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- March 17th, 2014, 11:42 PM #1
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Current Med School Students...
Hi everyone, I have a few general questions. It would be help if current med school students would answer.
Little background information - without putting up my whole life story:
I'm a bit older than the typical medical school applicant in Pakistan. I've changed my major twice and should have a bachelors degree by now. I'm from the U.S (foreign student) and will most likely be attending CMH- Lahore or LMDC at the end of the year. Unless other options such as Al Shifa or Aga khan open up.
1.) What should I expect? How is med school like over there?
2.) What does the exam format look like? How is one tested?
3.) Will I really have to study over 8 hours a day? (it's medical school after all; vast amount of knowledge needs to be retained in a short amount of time)
4.) Will there be a good amount foreigners around? (I may need to be around people that are a bit chill and open-minded like me if i want to be sane)
5.) Do medical school students generally have free time? (I'm aware this might depend on the individual, but I have no idea how classes are scheduled)
6.) Is there any sort of nightlife at all?
7.) How well have you adjusted if you're a foreigner?
I'm sorry for all these questions, but it would help so much if someone could just take a look. I'd like to know how your experiences were out there. With all that being said, I'm just so stressed about how my life will be for the next 5-6 years. I've only been to Pakistan 3 times throughout my life. I know I want to be a doctor otherwise, I wouldn't want to make this huge commitment.March 19th, 2014, 06:12 PM #2
1) Med school in pakistan is 5 years (not 4 years as in the US). 3 years non-clinical (all book related studies) and 2 years clinical (rotations along with some book reading)
2) Which exams are you talking about? Is it the entrance test? Well, I don't have experience taking any entrance test except for Shifa's (very difficult and I couldn't get in on the local seat). As a foreign student, you are entitled to apply on the foreign seat which solely relies on your SAT subject test grades (you also need SAT Reasoning for Aga Khan). Getting in as a foreigner isn't that hard; you can pretty much get in with decent scores (at least 700 in each of Physics/Math 2, Chemistry, Biology etc) (no need for the colleges' entrance tests).
3) Honestly, I can't say for sure. It entirely depends on your study habits/personality. It might also depend on the style of your med school's curriculum (whether it's modular or not). As I can see, foreigners tend to struggle a bit as compared to the local Pakistanis since the latter pretty much have been used to memorizing lots of material (like in Pakistani FSc system). And yes, med school is probably the most hectic of all institutions but it's certainly not impossible and it's actually pretty easy if you like to read & memorize a lot!
4) This depends on the college. Private institutions have a larger proportions of foreigners since they're more foreign-curriculum-oriented and the foreign students tend to also take the entrance test (like for Shifa and probably even in Aga Khan because local fees are much cheaper compared to foreign ones).
5) Absolutely but this depends as well. If you can manage your time properly, you can have some fun and still get enough sleep. I regularly have lectures pretty much everyday for which I have to prepare for and they aren't too long. But you need to be careful; all of a sudden you might get overwhelmed at any one time. Like studying for a big exam, submitting completed histology books, and preparing for the next lecture all for tomorrow.
6) I suppose it would have to do with the city you're living in. Lahore & Karachi I hear have great nightlife. Although, I'm not sure if you'll have time for that even if it was on the weekend!
7) I applied as a foreign student to Shifa and have adjusted really well. The staff, seniors (big one) are all really friendly and welcoming. There may be times during the afternoon when I get really drowsy from all the workload but I manage to pull though the day somehow.
If you're all set to get your bachelor's degree, why don't you take the MCAT and try applying for the med schools in the US? I mean, you've come so far (especially since the major requirement for applying is you're bachelor's). Moreover, if you finish med school there, you'll have no problems getting into a residency program which it's difficult for us to get in there. Regardless, wish you all the best in your future decisions!March 19th, 2014, 10:11 PM #3
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TahirTayyab, Thanks for taking the time out to reply.
I'm in a unique situation, I probably won't get into med school in the United States. I've looked at all my options. At this point if I want to pursue my dream and become a doctor, I'll have to go to a terrible Caribbean Med School or a great Med school in Pakistan. Everything rides on the USMLE Steps no matter where I go at this point.
I've already been accepted to LMDC and CMH- Lahore, they just wanted my SAT-II subject test scores, high school report card, and the IBCC equivalence certificate. I'll go to Shifa or Aga Khan if I get in, because they seem to be foreign-curriculum-oriented. (students to well on the USMLE)
What does the exam format look like at Medical School? Multiple choice? Short Answer?
Various exams throughout the year? Or just an annual exam? What happens if you fail it? When would one be required to repeat a year?
I'm worried about the exams because my study habits aren't the greatest, and I've been so used to just cramming last moment before an exam. I don't love studying and memorizing but it's something I can work on. I just know Med School is nothing like Undergrad. I'm sure if I study 18 hours a day, get tutors, and keep myself around good people with the end goal of becoming a doctor it'll work out for the best. It's all about how much effort you put in.
When it comes to the nightlife that's the last thing on my mind, but I was just curious if students even had free time.
Right now I just want to go to med school, get through it with a plan, and don't want any surprises. I've talked to a few doctors. When it comes to residency, It shouldn't be a problem if you're a U.S citizen and do really well on all the USMLE steps. Doing clinical electives at universities will also help.March 29th, 2014, 10:12 PM #4
The curriculum depends on the college you are going to. At Shifa, the year is divided into blocks, which are further subdivided into modules (like Cell, Hematology). Each module has exams almost every week, making sure you've covered the material well. At the end of the module, is a modular/summative exam which tests the whole module's content. At the end of every block there is an integrated practical exam (practical lab session stuff like examining patients, performing experiments) and at the end of the year, is of course, the professional exam! The exams can be either multiple choice or sample questions but they are most often, both. I'm not sure what happens if you fail the exam although I've heard a re-take is offered.
One thing I can guarantee is that cramming will NOT work! Even if it does, you're bound to overwork yourself and your concentration of future classes will suffer (from bad sleep). You'll have to study everyday and just to comfort you, the material is not difficult; it's just a LOT! And don't kill yourself studying 18 hours per day 2-3 hrs everyday should be enough, depending on the person.
Yes, I've heard US citizens are given advantage but I'm not sure how the competition will be in 5 years...well, we've just got to keep the hope and keep studying to pass all our exams first!April 1st, 2014, 11:33 AM #5
Experts agree that one of the most important things prospective medical school students can do during a visit is speak with current students. They, more than other people at a school, can give the most candid perspective on student life.April 19th, 2014, 06:28 AM #6
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