Pursuing MD

Senior Member
7+ Year Member
15+ Year Member
Jun 20, 2002
L.A., city of the scandalous
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Hello all,

As we all know, it is important to do well in medical school and even more important to do well on the Boards. People have suggested studying for the Boards as early as your 1st year at medical school.

I wanted to know what you think is the key to doing well in a (Caribbean) medical school, AND MORE IMPRTANTLY doing well on the Boards? (i.e. Study, study, and study some more, OR set a daily agenda/studying schedule and follow it thru, OR Study & Exercise, OR any other ideas...feel free to provide any other suggestions).


Stephen Ewen

10+ Year Member
15+ Year Member
Feb 5, 2000
Somewhere in Micronesia
I usually don't jump right in to Forum posts like this, but this is a question I personally have a lot of things to say over, and have for a long period. It is a long-term trend in me, personally: medical education pedagogy. I don't have a lot of time right now, and so will be sketchy in my reply, though this good question warrants more than this. Indeed, whole books have been written in the genre of "How to Do Well in Medical School." Hence, I will take a realist approach and avoid critiques of actual medical pedagogy here; I will take a SINCE med ed IS such and such a way....THEREFORE approach.

Let me immediately point out that roughly half of the same general counsel that would be applicable to this question is applicable to ANY medical school, no matter the country.

For the first part:

From grade school on, we are taught to put much of the burden of learning upon the teacher. Indeed, teacher education itself places this burden upon teachers, in essence saying that if your kids are not learning, then it is much because you, the teacher, need to go have a long look in the mirror. And it SHOULD be this way, given other options, all the other variables that might actually go into answering the problem of non-learning not withstanding. This inculcated value in pedagogy, it should be pointed out, is as often as much of the ethos of pedagogical theory and technique in High School as it is in grade school. And, depending upon where we go to undergrad, it can be there thriving too, or at least in varying measures.

Now, we all just love it when we are under systems of excellent pedagogy. We thrive, are fed and are inspired. Yet, a cardinal lesson medical students must learn is to not place emphasis on good pedagogy in order to learn material. In med edu, the burden shifts. It shifts to the student in a way that it never quite existed in students in all their prior educational experiences. Taking this psychological shift-- and a psychological shift is exactly what it is--is, I think, the foremost "key" to doing well in medical school, Carib or not.

And having to make this "shift" is very much by design. You will be a doctor of medicine . And medicine is a rapidly changing field in most cultures (like ours). Hence, in med edu, the general truth is that the emphasis of pedagogy is upon "teaching" the student to be self-learners, as opposed to "feeding" them, as was the general trend in their prior schooling experiences. This is a notion that, I am sure you can see that, by very reason of the "rules of the game," is one with extremely strong underlying merit. Hence, we can conclude that whatever you need to learn, whether for boards or whatever, the primary onus falls upon you to take whatever steps you need to take in order to learn it.

Now, for the second part.

If one goes abroad for med edu there is the experiential and contextual learning components that come into play--or, could and should come into play. If the US student in another culture will refuse to take an insulating bubble of their own culture into other countries into which they go, but instead take on the culture of their host country in all appropriate ways, they will be all the better for it.

This is especially true in 'Caribbean" countries such as the Dominican Republic, and the like. But Mexico is a place where this approach can easily be taken as well. So is Africa, the Middle East, and Asia--obviously so in those places. The approach is possible to take in Europe too, if you think about it.

Really, such an approach is possible in any non-US country. For example, I am acquainted with a SGU student who took this approach, and in fact ended up adopting a Grenadian orphan into his family. Similarly with Ross. And though some countries obviously provide a greater ease-ability for this approach, and as already mentioned, doing this is possible no matter where you go, non-US wise, at least in one measure or another.

It might--it will-- take effort, and a deliberate seeking out, of suich contexts either way. When all is said and done, the idea behind this is that, simply put, the worth of a bi-cultural, and even a bi-cultural and bi-lingual student, who has been able to conceptualize life from the standpoints of the Other--it is simply of incalculable value, and a factor that IMGs have not well enough emphasized as their comparative advantage over others without such experiences. But if the IMG does not take such an approach to their med edu abroad, how can they even argue for this advantage? They are instead left with a conceptually (don't miss that word--it is maybe true, and maybe not) "sub-par" education up against those without it, and who hold most other things in common

That's all I have time for right now. I am sure you will gain other inputs as this thread moves along.
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