Now that you have done some work experience and decided that you want to study Medicine, you will need to start thinking about choosing a Medical College and what course you want to pursue.
Every year, thousands of Indian Medical students face the prime concern of getting admission to a good medical institution for higher studies. Few students manage to clear the entrance tests for government universities, while others keep looking for options in private universities. Most of the students cannot afford the high donation the private universities ask for.
In such circumstances come the foreign medical universities to the salvage of Indian medical students. Many universities in different countries are offering MBBS and other medical programs at an affordable price which is certainly not the case in Indian universities. Nowadays, many countries offer high-quality medical education at very affordable prices. The students from various countries, including India, China, Nepal and Bangladesh etc., are willing to study MBBS in foreign countries. Amongst the top picks come the countries like Russia, Ukraine, Germany and many such countries. The medical universities in Russia, Ukraine, Kazakhstan, Germany and many other countries follow the international curriculum. The universities in these countries are approved by major organizations like WHO, UNESCO and MCI.
Nowadays, students look for affordable medical education and the quality of education provided in medical colleges abroad. The process of admission to MBBS in medical universities abroad is straightforward and hassle-free. In such destinations, there is no need to clear any entrance examination like TOEFL and IELTS. The major questions students have in their mind is – Which college and Medical Course would be ideal for you. Here are a few tips that can help you with the same.
Let’s divide this article in 2 sections –
a) Choosing a Medical Collegeb) Choosing a Course
Choosing a Medical College:
What Are The Different Medicine Course Types? There are three different course structures in Medicine. Please click on the links to read more detail about each.
- Traditional Courses
- Integrated Courses
- Problem-Based Learning (PBL) Courses
There is also a fourth option, called Case-Based Learning (CBL). Like PBL, CBL is used by many international Medical Schools and are now starting to appear in the UK – in universities like Cardiff, for example. The key with course structure is first to understand the differences between them and reflect on which system best suits you.
Can I Do A Foundation Year?
Foundation Courses at medical schools are designed to prepare you for medical education. They might also be referred to as a ‘pre-clinical year’.They can be a useful way into Medicine for those who didn’t get the grades required, who studied the ‘wrong’ subjects, who are coming from overseas, or who didn’t get an offer the first time.
How Important Are UKCAT and BMAT?
Different universities place different levels of importance on the UKCAT. You can learn more about this by visiting the dedicated guide we have created for UKCAT and using the Medical School Comparison Tool. You will know your UKCAT score by the time you apply to Medical School, so that should be a major consideration. You can find out which universities use the BMAT by visiting the dedicated BMAT page. Unlike the UKCAT, the BMAT will be set after your application is submitted. So you might want to hedge your bets by applying to no more than two BMAT universities when choosing a medical school.
How Important Are Grades?
Grades are significant to study Medicine. Your GCSEs and A-level grades will ultimately dictate which Medical Schools to apply to. To view the entry requirements for every UK Medical School, please see our Medical School Comparison Tool. Importantly, there has been increasing confusion over how applicants’ grades will be assessed with the new Linear A-level system.
How Important Is Location?
When you eventually interview at Medical Schools, you will stress that the course itself is the primary reason for applying there, rather than the university’s location. However, the reality is that location is important. Some of you will want to stay close to home. Others probably want to get as far away as possible! Just remember to choose wisely as you will be away for up to 6 years.
How Do I Apply To Oxbridge For Medicine?
You can pick only one of Oxford or Cambridge, but not both. So, for some high achievers, that will be the first dilemma. Of course, academic excellence is a prerequisite. Both institutions use a traditional course structure based around a tutorial system. If you consider applying to Oxbridge for Medicine, we recommend visiting both and getting to grips with the differences between the two. But first, make sure that you have read all about them.
What You Need To Do
Make sure you have looked through the entry requirements, course structure and ethos of each medical College. Narrow it down depending on which course structure you prefer and whether you want a city, campus or collegiate setting. Also, think about location, cost and extra-curricular. Compare all the Medical colleges that you consider are right for you. When you’ve narrowed it down, visit your favourites and get a feel for the places. Try to speak to someone who goes to the university. Start by making use of the case studies on our school-by school pages.
Choosing a Course:
When do you need to choose a medical speciality?
It’s never too early to be thinking about what speciality you want to pursue. The latest point at which you want to choose your medical speciality is your 4th year of medical school. This is because you need to apply for a residency position when the applications open around September in your 4th year. Data shows that many people apply to multiple specialities, suggesting maybe they did not come to a single final decision for their speciality by that time. Here are our tips to help you work toward identifying the best medical speciality for you, sooner rather than later.
Always keep an open mind.
Go into every clinical rotation with an open mind. Go through your pre-clinical years with an open mind, too. It would help if you always kept an open mind about switching to a different speciality because your feelings can completely change once you get immersed in the field and get exposure. The point of 3rd-year rotations is to give you some experience with different fields. Try to get as much experience as you can to cement your mind if it’s the speciality for you. Experience is the best way to figure out the right fit for you. Keep in mind that what you see during hospital rotations is not always what it’d look like for you to work in that field. You don’t necessarily have to practice in a hospital—you can also opt to work in a community setting.
Get exposure as early as you can.
Start figuring out what you might be interested in and getting shadowing and clinical experience early in different specialities. Some specialities are research-heavy. The earlier you get exposure to a field and find out you might be interested in it, the more opportunities you’re going to get and the better you can prepare yourself. Generally, there are 5 core clinical rotations in your 3rd year of medical College: Internal MedicineGeneral SurgeryPaediatricsOB/GynPsychiatryDon’t wait till 3rd year to look into these specialities. Get exposed as early as you can to figure out what you want to be doing.
Use the process of elimination.
Sometimes it’s easier to identify what you definitely don’t want to do, rather than identifying your favourite speciality from a long list of possibilities. So make a checklist of all the specialities. Cross things off as you progress through medical school. You can also start using a process of elimination with some of the following questions.
Some questions to ask yourself:
- Do you want to be a surgeon or a diagnostician?
- Do you want to spend most of your time doing procedures or solving puzzles?
- Consider your level of dexterity and spatial sense. Understand where your skills may lie.
- It’s not a matter of merely being able to do it. Rather, you have to be a master at your craft.
- Do you want to take care of adults or children?
- Dealing with the child’s parents can be very challenging.
- Med-peds is a residency where you’re trained to practice and take care of both adults and children.
- Family medicine also allows you to take care of the whole family unit.
- Do you generally like well people or those who are critically ill?
- Critical care medicine involves the majority of your time taking care of critically ill people.
- Are you an adrenaline junkie?
- If you can handle jumping from room to room with multiple patients crashing, consider being an ER physician.
- How much patient contact do you want?
- If you don’t want any patient interaction, consider pathology or radiology.
Also, be sure to consider the patients you’re going to be taking care of and the emotional toll it will have on you, especially when dealing with cancer patients.
Find a Mentor
Having a mentor is one of the keys to success in medical school. Mentors help pave the way for you. It can be life-changing to find the right mentor.
Benefits of having a mentor:
- Broadening your experience
- Exposing you to different facets of the field
- Providing opportunities for you to meet other people in that field
Qualities in a mentor to look for:
- They’re someone you look up to, and you connect with
- They are passionate about the field
- They have time to devote to helping you
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