Apr 8, 2010
17
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Pre-Medical
Hi,

I've recently been accepted to UCC and some schools in the UK. One thing that I've read on the UCC brochure that I think may potentially be really useful is their claim to have "specially designed USMLE study sessions." I'm wondering whether these sessions are actually valuable enough to sway my decision or whether they do something small such as invite Kaplan over for a USMLE diagnostic test. The main concern I have with the UCC graduate-entry program is that it is brand new. Were there many speed bumps in the first year of this program or has it gone smoothly?

This will help me make my decision. Thanks in advance.
 
Apr 22, 2009
21
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Non-Student
Hi,

I've recently been accepted to UCC and some schools in the UK. One thing that I've read on the UCC brochure that I think may potentially be really useful is their claim to have "specially designed USMLE study sessions." I'm wondering whether these sessions are actually valuable enough to sway my decision or whether they do something small such as invite Kaplan over for a USMLE diagnostic test. The main concern I have with the UCC graduate-entry program is that it is brand new. Were there many speed bumps in the first year of this program or has it gone smoothly?

This will help me make my decision. Thanks in advance.
Congrats on your UCC offer! :thumbup:

Interesting. :rolleyes:
I'm a UCC GEM student and I wasn't aware that they had established "specially designed USMLE study sessions". There's been talk of setting this up; however, I wasn't aware it was a done deal!
Perhaps other UCC GEM students can enlighten us all!

It's definitely a great idea - whatever they offer in terms of USMLE preparation is proper order given the fees that international / North American students pay, and the fact that IMGs are not necessarily guaranteed internship spots.

UCC's GEM course is not completely brand new - granted, it is currently in its second year so I can't comment on how the first year went.
For us current 1st years, I suppose there haven't been many 'speed bumps' worth getting worked up over.
 
Apr 8, 2010
17
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Pre-Medical
Thanks Fiddler,
Its great to hear that the GEM is going well. With respect to the USMLE sessions, I called and asked UCC about this and they said that these sessions involve bringing Kaplan in for a diagnostic, which is also useful. Anyways, I’ll likely be seeing you in August!
 
Feb 6, 2010
17
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Ireland
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Medical Student
Thanks Fiddler,
Its great to hear that the GEM is going well. With respect to the USMLE sessions, I called and asked UCC about this and they said that these sessions involve bringing Kaplan in for a diagnostic, which is also useful. Anyways, I’ll likely be seeing you in August!

Thats sounds nice, but...

Thats it! Kaplan comes over for a visit. How is that a "specially designed USMLE study session", I dont get it. Though I have to give props to them for doing something, definitely a factor in my decision making.

P.S. Do we end up paying extra for this service, did you ask Canuck? Kaplan isnt exactly cheap, especially if they are going to bill us for their flight over to Cork.
 
Apr 22, 2009
21
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Non-Student
....With respect to the USMLE sessions, I called and asked UCC about this and they said that these sessions involve bringing Kaplan in for a diagnostic, which is also useful. Anyways, I’ll likely be seeing you in August!
Thats sounds nice, but...

Thats it! Kaplan comes over for a visit. How is that a "specially designed USMLE study session", I dont get it. Though I have to give props to them for doing something, definitely a factor in my decision making....
As I suspected......:cool:

Here's the deal:
(without making it too long-winded because it has to do with having loans approved for North American students and 'accreditation' with loans companies, etc.)

UCC (and probably others), is not 'hot' on allowing it's students to take the USMLE for ****s and giggles. In fact, we were specifically warned about 'chancers' taking the USMLE (at least step 1) without UCC knowing or approving.
The reason they gave is that they didn't want students taking Step 1 if they weren't ready because it looks bad for the program overall.
That's definitely understandable - I see where they're coming from.

Apparently (and logically), USMLE scores are compiled for each institution and are used as a quasi-gauge of how good the students are. Since the numbers of students taking the USMLE from any particular Irish medical school wouldn't be particularly high, it wouldn't take many students sitting the exam and doing poorly on it to put a dent on their average scores.
Supposedly that would impact UCC's ability to have North Americans apply for loans in the US / Canada because they would lose 'accreditation' of sorts.

We (the students) were told that they (i.e. the medical school) would assess the students and let them know if they were 'ready' to take at least Step 1.

....P.S. Do we end up paying extra for this service, did you ask Canuck? Kaplan isnt exactly cheap, especially if they are going to bill us for their flight over to Cork.
I should hope the answer to this is 'absolutely not'. At 39,200 euro a head per NA student, they can afford an assessment to be administered. The USMLE is already offered in Dublin (at least).

So...
The bottom line is that a diagnostic USMLE is good for UCC and it's good for the student vis-a-vis gauging how prepared they are for the test.
 
Feb 6, 2010
17
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Ireland
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Medical Student
Thanks Fiddler, at least they are thinking about it, which does help greatly.

maybe, and this is probably just a dream, but maybe one day some of these Irish schools can get accredited here in the US, so we dont have to worry about ECFMG certification. Though I dont know too much about what it takes to be accredited here.
 

Arb

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It appears no one here is at the stage to write the Step 1 so I'll clear some things up.

1. Applications to the USMLE must go through your school. There is NO WAY you can write the USMLE without your school's approval so it's impossible for you to write Step 1 without UCC knowing. Also, it costs >$1000 so no one writes it for "****s and giggles".

2. When you are going through your application for Step 1 (and Step 2), simply click on the option to withhold results from your medical school if you so wish. UCC can not know your results without your approval (I doubt they care anyways). ECFMG will know of course but they won't disclose the statistics for each school.

3. You don't need Kaplan at all for Step 1. The majority of people I know studied on their own and did fine. I only know 1 person (he went to Ross) who did Kaplan and he scored the average mark. I didn't find Step 1 to be that difficult at all. If you take your classes seriously and prepare early, you'll do fine. Step 1 is the least of your worries...

4. If they do a diagnostic to gauge if you are ready for the test, make sure you've been studying for ~4 weeks before doing the diagnostic. If UCC requires you to pass it before they grant you approval to do Step 1, that means you'll be preparing MONTHS before you even cover some of the topics as the application process can take more than a month to complete. Also, you'll want to register atleast 3 months before your test date to ensure you get the test date that you want at the location you want. Could be good motivation to prepare early or disaster for some people.
 

jnuts

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1. Applications to the USMLE must go through your school. There is NO WAY you can write the USMLE without your school's approval so it's impossible for you to write Step 1 without UCC knowing. Also, it costs >$1000 so no one writes it for "****s and giggles".
I agree completely that the review sessions/ Kaplan courses are of limited value next to independant study and practice. Plus the exact same material and lectures 'might' be available elsewhere.

But people do sign up to take it thinking that they might want to work in the US at some point and that they'll never know the core material better than they do after pre-clinical is over. Or it might be on the off-chance they do brilliantly and a residency falls into their lap. Or they feel obligated because all the North Americans are doing it (don't laugh, a number of people in my class did it for that reason). Or they think its good review. Or its practice for the MCCEE (its not BTW).

Then the summer rolls around and they might not get as much studying in as they wanted to, but they write it anyway because they've already shelled out for it and it doesn't really matter if you're not going to end up in the States right?

Any non-American writing the USMLE is going to feel less pressure than an American (for whom scoring well is an absolute requirement) and might under-perform. This is especially true when you're comparing foreign stats to a US Medical School. I think that's more what the Irish colleges figure is happening.
 

Arb

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The schools should have no problem with North Americans taking Step 1. They have to worry about the IRISH students. There are quite a few Irish students who take the USMLE to be eligible for American fellowships 5-7 years from now. All they need to do is pass the Steps so they don't worry about doing well unlike North Americans. I know Irish students who studied for 2 weeks and passed Step 1. I guess it's reassuring that 2 weeks of studying will get you a pass but those people probably ruined it for you guys at UCC.
 
Feb 6, 2010
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Also, you'll want to register atleast 3 months before your test date to ensure you get the test date that you want at the location you want.
and why is this a "Disaster for UCC students" specifically?

and can you take USMLE I and II in Ireland or do you have to fly back to the states to take them?
 

jnuts

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and why is this a "Disaster for UCC students" specifically?

and can you take USMLE I and II in Ireland or do you have to fly back to the states to take them?
Arb, agree totally about the Irish kids being the worry (plus the other students if your college has them). No North American student at RCSI that I know of has been stopped from taking the USMLE. If anything a poor pre-test score just gets you more help from the school.

Narro, the USMLE Step 1, and Step 2 CK are Multiple choice style and are offered through Prometric centers worldwide. You can take these exams wherever you like but they cost slightly more in Ireland (no where near the cost of a flight). The Step 2 CS exam is an OCSE-style exam with actors and must be taken at one of three centers in the United States. Consequently, you need to book the CS the farthest in advance (up to 6mo). For the Step 3 you'll hopefully be in the States anyway.
 
Apr 8, 2010
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Thanks for clearing up all that USMLE stuff up Fiddler, Arb, and jnuts - very informative posts as always!
 

Jocks

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I didn't find Step 1 to be that difficult at all.
Make no mistake, the Step 1 is a VERY tough exam. If you don't properly prepare for it you will get spanked. I know Arb personally, and I can tell you that he is smarter than your average bear (He also studied his ass off for it).

Jocks