View Full Version : Saba vs. AUC MERP

04-09-2015, 12:55 AM
Hi guys,

Just looking to hear what other people's opinions are about my situation. I was recently accepted to Saba's May 2015 semester and I've also been MERP'ed by AUC. What would be the pros/cons of each and which option would y'all choose to pursue?

Thanks in advance!

04-09-2015, 10:00 PM
Hey, I'm a current student on the island.

In my opinion it depends on your comfort with standardized testing and work ethic.
Saba has a fairly high attrition rate as many students come here, while not willing to commit the necessary hours of studying or study inefficiently.

MERP at AUC offers you a chance to improve your background in some sciences, albeit for a decent chunk of change.

Additionally saba is a very small island, so don't expect any franchises/stores or things open on sundays. AUC is on St. Maarten so that would be significantly improved. Overall, Saba is perfectly fine if you are comfortable with a small island (fewer things to do) and are prepared to work hard.

Hope that helps, cheers.

07-09-2015, 06:51 PM

Lucky for you I did MERP but ended up going to Saba! So I can give you insight on both.

Pros: gives you a kickstart boot-camp. Gives you the chance to acclimate yourself to studying all day everyday, work on your studying skills and exposes you to the pace of medical school. Gives you a nice foundation for some core subjects (anatomy, immunology, physiology and biochem). I still have access to their program through MediaSite which is a program they use to record their lectures and I watch them whenever I need something cleared up. MERP professors are excellent. I made some great friends in MERP that I still keep in touch with. Some MERPers ended coming to Saba too! For whatever reason the struggle of MERP bonds you like nothing else. The MERP kids at Ross and AUC all stick together once they make it onto the island. It's nice to start such an intense journey with friends.

Cons: It's expensive. The chance of failing is very real. MERP is a very difficult program and I believe it is harder to pass for AUC kids than for ROSS kids. AUC kids need a 70 average in all four courses while Ross kids need a 65%. There is very little room for mistakes like for example really bombing an exam. There are only four exams, and I remember when I did the math it turned out that every question wrong on any exam was a percentage off of the final grade for that subject. So again, really no wiggle room and very difficult and sometimes impossible to recover from a bad exam.

Pros: Saba a smaller island than St. Martin. It's definitely a more humble island. Unlike on St. Maartin there are literally no commercial businesses here. Everything is locally owned. There is one grocery store near the school that is restocked once a week. Goats and chickens everywhere... you get the picture. But the island is quiet, there are no distractions...this was key for me because I'm a fairly social person and get easily tempted into going out when I shouldn't be. Everyone is always studying which is great... there is no FOMO. A LOT of students are from Canada which means they have excellent credentials but were unable to attend school in Canada because it is so though to get in. This is to say that you are among bright, hardworking students. And don't misunderstand me, the Americans aren't lagging behind the Canadians :) I hail from America myself.

Cons: Saba is unorganized and is lacking in the technology department. Class attendance is mandatory because they haven't set up technology to record the lecture which for some semesters means you're in class until 5 pm every. This leaves very little time for studying and is detrimental to some people. Professors are a hit or miss. I would probably say more on the miss side. Saba kids rely predominantly on self studying. Expect to struggle and be stressed and wonder if it's even possible to make it through.

Anyway, it's possible! If I were you I would just start at Saba because $20K is a lot of money.

Good luck!

07-09-2015, 10:28 PM
Since when are there different passing standards for AUC and Ross students? That wasn't the case when I was there about 3 years ago. I believe you needed at least a 60 in every class, and a 65 overall. But I wouldn't be surprised if things changed.

To add one more thing. MERP is now free if you don't end up passing. If you do decide to do MERP, I'd see if you could defer your admission to Saba for a semester, and that way you'll have a back up. Bottom line, if you pass MERP, it will be worth the money so there's not a lot of risk involved in my opinion.

For the record, I did MERP and will echo many of the points made above. It was a fantastic program/experience and prepared me well for the island.

07-21-2015, 09:21 AM
Current MERP student here, the passing standard for Ross is 65% overall and 60% in each class. It's flat 70% for AUC. Going simply off the class averages, the majority of the class is currently failing, with our final tomorrow. The program is very rigorous, and that extra 5% between Ross and AUC makes a huge difference. There is absolutely no room for error in this course. If you pass, it is a great bootcamp to whip you into study mode. If you fail, they at least give you your money back.

09-18-2017, 11:30 AM

How did SABA work out for you? My son just applied but was also MERP'd at AUC. Since AUC has pretty much been demolished by Irma, we are wondering if SABA is the place to go. Did you graduate, get a residency, etc? Any other helpful hints!

09-18-2017, 04:22 PM
it seems like AUC is not the best option right now given the irma annihilation. they may continue classes in the UK for now.

I want to Saba. was brutal but more successful than i ever expected

09-23-2017, 03:38 PM
Saba has worked out alright for me.

Current 9th semester student in clinical rotations, and have applied for the 2018 residency match.

Feel free to message me if you have any questions.

01-27-2018, 06:12 PM
Hello. I am a current student at Saba. I highly recommend you do not come to this school. First of all they will literally take anyone that applies. The quality of education is so sub-par I don't even know where to begin. From the multitudes of foreign profs with thick African and Indian accents all the way to the cram sessions they "teach" everything, it is absolutely not worth your time, money, and above all your well being. The schedule starting 2nd semester through 5th is 8a-5p M-F. That leaves hardly anytime to study, especially since they have shortened semesters. The attrition rate is horrible, every class starts with 80ish students and by the end there is 20-30max...this is clearly not normal of an educational institution. There is no time to go to profs office hours or get any kind of tutoring, let alone thoroughly learn the material.

They made a curriculum change back in 2015, and ever since their passing rates have dropped significantly. Dr. Chu the president of the school himself came and told us here that the NMBE Comprehensive pass rate has gone from 80-90% down to 40-50% since the curriculum change!!! In their attempt to scramble to fix things, they keep changing the schedules, adding courses, taking away courses, hiring profs, firing profs, it has been an absolute mess since I've been here!!

In case you are wondering the NMBE Comp is the test the school makes you take before they allow you to sit for the Step 1, so that "99%" pass rate is kind of false reporting because they make it seem like 99% of the students who enroll pass, in fact you have to survive 5 horrible semesters of confusion and self-teaching, and even if you get passed all the courses, then you have to take that Comp (which has had failing pass rates as I mentioned above).....then finally sit for the Step 1. It is all like a staged event so they get to write 99% first time pass rate. And the admin is so out of touch with the students because all the decision are made in Devens, MA by R3 Education Inc. which is the company that owns this school, so no one can be held accountable by the students on the island. Once they take your money they treat like garbage.

If you are a genius or a robot, you will succeed here and learn the material well with cram sessions and no guidance from the school...otherwise average students get destroyed and ripped off like so many of my freinds!

Please take my advice to heart, I am not exaggerating in anyway...don't make the same mistake so many of us have made!

01-30-2018, 02:08 AM
Now in my final semester at SUSOM, and done my residency interview season.

I can agree with some of mambostrike’s comments. To preface, I was in a class before the curriculum change, but know students who were part of it.

In regards to the 99% pass rate, that’s the same marketing every caribbean school uses, so I won’t fault them for that. They all prefix their statement with it being students who pass the NBME comp and all classes. Also passing is meaningless for step 1, having a good score is critical for an IMG, so it’s not even something to be proud of.

Secondly, the education quality wasn’t all that terrible. Medical school during the basic science portion, is death by powerpoint at almost any schools. You really have to be self-motivated and teach yourself to succeed. The biggest problem with SUSOM was as mambostrike mentioned, the awful class hours, which have gotten worse with the curriculum change. I agree, that I can’t recommend SUSOM for people nowadays, especially with the rising costs.

Apply and go to a DO school for similiar tuition fees, and more institutional support.

Self-studying with pathoma, uworld, first aid, board and beyond, sketchy micro etc. covers the majority of information.

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