT is the exact same thing hence the incredibly strong coorelation of strong MCAT scores to strong step 1 scores.

    While i personally wont goto the Carib. I do see why many would and how it could be of benefit to them. It is in the best interest of the carib. schools to have their students do well on USMLE to increase their rep and therfore students ergo profitability. There is no such pressure on UK or Irish schools. They will go out of their way to make sure you do well on the USMLE including prep classes where others have no invested need to.

    You have to remember that these students also spend their entire 3rd and 4th year in the US system for clinical time. They gain a LARGE advantage when it comes to US medicine, the USMLEs and residency oppertunities over other IMG's. Making contacts in hospitals with residency programs will go a long way to attaining residency advantage both within the match and outside of it. As someone who works in hospital and sees this first hand i can assure you its true.

    While i agree that the training is what is important I would also suggest that you might consider that life is all about who you know not what you know, including medicine (i know i work within the system). making contacts would be more important than the "quality of education" if your goal is to get back to the USA as fast as possible in the position you want.

    In talking to many US students who have gone to Ireland for medical school their biggest weakness has been the USMLE scores. Many come back as family practice or IM docs (not competitive) just to get back to the states. The 97-99% range noted by a previous poster is not the typical score for UK/Ireland USMLE test takers.

    There is much more to consider when taking the Carib. vs UK/Ireland choices into account than "prestige of school". As with any education, you get out of it what you put into it. Many incredibly excellent physicians have come from state MD schools in the USA and many weak ones from Ivy league schools with greater reputations. WHERE you went to school is not nearly as important as the effort put into becomming a great physician is, the information is all the same.

    References:

    http://www.aamc.org/students/mcat/research/bibliography/blueg001.htm
    http://www.usmle.org
    A comparison of statistical criteria for setting optimally discriminating MCAT and GPA thresholds in medical school admissions.
    Teach Learn Med. 2005 Spring;17(2):149-58.
     
  26. Kev (UK)

    Kev (UK) British Member
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    Just to correct a couple of inaccuracies here.

    Most UK courses are in fact 5 years duration. A few 4 year courses for graduates with good university degrees do exist, a few are 6 years long for college-leavers with limited science backgrounds, but most are 5 years duration. In addition many students extend the 5 years to 6 by undertaking an intercalated degree in the midst of their medical studies.

    Secondly, some UK schools do NOT take any international students at all (some of the newer schools especially) and many of the 4 year graduate courses are for UK nationals only (as is the one I am on).

    Many of those that do take international students give preference to applicants from developing nations and as such NA applicants will find gaining entry to a UK school far more competitive than entry to even some of the best NA schools, as my fellow students have already alluded to in the above posts.
     
  27. dr strangelove

    dr strangelove Senior Member
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    I didn't know that some of the UK schools didn't take international graduates at all. I'd better update my information. :)

    Some of the graduate courses are ONLY taking UK students? They do know that's illegal, right? If the EU finds out they will be in deep, deep trouble. :scared:

    Applicants from developing countries are meant to be given preference, granted, but do you know if they actually do this in practice? Of the 20 odd foreign students in my year only 2 are from Africa...
     
  28. student.ie

    student.ie Senior Member
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    This has nothing to do with the question at hand, but your statement reflects a common misunderstanding. Exchange rates have NOTHING to do with prices in absolute terms. A British Pound is worth $1.71 and a dollar is worth 119 Yen, but both the UK and Japan are more expensive places than the US. The exchange rate causes there to be lower or higher numbers on a price tag, but it is essentially unrelated to the amount of purchasing power required to buy the same product in different countries. A CD that costs $11.99 would cost 10.21 euro based on the exchange rate. If you actually have to pay 18euro, the extra price is taxes, rip off, etc. but NOT exchange rate related.

    Sorry, I've just heard this crap too many times.
     
  29. Hey

    You misunderstood what I am saying. Since the cost is in Euro's or pounds and you will be funded in American or Canadian dollars it has EVRYTHING to do with it. As a Canadian who moved to the USA i quickly noticed my savings dwindle by exactly 35% (whichw as the exchange rate at the time).

    If you goto school in the UK and have 10 grand american in the bank for living expenses that is absolutly reduced by the exchange rate and therefore your purchasing power.

    What it looks like you were thinking was if i was to be working in the UK and making pounds that would be essentially a moot point, which i agree. Unfortuneately, the funds are comming from my own bank account in american dollars so it does have an immense effect on students when they make the decision to goto the UK.


     
  30. student.ie

    student.ie Senior Member
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    When you transfer $10000 to the UK you get 5825 GBP. That sounds like less money, but it is exactly the same amount of money. The number is reduced, but the value is equal. It may buy you less in the UK, but THAT IS COMPLETELY UNRELATED TO THE EXCHANGE RATE (except that recent exchange rate changes affect the price of imports, but that's not what you are talking about). You can convert your $10000 to 106415 pesos, but it won't make you rich. This isn't that hard to understand. I can't believe how many people just don't get it. Getting paid in GBP also has nothing to do with it. Sure you'd rather make 30000 GBP than $30000, but would you be better off with 30000GBP or $52000?
     
  31. Sorry student IE

    Hmm. I think we may be actually on the same side after reading your last post. Its just important to remember the cost of living is much higher there.

    Sure its the "same money". However what you are totally missing is that the cost of living is actually higher in those areas. Moreover, the tuition is higher when its converted to american money. what you totally miss is the fact that if your paying in AMERICAN money it will cost you MORE.

    Here are some examples so you can "get" it:

    1) the quart of milk in UK thats 2 pounds will be almost 4 bucks american. That is MUCH more expensive than in the USA. That is real loss of money.

    2) The average cost of a single room flat is about 500 pounds. In the US (where i live) it is about 700 american for a compareable apartment.

    1.00 GBP = 1.71611 USD

    500 x 1.716 = 825 $ US.

    So, for the same service you have paid 325$ more. That is a loss of money no matter how you look at it.

    Example #2:

    You go on a trip to the UK, everything is in pounds and you make american dollars. You have budgeted 2500$ american for a trip. You find out that is only 1,456.71 UK. Since the average cost of everything is higher in UK money you will spend more on your trip and your 2500$ will never go as far as it would within the USA. Therefore, you have lost money. This is easy math it isnt difficult.
     
  32. student.ie

    student.ie Senior Member
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    All of your arguments are that the cost of living is higher in the UK. This is true and we agree about it. The cost of living in the UK has nothing to do with the exchange rate though.

    Modifying your example: An apartment in my home town that would cost $320 would cost $3500 in NY. The cost of living is higher in NY, but there is no exchange rate involved. Dinner, movies, etc. would also cost more in NY.

    If the UK suddenly adopted the US dollar, most things would still cost more in the UK because the absolute price has nothing to do with currency units. The numbers would change, but the gold they (sort of) represent would be exactly the same.

    Let me put it in terms a good fourth grader would understand:
    1/2 = 2/4 (still with me?) as $10000/1.716 = 5825GBP/1(eg exchange rate)
    A 5 year old would prefer the 2/4 to the 1/2 or the tall 1 cup of milk to the short 1 cup of milk, but grown-ups should recognize the lack of difference.

    Sorry to be rude, but it's frustrating.
     
  33. Kev (UK)

    Kev (UK) British Member
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    I think it is because some courses have specific NHS funding for graduate entry, with fees paid etc. Wheteher this is against the law, I do not know. But hey, it's only EU law and what government actually takes any notice of that? :laugh:

    I have to say I havn't met any US students at my school. There are some Canadians though.
     
  34. Boots229

    Boots229 Junior Member
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    Very well said. This is probably one of the best responses to my original question. Thankyou.
     
  35. gregMD

    gregMD Senior Member
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    frustrated as you may be, you're a jackass.

    for someone who is earning US dollars, if you go to the UK, not only do you have to buy the product, but you also have to buy the currency to purchase the product.

    If a CD costs 10 USD in New York, and in London the same CD costs 10 Pounds - yes the face value of the CD is the same, but CLEARLY it is more expensive for an american (who has an american bank account, with US dollars in it) to fly to london and pay 10 pounds (about 17 Dollars) than to pay the 10 dollars in the USA.

    I ran this buy a 10 year old and he managed to get it. Do YOU?
     
  36. GregMD

    Thanks man, i was starting to think i was going crazy reading his responses. He clearly has no idea the economics of the situation. As a Canadian who moved to the USA with a bank account and a compareable cost of living, I learned the economics in a hurry.
     
  37. dr strangelove

    dr strangelove Senior Member
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    Thankfully, the UK does (or is supposed to). Otherwise I would not be getting the fine education that I am, courtesy of the British taxpayer. ;)

    No, I haven't met any US students at my school either. I share the same experience; any from North America are Canadian.
     
  38. student.ie

    student.ie Senior Member
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    A CD doesn't cost 10GBP (17 dollars) in the UK because of the exchange rate. The exchange rate would make a $10 CD cost 5.83GBP ($10). It costs more in the UK because the UK costs more. If you don't see the difference, then you probably never will.

    Also, a CD in the UK in your scenerio would cost more to everyone, regardless of the currency of his paycheck. You should take remedial math and logic, not to mention economics. I think you are confusing nominal exchange rates and purchasing power parity exchange rate.?

    (Sorry to you guys who want to read about Carib v UK. I wanted to point out a common error and move on, but that hasnt worked out as planned.)
     
  39. Waiting4Ganong

    Waiting4Ganong Senior Member
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    Advice withdrawn.
     
  40. leorl

    Physician Moderator Emeritus Lifetime Donor Classifieds Approved 10+ Year Member

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    I would not compare the criteria regarding acceptance for Irish schools to be the same as Caribbean schools. I think there's more ambiguity regarding GPA/MCAT required for Irish schools, with a lot of weight put on outside experiences, extracurriculars, research, and personality. It's more open-ended and especially nowadays, is less for those for whom US goals aren't realistic in terms of scores (not taking into account life-situations and preferences) and more for those who desire another kind of experience.
     
  41. Waiting4Ganong

    Waiting4Ganong Senior Member
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    Advice withdrawn.
     
  42. Sage880

    Sage880 Senior Member
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    Absolutely?!?? Ha ha, no way. You can take joe blow off the street and give him as many years of USMLE prep focused med school as you want and I'll take anyone from the top 10% of a UK/Ireland school and they'll both sit the USMLE. My money is on the UK/Ireland student every time.

    Have you ever looked at the USMLE? It's not the MCAT. There's no magic to it. Sure, practice helps and you need to study extra for it but the questions are still questions that a good medical student from a good school has a better chance of getting right.

    Man, am I ever getting tired of reading so much about the USMLE's on this entire forum. There's no trick to them people. There's no special school that will help you out. It's a HARD test that seperates people who've worked their asses off for the first couple years of medical school from those who've just done enough and that's all it is.

    Also, I don't even believe that the scores for North American's studying in UK/Ireland are really any different from American's scores. I do think a fair amount of UK/Ireland natives decide to write the USMLE's without really seriously studying for them just to see how they'd do (and in case they want to come to America some day) and don't do great on them. Anyone see USMLE results from Americans only studying overseas?

    In summary, if you think that you'll do better than a European student because your lecture on the pancreas had a slightly different focus then a European student's then I guess you're entitled to your opinion.
     
  43. Sorry Sage

    Unfortunately, your ranting is not born out by the statistics & research and my analysis is.

    I know you think the USMLE is not the MCAT but the standardized test format is. In fact, this has been proven over and over again by research. Those who do well on the mcat are highly predictive to do well on the USMLE's. Its not a suggestion, its a fact.

    I am PRO Ireland/UK I did not apply to carib. schools at all and dont plan to. However, after much research it is clear they have an advantage when it comes to USMLE prep. I know its "just another test" but it happens to be the test that decides if you'll get to practice back in the USA as anything other than an family practitioner. The common thread from all EU students comming to the USA is that they did not feel they would have done well at all on the USMLE if they had not taken prep classes.

    In anycase, I have posted research on the subject and a quick search of PubMed will show you the vast amount of research that exists on the subject. The number one difficulty cited by UK/Ireland grads comming back to the USA/Canada has been the USMLE scores (and the eq. canadian exam).

    Anyway, your entitled to your opinion but you should be backing it up with research not heresay.


     
  44. Sage880

    Sage880 Senior Member
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    You didn't disagree with what I said. I said it wasn't the MCAT - not that people who do well on the MCAT won't do well on the USMLE's. I said that I didn't believe that Americans writing the USMLE do worse than People coming from Carribean schools - not that the USMLE isn't the biggest obsticle for people coming back to the US or that you shouldn't have to take a prep class....

    See, what you've done here is subtly change something someone's said and then argued why that's wrong.

    I'm glad to know there's so many pre-meds who are experts on the USMLE and medical schools. I'll be writing it in a while - I'll PM you if I have any problems or other questions.
     
  45. BlondeCookie

    BlondeCookie Senior Member
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    Agree here. The USMLE is a standardized test that requires a decent amount of preparation wherever a person goes to school. To infer that a Caribbean school will prepare a person better for the USMLE is a naive assumption, and one rooted in the deceptive marketing propaganda promoted by the Caribbean schools themselves. Indeed, many caribbean schools push their students to take a prep course, such as Kaplan. The advantages of a Kaplan course is available to any student who wishes to enroll in their USMLE prep course.

    As an example: there are Pathology, Pharmacology, Microbiology, Anatomy and other Science-based questions on the USMLE. Are the caribbean schools going to teach these courses any better than an accredited University from the UK, Ireland, or elsewhere? I don't think so. It is the training that is important. If a person wants to learn test-taking strategies and the format of the test, how to time yourself, etc. then take a Kaplan prep course. A proclamation that spending 4 years in the caribbeans is going to make a student much more prepared for the USMLE is false advertising. Buyer beware!
     
  46. Oh My.

    Got a bit bend out of shape there eh?

    You said:

    You didn't disagree with what I said. I said it wasn't the MCAT - not that people who do well on the MCAT won't do well on the USMLE's. I said that I didn't believe that Americans writing the USMLE do worse than People coming from Carribean schools - not that the USMLE isn't the biggest obsticle for people coming back to the US or that you shouldn't have to take a prep class....

    Apparently then, we do agree! See thats a good thing.

    See, what you've done here is subtly change something someone's said and then argued why that's wrong.

    No, didnt change it, just misread what you wrote.

    I'm glad to know there's so many pre-meds who are experts on the USMLE and medical schools.

    Learning about the USMLE, the MCAT and medical schools is simply a function of research. I would guess that 90% of medical students knew more about the different medical school options an the pros and cons as a pre med than as a med student. People who are used to doing research (hand goes up), will explore all the possibilities in depth.

    All that being said Sage, I hope we get to have a beer in Ireland next year! Chances arent the greatest, but maybe ill be lucky and get into Trinity or UCD. Have a good one!
     
  47. Blondcookie


    Hey!

    Yup, buyer beware. As i said in the past, i am not going or even applying to carib. med schools. I just dont want to slam them. Working in the hospital for the last 10 years, I have met many excellent physicians from the carib. school and many poor ones from US schools.

    More than likely the factor that makes these carib. grads so good in practice has more to do with drive and motivation than anything else. 70% of carib. students are people older non-traditionals. No 3.7 GPA, weak MCAT, and a background in medicine. Typically, they get rejected by local schools in the US due to the filtering process that involves only GPA and MCAT scores, their only option is then the carib. as they dont want to spend 5 years in the UK/Ireland. Carib. offers 1.5 or 2 years there then all the rest of the time back in the USA.

    When you fight so hard to get something and someone finally gives you a chance it often results in a highly motivated, hard working individual. Of course this happens in US schools as well but to a lesser degree. So knowing some of these people, personally, i dont discount the option to go there.

    One of my best friends is an ER Doc who had a 17 MCAT & 3.1 GPA and got into a school (in the US). I know its unreal. He is the best Doc in an ER of 50 beds and many Docs. Given the chance, he became the best he could be. If people take the carib. route for that chance, i cant blame them. I would rather goto EU myself ;)
     
  48. Jammer

    Jammer Member
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    With regard to the USMLEs, the bottom line is that if you work hard in your medical school courses and supplement them with some good USMLE review materials when you are studying for the Step 1 and 2, then you have just as good a chance as anyone to do well, regardless of where you go to medical school.

    However, most of you fail to recognize the larger picture. You worry so much about your Step 1 score without realizing that it is only one part of your application for residency. Its importance depends on what speciality you apply to and what institution you plan on training at. The fact that you are an FMG will play more of a role than your Step 1 score if you are applying for a very competitive residency program. Don't get me wrong, a good score helps, but in the more competitive residency programs, a score of 250 could just be the average. You need to have a well rounded application (letters of reference, grades, board scores, research, electives, etc.), not just a good USMLE score.
     
  49. Unch

    Unch Member
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    People with 2.5 GPAs and 25 MCATs do get in to Irish Schools - which, no matter how many summers they did at band camp or how many hours at the nursing home, they wouldn't have a chance at UK or US school (where people often have all those experiences AND near-flawless academic records).

    I don't know anyone at UCC with numbers like that. Sure, many of us weren't exactly competitive for NAmerican schools with our numbers but don't be deceived. With 300+ Atlantic Bridge applications for our 18 spots, you can imagine that UCC (and the Dublin schools with similar ratios) won't be feeling a need to take the really low numbers, regardless of how "open minded" the criteria are here.

    As for the USMLE, of course we're all worried about it but it's like any other bar. For those here or at home who keep up right from the start and anticipate the test well in advance, it's very doable and the "poor numbers" for IMGs are not reflective of what's possible but only of some nebulous number of all those who wrote the test, regardless of their intentions or how serious they were etc.

    Anecdotally, the stats are more than fine for those serious students here (Ireland) who wrote the Step1 and applied directly for residencies in the US (and a few in Canada). Sure, specialty residencies are hard to get/harder from here but still doable. We all have access to the same USMLE study materials and we all work from essentially the same textbooks. I have no question at all that the science I'm getting here stacks up just fine. As for the fine tuning for the USMLE that NAmericans (and caribs) get back home, big deal...we just do a couple of extra months of targeted prep at the end. Actually, I'm reading along in the Step 1 prep books even in first year as I learn all the new material. Nothing really surprising, you just need to know your stuff. Finally, anecdotally, I know two Irish students personally who went home for electives after fourth year (before final year here) and knew way more anatomy and pharm than their NAmerican peers and more even than some first year residents. I have no worries.
     
  50. Nicely said Unch!

    I agree with you. I think that many of the ppl who choose the carib. are afraid of being far away for so long and have a serious fear of the USMLE issue. I also dont believe that being educated in the UK or Ireland is a disadvantage.
     
  51. Arb

    Arb Senior Member
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    Hey Mike,
    You said that Carrib. grads have a better chance of getting a residency position (faster too) so why are you choosing Ireland instead? After spending a couple of years overseas, I would think eventually the number one concern is getting into the U.S. This really should be the main concern before the start of med. school but that's just me.

    Also, do you know how Step scoring is grouped? Which months are grouped together for statistical purposes? MCAT is easy since it's either April or August but Step1 can be taken any time. Carribean grads can do very well since a good portion of them take Step 1 in December where there are few American students taking it (unless you failed). Which month would an Irish student take it?
     

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