ChemEng

10+ Year Member
Dec 1, 2008
13
0
Gainesville
Status
Pre-Medical
I would like to know the absolute truth about the St. George's MD program and its reputation. I was just recently accepted to the program (their scholars UK program as well) and I am very hesitant to accept because of all the rumors I hear about out of US schools. I.e. only family practice, no competitive residency placement, etc.

When I interviewed, I brought this topic up as a question and wanted to know what they had to say about it. The interviewer essentially said that there has been a shift in recent years and more and more graduates are getting competitive residencies, dismissing previous notions of the past. Even the St. George's website shows the residencies landed by their graduates and some of them seem impressive. Despite all of this I am still a little skeptical.

I am not certain of what kind of physician I want to become, but currently I am thinking about trauma surgery, in which case a residency in general surgery is required. In any case, I want to keep my options open as much as possible when applying for residencies. I know that grades and USMLE scores are going to be paramount to landing these residencies. Let’s say I am a student as SGU and there is a US med student. The US med student gets an "x" on their boards. Does this mean I will have to get a "x + 20 more points" to get the same residency?

For all current SGU med students and physicians who are SGU graduate and those who work with SGU graduates, can you enlighten me on THE ABSOLUTE TRUTH about this school and the professional world there after? These questions are intended for current med students and professional doctors, so please pre meds, don't you dare think about bashing a med school you absolutely have no clue about!
 
OP
C

ChemEng

10+ Year Member
Dec 1, 2008
13
0
Gainesville
Status
Pre-Medical
I would like to know the absolute truth about the St. George's MD program and its reputation. I was just recently accepted to the program (their scholars UK program as well) and I am very hesitant to accept because of all the rumors I hear about non US schools. I.e. only family practice, no competitive residency placement, etc.

When I interviewed, I brought this topic up as a question and wanted to know what they had to say about it. The interviewer essentially said that there has been a shift in recent years and more and more graduates are getting competitive residencies, dismissing previous notions of the past. Even the St. George's website shows the residencies landed by their graduates and some of them seem impressive. Despite all of this I am still a little skeptical.

I am not certain of what kind of physician I want to become, but currently I am thinking about trauma surgery, in which case a residency in general surgery is required. In any case, I want to keep my options open as much as possible when applying for residencies. I know that grades and USMLE scores are going to be paramount to landing these residencies. Let’s say I am a student as SGU and there is a US med student. The US med student gets an "x" on their boards. Does this mean I will have to get a "x + 20 more points" to get the same residency?

For all current SGU med students and physicians who are SGU graduate and those who work with SGU graduates, can you enlighten me on THE ABSOLUTE TRUTH about this school and the professional world there after? These questions are intended for current med students and professional doctors, so please pre meds, don't you dare think about bashing a med school you absolutely have no clue about!
 

Winged Scapula

Cougariffic!
Staff member
Administrator
Lifetime Donor
15+ Year Member
Apr 9, 2000
39,433
27,981
forums.studentdoctor.net
Status
Attending Physician
Moving to Caribbean Forum as this is not a residency question.

If I may offer some advice:

1) presumably you interviewed at SGU because you couldn't get into a US program. Of the Caribbean schools, it arguably has the best reputation and best match list. Of all foreign schools which cater to US citizens, it also arguably has the most practitioners in the US.

2) considering the above, do you have any other options? If you want to practice medicine in the US, and you cannot get into a US school, then you could do a LOT worse than SGU.

3) general surgery is only moderately competitive; trauma surgery fellowships are NOT competitive. This may change by the time you are ready to apply (for gen surg, not likely for trauma surg) and the majority of medical students change their mind about their specialty once (or more) they are in medical school. You have never been a surgeon, much less a trauma surgeon, so have idea if this is really the right field for you. Trust me, the majority of pre-meds who say they want to be surgeons do NOT end up being surgeons (and there are others like me for whom surgery was the last thing on their mind, and then ended up becoming surgeons).

4) it is not true that SGU grads only match into FM and other non-competitive specialties, but you have to accept that it will be more difficult when you train abroad, especially for competitive specialties. If you can only be happy if you are a plastic surgeon or dermatologist, then you might need to set your sights lower, as these are extremely difficult matches, even for AMGs.

Why are you still dubious? Do you think SGU has falsified its match list?

5) whether or not you require a higher score than AMGs, is not necessarily true, it will depend on other factors, as long as you at least meet the minimum required score that some programs have.

Seems to me that these are issues you should have resolved before applying and interviewing. If you have other options that sound good to you, then perhaps you should further investigate those.

FYI: I have no personal experience with SGU or its grads, so will allow those in this forum to provide more information for you.
 
Last edited:

a winner is you

10+ Year Member
May 24, 2007
196
1
Status
Resident [Any Field]
I am not certain of what kind of physician I want to become, but currently I am thinking about trauma surgery, in which case a residency in general surgery is required. In any case, I want to keep my options open as much as possible when applying for residencies. I know that grades and USMLE scores are going to be paramount to landing these residencies. Let’s say I am a student as SGU and there is a US med student. The US med student gets an "x" on their boards. Does this mean I will have to get a "x + 20 more points" to get the same residency?
In general, yes you will need a higher step 1 score than US students, all other things equal.
 

Pinkertinkle

2003 Member
10+ Year Member
15+ Year Member
Oct 16, 2003
5,004
79
Status
Attending Physician
certainly wouldn't go there if u had any onshore options, the stigma still exists, plus its expensive and they fail out a lot of people to make their matches look more impressive
 

Doublecortin

10+ Year Member
5+ Year Member
Jan 21, 2007
1,303
1
Status
Podiatry Student
I would like to know the absolute truth about the St. George's MD program and its reputation. I was just recently accepted to the program (their scholars UK program as well) and I am very hesitant to accept because of all the rumors I hear about out of US schools. I.e. only family practice, no competitive residency placement, etc.

When I interviewed, I brought this topic up as a question and wanted to know what they had to say about it. The interviewer essentially said that there has been a shift in recent years and more and more graduates are getting competitive residencies, dismissing previous notions of the past. Even the St. George's website shows the residencies landed by their graduates and some of them seem impressive. Despite all of this I am still a little skeptical.

I am not certain of what kind of physician I want to become, but currently I am thinking about trauma surgery, in which case a residency in general surgery is required. In any case, I want to keep my options open as much as possible when applying for residencies. I know that grades and USMLE scores are going to be paramount to landing these residencies. Let’s say I am a student as SGU and there is a US med student. The US med student gets an "x" on their boards. Does this mean I will have to get a "x + 20 more points" to get the same residency?

For all current SGU med students and physicians who are SGU graduate and those who work with SGU graduates, can you enlighten me on THE ABSOLUTE TRUTH about this school and the professional world there after? These questions are intended for current med students and professional doctors, so please pre meds, don't you dare think about bashing a med school you absolutely have no clue about!
I doubt it. Think about it, there has been a steady increase in medical school enrollment recently which will continue into the future, BUT there has not been a concurrent increase in residency positions, especially in things that most med students want like ortho, ophto, derm, rads, you get the idea. So in the future all the competitive residencies will become even more competitive because our generation is lazy and want something quick and easy, instant gratification. So it's a no brainer that program directors would pick a US med school graduate over a foreign graduate
 
Jul 19, 2009
95
0
Status
Pre-Medical
US medical schools (MD and DO) are expanding class sizes as well as opening up new schools. However, there has NOT been an increase in residency slots. This spells bad news for IMGs, no matter what school they attend. Especially those looking for something outside of primary care.
 

J ROD

Watch my TAN walk!!
Lifetime Donor
10+ Year Member
Aug 1, 2005
58,237
1,974
working on my tan......
Status
Resident [Any Field]
US medical schools (MD and DO) are expanding class sizes as well as opening up new schools. However, there has NOT been an increase in residency slots. This spells bad news for IMGs, no matter what school they attend. Especially those looking for something outside of primary care.
This is what would scare me the most. Too risky unless it is the last resort.
 

ar2388

rads resident
10+ Year Member
7+ Year Member
Aug 2, 2007
3,942
4
New York, NY
Status
Resident [Any Field]

vasca

En la era postpasambre
10+ Year Member
5+ Year Member
Nov 7, 2008
1,155
23
Chilangolandia nuevamente
Status
Doesn't mean though that you "have" to practise medicine in the US to be happy. If you chose a european med school, maybe you'd like to practise medicine there. Luckily I'm not interested in the most competitive residenccy specialties. Don't understand Dermatology and find the lifestyle of Ophthalmology and Radiology not my cup of tea (it's.. just... too.... relaxed!!! And radiologists get a disgusting amount of vacations, it's amazing!).

Only choose St Georges if you really want to go there I say.
 

Pinkertinkle

2003 Member
10+ Year Member
15+ Year Member
Oct 16, 2003
5,004
79
Status
Attending Physician
Doesn't mean though that you "have" to practise medicine in the US to be happy. If you chose a european med school, maybe you'd like to practise medicine there. Luckily I'm not interested in the most competitive residenccy specialties. Don't understand Dermatology and find the lifestyle of Ophthalmology and Radiology not my cup of tea (it's.. just... too.... relaxed!!! And radiologists get a disgusting amount of vacations, it's amazing!).

Only choose St Georges if you really want to go there I say.
I don't think anyone who goes to SGU really wants to practice in the Caribbeans.
 

pingouin

just chillin'
Moderator Emeritus
10+ Year Member
Apr 2, 2005
11,358
19
ocean adjacent
Status
Fellow [Any Field]
Moving to the Caribbean school forum...
 

RussianJoo

Useless Member
10+ Year Member
Jun 7, 2004
2,231
44
Rock City
Status
Fellow [Any Field]
Doesn't mean though that you "have" to practise medicine in the US to be happy. If you chose a european med school, maybe you'd like to practise medicine there. Luckily I'm not interested in the most competitive residenccy specialties. Don't understand Dermatology and find the lifestyle of Ophthalmology and Radiology not my cup of tea (it's.. just... too.... relaxed!!! And radiologists get a disgusting amount of vacations, it's amazing!).

Only choose St Georges if you really want to go there I say.
most of the european schools have 2 programs one for their local language for the citizens who will stay and work in their country and one in english for the americans' and canadians' who want to go back home. the english program a lot of times is not recongized for licensure in that country, so if you don't match in the US or canada you're pretty screwed.
 

WellWornLad

10+ Year Member
Feb 5, 2008
1,090
31
Status
Resident [Any Field]
Doesn't mean though that you "have" to practise medicine in the US to be happy.
Yeah, OP, what's with this whole "gee I wanna spend at least some part of the rest of my life working in the country I grew up in" attitude?

Looking at this year's match, IMGs/FMGs got absolutely hammered, and all signs point to things getting much worse over the next few years. Not only are more allopathic med schools opening up, but more DOs are opening/applying allo. A good proportion of those FMGs ended up in family practice/primary care, where they can't give away the slots they have. Unfortunately, the US gov't has decided that it is going to deal with the shortage of primary care docs by increasing med students and keeping the same number of residency slots, thus forcing less competitive med students into primary care. That's gonna increase the competitive pressure on just about all specialties, and DO/FMG/IMG are going to get the worst of it - probably in that order, too.
 
Last edited:

cleothecat

10+ Year Member
Feb 1, 2007
313
0
Status
Attending Physician
This comment reflects poorly on the motivations of today's applicants to medical school.

Family Medicine was once considered the cornerstone of our medical system and one of the most gratifying fields.
 

Instatewaiter

But... there's a troponin
10+ Year Member
Apr 28, 2006
6,052
2,088
Washington
Status
Attending Physician
This comment reflects poorly on the motivations of today's applicants to medical school.

Family Medicine was once considered the cornerstone of our medical system and one of the most gratifying fields.
I completely agree.

But the comment has merit. Many students today are shying away from primary care because they worry about reimbursement and worry about midlevel encroachment. It seems foolish to enter a field that may face problems in the near future when you could enter a field in just a few more years that will have 3x more reimbursement and you wont have to worry about midlevels saying they can do your job and further decrease your reimbursement.
 

bambi

Junior Member
10+ Year Member
15+ Year Member
Aug 5, 2003
827
32
England
Visit site
Status
Resident [Any Field]
I completely agree.

But the comment has merit. Many students today are shying away from primary care because they worry about reimbursement and worry about midlevel encroachment. It seems foolish to enter a field that may face problems in the near future when you could enter a field in just a few more years that will have 3x more reimbursement and you wont have to worry about midlevels saying they can do your job and further decrease your reimbursement.
Or they might just find primary care totally dull! No one ever seems to mention that.

I find this sort of comment really odd as a UK med student, generally when we apply for jobs money isn't a factor, it might be a bit, but not the way it seems to be for you guys. I'm not having a go or anything, you generally have much bigger loans to pay back than we do, it just seems so strange. Can't you defer payment anyway though til you are making the big bucks? Surely everything pays enough eventually?
 

shamrockmd

ASA Member
10+ Year Member
Mar 13, 2006
14
0
San Antonio, TX
Status
Attending Physician
I agree about the reputation of SGU...but....there are 2 SGU grads in my anesthesia program and 1 in our ortho program.
 

tracheatoedoc

10+ Year Member
7+ Year Member
Jan 16, 2009
171
4
Status
Attending Physician
I think SGU is a good pathway. I went to AUC. Loved it.
Yeah doing well on the USMLE1 is the most important thing in your world.
Do really well and you can do a lot. Barely pass and you will be an FP.
Trauma Surgery is not competitve, and neither is general surgery. Trauma surgeons tend to be people not particularly good at surgery.
 

Saga1

10+ Year Member
7+ Year Member
Dec 6, 2008
74
0
Status
Medical Student
If the Residency bill passes then i would go to the caribbean. Otherwise I would not.
 
Jun 15, 2009
21
0
Status
I would like to know the absolute truth about the St. George's MD program and its reputation. I was just recently accepted to the program (their scholars UK program as well) and I am very hesitant to accept because of all the rumors I hear about out of US schools. I.e. only family practice, no competitive residency placement, etc.

When I interviewed, I brought this topic up as a question and wanted to know what they had to say about it. The interviewer essentially said that there has been a shift in recent years and more and more graduates are getting competitive residencies, dismissing previous notions of the past. Even the St. George's website shows the residencies landed by their graduates and some of them seem impressive. Despite all of this I am still a little skeptical.

I am not certain of what kind of physician I want to become, but currently I am thinking about trauma surgery, in which case a residency in general surgery is required. In any case, I want to keep my options open as much as possible when applying for residencies. I know that grades and USMLE scores are going to be paramount to landing these residencies. Let’s say I am a student as SGU and there is a US med student. The US med student gets an "x" on their boards. Does this mean I will have to get a "x + 20 more points" to get the same residency?

For all current SGU med students and physicians who are SGU graduate and those who work with SGU graduates, can you enlighten me on THE ABSOLUTE TRUTH about this school and the professional world there after? These questions are intended for current med students and professional doctors, so please pre meds, don't you dare think about bashing a med school you absolutely have no clue about!
hi I have read in the UK Ireland section of this forum that the SGU UK scholars program is not as yet approved by California so if you are considering SGU get into the Granada program and you will be able to practise in all the states of USA
Best of luck in your studies
 

schandan13

10+ Year Member
5+ Year Member
Aug 27, 2008
236
2
Status
Medical Student
hi I have read in the UK Ireland section of this forum that the SGU UK scholars program is not as yet approved by California so if you are considering SGU get into the Granada program and you will be able to practise in all the states of USA
Best of luck in your studies
Actually the GSP/KBT SGU program got "retroactive recognition" by the California Medical Board about 3 weeks back.
 

dragonfly99

10+ Year Member
May 15, 2008
5,092
50
Status
Attending Physician
I agree mostly with winged scapula,
but agree with other posters who said yes, you will generally need higher step scores if coming from a foreign school.
Nobody knows what the residency situation will be like by the time you are trying to match in 5 years or so...it might be easier, harder or the same for foreign trained docs.

I know one attending doctor who went to St George and everyone liked him fine, he was competent, etc. You don't see many SGU trained docs in my area of the country (South/Midwest), at least not in the hospitals where I've worked. I know of one veterinarian who also trained at SGU. The main hurdle would be getting the general surgery residency...I think if you got yourself in, then trauma surg wouldn't be much of a problem. It has bad hours so I think tends not to attract the most applicants. Winged Scapula is 1000% right about the fact that most premeds end up changing their minds about what specialty they want to do, however.

If you are a US citizen and don't need a visa, then you'll have it easier than non citizen foreign trained docs in terms of getting residency, but still harder than US trained docs. With the expansion of US med schools' class sizes, if you are/were competitive for SGU you might have a shot at a US school, if you're willing to reapply and improve your application. Only you know if your academics, etc. can be improved, OP. Personally, I think IMHO if someone is strong enough to get in St George then he/she might want to consider pushing hard for lower tier US allo schools and for DO schools. DO school seems safer given that they have their own residency programs, and one can still apply for allopathic residency if he/she wants. I recently supervised a DO grad intern and she was good, comparable to US allopathic interns I've worked with.
 
Mar 1, 2011
9
1
Status
Unless SGU is your only option you should really think about going there.

Here are some facts:
1. SGU accepts over 700 students per class - of course it can't handle this volume so they will make sure that about 15%-20% drop out, fail, "decelerate" (drop one course and then take only that one course next term, "tuition free," but b/c it's one course you get no financial aid, so...) etc. They will do so in a very "student friendly way" as they say with all these services they offer: Dept. of Educational Services, etc... but advice you get is limited and quality of people working there is shady. So it appears student friendly, but it is not. Let's be real - it's for profit and it's $ friendly first. I believe that only Tufts University in Boston costs more than SGU, and am pretty sure that you'll get far better education, friendlier atmosphere and guaranteed residency there than at SGU.

How do they do this? Well, I do not know details of inner workings of a for-profit corporations oops.... I mean schools, but certainly accepting more students than they can accommodate leads to crowded lecture halls, and more importantly crowded labs and study spaces around the campus. Also, SGU only gives you two big exams which assures that a certain % of students will fail, b/c if you put such a high % of a grade on only 2 exams, even if someone has a bad day on one exam they are pretty much out...

2. Anatomy lab at SGU is a joke. Not only do you not dissect, and can only move structures with little "chopsticks" but you only get like 5 minutes per station and are out of there in 50 minutes -you cannot learn anything like that. Of course, they encourage you to come to the open laboratory hours daily, but the reality is that often there is not enough hours in the day to cover all lectures and go to those open hours (which should be part of the formal instructional hours, but you can't have 700 + students dissecting s this was their solution)... This is cost effective for them, makes sure all 700+ students get exposure to it, but no real learning in this environment (to be fair they have small group discussion sections with some physical examination-anatomy correlates and a dry/imaging lab - nice and dandy, but you don't really learn real anatomy).

Anatomy faculty are pretty funny characters: "Dr." Marios Loucas got both his MD and PhD at one of those Polish English-Speaking med schools - think it's Warsaw Medical University in Poland, yet behaves like he's a former Rhodes Scholar... and his claim to fame is that he was an "instructor" in some Harvard Lab for medical education (may have been continuing education, but "Harvard" is always good marketing for SGU). His other claim to fame is this book of questions that covers topics from a real Gray's Book written by different authors... The whole dept. is staffed by some highly skilled staff/instructors from places like Cuba, Nigeria, etc. - all smart and skilled, and probably better paid than they would be in their countries of origin... A few may be "strict" in small groups/PBLs and behave like they are still back home, but for the most part they are simpatico and can be helpful...

Troubling trend is that quite a few instructors are SGU alums - which means they did not match yet - after dropping $250 K on supposedly the best education the Caribbean can dish out this is concerning...

3. Histology: the only place in which you actually get to learn something in small group discussions... The extent to which you learn depends who your discussion group leader/instructor will be - slides are presented on big screens and you usually present 5-10 slides, sometimes with a help of, but often as you are being challenged by instructor.

4. Biochemistry: Gives you the "objectives" which you have to learn (basically memorize every slide of every lecture, more or less, depending on what grade you want) - gives the whole curriculum that standardized for-profit feel - like, they probably develop the curriculum around the USMLEs and then make you memorize all 1400 slides for midterm and final each... If you do well I suppose that is some predictor of your future performance on the USMLEs... Again, you have variety of profs - some with foreign accent which you can't really understand, and who are reading from slides, so I don't see the reason to go to those lectures (even though SGU is very big on the whole generic Pre-read-lecture-post-read), and others have their Ph.D. in Zoology yet teach transcription and molec bio part of biochemistry (OK, give them a break, maybe they did post-doc in molec bio, not that it matters-med school biochem is relatively elementary, so long as you have good memory and some common sense)....

5. All exams are taken on your computer using a special software - Softest, which blocks computer's apps while you take the exam - this means you have to bring your laptop and internet cable cords (in case wireless goes out) during the exam. This is kind of weird and can be stressful when you see all the people going into the auditorium, and then trying to find a seat with both power outlet and internet... most seats do have it in those auditoriums, but still, can feel crowded an overwhelming at times.

6.Overall grade SGU gets for cost of attendance, quality of education, etc.: C... Yes, I think it passes... It's good for some people, but the last place for others... Majority should save money and headache and not go here... Sad fact is that it is one of the better places in the Caribbean so I'm afraid to think of what would worse place look like... also, some other places may just be a better fit for some students (e.g., AUC gives 4 or 5 smaller, more digestible exams per term, giving each student more chance to improve and pass).

SGU are masters of cost efficacy - all tutorial / support study groups through Department of Student Services are done for free by upper term students (free is always good when you are making profit and trying to cut the cost)... I think that the whole 2 exams per term may also save them some money and trouble in terms of having to proctor and plan the exam, etc...

If you decided to attend the SGU here is some free advice-take it or leave it:
1. Be friendly with upper termers and try to get your hands on one of those "Mac Daddy" or Grand daddy files ASAP (just go to one of the DES groups and sooner or later someone will give you somethin')
2.Do NOT WASTE too much time trying to learn (I know, sad) but rather study for the exam (and if you learn a few things don't worry - it may come in handy), but doing as many mock Qs as possible (Kaplan; DES group questions; Mac Daddy's files, etc.). For Biochem, read each lecture about 5x over 2 months, memorize them and do Qs... try to come up with your own questions. Still, memorize the **** out of the slides, EVERY detail, even if not on coveted objectives.
3. Do NOT WASTE your time prepping for Histology lab -2 hrs. tops (the above mentioned files should help cut your prep time in half as they have prepared and labeled labs). Don't have to go to Histo lectures - better off going over BRS chapters and doing online questions.
4. Lots of advice and lots of resources thrown at you - listen to a few, pick a few, but mostly listen to yourself, and once you find resources that work for you stick with those...
5.For Anatomy just cover that silly Gray's Review Q book 2-3x and know explanations very well (there are a few mistakes so be cautioned, but for the most part it's on the spot). Go to open lab hours 2-3 times per week max, but go there prepared - know what you are looking for, be out n 30-40 mins... Don't blow away your imaging lab quizzes - they add up to about 15% of overall grade so should be relatively easy points or you...

If you have time before you come to SGU cover Back, Upper Limbs and Thorax and do Qs in Gray's Review Q book by Loukas et al... This will put you seriously ahead and buy you precious time to focus your energies on biochemistry - Content of the 1st term is NOT hard, it's just that there is a LOT of it and not much time b/c of so many required lab/small group sessions....

Good Luck!!!
 
  • Like
Reactions: koopatroopa8

bedevilled ben

The Jung and the Restless
5+ Year Member
Aug 28, 2012
447
508
Status
Resident [Any Field]
This is all good advice and pretty accurate. I think the biggest mistake people make coming down here, is to think that the school has your best interests at heart. They don't. They want your money, plain and simple. But they have something you want too, which is an MD and a chance to practice medicine. If you keep that in mind, it will make all of your interactions with the school easier.

gives the whole curriculum that standardized for-profit feel - like, they probably develop the curriculum around the USMLEs and then make you memorize all 1400 slides for midterm and final
This is absolutely true, they mention it at various points. The curriculum is built around the USMLE. And it's a damn good policy since your medical education is only as good as your previous institution. The USMLE is all we have to set ourselves apart from US graduates. The goal of basic science isn't to learn medicine, it's to learn facts and figures and the rationale for why you do the things that you do. Not teaching to the test would be a disservice to their students.

Majority should save money and headache and not go here...
And do what instead? Almost nobody comes here because they want to. The Big 4 are the only real options left for people like me that really want to study and practice medicine but are unappealing candidates for US med schools for various reasons. SGU is giving people like me a chance when nobody else would. For all the crappy things that the school undeniably does, I owe them something for that.
 

laricb

5+ Year Member
Aug 18, 2012
489
85
NYC
Status
Resident [Any Field]
:thumbup::thumbup:
This is all good advice and pretty accurate. I think the biggest mistake people make coming down here, is to think that the school has your best interests at heart. They don't. They want your money, plain and simple. But they have something you want too, which is an MD and a chance to practice medicine. If you keep that in mind, it will make all of your interactions with the school easier.


This is absolutely true, they mention it at various points. The curriculum is built around the USMLE. And it's a damn good policy since your medical education is only as good as your previous institution. The USMLE is all we have to set ourselves apart from US graduates. The goal of basic science isn't to learn medicine, it's to learn facts and figures and the rationale for why you do the things that you do. Not teaching to the test would be a disservice to their students.



And do what instead? Almost nobody comes here because they want to. The Big 4 are the only real options left for people like me that really want to study and practice medicine but are unappealing candidates for US med schools for various reasons. SGU is giving people like me a chance when nobody else would. For all the crappy things that the school undeniably does, I owe them something for that.
 
Sep 7, 2013
18
1
Status
Pre-Medical
Thanks for the tips! I want to buy a new laptop soon, which one would you recommend for med school?
 

clarkbar

10+ Year Member
Nov 3, 2007
264
9
Status
Unless SGU is your only option you should really think about going there.

Here are some facts:
1. SGU accepts over 700 students per class - of course it can't handle this volume so they will make sure that about 15%-20% drop out, fail, "decelerate" (drop one course and then take only that one course next term, "tuition free," but b/c it's one course you get no financial aid, so...) etc. They will do so in a very "student friendly way" as they say with all these services they offer: Dept. of Educational Services, etc... but advice you get is limited and quality of people working there is shady. So it appears student friendly, but it is not. Let's be real - it's for profit and it's $ friendly first. I believe that only Tufts University in Boston costs more than SGU, and am pretty sure that you'll get far better education, friendlier atmosphere and guaranteed residency there than at SGU.

How do they do this? Well, I do not know details of inner workings of a for-profit corporations oops.... I mean schools, but certainly accepting more students than they can accommodate leads to crowded lecture halls, and more importantly crowded labs and study spaces around the campus. Also, SGU only gives you two big exams which assures that a certain % of students will fail, b/c if you put such a high % of a grade on only 2 exams, even if someone has a bad day on one exam they are pretty much out...

2. Anatomy lab at SGU is a joke. Not only do you not dissect, and can only move structures with little "chopsticks" but you only get like 5 minutes per station and are out of there in 50 minutes -you cannot learn anything like that. Of course, they encourage you to come to the open laboratory hours daily, but the reality is that often there is not enough hours in the day to cover all lectures and go to those open hours (which should be part of the formal instructional hours, but you can't have 700 + students dissecting s this was their solution)... This is cost effective for them, makes sure all 700+ students get exposure to it, but no real learning in this environment (to be fair they have small group discussion sections with some physical examination-anatomy correlates and a dry/imaging lab - nice and dandy, but you don't really learn real anatomy).

Anatomy faculty are pretty funny characters: "Dr." Marios Loucas got both his MD and PhD at one of those Polish English-Speaking med schools - think it's Warsaw Medical University in Poland, yet behaves like he's a former Rhodes Scholar... and his claim to fame is that he was an "instructor" in some Harvard Lab for medical education (may have been continuing education, but "Harvard" is always good marketing for SGU). His other claim to fame is this book of questions that covers topics from a real Gray's Book written by different authors... The whole dept. is staffed by some highly skilled staff/instructors from places like Cuba, Nigeria, etc. - all smart and skilled, and probably better paid than they would be in their countries of origin... A few may be "strict" in small groups/PBLs and behave like they are still back home, but for the most part they are simpatico and can be helpful...

Troubling trend is that quite a few instructors are SGU alums - which means they did not match yet - after dropping $250 K on supposedly the best education the Caribbean can dish out this is concerning...

3. Histology: the only place in which you actually get to learn something in small group discussions... The extent to which you learn depends who your discussion group leader/instructor will be - slides are presented on big screens and you usually present 5-10 slides, sometimes with a help of, but often as you are being challenged by instructor.

4. Biochemistry: Gives you the "objectives" which you have to learn (basically memorize every slide of every lecture, more or less, depending on what grade you want) - gives the whole curriculum that standardized for-profit feel - like, they probably develop the curriculum around the USMLEs and then make you memorize all 1400 slides for midterm and final each... If you do well I suppose that is some predictor of your future performance on the USMLEs... Again, you have variety of profs - some with foreign accent which you can't really understand, and who are reading from slides, so I don't see the reason to go to those lectures (even though SGU is very big on the whole generic Pre-read-lecture-post-read), and others have their Ph.D. in Zoology yet teach transcription and molec bio part of biochemistry (OK, give them a break, maybe they did post-doc in molec bio, not that it matters-med school biochem is relatively elementary, so long as you have good memory and some common sense)....

5. All exams are taken on your computer using a special software - Softest, which blocks computer's apps while you take the exam - this means you have to bring your laptop and internet cable cords (in case wireless goes out) during the exam. This is kind of weird and can be stressful when you see all the people going into the auditorium, and then trying to find a seat with both power outlet and internet... most seats do have it in those auditoriums, but still, can feel crowded an overwhelming at times.

6.Overall grade SGU gets for cost of attendance, quality of education, etc.: C... Yes, I think it passes... It's good for some people, but the last place for others... Majority should save money and headache and not go here... Sad fact is that it is one of the better places in the Caribbean so I'm afraid to think of what would worse place look like... also, some other places may just be a better fit for some students (e.g., AUC gives 4 or 5 smaller, more digestible exams per term, giving each student more chance to improve and pass).

SGU are masters of cost efficacy - all tutorial / support study groups through Department of Student Services are done for free by upper term students (free is always good when you are making profit and trying to cut the cost)... I think that the whole 2 exams per term may also save them some money and trouble in terms of having to proctor and plan the exam, etc...

If you decided to attend the SGU here is some free advice-take it or leave it:
1. Be friendly with upper termers and try to get your hands on one of those "Mac Daddy" or Grand daddy files ASAP (just go to one of the DES groups and sooner or later someone will give you somethin')
2.Do NOT WASTE too much time trying to learn (I know, sad) but rather study for the exam (and if you learn a few things don't worry - it may come in handy), but doing as many mock Qs as possible (Kaplan; DES group questions; Mac Daddy's files, etc.). For Biochem, read each lecture about 5x over 2 months, memorize them and do Qs... try to come up with your own questions. Still, memorize the **** out of the slides, EVERY detail, even if not on coveted objectives.
3. Do NOT WASTE your time prepping for Histology lab -2 hrs. tops (the above mentioned files should help cut your prep time in half as they have prepared and labeled labs). Don't have to go to Histo lectures - better off going over BRS chapters and doing online questions.
4. Lots of advice and lots of resources thrown at you - listen to a few, pick a few, but mostly listen to yourself, and once you find resources that work for you stick with those...
5.For Anatomy just cover that silly Gray's Review Q book 2-3x and know explanations very well (there are a few mistakes so be cautioned, but for the most part it's on the spot). Go to open lab hours 2-3 times per week max, but go there prepared - know what you are looking for, be out n 30-40 mins... Don't blow away your imaging lab quizzes - they add up to about 15% of overall grade so should be relatively easy points or you...

If you have time before you come to SGU cover Back, Upper Limbs and Thorax and do Qs in Gray's Review Q book by Loukas et al... This will put you seriously ahead and buy you precious time to focus your energies on biochemistry - Content of the 1st term is NOT hard, it's just that there is a LOT of it and not much time b/c of so many required lab/small group sessions....

Good Luck!!!
This actually sounds like my friend's school, NYMC, lol. Except, that the main focus was a managerie of minutia and nerd fighting over what superficial material should be included in an already bloated, record length school year.
To improve match scores, they also ocassionally held back students and grafted a USMLE final exam on every class. Problem was that this didn't overlap the 'learning' in house information well and was like studying for two exams. Be thankful you only have to focus on test prep. As sad as it sounds, med school is an exercise of slogging pain and is a very inefficient way to learn for most people overwhelmed with minutia never to be seen again.