I am going through the ECFVG process now and wanted to post some info on my experiences. As a foreign veterinary school graduate (specifically Caribbean schools...St. George's, Ross, and St. Matthews), there are 2 options in order to be licensable in the USA (& Canada...I think).
The first option is the PAVE...I didn't do this option and don't know much about it. PRO's of PAVE: Much less expensive, much less overall hassle/paperwork. CON's of PAVE: Only recognized in 23 states (not including Puerto Rico, VI, Utah because they're not official states or have special circumstances), as I understand it...PAVE may not qualify you for certain federal or state positions, PAVE certification may create obstacles for practicing internationally (or so I have heard). If you plan on practicing exclusively in a PAVE state...this is definitely the best option. I have heard of no obstacles with PAVE if you plan on going on with internships, residencies, M.S., Ph.D, or anything else.
The second option is the ECFVG. I don't know where I want to practice and may be seeking state or federal employment...so the ECFVG is for me. PRO's of ECFVG: Once passed, your eligible for any job, anywhere as if you were a graduate from a north american vet school. CON's of ECFVG: Expensive @ about $8000 for testing/fees alone (not including travel), extremely inefficient and a greater overall time commitment, the clinical proficiency exam (CPE) which I will discuss later or in another post as I learn more, the Basic Sciences Clinical Exam (BSCE) which is a written test taken first.
If you're doing the ECFVG, it is positively in your best interest to begin the process as early as possible AFTER completion of your 3rd year. So, while your moving to which ever school your going to, worrying about starting, and whatever else, you MUST also begin the process of registering for the BSCE. This is because you must pass the BSCE in order to begin registering for the CPE (don't forget the NAVLE also). The CPE is the rate limiting step of being a licensable veterinarian and starting your career. Rumors abound about students having to wait 6 months or more to get a CPE exam date at which time you are a graduated veterinarian who cannot work as a veterinarian because you have no license to practice. I don't yet know if these rumors are true...but I am getting closer and will post in this thread as I find out.
So, I got all my stuff in to register for the BSCE and took it during the May testing window. I am generally a pretty good student (mostly B's) but was unsure of what to expect so I studied quite a bit. I reviewed almost every subject from years 1-3, took the BSCE practice exam from the website (only 15 questions but STRONGLY recommended as some questions were very similar), signed up for the Zuku Review daily email (STRONGLY recommended during year 3 and is FREE). I did not review pathology very thoroughly but focused on sm and lg animal medicine, anatomy, physiology, some pharm, epidemiology, and PUBLIC HEALTH...but still reviewed everything. Studied the A-Z guide. That's it and it worked for me because I passed the test. I did not sign up for any more comprehensive Zuku or Vet prep review but may consider for NAVLE prep (they're expensive).
Remember, study everything...including, food animal (Small ruminant!!), equine, canine, feline, food animal AVIAN!
I now need to pay $500 to request an application for the CPE, fill it out, and submit another $500 with the application to get a testing date. I will post more here as this process pans out.
I have not started studying for the NAVLE yet, but this is the next big hurdle which must be taken by everyone no matter where you went to school. I will take this in November.
Will post more later.....