Chondroclast

SGU Student
2+ Year Member
Oct 12, 2017
71
94
Grenada
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Medical Student
I have never started a thread like this here before, but I just wanted to post my honest, current views on SGU. I have been reading some posts here about SGU and everyone has their own opinions, some are true and some just do not know the correct information/misinformed. I have also received a good amount of messages over the past few months from prospective SGU students and those that just started this term and some that are starting in January. I am always happy to answer and give honest advice. I want to give some honest and current advice as some things posted on the carib thread is a bit dated/not true. I will not really be responding to posts on here individually, as I am busy with classes, but feel free to send me a private message if you have any specific questions and I will try to respond within a week or so. Also, please do not bash or question my reasoning for being at SGU as I have my reasons for being here and that is no one else's business. I did my exhaustive research before coming here and it was pretty much a last resort for me. I apologize in advanced for any grammar/spelling mistakes, I am a med student, not an english writer.

In general, what we are constantly told by 3rd, 4th year students, alumni is that SGU is a foot in the door. SGU has a ton of connections with alumni and residency programs, and it will get you your degree and where you want to be. However, you need to work hard for 2 years and do well on step 1.

Before I begin, I will be basically going through some of the pros and cons of SGU and my experience so far, and just note that my experience will be different from others. I will focus on the first year (first 2 terms). However, I believe a majority of current students would agree with most of this information as we constantly have the same struggles and issues. I've been at SGU for a little over a year now and some of my views have been changing since I started. I have not taken step 1 yet and I have no experience with that part of the process nor rotations, so I am solely speaking on the coursework part of SGU, mostly first two terms. I am not going to get into statistics here.

Should you go to SGU?
  • This is probably the number one question on the carib forums and messages that I get.. I am not going to go too much into this, but I just want to say that YOU need to do your OWN research. Do NOT let anyone on here influence your decision (over a quarter million dollar decision). You need to exhaust all of your options for a few years before deciding carib. Take the MCAT again, or 3 times.. do a post-bacc, a masters... exhaust ALL of your options before coming here. Apply to DO schools... do whatever you can to try to get into MD/DO in the US. This should be your last resort. I have my own reasons for coming here and it was really my last resort. In general, I am happy for my choice thus far. I am US citizen and I feel safe with my choice. If you are not a US citizen, do a lot more research, because getting a residency in the US will probably be tricky for you and there's just a lot more obstacles you have to go through as an IMG non-US citizen. Do your research!

The type of students that apply and that are here/Admissions:
  • Let's face it, most SGU students do not have killer stats... they have some issue with their application, whatever that may be. The only caveat may be Canadian students here. From what I hear, it is super super hard to get into med school in Canada.. and some classmates do have killer stats, but it's just way too competitive to get into Canadian med schools and they don't want to keep waiting, so they attend SGU or Ross. Other than that, most students here have some sort of weakness whether it's GPA or MCAT, or both.

  • In regards to the low gpa and/or mcat dilemma.. I do notice a good amount of students here that are not ready for med school and cannot handle the rigors. After all, SGU is very for-profit and it is a business first, school second. SGU does accept some students with low stats and they do struggle here. So, if you are one of those that are accepted, you may be in for a rude awakening starting term 1. This is why there's a pretty drastic dropout/repeat rate in term 1 (especially august class, as it's larger). It's not about getting in, it's about staying in. They keep changing requirements for passing, but for us, passing an individual term is 70%, and you need a minimum 75% cumulative GPA to continue onto the next term. However, from what I have heard from many first term students, this new term that just started in August, you need a 75% to pass term 1 and keep the 75% cumulative each term. This is no small feat, especially for a first term student, considering their exam averages have been in the 77-78%'s. I will get into some detail on grading coming up in a separate section below.
  • Therefore, some students have to repeat a term due to not having the minimum cumulative GPA. There is an option for this called CR (Credit Remediation), in which you basically do not take the last exam, instead you do a presentation/little paper thing on a selected topic, and you get a CR for that term (no gpa), and you repeat the term from scratch next term and do not have to pay tuition again. For some it seems to really help and they do better after that. For some, they just decide to drop out for many different reasons.
  • Like I said, SGU is very for profit and I do blame admissions for accepting some students that just should not be here and are not ready for this madness. There are a select few that can improve themselves here and get study methods down when they start here. But in general, if you have bad study habits and do not really know how to study effectively before you get here, you're going to struggle as you'll just sink.. There is pretty good help here to improve those skills and learn, but you need to be proactive about it. I'll talk about academic help in another section in this post (DES).

  • There are a good number of students here that did really well on the MCAT and have a masters and so on, and they do really well here.. A good number of students here should be in US medical schools.. some were waitlisted and just didn't want to wait another year, some have other reasons, but there's a lot of really bright students here. One thing in common with students that succeed here is that they work hard and realize we need to do well.
  • I have had several close friends dropout after the first or second term. Mostly they just cannot handle the rigors of med school. Some have anxiety/psych issues as well and cannot handle it emotionally/psychologically.
The school in general/administration:
  • Although SGU is VERY for profit, they do put a good amount of resources back into the school. For example, there's a great psychological services department here, with psychologists and therapists always there for students. There's something called DES (Dept. of Educational Services), which provides free help with studying habits, scheduling studying, workshops on anxiety, stress, MCQ workshops, etc. They also arrange and offer free tutoring from upper term students, as well as some help from the DES staff (MD grads) themselves.
  • There's a brand new gym that was just built, and more study spaces going up with big group tables and large whiteboards. The school does put a good amount of money into the campus, building a new gym, dorm, more study spaces, and keeping the campus up in general. Again, SGU is a business and they are big on marketing the school, so appearance and showing off the buildings and resources is pretty big here.
  • With that being said, SGU needs to invest more into quality professors and organization. I am not going to get into too much detail about this, as I will explain a little more in the academics section of this post, but there needs to be some better quality professors in the Anatomy and Physiology department, as well as better organization of lectures and slides being organized better, as well as incorporating more effective pictures and text into the lecture slides. It often feels that the professors are lazy and will not update slides/questions that are not effective to our learning.
Academics:
I see a lot of questions/confusion on this.. so let me clarify lecture styles. There's two types of lectures (big class or ITI, so you can chose from a big lecture hall type of lecture, or small group learning- ITI). For some reason they keep changing the curriculum, it seems like every term now has a little different structure of curriculum, but from what I hear, this new august term that just started will be consistent with future terms. They have been trying out different styles of curriculum (systems vs non-systems based) the past few years and it seems like they are sticking with systems based and breaking up the class into sections...But there is essentially two styles of lectures:
  • The Big Class: This is the main lecture style that most students start with, at least the start of term 1. You go to a huge lecture hall for 2 hours of lecture a day. If you are in the August starting class, you'll have around 600-800 students in your lecture (broken up into 2 sections), so about 1200-1500 in your total starting class I believe. if you are in the January starting class you will have around 500-600 students in your lecture. You go to lecture 2 hours a day (it used to be 4 hours a day, but they changed things up, thankfully). They have clicker questions each lecture and this is how you get your attendance points. You have to go to at least 80% of lectures each term, otherwise they can fail you. All of these lectures are recorded live to view later, and for ITI students to view for their lectures (see below).
  • ITI (Interactive Team Instruction): This is the second style of lecture. Most students in here were put into it first term or second term due to poor performance on an exam, but some students go into it by choice because they like this style of learning better. There's usually around 100-150 students in ITI each term, sometimes more or less depending which term. These students are not necessarily doing bad, most are actually doing really well on exams, but they just need that extra attention. Basically, in ITI, you start lecture an hour later (since you are watching the recorded lectures of the hour before), you are in a group of about 6-8 students at a big table, with a recent MD grad of SGU, who is your facilitator. There's a 32" ish screen TV that has the powerpoint for the lectures as well as the recorded lecture up on the screen. Everyone at your table watches the lecture on their laptop or tablet with their headphones on and the facilitator stops the lecture randomly for stop points, about 2-4 times during each lecture, to go over the past 10-15 minutes or so of what you just learned. They discuss the major high yield points, sometimes do a multiple choice question together regarding the material you just learned, or sometimes draw out a pathway together on the white board. You then go back to watching the lecture on your screen and then they stop you again... In general, you get more instruction on what is high yield, what to focus on, and the actual professor for the lecture is also there in the room to answer questions from you or your group. It is interactive, and you get more time with the lecture material and more help if needed. Instead of 2 hours of lecture, you are there for 3 hours a day... Since each lecture in the main group is 1 hour, in ITI you spend 1.5 hours on each lecture since you stop to discuss. They will never force you to go into ITI, but if you are struggling in the main lecture they will suggest you to think about going into it and it helps a lot of students. In order to go back into the main lecture, you have to get above an 80% cumulative gpa, but most just stay in it and they like it.
Grading:
  • There's a lot that goes into your grade here, it's not all about your exam scores, but you need to do well, at least pass your exams in order to pass the term/keep your cumulative gpa.
  • Each term varies a little, but in general your first year, you have 5 exams each term worth about 70% of your grade. This is purely written exams. The first exam is a bit shorter, about 105 questions, 2 hours, then the next 4 exams are about 130 questions, 3 hours long. You take the exams in an exam hall, proctored, you get your own little cubicle, and you take them electronically on your laptop via a secure software that locks down your computer. Bring earplugs!! I always wear the foam earplugs in exams as I have a hard time concentrating with sneezes, coughs, etc.
  • Once you get to Terms 4 and 5 exams can be as long as 4 hours, 200 questions. Some exams have about 40-50 cumulative questions.
  • Regarding exams, every exam has about 15 experimental questions (new questions professors are trying out) and you do not know which ones are experimental. Those 15 questions do not count towards your grade, but when you get your grade report the next day you can see what percentage of those experimental questions you got correct. I sometimes get all of them correct and it's frustrating because it could of helped my score, and sometimes I get only a few correct, but oh well you never know which ones they are.
  • The 2nd-5th exams have cumulative material from the previous modules/lecture material which kind of forces you to keep up with the material and keep it fresh.
  • Other than exams, your first year you will have 2 cadaver lab practicals each term, online quizzes each week, IMCQ (interactive multiple choice questions) sessions, Small Group points, an OSCE (patient exam), professionalism points (basically don't do anything naughty)- freebie points, and at the end of term 2 there's a BSCE exam (cumulative exam for the first years material). The middle of Term 5 you have BSCE 2 (cumulative exam) and CBSE (final cumulative exam before step).
  • So, basically you can get an average of lets say 70% on just your written exams, and all of those other points can help you get around a 75% in the class... We call them soft points, as they are easy points to get (online quizzes, labs, IMCQs, it's basically just a matter of attending and you get the point). It can help boost your grade.

  • I see some people post here asking about how fair the questions and exams are... I think it's pretty fair. They pretty much solely ask you material that is in the lecture. They never not ask something that is not in the lecture slides. Therefore, if you know the lecture slides 100%, you will do well. But, with that being said, most students need to use outside resources to help fill in some gaps that the lecture slides leave out in order to fully understand the lecture slides. Most students in general don't really read the textbooks, it depends on the subject though. The textbooks we use the most are the practice question text books (mostly anatomy) and some physiology books.
  • Exam questions are usually pretty fair. There's sometimes an odd question not worded well, and they will usually throw those questions out or those are the experimental ones. All of the exam and quiz questions range from 1st order to 3rd order questions, mostly USMLE style questions, and answer choices usually A-E, sometimes A-J, K, I (lol it's all a matter of narrowing down the answer choices) and sometimes they give you a chart with a lot of answer choices.. so it's a matter of narrowing stuff down. There's also the axis of truth, sometimes one answer is MORE correct than another one, even though two answer choices may be true, one is the BEST and MOST TRUE answer... yeah, you'll see what I mean eventually.
Quality of Education:
I will be brutally honest with this part, and I do not want to get into specifics as I am not here to bash SGU, but to give honest advice. The last thing I will comment on that prospective students need to be aware of, is the quality of education you get here. SGU needs to put more focus and money into hiring higher quality instructors. There are some good professors that I truly love, and you can tell they enjoy teaching and they are good at it. This is mostly the biochemistry, histology, genetics, cell bio departments. Some of those professors have taught at US or UK grad and/or medical schools and they really know how to teach and organize their slides/information really well.
  • The Bad: Some other SGU students have mentioned this in the forum in the past as well, but unfortunately the Anatomy, Neuro, Path, and Physiology department here are pretty bad. They tend to be really disorganized, the slides are all over the place, and some lecturers only have a MASTERS degree!! It's med school, we should be taught strictly by PhD or MD's. The Anatomy and Physio department tends to have professors from Trinidad, Grenada, India, Nigeria, and they are sometimes hard to understand with their accent, they tend to be disorganized, and just don't really have the ability to teach effectively. Some of them constantly make errors in lecture and just do not seem like they truly know the material they are presenting. Anatomy is pretty much a self-taught part of first year. Most students just rely on the Complete Anatomy app, Youtube, Dr. Najeeb, and just learning from the textbook in general.
  • Path in Term 4 is a joke.. taught absolutely horribly. Term 4 is probably the hardest term there is, and it's no joke. It gets a lot of students to repeat. The slides are just totally disorganized, the teachers are outsourced from India and Nigeria and they don't know how to teach at all, and they don't teach to the level of questions they ask on the exams.

  • You have cadaver lab just the first two terms. Cadaver lab is a hot mess here, pretty much having to learn everything on your own in open hours and there tends to be a lack of help there, so it's more or less learning it yourself and just finding out what is high yield from upper termers for the lab practicals. The cadaver lab practicals aren't worth a huge amount of your grade, but those points can really help. The cadavers are already dissected for you, you are not cutting anything, basically you can touch the cadavers and move some stuff around gently, but everything is out there for you.
The Complainers:
  • Something I've noticed especially as my time progresses here is that there are a lot of negative people here. Yes I agree with a lot of the complaints students have, some are valid, some are just spoiled kids not getting what they are used to getting. Academically, I understand some of the complaints students have and I agree with a lot of it. However, some you just cannot help- it's medical school and it's hard, and some students just like to always find an excuse to blame something on. I feel like medical education in general, even hearing from US med student friends, needs to be reformed. Even in the US, med students have to use outside resources because we are not really being taught the way that we should. We have to use so many outside resources- extra books, apps, subscriptions, and teach ourselves most things. It's just how it is, and students here complain a lot about it.
  • In regards to life here, there's a lot of complaints from students, which just do not understand that this is not the US and you cannot have everything your way. We are basically in a third world country, yes the campus is fairly modern and has all of our basic needs, but there are storms, it rains a lot, wifi goes out sometimes, there's bugs, sometimes there's no hot water, etc... it's how life is down here. I really enjoy it here, I try to immerse myself in the culture whenever I can, talk to locals, eat local food, etc... It's an experience being here and some students don't understand that there's a whole other culture outside of the campus gates.
  • In general, students sign themselves up to be here, and there's an airport. They can leave if they don't like it. This isn't the US and it will never be the US, so those students really need to realize the island life is different and to stop complaining about every little thing.
  • In general, there's a lot of negativity here. There's a lot of stress, anxiety, deadlines, etc. I get it... Surround yourself with positive and uplifting people, it makes a big difference.
In Conclusion:
  • Yes it is expensive here, but it is worth it if you can do it and it's your only real option at this point. There's scholarships, ask your admissions counselor for into on it to see if there's one you qualify for. A lot of students don't know about them.
  • Don't get too caught up on the dropout statistics at SGU (worry about it at other lower carib schools), but it's simple- don't be that statistic. You know what you are getting yourself into and you know it's going to be hard. If you are not ready for this, then you will probably be the statistic. I feel like the exams are fair, the material is fair, you just need to put in the effort. Most students that drop out are just not ready for the amount of material and/or they do not put all of their effort into it. If you have a low GPA or MCAT, you need to realize what your weaknesses are before coming here. You need to change things up because if you were getting C's in undergrad science courses, well you are going to struggle here. You need to be able to change your study schedule/habits and realize what you are weak in, in order to improve yourself and do well. There's a lot of help here, and a ton of resources, you just need to go out and ask for help.

  • All in all, SGU has their pros and cons... as does any school, it will get you to where you want to be, a practicing physician in the US.. It is just more difficult and you have to go through more obstacles as a carib IMG. Carib med schools should be a LAST resort. It is NOT easy here. In a way, I think it is harder here than US med schools. We do a lot of self-teaching and we have to find out a lot of resources ourselves, but from what I hear, it makes us much stronger students and physicians in the future.
  • For the most part, I feel like we are being prepared pretty well. Classes are challenging, but do-able, and they stress the high yield USMLE concepts pretty well.
  • Exhaust all of your options with US med schools first (MD and DO), and if doesn't work out, then do serious research in carib med schools and know what you are getting yourself into.

I know this is long, but I really hope this helps, as I have been seeing a lot of repeated questions and misinformation out there.

**Lastly, if you are not a US citizen and you are thinking about coming to SGU, do even more research... because there's a lot more hoops and hurdles you have to go through, and it is even riskier if you are going to try to get into a US residency.
 
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Quavo

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This was a very thorough review of the school, thank you for this. Every prospective student should read this thread.
 
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bedevilled ben

The Jung and the Restless
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I have never started a thread like this here before...
Wow. Sounds the like curriculum is completely different from when I was there six years ago. Hopefully changes for the better. I really appreciate the time and effort you put into this, and the organization/formatting. Very helpful resource for anybody considering SGU.
 

mark v

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Dec 14, 2004
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Good write up. I graduated from SGU in 2009 so I've been out almost a decade so I'm sure some things have changed but a lot from what you've discussed has not. Unfortunately, as time has gone on, although I am grateful for the chance they gave me, I've become increasing jaded over my time there (I was in the last class that did classes on St Vincent... what a disaster). I'm where I always wanted to be after a lot of hard work.

1. It absolutely is a LAST resort.

2. If you are not good at learning things on your own with little direction or guidance, don't waste your time or money. The school will exploit you. To quote Mad Max "2 men enter, 1 man leave." My roommate, a paramedic and overall one hell of a nice guy failed biochem. He wanted to, and could of made a great family doc. After the curve, passing was a 55% (yes, it was that bad). His average was a 54.4. That's the breaks, see you back next year. He made it to the end of second year, couldn't pass step 1, couldn't go on to third year and now owes God only know how much. I really feel that with a better first and second year experience, he would of passed boards no problem (I couldn't understand what half of the professors were saying half the time).

3. Clinical rotations vary widely. On some, I was nothing more than a scut monkey for the overworked NY residents also starving for oxygen and the "teaching" flat out sucked. Got some teaching on some rotations but mostly not. Peds and general surgery in particular great. The rest were either mediocre or terrible. I'm sorry if medical SCHOOL to me means teaching. If all I wanted/needed to do was "go look it up" ALL-THE-TIME, we wouldn't have schools, only libraries. The poor residents are being exploited enough as is, don't also push all of the teaching off on them as well.

4. If you don't match (and there are MANY) that don't, the school offers NOTHING to help you. Their obligation to you is over and they couldn't give half a **** what happens to you afterwards. You'll be a statistic that unfortunately, won't make the front page of the website. If you've borrowed a ton of money like most had to do, goooooood luck with that 200k+ debt you've now saddled yourself with.

Lot more I could say but I'm done seeing patients for the day and am going home. Good luck all who choose this path.
 

rangerdad

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Jun 30, 2014
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Thank you for the information. I know you say to have SGU as last resort, but I’m looking at it as my first choice and by pass all the application process bs at the US med school. I’m a non-grad 36 yrs old military vet with a 3.88 GPA and a bunch of experience. Studying for my MCAT right now. The reason I like SGU is the business mentality, all those resources and it is up to me to use them accordingly in exchange for a price. Additionally, live in a different place for a while. Also been able to do rotation in different states while having a strong network. I have been searching about the ITI support program, and you finally gave me the answer. Good luck in your future endeavors.
 
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Chondroclast

Chondroclast

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Oct 12, 2017
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Thank you for the information. I know you say to have SGU as last resort, but I’m looking at it as my first choice and by pass all the application process bs at the US med school. I’m a non-grad 36 yrs old military vet with a 3.88 GPA and a bunch of experience. Studying for my MCAT right now. The reason I like SGU is the business mentality, all those resources and it is up to me to use them accordingly in exchange for a price. Additionally, live in a different place for a while. Also been able to do rotation in different states while having a strong network. I have been searching about the ITI support program, and you finally gave me the answer. Good luck in your future endeavors.
I get the "it's easier to just go to SGU." However, once you are here you may change your opinion. I won't get into this too much because I strongly feel that SGU should be a last resort (that is, applying to US MD or DO schools 2 or 3 cycles and taking the MCAT 2 or 3 times, then try SGU....) I would strongly recommend trying for US schools first. SGU does have a lot of resources and the ITI program is great, however... the quality of instruction is really subpar here compared to US med schools. That and so many other factors, but in general- just be careful and do your research and know what you are getting yourself into.
 

rangerdad

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2 or 3 cycles? That’s crazy... you know how much money and time at the back end that will that be. I am 36, not interested in delaying the process. Time to swim or sink. You are swimming, so it is doable. Thank for the interaction.
 
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Chondroclast

Chondroclast

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2 or 3 cycles? That’s crazy... you know how much money and time at the back end that will that be. I am 36, not interested in delaying the process. Time to swim or sink. You are swimming, so it is doable. Thank for the interaction.
It's totally doable here... You may even qualify for some scholarships as a non-trad/veteran, and possibly some really good ones depending on your MCAT- make sure to look into that too. PM me if you have any questions.
 
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bedevilled ben

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2 or 3 cycles? That’s crazy... you know how much money and time at the back end that will that be. I am 36, not interested in delaying the process. Time to swim or sink. You are swimming, so it is doable. Thank for the interaction.
I was non-trad and near your age when I started at SGU. It sounds like you have your mind made up on the matter, but I would very strongly echo @Chondroclast and at least give yourself 2 cycles in USMD/USDO before going directly to the Caribbean. The cost of application cycles is faaaaaaaar less than the cost of tuition at SGU, which is roughly twice that of most USMD/DO schools. Consider also that you will be paying back those loans for likely 10-15 years post-residency/fellowship, and that since you are non-trad your total years worked will likely be far less than somebody going to medical school directly out of undergrad. This is not even taking into consideration the possibility of decel'ing, which can add another cycle of tuition interest + living costs, or the possibility of not Matching, which cost both time and money. It really should be your last resort for medical school. Additionally, given your military background, there is a wealth of opportunities for military residencies and numerous benefits including early/pre-Match, officer status, pension accrual, and loan-repayment. You are only able to pursue these if you attend a US medical school, however.

From a purely financial perspective, SGU loses hands down. I really hope you consider your alternatives.
 

rangerdad

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Jun 30, 2014
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I was non-trad and near your age when I started at SGU. It sounds like you have your mind made up on the matter, but I would very strongly echo @Chondroclast and at least give yourself 2 cycles in USMD/USDO before going directly to the Caribbean. The cost of application cycles is faaaaaaaar less than the cost of tuition at SGU, which is roughly twice that of most USMD/DO schools. Consider also that you will be paying back those loans for likely 10-15 years post-residency/fellowship, and that since you are non-trad your total years worked will likely be far less than somebody going to medical school directly out of undergrad. This is not even taking into consideration the possibility of decel'ing, which can add another cycle of tuition interest + living costs, or the possibility of not Matching, which cost both time and money. It really should be your last resort for medical school. Additionally, given your military background, there is a wealth of opportunities for military residencies and numerous benefits including early/pre-Match, officer status, pension accrual, and loan-repayment. You are only able to pursue these if you attend a US medical school, however.

From a purely financial perspective, SGU loses hands down. I really hope you consider your alternatives.
I am. I will push my MCAT to June, and apply all across Florida (including DOs, Puerto Rico, and one in SC. At the same time, SGU. We’ll see how the ball rolls.
 

Mike Bagwell

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at least give yourself 2 cycles in USMD/USDO before going directly to the Caribbean.
In all fairness, I think most people that apply to these schools would not get into US programs even if they were to go through five cycles. I'm on the East Coast so I have some familiarity with SGU students and I know plenty of people who are in residencies, have recently matched, and are well-established practicing physicians today but most students that I know that went to SGU either have lower GPA's or very low MCAT scores.

Correct me if I'm wrong but I don't think the students applying to these Caribbean programs are students who are just "inches away" from a US acceptance so telling someone to apply MD or DO first might not be the best advice because some of these students probably don't stand a chance stateside no matter what they improve on.

I don't see a school like SGU going anywhere anytime soon so the better advice would probably be to let them know what they are signing up for in the hopes that the weakest students accept that a career in medicine may not be for them instead of the allure some of these programs provide that make sub 3.0 students think that they too can pass the STEP exams and become doctors too. The allure is quite powerful.
 

bedevilled ben

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Correct me if I'm wrong but I don't think the students applying to these Caribbean programs are students who are just "inches away" from a US acceptance
These are precisely the students that go to SGU. I know because I am one of them. That is precisely their target audience. They are not looking for people with 2.0 GPAs and MCAT scores of 470, as those people have very low chances of completing the program, passing the Step exams, or securing a good residency. all of which hurts their business model. I would say the vast majority of my cohort had either a slightly below average MCAT or a slightly below average GPA. It is rare to find a student there who struggled with both. With the rise in new MD/DO programs, it makes sense for these people to apply broadly for 1-2 cycles for these new programs before committing to going tot he Caribbean. Especially since OP mentioned in another post that he has a GPA of 3.9
 
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Mike Bagwell

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These are precisely the students that go to SGU. I know because I am one of them. That is precisely their target audience. They are not looking for people with 2.0 GPAs and MCAT scores of 470, as those people have very low chances of completing the program, passing the Step exams, or securing a good residency. all of which hurts their business model. I would say the vast majority of my cohort had either a slightly below average MCAT or a slightly below average GPA. It is rare to find a student there who struggled with both. With the rise in new MD/DO programs, it makes sense for these people to apply broadly for 1-2 cycles for these new programs before committing to going tot he Caribbean. Especially since OP mentioned in another post that he has a GPA of 3.9
If that is the case, why is the attrition at that school so high? I know at least 10 people who were accepted to SGU with sub 20 MCAT scores. I think you have a percentage that would still be considered competitive candidates but I don’t think that’s a majority of the students in that program.

If all those students are truly borderline, I find it hard to believe that at least half don’t reapply to stateside schools.
 

mcat_taker

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Thank you for the information. I know you say to have SGU as last resort, but I’m looking at it as my first choice and by pass all the application process bs at the US med school. I’m a non-grad 36 yrs old military vet with a 3.88 GPA and a bunch of experience. Studying for my MCAT right now. The reason I like SGU is the business mentality, all those resources and it is up to me to use them accordingly in exchange for a price. Additionally, live in a different place for a while. Also been able to do rotation in different states while having a strong network. I have been searching about the ITI support program, and you finally gave me the answer. Good luck in your future endeavors.
Just want to add my two cents that US MD/DO schools love military vets. You might be surprised by what a leg up being a vet will give you in the application cycle even if your MCAT is lower than their average (You already have a good gpa). They love to diversify their class and that is a way to do that and that will set you apart from their bread and butter applicant.
 

bedevilled ben

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If that is the case, why is the attrition at that school so high? I know at least 10 people who were accepted to SGU with sub 20 MCAT scores. I think you have a percentage that would still be considered competitive candidates but I don’t think that’s a majority of the students in that program.

If all those students are truly borderline, I find it hard to believe that at least half don’t reapply to stateside schools.
There are a couple of factors at play that you're not accounting for.

If you're using MCAT scores of 20, then you're about 4 years behind current cycle for starters. If you're looking at data from 4 years ago, then that was exactly when I was a student there, in which case there were a little over 1,000 students per academic year, so for 4 academic years 10/4,000 is not exactly a large portion. Class sizes have since expanded and now there over 6,000 students enrolled. Thirdly, nobody really knows what the attrition rate at SGU is, because they don't release that raw data. I've talked about this at length in the past, but a combination of large class sizes, rolling admissions, options to decel a term, their pre-start program, and having vastly different class sizes between January (~400 in 2012) and August (~700) makes it very difficult to estimate the overall attrition rate at SGU. For the 4 years I was a student there (2012 - 2016), I tracked both our cohort size and individual class sizes for the major classes like Anatomy and Biochem in T1, Physio and Neuro in T2, Path in T4, and Pathophys in T5. I estimated our overall attrition rate somewhere between 12 and 20% which I frequently quote as about 15% for convenience. This is a high number compared to USMD/DO schools which typically average <5% attrition, but is arguably the lowest of any other Caribbean schools which average between 25-75% outside of Ross and SGU (which have similar attrition rates as far as we in the graduate community can ascertain.) If you buy the data on SGU's website, it provides an attrition rate of 6.1% for the 2017 class, though of course there is no cited rubric by which they have calculated this figure. I suspect it to be misleading, but I will leave that exercise to the reader to interpret. They have also changed the way in which they report the incoming class demographics, so I do not see a readily available MCAT score. For my own class in 2012 the incoming average was 27. The incoming data shows an average incoming GPA of 3.88 which seems inflated to me, but again I will leave that up to the reader to interpret.

This info is from a cursory review of SGU's website and my own experiences. I'm not interested in engaging in nit-picking. My point is that your anecdotal experiences as a non-SGU student with a handful of SGU entrants does not comport with the available data and my own experiences. If you find it hard to believe that so many students don't apply or re-apply to USMD or USDO schools and instead head straight for the Caribbean, I would recommend a review of basic human psychology and further offer our above example of @rangerdad who, despite a lot of great reasons to defer his application to SGU and being a competitive applicant to US schools, will almost certainly apply and get accepted into what he expects to be either a temporal or financial "short-cut" to physician-hood. SGU is counting on applicants just like him. Their business model depends on it, in fact.

NB: edited for clarity
 
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Mike Bagwell

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There are a couple of factors at play that you're not accounting for.

If you're using MCAT scores of 20, then you're about 4 years behind current cycle for starters. If you're looking at data from 4 years ago, then that was exactly when I was a student there, in which case there were a little over 1,000 students per academic year, so for 4 academic years 10/4,000 is not exactly a large portion. Class sizes have since expanded and now there over 6,000 students enrolled. Thirdly, nobody really knows what the attrition rate at SGU is, because they don't release that raw data. I've talked about this at length in the past, but a combination of large class sizes, rolling admissions, options to decel a term, their pre-start program, and having vastly different class sizes between January (~400 in 2012) and August (~700) makes it very difficult to estimate the overall attrition rate at SGU. For the 4 years I was a student there (2012 - 2016), I tracked both our cohort size and individual class sizes for the major classes like Anatomy and Biochem in T1, Physio and Neuro in T2, Path in T4, and Pathophys in T5. I estimated our overall attrition rate somewhere between 12 and 20% which I frequently quote as about 15% for convenience. This is a high number compared to USMD/DO schools which typically average <5% attrition, but is arguably the lowest of any other Caribbean schools which average between 25-75% outside of Ross and SGU (which have similar attrition rates as far as we in the graduate community can ascertain.) If you buy the data on SGU's website, it provides an attrition rate of 6.1% for the 2017 class, though of course there is no cited rubric by which they have calculated this figure. I suspect it to be misleading, but I will leave that exercise to the reader to interpret. They have also changed the way in which they report the incoming class demographics, so I do not see a readily available MCAT score. For my own class in 2012 the incoming average was 27. The current website quotes an average incoming GPA of 3.88 which seems inflated to me, but again I will leave that up to the reader to interpret.

This info is from a cursory review of SGU's website and my own experiences. I'm not interested in engaging in nit-picking. My point is that your anecdotal experiences as a non-SGU student with a handful of SGU entrants does not comport with the available data and my own experiences. If you find it hard to believe that so many students don't apply or re-apply to USMD or USDO schools and instead head straight for the Caribbean, I would recommend a review of basic human psychology and further offer our above example of @rangerdad who, despite a lot of great reasons to defer his application to SGU and being a competitive applicant to US schools, will almost certainly apply and get accepted into what he expects to be either a temporal or financial "short-cut" to physician-hood. SGU is counting on applicants just like him. Their business model depends on it, in fact.

A few things...

Incoming GPA on their website says 3.2 for incoming MD students. I didn't see 3.88 so I don't know where you got that from.

Your numbers are purely guesses and no different than my "anecdotal experience." You couldn't possibly know all of your classmates there. St. George's says it has around 1000 matches and you're saying there are 6000 or so students enrolled. Where is the 15% attrition coming from?

I don't doubt that SGU has competitive applicants. I just think they are the exception and not the norm. You still haven't explained why there are so many students (very competitive by your account) at that school and only 800-1000 matches per year. I don't understand how that works out. If those students are truly as competitive as you say they are, they are essentially taking a gamble with their career and perhaps life by signing up for that program.
 

bedevilled ben

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A few things...

Incoming GPA on their website says 3.2 for incoming MD students. I didn't see 3.88 so I don't know where you got that from.

Your numbers are purely guesses and no different than my "anecdotal experience." You couldn't possibly know all of your classmates there. St. George's says it has around 1000 matches and you're saying there are 6000 or so students enrolled. Where is the 15% attrition coming from?

I don't doubt that SGU has competitive applicants. I just think they are the exception and not the norm. You still haven't explained why there are so many students (very competitive by your account) at that school and only 800-1000 matches per year. I don't understand how that works out. If those students are truly as competitive as you say they are, they are essentially taking a gamble with their career and perhaps life by signing up for that program.
If you're looking for a fight, look elsewhere. I've reached my goal. I'm a fulfilled and practicing physician. I'm thrilled beyond imagining with my outcome. I'm under no obligation to correct your ignorance of Caribbean medical education.

The 3.88 stat is for my entering undergraduate class in 2012. As I very clearly stated, I think it is inflated. You're debating an argument that I'm not making.

My numbers are not guesses, they're inferences. They're based on data that I personally collected. You can choose to discount them if you wish, but my estimates and data, combined with SGU-provided estimates for applications and rank-order lists, were sufficient for me to secure a competitive residency in my first choice specialty at my first-rank program. They are decidedly different than the offhanded and completely unsupported figures you quote. They are, nonetheless, indefensible with fact-hardened statistics. I never implied that they weren't. If you are able to get better statistical data from SGU, I'm all ears. Forgive me if I don't hold my breath.

And finally, there are "only" 800-1000 matches per Match cycle because there are conservatively 800-1,100 students per academic term graduating, which when multiplied by 4 total academic years, yields a total student enrollment of conservatively 3200 - 4000. I say "conservatively" because SGU has expanded their enrollment by about 20-30% over the last 2 years. Their average yearly incoming classes are about 1,100 student currently, they have a cadre of students that are simultaneously pursuing graduate degrees, and there is always a flux of students coming and going. Their current enrollment is, to the best of my knowledge, a little over 6,000 students.

I freely invite others to disagree with my estimates, inferences, numbers, guesses, etc. I would, however, challenge you to find better supported data. I don't spend hours on these fora for my own benefit or health.

If those students are truly as competitive as you say they are, they are essentially taking a gamble with their career and perhaps life by signing up for that program.
Taking a gamble with their life seems a bit melodramatic, but I never said it wasn't a gamble with their career. Again, you seem to be arguing a thesis that I'm not presenting. I've made the argument over and over again that the Caribbean should be a last resort of virtually every medical school applicant. It is not at all a decision that should be entered into lightly.
 
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Mike Bagwell

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If you're looking for a fight, look elsewhere.
Why would I need to fight with someone regarding SGU lol? I'm just bringing up an issue that most people would want further clarification on since SGU remains an option for those who fail to matriculate into US programs.

I don't think I am ignorant about the Caribbean. I mean I didn't apply there right? SGU heavily advertises in my state and I've received many unwarranted calls from their admissions/advertising office during my application cycle. I have no idea how they even got my information since I never contacted them.

The only problem I have with your last few posts are that you are tip toeing around that attrition issue and coming up with clever numbers or theories to disguise the fact that some portion of those students will never end up becoming doctors. I had pointed out that a significant portion of those applicants are strongly lacking in either their GPA or MCAT scores and you're trying to argue that SGU selects the creme of the crop US rejects and I don't think that is the case. Like I said, there probably are stellar students there but there is no way that whole incoming class has what it takes to make it through their program. You're saying their "business model" depends on taking in the best and I'm going to argue the opposite and say no, their profit-driven business model relies on taking in some of the best and then taking in a bunch of the eh...not so best.

Lets say your 3.8 statistic is accurate. Who in their right mind obtains a 3.8 GPA and then applies to St. George's? That's completely bonkers and you're blaming human psychology for that? You might have a bunch of 3.8 students there but I will guarantee you most of those students have mediocre MCAT performance or something else going on that prevented them from trying in the US again.

You're saying I'm being melodramatic but I for one would be very unhappy if I was carrying around hundreds of thousands of dollars of debt with no MD. Perhaps you might deal with such a scenario different than I.

I've made the argument over and over again that the Caribbean should be a last resort of virtually every medical school applicant.
...It doesn't sound like that's what you're arguing. Perhaps be more specific next time.
 

bedevilled ben

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Why would I need to fight with someone regarding SGU lol? I'm just bringing up an issue that most people would want further clarification on since SGU remains an option for those who fail to matriculate into US programs.

I don't think I am ignorant about the Caribbean. I mean I didn't apply there right? SGU heavily advertises in my state and I've received many unwarranted calls from their admissions/advertising office during my application cycle.
I don't care what you think. Do you seriously think that you're qualified to discuss Caribbean medical education because you received some "unwarranted calls" from them? What exactly are your qualifications for pontificating about Caribbean medical education? You just stated that you didn't apply to SGU. I'm going to subsequently infer that you didn't attend or graduate from SGU. Further, your forum flair indicates that you are a medical student. How exactly do you think that that qualifies you to intelligently discuss Caribbean medical education, Caribbean residency Match placement, or residency at all for that matter? You are the definition of ignorance when it comes to medical education, let alone Caribbean medical education. You have precisely *zero* experience. I applied, matriculated, and graduated from SGU. I also successfully Matched in my first-rank program with no red flags and I'm excelling in my 3rd PGY year. You are completely out of your league with this discussion.

The only problem I have with your last few posts are that you are tip toeing around that attrition issue and coming up with clever numbers or theories to disguise the fact that some portion of those students will never end up becoming doctors.
Explain to me exactly how I've tiptoed around the attrition rates. I've been as upfront with them as I can be. SGU doesn't supply any additional official numbers beyond their website. I've provided you with the numbers I collected from my own class from 2012-2016. You can choose to accept them or not. I do not care in the slightest if you accept them. There is literally nothing I can officially supply to convince you. You really seem to be missing this point.

[you're] trying to argue that SGU selects the creme of the crop US rejects and I don't think that is the case. Like I said, there probably are stellar students there but there is no way that whole incoming class has what it takes to make it through their program. You're saying their "business model" depends on taking in the best and I'm going to argue the opposite and say no, their profit-driven business model relies on taking in some of the best and then taking in a bunch of the eh...not so best.
Again, I really don't care what you think is the case. You've offered nothing at all of substance that contradicts what I'm reporting via first hand account. Why wouldn't they take the top students that just barely missed acceptance into USMD/USDO schools? What you're arguing makes no sense. What I'm arguing (from my own experience) is that they're selecting from the students that just barely miss the average mark for US MD or US DO schools. This allows them to cull students from the pool that are likely to succeed but that weren't willing to go through multiple cycles for admission in USMD/USDO schools or weren't able to cut the mustard for US admissions. This mitigates their risk while maximizing their pool of students that are likely to succeed. This is simple statistics, so I don't understand what you're having a hard time a grasping; it's not hard to understand from a statistical perspective. Why wouldn't they draw from students that just barely missed the mark? Your argument makes absolutely zero sense.

Lets say your 3.8 statistic is accurate. Who in their right mind obtains a 3.8 GPA and then applies to St. George's? That's completely bonkers and you're blaming human psychology for that? You might have a bunch of 3.8 students there but I will guarantee you most of those students have mediocre MCAT performance or something else going on that prevented them from trying in the US again.
Damn you're thick aren't you. That's *exactly* the students that go to SGU. Almost across the board, we are students with either a weak MCAT or a weak GPA. They certainly accept a certain number of students with both a weak MCAT and a weak GPA, but their average students are folks that are lacking in either one or the other. The vast majority are in my experience people with a weak sGPA

You're saying I'm being melodramatic but I for one would be very unhappy if I was carrying around hundreds of thousands of dollars of debt with no MD. Perhaps you might deal with such a scenario different than I.
Yeahhhhh that's exactly my point. You don't even know enough about us to be sympathetic with Caribbean graduates. You're just simply clueless. You're so detached from our reality that you can't even empathize with us.
 

Mike Bagwell

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I don't care what you think...
I don't know what just happened in that post but I guess it's true that you guys really do have a chip on your shoulder. You're also not doing your part to promote your school in as positive a light as you can. I mean if that's even possible.

Good luck with wherever medicine leads you.
 

Medic741

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I am. I will push my MCAT to June, and apply all across Florida (including DOs, Puerto Rico, and one in SC. At the same time, SGU. We’ll see how the ball rolls.
If you get interviews and they ask where you’ve been accepted *do not* admit you’ve applied/been accepted to Caribbean schools. The only interview I received a rejection from started with that question and the interviewer ripped into my decision making capacity. Seriously.
 
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@rangerdad, it says I can't send you a personal message so will go ahead a copy paste it here. Hello, I liked your posts I came across regarding St. George. Long story but wanted to share I am applying to Ross for sure, and will take some time to read up on St. George. Did you end up going? Thanks for any insight.
 
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I have never started a thread like this here before, but I just wanted to post my honest, current views on SGU. I have been reading some posts here about SGU and everyone has their own opinions, some are true and some just do not know the correct information/misinformed. I have also received a good amount of messages over the past few months from prospective SGU students and those that just started this term and some that are starting in January. I am always happy to answer and give honest advice. I want to give some honest and current advice as some things posted on the carib thread is a bit dated/not true. I will not really be responding to posts on here individually, as I am busy with classes, but feel free to send me a private message if you have any specific questions and I will try to respond within a week or so. Also, please do not bash or question my reasoning for being at SGU as I have my reasons for being here and that is no one else's business. I did my exhaustive research before coming here and it was pretty much a last resort for me. I apologize in advanced for any grammar/spelling mistakes, I am a med student, not an english writer.

In general, what we are constantly told by 3rd, 4th year students, alumni is that SGU is a foot in the door. SGU has a ton of connections with alumni and residency programs, and it will get you your degree and where you want to be. However, you need to work hard for 2 years and do well on step 1.

Before I begin, I will be basically going through some of the pros and cons of SGU and my experience so far, and just note that my experience will be different from others. I will focus on the first year (first 2 terms). However, I believe a majority of current students would agree with most of this information as we constantly have the same struggles and issues. I've been at SGU for a little over a year now and some of my views have been changing since I started. I have not taken step 1 yet and I have no experience with that part of the process nor rotations, so I am solely speaking on the coursework part of SGU, mostly first two terms. I am not going to get into statistics here.

Should you go to SGU?
  • This is probably the number one question on the carib forums and messages that I get.. I am not going to go too much into this, but I just want to say that YOU need to do your OWN research. Do NOT let anyone on here influence your decision (over a quarter million dollar decision). You need to exhaust all of your options for a few years before deciding carib. Take the MCAT again, or 3 times.. do a post-bacc, a masters... exhaust ALL of your options before coming here. Apply to DO schools... do whatever you can to try to get into MD/DO in the US. This should be your last resort. I have my own reasons for coming here and it was really my last resort. In general, I am happy for my choice thus far. I am US citizen and I feel safe with my choice. If you are not a US citizen, do a lot more research, because getting a residency in the US will probably be tricky for you and there's just a lot more obstacles you have to go through as an IMG non-US citizen. Do your research!

The type of students that apply and that are here/Admissions:
  • Let's face it, most SGU students do not have killer stats... they have some issue with their application, whatever that may be. The only caveat may be Canadian students here. From what I hear, it is super super hard to get into med school in Canada.. and some classmates do have killer stats, but it's just way too competitive to get into Canadian med schools and they don't want to keep waiting, so they attend SGU or Ross. Other than that, most students here have some sort of weakness whether it's GPA or MCAT, or both.

  • In regards to the low gpa and/or mcat dilemma.. I do notice a good amount of students here that are not ready for med school and cannot handle the rigors. After all, SGU is very for-profit and it is a business first, school second. SGU does accept some students with low stats and they do struggle here. So, if you are one of those that are accepted, you may be in for a rude awakening starting term 1. This is why there's a pretty drastic dropout/repeat rate in term 1 (especially august class, as it's larger). It's not about getting in, it's about staying in. They keep changing requirements for passing, but for us, passing an individual term is 70%, and you need a minimum 75% cumulative GPA to continue onto the next term. However, from what I have heard from many first term students, this new term that just started in August, you need a 75% to pass term 1 and keep the 75% cumulative each term. This is no small feat, especially for a first term student, considering their exam averages have been in the 77-78%'s. I will get into some detail on grading coming up in a separate section below.
  • Therefore, some students have to repeat a term due to not having the minimum cumulative GPA. There is an option for this called CR (Credit Remediation), in which you basically do not take the last exam, instead you do a presentation/little paper thing on a selected topic, and you get a CR for that term (no gpa), and you repeat the term from scratch next term and do not have to pay tuition again. For some it seems to really help and they do better after that. For some, they just decide to drop out for many different reasons.
  • Like I said, SGU is very for profit and I do blame admissions for accepting some students that just should not be here and are not ready for this madness. There are a select few that can improve themselves here and get study methods down when they start here. But in general, if you have bad study habits and do not really know how to study effectively before you get here, you're going to struggle as you'll just sink.. There is pretty good help here to improve those skills and learn, but you need to be proactive about it. I'll talk about academic help in another section in this post (DES).

  • There are a good number of students here that did really well on the MCAT and have a masters and so on, and they do really well here.. A good number of students here should be in US medical schools.. some were waitlisted and just didn't want to wait another year, some have other reasons, but there's a lot of really bright students here. One thing in common with students that succeed here is that they work hard and realize we need to do well.
  • I have had several close friends dropout after the first or second term. Mostly they just cannot handle the rigors of med school. Some have anxiety/psych issues as well and cannot handle it emotionally/psychologically.
The school in general/administration:
  • Although SGU is VERY for profit, they do put a good amount of resources back into the school. For example, there's a great psychological services department here, with psychologists and therapists always there for students. There's something called DES (Dept. of Educational Services), which provides free help with studying habits, scheduling studying, workshops on anxiety, stress, MCQ workshops, etc. They also arrange and offer free tutoring from upper term students, as well as some help from the DES staff (MD grads) themselves.
  • There's a brand new gym that was just built, and more study spaces going up with big group tables and large whiteboards. The school does put a good amount of money into the campus, building a new gym, dorm, more study spaces, and keeping the campus up in general. Again, SGU is a business and they are big on marketing the school, so appearance and showing off the buildings and resources is pretty big here.
  • With that being said, SGU needs to invest more into quality professors and organization. I am not going to get into too much detail about this, as I will explain a little more in the academics section of this post, but there needs to be some better quality professors in the Anatomy and Physiology department, as well as better organization of lectures and slides being organized better, as well as incorporating more effective pictures and text into the lecture slides. It often feels that the professors are lazy and will not update slides/questions that are not effective to our learning.
Academics:
I see a lot of questions/confusion on this.. so let me clarify lecture styles. There's two types of lectures (big class or ITI, so you can chose from a big lecture hall type of lecture, or small group learning- ITI). For some reason they keep changing the curriculum, it seems like every term now has a little different structure of curriculum, but from what I hear, this new august term that just started will be consistent with future terms. They have been trying out different styles of curriculum (systems vs non-systems based) the past few years and it seems like they are sticking with systems based and breaking up the class into sections...But there is essentially two styles of lectures:
  • The Big Class: This is the main lecture style that most students start with, at least the start of term 1. You go to a huge lecture hall for 2 hours of lecture a day. If you are in the August starting class, you'll have around 600-800 students in your lecture. if you are in the January starting class you will have around 400-500 students in your lecture. You go to lecture 2 hours a day (it used to be 4 hours a day, but they changed things up, thankfully). They have clicker questions each lecture and this is how you get your attendance points. You have to go to at least 80% of lectures each term, otherwise they can fail you. All of these lectures are recorded live to view later, and for ITI students to view for their lectures (see below).
  • ITI (not sure what it stands for, I think Interactive Team Instruction): This is the second style of lecture. Most students in here were put into it first term or second term due to poor performance on an exam, but some students go into it by choice because they like this style of learning better. There's usually around 100-150 students in ITI each term, sometimes more or less depending which term. These students are not necessarily doing bad, most are actually doing really well on exams, but they just need that extra attention. Basically, in ITI, you start lecture an hour later (since you are watching the recorded lectures of the hour before), you are in a group of about 6-8 students at a big table, with a recent MD grad of SGU, who is your facilitator. There's a 32" ish screen TV that has the powerpoint for the lectures as well as the recorded lecture up on the screen. Everyone at your table watches the lecture on their laptop or tablet with their headphones on and the facilitator stops the lecture randomly for stop points, about 2-4 times during each lecture, to go over the past 10-15 minutes or so of what you just learned. They discuss the major high yield points, sometimes do a multiple choice question together regarding the material you just learned, or sometimes draw out a pathway together on the white board. You then go back to watching the lecture on your screen and then they stop you again... In general, you get more instruction on what is high yield, what to focus on, and the actual professor for the lecture is also there in the room to answer questions from you or your group. It is interactive, and you get more time with the lecture material and more help if needed. Instead of 2 hours of lecture, you are there for 3 hours a day... Since each lecture in the main group is 1 hour, in ITI you spend 1.5 hours on each lecture since you stop to discuss. They will never force you to go into ITI, but if you are struggling in the main lecture they will suggest you to think about going into it and it helps a lot of students. In order to go back into the main lecture, you have to get above an 80% cumulative gpa, but most just stay in it and they like it.
Grading:
  • There's a lot that goes into your grade here, it's not all about your exam scores, but you need to do well, at least pass your exams in order to pass the term/keep your cumulative gpa.
  • Each term varies a little, but in general your first year, you have 5 exams each term worth about 70% of your grade. This is purely written exams. The first exam is a bit shorter, about 105 questions, 2 hours, then the next 4 exams are about 130 questions, 3 hours long. You take the exams in an exam hall, proctored, you get your own little cubicle, and you take them electronically on your laptop via a secure software that locks down your computer. Bring earplugs!! I always wear the foam earplugs in exams as I have a hard time concentrating with sneezes, coughs, etc.
  • Regarding exams, every exam has about 15 experimental questions (new questions professors are trying out) and you do not know which ones are experimental. Those 15 questions do not count towards your grade, but when you get your grade report the next day you can see what percentage of those experimental questions you got correct. I sometimes get all of them correct and it's frustrating because it could of helped my score, and sometimes I get only a few correct, but oh well you never know which ones they are.
  • The 2nd-5th exams have cumulative material from the previous modules/lecture material which kind of forces you to keep up with the material and keep it fresh.
  • Other than exams, your first year you will have 2 cadaver lab practicals each term, online quizzes each week, IMCQ (interactive multiple choice questions) sessions, Small Group points, an OSCE (patient exam), professionalism points (basically don't do anything naughty)- freebie points, and at the end of term 2 there's a BSCE exam (cumulative exam for the first years material).
  • So, basically you can get an average of lets say 70% on just your written exams, and all of those other points can help you get around a 75% in the class... We call them soft points, as they are easy points to get (online quizzes, labs, IMCQs, it's basically just a matter of attending and you get the point). It can help boost your grade.

  • I see some people post here asking about how fair the questions and exams are... I think it's pretty fair. They pretty much solely ask you material that is in the lecture. They never not ask something that is not in the lecture slides. Therefore, if you know the lecture slides 100%, you will do well. But, with that being said, most students need to use outside resources to help fill in some gaps that the lecture slides leave out in order to fully understand the lecture slides. Most students in general don't really read the textbooks, it depends on the subject though. The textbooks we use the most are the practice question text books (mostly anatomy) and some physiology books.
  • Exam questions are usually pretty fair. There's sometimes an odd question not worded well, and they will usually throw those questions out or those are the experimental ones. All of the exam and quiz questions range from 1st order to 3rd order questions, mostly USMLE style questions, and answer choices usually A-E, sometimes A-J, K, I (lol it's all a matter of narrowing down the answer choices) and sometimes they give you a chart with a lot of answer choices.. so it's a matter of narrowing stuff down. There's also the axis of truth, sometimes one answer is MORE correct than another one, even though two answer choices may be true, one is the BEST and MOST TRUE answer... yeah, you'll see what I mean eventually.
Quality of Education:
I will be brutally honest with this part, and I do not want to get into specifics as I am not here to bash SGU, but to give honest advice. The last thing I will comment on that prospective students need to be aware of, is the quality of education you get here. SGU needs to put more focus and money into hiring higher quality instructors. There are some good professors that I truly love, and you can tell they enjoy teaching and they are good at it. This is mostly the biochemistry, histology, genetics, cell bio departments. Some of those professors have taught at US or UK grad and/or medical schools and they really know how to teach and organize their slides/information really well.
  • The Bad: Some other SGU students have mentioned this in the forum in the past as well, but unfortunately the Anatomy, Neuro, and Physiology department here are pretty bad. They tend to be really disorganized, the slides are all over the place, and some lecturers only have a MASTERS degree!! It's med school, we should be taught strictly by PhD or MD's. The Anatomy and Physio department tends to have professors from Trinidad, Grenada, India, Nigeria, and they are sometimes hard to understand with their accent, they tend to be disorganized, and just don't really have the ability to teach effectively. Some of them constantly make errors in lecture and just do not seem like they truly know the material they are presenting. Anatomy is pretty much a self-taught part of first year. Most students just rely on the Complete Anatomy app, Youtube, Dr. Najeeb, and just learning from the textbook in general.

  • You have cadaver lab just the first two terms. Cadaver lab is a hot mess here, pretty much having to learn everything on your own in open hours and there tends to be a lack of help there, so it's more or less learning it yourself and just finding out what is high yield from upper termers for the lab practicals. The cadaver lab practicals aren't worth a huge amount of your grade, but those points can really help. The cadavers are already dissected for you, you are not cutting anything, basically you can touch the cadavers and move some stuff around gently, but everything is out there for you.
The Complainers:
  • Something I've noticed especially as my time progresses here is that there are a lot of negative people here. Yes I agree with a lot of the complaints students have, some are valid, some are just spoiled kids not getting what they are used to getting. Academically, I understand some of the complaints students have and I agree with a lot of it. However, some you just cannot help- it's medical school and it's hard, and some students just like to always find an excuse to blame something on. I feel like medical education in general, even hearing from US med student friends, needs to be reformed. Even in the US, med students have to use outside resources because we are not really being taught the way that we should. We have to use so many outside resources- extra books, apps, subscriptions, and teach ourselves most things. It's just how it is, and students here complain a lot about it.
  • In regards to life here, there's a lot of complaints from students, which just do not understand that this is not the US and you cannot have everything your way. We are basically in a third world country, yes the campus is fairly modern and has all of our basic needs, but there are storms, it rains a lot, wifi goes out sometimes, there's bugs, sometimes there's no hot water, etc... it's how life is down here. I really enjoy it here, I try to immerse myself in the culture whenever I can, talk to locals, eat local food, etc... It's an experience being here and some students don't understand that there's a whole other culture outside of the campus gates.
  • In general, students sign themselves up to be here, and there's an airport. They can leave if they don't like it. This isn't the US and it will never be the US, so those students really need to realize the island life is different and to stop complaining about every little thing.
  • In general, there's a lot of negativity here. There's a lot of stress, anxiety, deadlines, etc. I get it... Surround yourself with positive and uplifting people, it makes a big difference.
In Conclusion:
  • Yes it is expensive here, but it is worth it if you can do it and it's your only real option at this point. There's scholarships, ask your admissions counselor for into on it to see if there's one you qualify for. A lot of students don't know about them.
  • Don't get too caught up on the dropout statistics at SGU (worry about it at other lower carib schools), but it's simple- don't be that statistic. You know what you are getting yourself into and you know it's going to be hard. If you are not ready for this, then you will probably be the statistic. I feel like the exams are fair, the material is fair, you just need to put in the effort. Most students that drop out are just not ready for the amount of material and/or they do not put all of their effort into it. If you have a low GPA or MCAT, you need to realize what your weaknesses are before coming here. You need to change things up because if you were getting C's in undergrad science courses, well you are going to struggle here. You need to be able to change your study schedule/habits and realize what you are weak in, in order to improve yourself and do well. There's a lot of help here, and a ton of resources, you just need to go out and ask for help.

  • All in all, SGU has their pros and cons... as does any school, it will get you to where you want to be, a practicing physician in the US.. It is just more difficult and you have to go through more obstacles as a carib IMG. Carib med schools should be a LAST resort. It is NOT easy here. In a way, I think it is harder here than US med schools. We do a lot of self-teaching and we have to find out a lot of resources ourselves, but from what I hear, it makes us much stronger students and physicians in the future.
  • For the most part, I feel like we are being prepared pretty well. Classes are challenging, but do-able, and they stress the high yield USMLE concepts pretty well.
  • Exhaust all of your options with US med schools first (MD and DO), and if doesn't work out, then do serious research in carib med schools and know what you are getting yourself into.

I know this is long, but I really hope this helps, as I have been seeing a lot of repeated questions and misinformation out there.

**Lastly, if you are not a US citizen and you are thinking about coming to SGU, do even more research... because there's a lot more hoops and hurdles you have to go through, and it is even riskier if you are going to try to get into a US residency.

Do you know how many of your classmates who started with you have dropped out?
 
OP
Chondroclast

Chondroclast

SGU Student
2+ Year Member
Oct 12, 2017
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Grenada
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Medical Student
Do you know how many of your classmates who started with you have dropped out?
From my January starting class of around 600, we have about 450 on our roster for this coming Term 5. However, this number includes students that are repeating Term 5 (which I think is around 100), so we don't know how many are left that started with us. A lot of students repeat Terms 1 or Term 4, some repeat Term 2, but I feel like Terms 1 and 4 are the hardest in their own ways, and no one ever knows the exact number that are still left from the original starting class. The August starting class has more students of course, so they have more repeats in proportion- I believe the last August class had around 1,500 students start and around 150-200 repeat Term 1, then just some people decide to drop out of course. Repeating a Term is fairly common here, so the numbers are a bit tricky. I know some people that have repeated Terms 1, 2, and 4, which is absolutely insane, and some repeated Terms 1 and 2, or 1 and 4... it's a struggle for some, and perhaps eventually they will get to step and pass, but I think the school gives some students a lot of false hope and too many second, third, fourth chances. Hope this helps!
 
Jun 20, 2018
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From my January starting class of around 600, we have about 450 on our roster for this coming Term 5. However, this number includes students that are repeating Term 5 (which I think is around 100), so we don't know how many are left that started with us. A lot of students repeat Terms 1 or Term 4, some repeat Term 2, but I feel like Terms 1 and 4 are the hardest in their own ways, and no one ever knows the exact number that are still left from the original starting class. The August starting class has more students of course, so they have more repeats in proportion- I believe the last August class had around 1,500 students start and around 150-200 repeat Term 1, then just some people decide to drop out of course. Repeating a Term is fairly common here, so the numbers are a bit tricky. I know some people that have repeated Terms 1, 2, and 4, which is absolutely insane, and some repeated Terms 1 and 2, or 1 and 4... it's a struggle for some, and perhaps eventually they will get to step and pass, but I think the school gives some students a lot of false hope and too many second, third, fourth chances. Hope this helps!
Appreciate it! So from that I would infer almost 40-50% attrition rate? Thats in line with what a friend told me. He said he started term 1 and ended with just over half the class remaining.

Another question, I graduated undergrad with just below a 3.0 gpa, c and science. However, I had a light bulb click in my head, so afterwards I studied much more rigorously for the MCAT, got a 510, and did a medical sciences masters which was comprised of material from the 1st year medical school, and graduated with a 3.82 GPA ( it would have be3n a 4.0 had it not been for me screwing myself in one of the irrelevant classes by not closely reading the instructions for one of the assignments, biostats). In your experience, how well do students with that kind of an academic history do? I did get an interview and was waitlisted at an MD school but it didn't pan out.
 
OP
Chondroclast

Chondroclast

SGU Student
2+ Year Member
Oct 12, 2017
71
94
Grenada
Status
Medical Student
Appreciate it! So from that I would infer almost 40-50% attrition rate? Thats in line with what a friend told me. He said he started term 1 and ended with just over half the class remaining.

Another question, I graduated undergrad with just below a 3.0 gpa, c and science. However, I had a light bulb click in my head, so afterwards I studied much more rigorously for the MCAT, got a 510, and did a medical sciences masters which was comprised of material from the 1st year medical school, and graduated with a 3.82 GPA ( it would have be3n a 4.0 had it not been for me screwing myself in one of the irrelevant classes by not closely reading the instructions for one of the assignments, biostats). In your experience, how well do students with that kind of an academic history do? I did get an interview and was waitlisted at an MD school but it didn't pan out.
It sounds like you can handle the rigors of SGU. If you got a 510 and did a masters with a 3.82 it seems like you have your stuff together now. However, med school is like nothing else...the material isn't hard, it's just the insane amount of material. So, more than anything, it's about your perseverance, how much grit and stamina you have. I know a lot of people that dropped out that could easily do it, and had masters, etc., but they didn't have the grit, they couldn't handle the volume of work, and they became overwhelmed, tired, and mentally exhausted. So, if you can handle it and won't give up, sure you can do it! This isn't just SGU, it's any other US med school too.
 
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Medic741

2+ Year Member
Jan 18, 2017
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Appreciate it! So from that I would infer almost 40-50% attrition rate? Thats in line with what a friend told me. He said he started term 1 and ended with just over half the class remaining.

Another question, I graduated undergrad with just below a 3.0 gpa, c and science. However, I had a light bulb click in my head, so afterwards I studied much more rigorously for the MCAT, got a 510, and did a medical sciences masters which was comprised of material from the 1st year medical school, and graduated with a 3.82 GPA ( it would have be3n a 4.0 had it not been for me screwing myself in one of the irrelevant classes by not closely reading the instructions for one of the assignments, biostats). In your experience, how well do students with that kind of an academic history do? I did get an interview and was waitlisted at an MD school but it didn't pan out.
Apply a second cycle to DO schools as well. It’s still not too late to start an AACOMAS application. With an MCAT that high you’d likely have a very successful cycle - seriously. There’s a good and bad choice here... don’t go to a Caribbean school
 
Sep 24, 2019
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Do you know how many of your classmates who started with you have dropped out?
I have never started a thread like this here before, but I just wanted to post my honest, current views on SGU. I have been reading some posts here about SGU and everyone has their own opinions, some are true and some just do not know the correct information/misinformed. I have also received a good amount of messages over the past few months from prospective SGU students and those that just started this term and some that are starting in January. I am always happy to answer and give honest advice. I want to give some honest and current advice as some things posted on the carib thread is a bit dated/not true. I will not really be responding to posts on here individually, as I am busy with classes, but feel free to send me a private message if you have any specific questions and I will try to respond within a week or so. Also, please do not bash or question my reasoning for being at SGU as I have my reasons for being here and that is no one else's business. I did my exhaustive research before coming here and it was pretty much a last resort for me. I apologize in advanced for any grammar/spelling mistakes, I am a med student, not an english writer.

In general, what we are constantly told by 3rd, 4th year students, alumni is that SGU is a foot in the door. SGU has a ton of connections with alumni and residency programs, and it will get you your degree and where you want to be. However, you need to work hard for 2 years and do well on step 1.

Before I begin, I will be basically going through some of the pros and cons of SGU and my experience so far, and just note that my experience will be different from others. I will focus on the first year (first 2 terms). However, I believe a majority of current students would agree with most of this information as we constantly have the same struggles and issues. I've been at SGU for a little over a year now and some of my views have been changing since I started. I have not taken step 1 yet and I have no experience with that part of the process nor rotations, so I am solely speaking on the coursework part of SGU, mostly first two terms. I am not going to get into statistics here.

Should you go to SGU?
  • This is probably the number one question on the carib forums and messages that I get.. I am not going to go too much into this, but I just want to say that YOU need to do your OWN research. Do NOT let anyone on here influence your decision (over a quarter million dollar decision). You need to exhaust all of your options for a few years before deciding carib. Take the MCAT again, or 3 times.. do a post-bacc, a masters... exhaust ALL of your options before coming here. Apply to DO schools... do whatever you can to try to get into MD/DO in the US. This should be your last resort. I have my own reasons for coming here and it was really my last resort. In general, I am happy for my choice thus far. I am US citizen and I feel safe with my choice. If you are not a US citizen, do a lot more research, because getting a residency in the US will probably be tricky for you and there's just a lot more obstacles you have to go through as an IMG non-US citizen. Do your research!

The type of students that apply and that are here/Admissions:
  • Let's face it, most SGU students do not have killer stats... they have some issue with their application, whatever that may be. The only caveat may be Canadian students here. From what I hear, it is super super hard to get into med school in Canada.. and some classmates do have killer stats, but it's just way too competitive to get into Canadian med schools and they don't want to keep waiting, so they attend SGU or Ross. Other than that, most students here have some sort of weakness whether it's GPA or MCAT, or both.

  • In regards to the low gpa and/or mcat dilemma.. I do notice a good amount of students here that are not ready for med school and cannot handle the rigors. After all, SGU is very for-profit and it is a business first, school second. SGU does accept some students with low stats and they do struggle here. So, if you are one of those that are accepted, you may be in for a rude awakening starting term 1. This is why there's a pretty drastic dropout/repeat rate in term 1 (especially august class, as it's larger). It's not about getting in, it's about staying in. They keep changing requirements for passing, but for us, passing an individual term is 70%, and you need a minimum 75% cumulative GPA to continue onto the next term. However, from what I have heard from many first term students, this new term that just started in August, you need a 75% to pass term 1 and keep the 75% cumulative each term. This is no small feat, especially for a first term student, considering their exam averages have been in the 77-78%'s. I will get into some detail on grading coming up in a separate section below.
  • Therefore, some students have to repeat a term due to not having the minimum cumulative GPA. There is an option for this called CR (Credit Remediation), in which you basically do not take the last exam, instead you do a presentation/little paper thing on a selected topic, and you get a CR for that term (no gpa), and you repeat the term from scratch next term and do not have to pay tuition again. For some it seems to really help and they do better after that. For some, they just decide to drop out for many different reasons.
  • Like I said, SGU is very for profit and I do blame admissions for accepting some students that just should not be here and are not ready for this madness. There are a select few that can improve themselves here and get study methods down when they start here. But in general, if you have bad study habits and do not really know how to study effectively before you get here, you're going to struggle as you'll just sink.. There is pretty good help here to improve those skills and learn, but you need to be proactive about it. I'll talk about academic help in another section in this post (DES).

  • There are a good number of students here that did really well on the MCAT and have a masters and so on, and they do really well here.. A good number of students here should be in US medical schools.. some were waitlisted and just didn't want to wait another year, some have other reasons, but there's a lot of really bright students here. One thing in common with students that succeed here is that they work hard and realize we need to do well.
  • I have had several close friends dropout after the first or second term. Mostly they just cannot handle the rigors of med school. Some have anxiety/psych issues as well and cannot handle it emotionally/psychologically.
The school in general/administration:
  • Although SGU is VERY for profit, they do put a good amount of resources back into the school. For example, there's a great psychological services department here, with psychologists and therapists always there for students. There's something called DES (Dept. of Educational Services), which provides free help with studying habits, scheduling studying, workshops on anxiety, stress, MCQ workshops, etc. They also arrange and offer free tutoring from upper term students, as well as some help from the DES staff (MD grads) themselves.
  • There's a brand new gym that was just built, and more study spaces going up with big group tables and large whiteboards. The school does put a good amount of money into the campus, building a new gym, dorm, more study spaces, and keeping the campus up in general. Again, SGU is a business and they are big on marketing the school, so appearance and showing off the buildings and resources is pretty big here.
  • With that being said, SGU needs to invest more into quality professors and organization. I am not going to get into too much detail about this, as I will explain a little more in the academics section of this post, but there needs to be some better quality professors in the Anatomy and Physiology department, as well as better organization of lectures and slides being organized better, as well as incorporating more effective pictures and text into the lecture slides. It often feels that the professors are lazy and will not update slides/questions that are not effective to our learning.
Academics:
I see a lot of questions/confusion on this.. so let me clarify lecture styles. There's two types of lectures (big class or ITI, so you can chose from a big lecture hall type of lecture, or small group learning- ITI). For some reason they keep changing the curriculum, it seems like every term now has a little different structure of curriculum, but from what I hear, this new august term that just started will be consistent with future terms. They have been trying out different styles of curriculum (systems vs non-systems based) the past few years and it seems like they are sticking with systems based and breaking up the class into sections...But there is essentially two styles of lectures:
  • The Big Class: This is the main lecture style that most students start with, at least the start of term 1. You go to a huge lecture hall for 2 hours of lecture a day. If you are in the August starting class, you'll have around 600-800 students in your lecture (broken up into 2 sections), so about 1200-1500 in your total starting class I believe. if you are in the January starting class you will have around 500-600 students in your lecture. You go to lecture 2 hours a day (it used to be 4 hours a day, but they changed things up, thankfully). They have clicker questions each lecture and this is how you get your attendance points. You have to go to at least 80% of lectures each term, otherwise they can fail you. All of these lectures are recorded live to view later, and for ITI students to view for their lectures (see below).
  • ITI (Interactive Team Instruction): This is the second style of lecture. Most students in here were put into it first term or second term due to poor performance on an exam, but some students go into it by choice because they like this style of learning better. There's usually around 100-150 students in ITI each term, sometimes more or less depending which term. These students are not necessarily doing bad, most are actually doing really well on exams, but they just need that extra attention. Basically, in ITI, you start lecture an hour later (since you are watching the recorded lectures of the hour before), you are in a group of about 6-8 students at a big table, with a recent MD grad of SGU, who is your facilitator. There's a 32" ish screen TV that has the powerpoint for the lectures as well as the recorded lecture up on the screen. Everyone at your table watches the lecture on their laptop or tablet with their headphones on and the facilitator stops the lecture randomly for stop points, about 2-4 times during each lecture, to go over the past 10-15 minutes or so of what you just learned. They discuss the major high yield points, sometimes do a multiple choice question together regarding the material you just learned, or sometimes draw out a pathway together on the white board. You then go back to watching the lecture on your screen and then they stop you again... In general, you get more instruction on what is high yield, what to focus on, and the actual professor for the lecture is also there in the room to answer questions from you or your group. It is interactive, and you get more time with the lecture material and more help if needed. Instead of 2 hours of lecture, you are there for 3 hours a day... Since each lecture in the main group is 1 hour, in ITI you spend 1.5 hours on each lecture since you stop to discuss. They will never force you to go into ITI, but if you are struggling in the main lecture they will suggest you to think about going into it and it helps a lot of students. In order to go back into the main lecture, you have to get above an 80% cumulative gpa, but most just stay in it and they like it.
Grading:
  • There's a lot that goes into your grade here, it's not all about your exam scores, but you need to do well, at least pass your exams in order to pass the term/keep your cumulative gpa.
  • Each term varies a little, but in general your first year, you have 5 exams each term worth about 70% of your grade. This is purely written exams. The first exam is a bit shorter, about 105 questions, 2 hours, then the next 4 exams are about 130 questions, 3 hours long. You take the exams in an exam hall, proctored, you get your own little cubicle, and you take them electronically on your laptop via a secure software that locks down your computer. Bring earplugs!! I always wear the foam earplugs in exams as I have a hard time concentrating with sneezes, coughs, etc.
  • Once you get to Terms 4 and 5 exams can be as long as 4 hours, 200 questions. Some exams have about 40-50 cumulative questions.
  • Regarding exams, every exam has about 15 experimental questions (new questions professors are trying out) and you do not know which ones are experimental. Those 15 questions do not count towards your grade, but when you get your grade report the next day you can see what percentage of those experimental questions you got correct. I sometimes get all of them correct and it's frustrating because it could of helped my score, and sometimes I get only a few correct, but oh well you never know which ones they are.
  • The 2nd-5th exams have cumulative material from the previous modules/lecture material which kind of forces you to keep up with the material and keep it fresh.
  • Other than exams, your first year you will have 2 cadaver lab practicals each term, online quizzes each week, IMCQ (interactive multiple choice questions) sessions, Small Group points, an OSCE (patient exam), professionalism points (basically don't do anything naughty)- freebie points, and at the end of term 2 there's a BSCE exam (cumulative exam for the first years material). The middle of Term 5 you have BSCE 2 (cumulative exam) and CBSE (final cumulative exam before step).
  • So, basically you can get an average of lets say 70% on just your written exams, and all of those other points can help you get around a 75% in the class... We call them soft points, as they are easy points to get (online quizzes, labs, IMCQs, it's basically just a matter of attending and you get the point). It can help boost your grade.

  • I see some people post here asking about how fair the questions and exams are... I think it's pretty fair. They pretty much solely ask you material that is in the lecture. They never not ask something that is not in the lecture slides. Therefore, if you know the lecture slides 100%, you will do well. But, with that being said, most students need to use outside resources to help fill in some gaps that the lecture slides leave out in order to fully understand the lecture slides. Most students in general don't really read the textbooks, it depends on the subject though. The textbooks we use the most are the practice question text books (mostly anatomy) and some physiology books.
  • Exam questions are usually pretty fair. There's sometimes an odd question not worded well, and they will usually throw those questions out or those are the experimental ones. All of the exam and quiz questions range from 1st order to 3rd order questions, mostly USMLE style questions, and answer choices usually A-E, sometimes A-J, K, I (lol it's all a matter of narrowing down the answer choices) and sometimes they give you a chart with a lot of answer choices.. so it's a matter of narrowing stuff down. There's also the axis of truth, sometimes one answer is MORE correct than another one, even though two answer choices may be true, one is the BEST and MOST TRUE answer... yeah, you'll see what I mean eventually.
Quality of Education:
I will be brutally honest with this part, and I do not want to get into specifics as I am not here to bash SGU, but to give honest advice. The last thing I will comment on that prospective students need to be aware of, is the quality of education you get here. SGU needs to put more focus and money into hiring higher quality instructors. There are some good professors that I truly love, and you can tell they enjoy teaching and they are good at it. This is mostly the biochemistry, histology, genetics, cell bio departments. Some of those professors have taught at US or UK grad and/or medical schools and they really know how to teach and organize their slides/information really well.
  • The Bad: Some other SGU students have mentioned this in the forum in the past as well, but unfortunately the Anatomy, Neuro, Path, and Physiology department here are pretty bad. They tend to be really disorganized, the slides are all over the place, and some lecturers only have a MASTERS degree!! It's med school, we should be taught strictly by PhD or MD's. The Anatomy and Physio department tends to have professors from Trinidad, Grenada, India, Nigeria, and they are sometimes hard to understand with their accent, they tend to be disorganized, and just don't really have the ability to teach effectively. Some of them constantly make errors in lecture and just do not seem like they truly know the material they are presenting. Anatomy is pretty much a self-taught part of first year. Most students just rely on the Complete Anatomy app, Youtube, Dr. Najeeb, and just learning from the textbook in general.
  • Path in Term 4 is a joke.. taught absolutely horribly. Term 4 is probably the hardest term there is, and it's no joke. It gets a lot of students to repeat. The slides are just totally disorganized, the teachers are outsourced from India and Nigeria and they don't know how to teach at all, and they don't teach to the level of questions they ask on the exams.

  • You have cadaver lab just the first two terms. Cadaver lab is a hot mess here, pretty much having to learn everything on your own in open hours and there tends to be a lack of help there, so it's more or less learning it yourself and just finding out what is high yield from upper termers for the lab practicals. The cadaver lab practicals aren't worth a huge amount of your grade, but those points can really help. The cadavers are already dissected for you, you are not cutting anything, basically you can touch the cadavers and move some stuff around gently, but everything is out there for you.
The Complainers:
  • Something I've noticed especially as my time progresses here is that there are a lot of negative people here. Yes I agree with a lot of the complaints students have, some are valid, some are just spoiled kids not getting what they are used to getting. Academically, I understand some of the complaints students have and I agree with a lot of it. However, some you just cannot help- it's medical school and it's hard, and some students just like to always find an excuse to blame something on. I feel like medical education in general, even hearing from US med student friends, needs to be reformed. Even in the US, med students have to use outside resources because we are not really being taught the way that we should. We have to use so many outside resources- extra books, apps, subscriptions, and teach ourselves most things. It's just how it is, and students here complain a lot about it.
  • In regards to life here, there's a lot of complaints from students, which just do not understand that this is not the US and you cannot have everything your way. We are basically in a third world country, yes the campus is fairly modern and has all of our basic needs, but there are storms, it rains a lot, wifi goes out sometimes, there's bugs, sometimes there's no hot water, etc... it's how life is down here. I really enjoy it here, I try to immerse myself in the culture whenever I can, talk to locals, eat local food, etc... It's an experience being here and some students don't understand that there's a whole other culture outside of the campus gates.
  • In general, students sign themselves up to be here, and there's an airport. They can leave if they don't like it. This isn't the US and it will never be the US, so those students really need to realize the island life is different and to stop complaining about every little thing.
  • In general, there's a lot of negativity here. There's a lot of stress, anxiety, deadlines, etc. I get it... Surround yourself with positive and uplifting people, it makes a big difference.
In Conclusion:
  • Yes it is expensive here, but it is worth it if you can do it and it's your only real option at this point. There's scholarships, ask your admissions counselor for into on it to see if there's one you qualify for. A lot of students don't know about them.
  • Don't get too caught up on the dropout statistics at SGU (worry about it at other lower carib schools), but it's simple- don't be that statistic. You know what you are getting yourself into and you know it's going to be hard. If you are not ready for this, then you will probably be the statistic. I feel like the exams are fair, the material is fair, you just need to put in the effort. Most students that drop out are just not ready for the amount of material and/or they do not put all of their effort into it. If you have a low GPA or MCAT, you need to realize what your weaknesses are before coming here. You need to change things up because if you were getting C's in undergrad science courses, well you are going to struggle here. You need to be able to change your study schedule/habits and realize what you are weak in, in order to improve yourself and do well. There's a lot of help here, and a ton of resources, you just need to go out and ask for help.

  • All in all, SGU has their pros and cons... as does any school, it will get you to where you want to be, a practicing physician in the US.. It is just more difficult and you have to go through more obstacles as a carib IMG. Carib med schools should be a LAST resort. It is NOT easy here. In a way, I think it is harder here than US med schools. We do a lot of self-teaching and we have to find out a lot of resources ourselves, but from what I hear, it makes us much stronger students and physicians in the future.
  • For the most part, I feel like we are being prepared pretty well. Classes are challenging, but do-able, and they stress the high yield USMLE concepts pretty well.
  • Exhaust all of your options with US med schools first (MD and DO), and if doesn't work out, then do serious research in carib med schools and know what you are getting yourself into.

I know this is long, but I really hope this helps, as I have been seeing a lot of repeated questions and misinformation out there.

**Lastly, if you are not a US citizen and you are thinking about coming to SGU, do even more research... because there's a lot more hoops and hurdles you have to go through, and it is even riskier if you are going to try to get into a US residency.
 
Sep 24, 2019
3
0
Status
Pre-Medical
I just join SDN after I read the post “Chondroclast”. It was very nice of you to take time to write such a detail information about the SGU education system. I am trying to apply the SGU for the next January. Can you tell me a little more about the exam? You mentioned that all exams were written essay and to answer those hundreds of questions within 2 hours. Do you have enough time to answer all of them? When I went to U C Davis, all the professors gave us multiple choice or sometimes fill in the missing pieces. We hardly have written essay. Multiple choice is easy for them to grade exam. Do you grade by curve?
 
Sep 26, 2019
17
8
New York City
Status
Medical Student
I just join SDN after I read the post “Chondroclast”. It was very nice of you to take time to write such a detail information about the SGU education system. I am trying to apply the SGU for the next January. Can you tell me a little more about the exam? You mentioned that all exams were written essay and to answer those hundreds of questions within 2 hours. Do you have enough time to answer all of them? When I went to U C Davis, all the professors gave us multiple choice or sometimes fill in the missing pieces. We hardly have written essay. Multiple choice is easy for them to grade exam. Do you grade by curve?
Hi! I am a current SGU student (just applied for Match 2020!!). I was in the first term when SGU began using the Systems Based Curriculum. The exams are all multiple choice. The aim for the exams is to get students in the habit of taking multiple choice style exams in the time frame (something like 82 seconds or something per question) that you will have on the USMLE Step 1 exam. The multiple choice questions are written with the intention of preparing students for USMLE Step 1. Grading is done by the administration (I think some exams have a curve and some do not). Most exams will have 10 or so "experimental" questions - I could never tell which ones they were lol. These questions are not graded. You should be able to finish the all the exam questions (again the whole point of the exam being timed is so that you get into the habit of learning how to effectively take multiple choice exams and to be able to time manage during the exam --> because you are going to have to be able to do this on Step 1 regardless of where you go to medical school).

Hope that helped! Let me know if I can answer any other questions or shed some more light onto something!
 
Sep 24, 2019
3
0
Status
Pre-Medical
Hi! I am a current SGU student (just applied for Match 2020!!). I was in the first term when SGU began using the Systems Based Curriculum. The exams are all multiple choice. The aim for the exams is to get students in the habit of taking multiple choice style exams in the time frame (something like 82 seconds or something per question) that you will have on the USMLE Step 1 exam. The multiple choice questions are written with the intention of preparing students for USMLE Step 1. Grading is done by the administration (I think some exams have a curve and some do not). Most exams will have 10 or so "experimental" questions - I could never tell which ones they were lol. These questions are not graded. You should be able to finish the all the exam questions (again the whole point of the exam being timed is so that you get into the habit of learning how to effectively take multiple choice exams and to be able to time manage during the exam --> because you are going to have to be able to do this on Step 1 regardless of where you go to medical school).

Hope that helped! Let me know if I can answer any other questions or shed some more light onto something!
Thanks for your prompt response. I was so worried when “chondroclast” all exams were essay. I am going to apply the SGU this coming Jan 2020. Is it hard to get in to this school? My GPA from post grad is 3.65 but my MCAT score is only 495. Do I have a chance to get into this school? How is your interview? Do you have to fly over there for interview? Is it a panel interview with several professors? How many mini interview before they accepted you? Can you tell me how to apply financial aid? How many units did you take on your first term? Are you living at the dorm or outside campus? Once again to thanks you one more time.
 
Sep 26, 2019
17
8
New York City
Status
Medical Student
Thanks for your prompt response. I was so worried when “chondroclast” all exams were essay. I am going to apply the SGU this coming Jan 2020. Is it hard to get in to this school? My GPA from post grad is 3.65 but my MCAT score is only 495. Do I have a chance to get into this school? How is your interview? Do you have to fly over there for interview? Is it a panel interview with several professors? How many mini interview before they accepted you? Can you tell me how to apply financial aid? How many units did you take on your first term? Are you living at the dorm or outside campus? Once again to thanks you one more time.
Hi Mariko! Your stats seems pretty decent, your GPA is above the average for SGU's admission (3.3/3.2 science) and your MCAT is just below the midpoint for SGU (500). My interview was very laid back, I met with a past SGU grad that was practicing in my hometown so I didn't have to travel far at all! I believe SGU tries to match your interviewer to a Grad that is geographically close to where you are living otherwise they can arrange a phone or Skype interview. It's just the one interview!

As far as financial aid goes if you are a US applicant then you fill out the FAFSA form for your year to get US federal loans (you can call and speak to a financial aid counselor if you have specific questions they would be better suited to answer financial aid questions I don't want to give you any incorrect information --> they can be reached at 1-800-899-6337 ext 1232 M-F during business hours). there's also different scholarships that are offered.

so the first term everyone takes the same classes and it ends up being 17 credits total. starting my term which was august 2016, SGU started teaching using the systems based curriculum. the classes term 1 cover these topics: foundation to medicine (stuff like genetics and biochem), musculoskeletal (this is basically anatomy and anatomy lab), cardio, pulm, and renal

when I was there it was required to spend term 1 living in the dorms on campus (I think that now the requirement is that the first year so terms 1 and 2 are spent living in the dorms on campus). I lived off campus the remainder of my time on the island (term 2/3/4/5) which I loved!!!! I loved driving on the opposite side of the road (like they do in the UK) I think this makes so much more sense. I was also able to save some money by choosing to live off campus. It just depends what you want!
 

Ryomagoku

5+ Year Member
Jun 24, 2013
466
96
Status
Pre-Medical
How long after your interview did you guys hear back? I had mine today and felt okayyy ish. Not sure if I did well. :(
 
Jun 18, 2019
1
0
Status
Pre-Dental
I have never started a thread like this here before, but I just wanted to post my honest, current views on SGU. I have been reading some posts here about SGU and everyone has their own opinions, some are true and some just do not know the correct information/misinformed. I have also received a good amount of messages over the past few months from prospective SGU students and those that just started this term and some that are starting in January. I am always happy to answer and give honest advice. I want to give some honest and current advice as some things posted on the carib thread is a bit dated/not true. I will not really be responding to posts on here individually, as I am busy with classes, but feel free to send me a private message if you have any specific questions and I will try to respond within a week or so. Also, please do not bash or question my reasoning for being at SGU as I have my reasons for being here and that is no one else's business. I did my exhaustive research before coming here and it was pretty much a last resort for me. I apologize in advanced for any grammar/spelling mistakes, I am a med student, not an english writer.

In general, what we are constantly told by 3rd, 4th year students, alumni is that SGU is a foot in the door. SGU has a ton of connections with alumni and residency programs, and it will get you your degree and where you want to be. However, you need to work hard for 2 years and do well on step 1.

Before I begin, I will be basically going through some of the pros and cons of SGU and my experience so far, and just note that my experience will be different from others. I will focus on the first year (first 2 terms). However, I believe a majority of current students would agree with most of this information as we constantly have the same struggles and issues. I've been at SGU for a little over a year now and some of my views have been changing since I started. I have not taken step 1 yet and I have no experience with that part of the process nor rotations, so I am solely speaking on the coursework part of SGU, mostly first two terms. I am not going to get into statistics here.

Should you go to SGU?
  • This is probably the number one question on the carib forums and messages that I get.. I am not going to go too much into this, but I just want to say that YOU need to do your OWN research. Do NOT let anyone on here influence your decision (over a quarter million dollar decision). You need to exhaust all of your options for a few years before deciding carib. Take the MCAT again, or 3 times.. do a post-bacc, a masters... exhaust ALL of your options before coming here. Apply to DO schools... do whatever you can to try to get into MD/DO in the US. This should be your last resort. I have my own reasons for coming here and it was really my last resort. In general, I am happy for my choice thus far. I am US citizen and I feel safe with my choice. If you are not a US citizen, do a lot more research, because getting a residency in the US will probably be tricky for you and there's just a lot more obstacles you have to go through as an IMG non-US citizen. Do your research!

The type of students that apply and that are here/Admissions:
  • Let's face it, most SGU students do not have killer stats... they have some issue with their application, whatever that may be. The only caveat may be Canadian students here. From what I hear, it is super super hard to get into med school in Canada.. and some classmates do have killer stats, but it's just way too competitive to get into Canadian med schools and they don't want to keep waiting, so they attend SGU or Ross. Other than that, most students here have some sort of weakness whether it's GPA or MCAT, or both.

  • In regards to the low gpa and/or mcat dilemma.. I do notice a good amount of students here that are not ready for med school and cannot handle the rigors. After all, SGU is very for-profit and it is a business first, school second. SGU does accept some students with low stats and they do struggle here. So, if you are one of those that are accepted, you may be in for a rude awakening starting term 1. This is why there's a pretty drastic dropout/repeat rate in term 1 (especially august class, as it's larger). It's not about getting in, it's about staying in. They keep changing requirements for passing, but for us, passing an individual term is 70%, and you need a minimum 75% cumulative GPA to continue onto the next term. However, from what I have heard from many first term students, this new term that just started in August, you need a 75% to pass term 1 and keep the 75% cumulative each term. This is no small feat, especially for a first term student, considering their exam averages have been in the 77-78%'s. I will get into some detail on grading coming up in a separate section below.
  • Therefore, some students have to repeat a term due to not having the minimum cumulative GPA. There is an option for this called CR (Credit Remediation), in which you basically do not take the last exam, instead you do a presentation/little paper thing on a selected topic, and you get a CR for that term (no gpa), and you repeat the term from scratch next term and do not have to pay tuition again. For some it seems to really help and they do better after that. For some, they just decide to drop out for many different reasons.
  • Like I said, SGU is very for profit and I do blame admissions for accepting some students that just should not be here and are not ready for this madness. There are a select few that can improve themselves here and get study methods down when they start here. But in general, if you have bad study habits and do not really know how to study effectively before you get here, you're going to struggle as you'll just sink.. There is pretty good help here to improve those skills and learn, but you need to be proactive about it. I'll talk about academic help in another section in this post (DES).

  • There are a good number of students here that did really well on the MCAT and have a masters and so on, and they do really well here.. A good number of students here should be in US medical schools.. some were waitlisted and just didn't want to wait another year, some have other reasons, but there's a lot of really bright students here. One thing in common with students that succeed here is that they work hard and realize we need to do well.
  • I have had several close friends dropout after the first or second term. Mostly they just cannot handle the rigors of med school. Some have anxiety/psych issues as well and cannot handle it emotionally/psychologically.
The school in general/administration:
  • Although SGU is VERY for profit, they do put a good amount of resources back into the school. For example, there's a great psychological services department here, with psychologists and therapists always there for students. There's something called DES (Dept. of Educational Services), which provides free help with studying habits, scheduling studying, workshops on anxiety, stress, MCQ workshops, etc. They also arrange and offer free tutoring from upper term students, as well as some help from the DES staff (MD grads) themselves.
  • There's a brand new gym that was just built, and more study spaces going up with big group tables and large whiteboards. The school does put a good amount of money into the campus, building a new gym, dorm, more study spaces, and keeping the campus up in general. Again, SGU is a business and they are big on marketing the school, so appearance and showing off the buildings and resources is pretty big here.
  • With that being said, SGU needs to invest more into quality professors and organization. I am not going to get into too much detail about this, as I will explain a little more in the academics section of this post, but there needs to be some better quality professors in the Anatomy and Physiology department, as well as better organization of lectures and slides being organized better, as well as incorporating more effective pictures and text into the lecture slides. It often feels that the professors are lazy and will not update slides/questions that are not effective to our learning.
Academics:
I see a lot of questions/confusion on this.. so let me clarify lecture styles. There's two types of lectures (big class or ITI, so you can chose from a big lecture hall type of lecture, or small group learning- ITI). For some reason they keep changing the curriculum, it seems like every term now has a little different structure of curriculum, but from what I hear, this new august term that just started will be consistent with future terms. They have been trying out different styles of curriculum (systems vs non-systems based) the past few years and it seems like they are sticking with systems based and breaking up the class into sections...But there is essentially two styles of lectures:
  • The Big Class: This is the main lecture style that most students start with, at least the start of term 1. You go to a huge lecture hall for 2 hours of lecture a day. If you are in the August starting class, you'll have around 600-800 students in your lecture (broken up into 2 sections), so about 1200-1500 in your total starting class I believe. if you are in the January starting class you will have around 500-600 students in your lecture. You go to lecture 2 hours a day (it used to be 4 hours a day, but they changed things up, thankfully). They have clicker questions each lecture and this is how you get your attendance points. You have to go to at least 80% of lectures each term, otherwise they can fail you. All of these lectures are recorded live to view later, and for ITI students to view for their lectures (see below).
  • ITI (Interactive Team Instruction): This is the second style of lecture. Most students in here were put into it first term or second term due to poor performance on an exam, but some students go into it by choice because they like this style of learning better. There's usually around 100-150 students in ITI each term, sometimes more or less depending which term. These students are not necessarily doing bad, most are actually doing really well on exams, but they just need that extra attention. Basically, in ITI, you start lecture an hour later (since you are watching the recorded lectures of the hour before), you are in a group of about 6-8 students at a big table, with a recent MD grad of SGU, who is your facilitator. There's a 32" ish screen TV that has the powerpoint for the lectures as well as the recorded lecture up on the screen. Everyone at your table watches the lecture on their laptop or tablet with their headphones on and the facilitator stops the lecture randomly for stop points, about 2-4 times during each lecture, to go over the past 10-15 minutes or so of what you just learned. They discuss the major high yield points, sometimes do a multiple choice question together regarding the material you just learned, or sometimes draw out a pathway together on the white board. You then go back to watching the lecture on your screen and then they stop you again... In general, you get more instruction on what is high yield, what to focus on, and the actual professor for the lecture is also there in the room to answer questions from you or your group. It is interactive, and you get more time with the lecture material and more help if needed. Instead of 2 hours of lecture, you are there for 3 hours a day... Since each lecture in the main group is 1 hour, in ITI you spend 1.5 hours on each lecture since you stop to discuss. They will never force you to go into ITI, but if you are struggling in the main lecture they will suggest you to think about going into it and it helps a lot of students. In order to go back into the main lecture, you have to get above an 80% cumulative gpa, but most just stay in it and they like it.
Grading:
  • There's a lot that goes into your grade here, it's not all about your exam scores, but you need to do well, at least pass your exams in order to pass the term/keep your cumulative gpa.
  • Each term varies a little, but in general your first year, you have 5 exams each term worth about 70% of your grade. This is purely written exams. The first exam is a bit shorter, about 105 questions, 2 hours, then the next 4 exams are about 130 questions, 3 hours long. You take the exams in an exam hall, proctored, you get your own little cubicle, and you take them electronically on your laptop via a secure software that locks down your computer. Bring earplugs!! I always wear the foam earplugs in exams as I have a hard time concentrating with sneezes, coughs, etc.
  • Once you get to Terms 4 and 5 exams can be as long as 4 hours, 200 questions. Some exams have about 40-50 cumulative questions.
  • Regarding exams, every exam has about 15 experimental questions (new questions professors are trying out) and you do not know which ones are experimental. Those 15 questions do not count towards your grade, but when you get your grade report the next day you can see what percentage of those experimental questions you got correct. I sometimes get all of them correct and it's frustrating because it could of helped my score, and sometimes I get only a few correct, but oh well you never know which ones they are.
  • The 2nd-5th exams have cumulative material from the previous modules/lecture material which kind of forces you to keep up with the material and keep it fresh.
  • Other than exams, your first year you will have 2 cadaver lab practicals each term, online quizzes each week, IMCQ (interactive multiple choice questions) sessions, Small Group points, an OSCE (patient exam), professionalism points (basically don't do anything naughty)- freebie points, and at the end of term 2 there's a BSCE exam (cumulative exam for the first years material). The middle of Term 5 you have BSCE 2 (cumulative exam) and CBSE (final cumulative exam before step).
  • So, basically you can get an average of lets say 70% on just your written exams, and all of those other points can help you get around a 75% in the class... We call them soft points, as they are easy points to get (online quizzes, labs, IMCQs, it's basically just a matter of attending and you get the point). It can help boost your grade.

  • I see some people post here asking about how fair the questions and exams are... I think it's pretty fair. They pretty much solely ask you material that is in the lecture. They never not ask something that is not in the lecture slides. Therefore, if you know the lecture slides 100%, you will do well. But, with that being said, most students need to use outside resources to help fill in some gaps that the lecture slides leave out in order to fully understand the lecture slides. Most students in general don't really read the textbooks, it depends on the subject though. The textbooks we use the most are the practice question text books (mostly anatomy) and some physiology books.
  • Exam questions are usually pretty fair. There's sometimes an odd question not worded well, and they will usually throw those questions out or those are the experimental ones. All of the exam and quiz questions range from 1st order to 3rd order questions, mostly USMLE style questions, and answer choices usually A-E, sometimes A-J, K, I (lol it's all a matter of narrowing down the answer choices) and sometimes they give you a chart with a lot of answer choices.. so it's a matter of narrowing stuff down. There's also the axis of truth, sometimes one answer is MORE correct than another one, even though two answer choices may be true, one is the BEST and MOST TRUE answer... yeah, you'll see what I mean eventually.
Quality of Education:
I will be brutally honest with this part, and I do not want to get into specifics as I am not here to bash SGU, but to give honest advice. The last thing I will comment on that prospective students need to be aware of, is the quality of education you get here. SGU needs to put more focus and money into hiring higher quality instructors. There are some good professors that I truly love, and you can tell they enjoy teaching and they are good at it. This is mostly the biochemistry, histology, genetics, cell bio departments. Some of those professors have taught at US or UK grad and/or medical schools and they really know how to teach and organize their slides/information really well.
  • The Bad: Some other SGU students have mentioned this in the forum in the past as well, but unfortunately the Anatomy, Neuro, Path, and Physiology department here are pretty bad. They tend to be really disorganized, the slides are all over the place, and some lecturers only have a MASTERS degree!! It's med school, we should be taught strictly by PhD or MD's. The Anatomy and Physio department tends to have professors from Trinidad, Grenada, India, Nigeria, and they are sometimes hard to understand with their accent, they tend to be disorganized, and just don't really have the ability to teach effectively. Some of them constantly make errors in lecture and just do not seem like they truly know the material they are presenting. Anatomy is pretty much a self-taught part of first year. Most students just rely on the Complete Anatomy app, Youtube, Dr. Najeeb, and just learning from the textbook in general.
  • Path in Term 4 is a joke.. taught absolutely horribly. Term 4 is probably the hardest term there is, and it's no joke. It gets a lot of students to repeat. The slides are just totally disorganized, the teachers are outsourced from India and Nigeria and they don't know how to teach at all, and they don't teach to the level of questions they ask on the exams.

  • You have cadaver lab just the first two terms. Cadaver lab is a hot mess here, pretty much having to learn everything on your own in open hours and there tends to be a lack of help there, so it's more or less learning it yourself and just finding out what is high yield from upper termers for the lab practicals. The cadaver lab practicals aren't worth a huge amount of your grade, but those points can really help. The cadavers are already dissected for you, you are not cutting anything, basically you can touch the cadavers and move some stuff around gently, but everything is out there for you.
The Complainers:
  • Something I've noticed especially as my time progresses here is that there are a lot of negative people here. Yes I agree with a lot of the complaints students have, some are valid, some are just spoiled kids not getting what they are used to getting. Academically, I understand some of the complaints students have and I agree with a lot of it. However, some you just cannot help- it's medical school and it's hard, and some students just like to always find an excuse to blame something on. I feel like medical education in general, even hearing from US med student friends, needs to be reformed. Even in the US, med students have to use outside resources because we are not really being taught the way that we should. We have to use so many outside resources- extra books, apps, subscriptions, and teach ourselves most things. It's just how it is, and students here complain a lot about it.
  • In regards to life here, there's a lot of complaints from students, which just do not understand that this is not the US and you cannot have everything your way. We are basically in a third world country, yes the campus is fairly modern and has all of our basic needs, but there are storms, it rains a lot, wifi goes out sometimes, there's bugs, sometimes there's no hot water, etc... it's how life is down here. I really enjoy it here, I try to immerse myself in the culture whenever I can, talk to locals, eat local food, etc... It's an experience being here and some students don't understand that there's a whole other culture outside of the campus gates.
  • In general, students sign themselves up to be here, and there's an airport. They can leave if they don't like it. This isn't the US and it will never be the US, so those students really need to realize the island life is different and to stop complaining about every little thing.
  • In general, there's a lot of negativity here. There's a lot of stress, anxiety, deadlines, etc. I get it... Surround yourself with positive and uplifting people, it makes a big difference.
In Conclusion:
  • Yes it is expensive here, but it is worth it if you can do it and it's your only real option at this point. There's scholarships, ask your admissions counselor for into on it to see if there's one you qualify for. A lot of students don't know about them.
  • Don't get too caught up on the dropout statistics at SGU (worry about it at other lower carib schools), but it's simple- don't be that statistic. You know what you are getting yourself into and you know it's going to be hard. If you are not ready for this, then you will probably be the statistic. I feel like the exams are fair, the material is fair, you just need to put in the effort. Most students that drop out are just not ready for the amount of material and/or they do not put all of their effort into it. If you have a low GPA or MCAT, you need to realize what your weaknesses are before coming here. You need to change things up because if you were getting C's in undergrad science courses, well you are going to struggle here. You need to be able to change your study schedule/habits and realize what you are weak in, in order to improve yourself and do well. There's a lot of help here, and a ton of resources, you just need to go out and ask for help.

  • All in all, SGU has their pros and cons... as does any school, it will get you to where you want to be, a practicing physician in the US.. It is just more difficult and you have to go through more obstacles as a carib IMG. Carib med schools should be a LAST resort. It is NOT easy here. In a way, I think it is harder here than US med schools. We do a lot of self-teaching and we have to find out a lot of resources ourselves, but from what I hear, it makes us much stronger students and physicians in the future.
  • For the most part, I feel like we are being prepared pretty well. Classes are challenging, but do-able, and they stress the high yield USMLE concepts pretty well.
  • Exhaust all of your options with US med schools first (MD and DO), and if doesn't work out, then do serious research in carib med schools and know what you are getting yourself into.

I know this is long, but I really hope this helps, as I have been seeing a lot of repeated questions and misinformation out there.

**Lastly, if you are not a US citizen and you are thinking about coming to SGU, do even more research... because there's a lot more hoops and hurdles you have to go through, and it is even riskier if you are going to try to get into a US residency.
Thank you very much for your honest and insightful opinion!
 
Jun 15, 2019
6
0
Status
Pre-Medical
I'd like to know how long it takes to complete medical school through SGU in practice. I know what is advertised, but I want to know how long it takes the average student from start to finish, including the time it takes to study for exams. Thanks.
 
Sep 26, 2019
17
8
New York City
Status
Medical Student
I'd like to know how long it takes to complete medical school through SGU in practice. I know what is advertised, but I want to know how long it takes the average student from start to finish, including the time it takes to study for exams. Thanks.
Hi! I’m really not sure what the number is but I know most people finish in four years. I personally will be graduating next may and I started in August 2016. If you start in the January term you have several extra weeks to prepare for step 1 and 2. I took 6 ish weeks for step 1.