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Hanson
03-15-2003, 03:04 PM
Flinders
by Kimberli Cox (Login kimberlicox)

Hi Montanna,

Thank you. I would not say its "easy" for Flinders grads to get competitive spots. However, if your scores are good, with good letters and US clinical experience you should have a good shot. With that said, there were many places who chose NOT to interview me - either because they required the ECFMG certificate (which you are unable to get until you graduate and I was unwilling to take a year off), because my USMLE scores were only average or because California requires a letter from the medical board (and you cannot get the letter until you graduate). I was probably lucky - Penn State said they were "looking for someone outside of the box", which I was (other programs told me the same thing), the numbers of IMGs matching this year went up and the number of applications to Gen Surg programs went down. Right place at the right time perhaps.

Flinders is well recognized in the US. I did an elective at the Univ of Louisville in Kentucky. The Chief of Surgery there is the Editor of the American J of Surgery. He told me he was very familiar with my school, "anyone who knows anything about medical education knows Flinders and regards it highly" and told me he thought it the best school in Australia. I am sure there are many others who have never heard of Flinders. But for those who have, the reputation is excellent.

I do believe that the stigma attached to Australian schools is not that of the Caribbean schools. I based this opinion on what I have been told by US faculty, PDs, etc. during my US clerkships and in my prior life as a clinical medicine researcher. Whether its because the US medical establishment perceives the student population in Australian schools to be more competitive or the quality of education, I do not know. But I believe from a status point of view you would be better off in Oz.

However, I think your plans of obtaining permanent residency in Australia are not realistic. Several of your countrymen came to Flinders, not having done their homework and were disappointed to find that they were not allowed permanent residency and would be required to leave after graduation. When I matriculated we were required to leave after graduation; however, some are being allowed to stay for internship. This varies greatly from state to state and hospital to hospital. As a non-citizen you will be considered AFTER Australian citizens to fill internship positions. Bear in mind that these internship positions DO NOT transfer to US residencies. It is simply an extra year of experience and should you decide to pursue a US residency for all practical purposes, you will have to start over with the internship.

Secondly, you will be admitted to Flinders or any of the other Australian schools under the international quota. Thus, regardless of what happens with residency, you will be required to pay your tuition at the international student rate. Upon admission you will be given a student visa, not a permanent resident visa, which requires you to leave the country 1 month after graduation.

I suspect that permanent residency will be extremely difficult to obtain if not impossible. An American classmate married an Australia and was told that he would not be considered for permanenent residency for several years - 3 I think, or long after he finished his medical degree. Australian emigration is a tough nut to crack - especially for physicians. The Australian embassy can give you more information about citizenship/permanent residency issues.

If you were able to stay in Australia for internship and residency I have no information about how the Canadian Medical Boards would view that. Be aware that in the US, practically ANY residency completed outside of the US and Canada is not accepted for Board certification and you will be required to repeat most of, if not all of, your residency. I have spoken with some Australian surgeons in the US and this is what they were made to do as well. Therefore, if you have any desire to work in the US, you would be well advised to do your residency in the US to avoid being made to do another full residency. Should you desire to move to Australia, train there and live there permanently that is another issue - again the Embassy or Consulate should be able to refer you to the correct sources of this information. I do realize that the Canadian government basically says that they do not accept IMGs into residency training programs. NOt being a Canadian I am unsure as to how "hard and fast" this rule is. Consider speaking with some PDs at Canadian programs and seeing what their take is on the Australian degree.

As for obtaining a residency in the US, I do not know about the visa requirements for non-citizens. To be honest, a non-citizen IMG is not at the top of the list for most residency PDs. However, we may have some reciprocal agreement with Canada - I have no idea. There are two categories of visas - the H1 and J1. Apparently one is partially funded by the government and one is funded by your own country. The latter would be the best as the programs would not have to rely on funding for you from outside sources. This is only secondhand information and I honestly am not up to speed on it, not having personal need for the information.

However, I am aware of several Canadians doing residency in the US. If you cannot obtain admission to a Canadian or US school of medicine and decide to go to OZ or another school, you must be able to show US residency programs that you are qualified. The great leveler here is the USMLE Step 1; do well on that and doors will start to open for you. I highly recommend doing US clerkships during your 4th year as these will provide US experience along with LORs from US faculty. For more competitive residencies, research experience is a plus; I was told that my background helped me at some academic programs. Make sure you choose your progams wisely (ie, don't apply only to top tier places unless you are REALLY a stellar candidate) - make sure you have a range of programs from university to county, community programs to apply to. While there are programs which are "IMG friendly" in my opinion those programs get 1000+ applications for few spots and its hard to shine amongst that competition. Programs which get fewer applications make it easier for them to see your application and seriously consider it. Make sure your applications are in on time and early if possible. Every year someone loses a spot because they apply after deadlines or just before and they don't get seen. Should you desire a residency in a less competitive field, like IM, Psych, FP, Path, etc. I don't imagine you will have any problems getting one provided you have at least average USMLE scores, good letters, US experience and a good timely application. More competitive stuff like Ortho, Rad and Gen Surg may require more contacts or US research experience. I know the student who matched into Rad had worked in the PDs office before the match, the student who matched into Ortho had done Ortho research for YEARS and at some prestigious US places.

Finally, my personal statement was written about a surgical experience I had in the Northern Territory. Long story short, we operated on an Aborginal man with an infarcted bowel in the SMA distribution. Not so uncommon but what "made" the story so interesting was that this man had been chosen to carry the Olympic Torch when it came through Alice Springs last year. Sadly he was unable to do so because of the recent surgery. I was told at several programs that they found the statement extremely interesting, one liked it because he said I wrote about my feelings and experiences rather than the typical surgical candidate who writes about how "cool" an operation was or what they did technically. However, OTOH one surgeon to whom I showed it said, "this isn't &^*%^$$ creative writing, this is %$^^%$&& surgery!". He didn't like it too much! ;) But those programs who read it and wanted to meet me and appreciate this kind of writing are the kinds of programs that I would prefer.

Anyway, please feel free to email me should you have any more questions.


Posted on Apr 9, 2001, 8:37 AM
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Hi Kimberly,
by Anonymous (Login Montanna)

I greatly appreciate your insightful advice and wonderful information. You are very kind. I only had a vague idea of doing residency and interships.. now, it is crystal clear. I did know that it is next to impossible to come back and do residency in Canada once I finish my medical school outside Canada. Anyway, after reading your detailed information, it is very clear to me that US residency is the way for me. I don't know how bright I will have to be, but I will try my best. My current interested areas are Ortho, Cardio, and Gen. surgery. I really admire those physicians doing those types of surgeries. Anyway, having been rejected from most of Canadian universities, I guess I will be heading down to Flinders next Feb.
As for the physician who didn't like your essay, I believe that s/he wasn't your type. Those who you will enjoy working together are likely to like what you are and what you have written. I think.... Anyway, I thank you again for your kind response. I will post more questions, should I have any further questions. By the way, do you have any additional advice for freshmen to medical school?
All the best,

sincerely,
JSC

(I got the Montanna, because it sounded familar with the name of the water bottle I had at the time: Montclair. :) ) I couldn't be anymore creative.

Posted on Apr 9, 2001, 1:16 PM
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Flinders
by Kimberli Cox (Login kimberlicox)

Hi JSC...

I'm glad I could be of some help. As always verify the information I've given you - with Flinders, with embassies, Canadian residency programs as things can change. However, what I've written is my experience and my understanding of the situation. None of my Canadian classmates have returned to the US for residency yet - all stayed down for internship in Oz, but I do believe they and the Canadians in the class behind us, are planning on obtaining a US residency.

As I'm sure you know obtaining a surgical residency is among the most difficult. If you are indeed interested in Ortho, which is probably one of *the* most difficult residencies to obtain I would encourage you to make as many contacts in the US as possible. This may require that you do some research in the US during your vacations from Flinders - not fun, but to get your name and face out there I would suggest this. The student from Flinders who matched into Ortho did this (along with a USMLE Step > 230).

General Surgery is an easier match, especially with the numbers of applicants going down. People just don't want to have to put up with the lifestyle and residency anymore, seems to be the conventional wisdom on why the numbers are down. However, still extremely popular and requires a bit of forethought as well.

Cardiothoracic surgery is a fellowship after Gen Surg, so your job will be to get a gen surg residency, preferably in an academic university program. These will provide you with the contacts, the research years and other perks needed for the extremely competitive CT fellowship match.

As far as advice for incoming freshman, I would proffer the following:

1) start studying with USMLE Step 1 books from the start. When it comes time to take the test you will be familiar with the books and it makes studying easier.
2) on the above note, there is NO reason to take Step 1 right after 2nd year (as is the tradition in the US). Flinders does not require it then and given the increasingly clinical nature of the exam I am of the opinion that your clinical clerkships in 3rd year will aid you immensely in the exam.
3)the PBL curriculum requires a fair bit of motivation. I like studying and reading but for some it can be difficult to decide when to decide when you are only in class approx 20 hours per week. Estimates are that you should be studying on your own an additional 30-40 hours per week. Try and make a schedule at first and see what works best for you.
4) focus on CLINICAL RELEVANCE. Do not memorize pages of obscure histology or detailed anatomy. This is true for the Flinders curriculum and for USMLE. Always ask yourself, "how is this important to me clinically".
5) the PBL process will be extremely frustrating at first and may seem disorganized and not very useful. You may never change your mind about that. However, it is a more enjoyable way to study, just expect chaos in the beginning.
6) do not expect the PBL process to provide you with all the answers. For example, there are only 4 weeks of CV medicine (at least there was during my 2nd year). They cannot possibly present cases which cover all of CV medicine in that time. However, you are responsible for the major disease processes and anything is fair game on the exam. Don't skip something just because it wasn't covered in PBL or lectures.
7)you have the run of the hospital after hours and on weekends. You are not required to stay all night for call ("take") at Flinders and you will likely find that most of your classmates will only show up for what is required. Therefore, if you find something you like you can be the only one around getting extra teaching and experience after hours. Most of the time I was the only one in the ORs after hours and on weekends and it not only resulted in some great letters of recommendation and evaluation for me, but the opportunity to do things (like complete operations from prep to close) that most of my classmates never did. This is true regardless of the rotation - so if you like Medicine, stay around after hours, take call with the residents, put in IVs, admit patients, etc. It will help you a great deal when you come to the states because most of the 3rd & 4th year students here will be doing the same - plus its fun. There may be restrictions on you as a first year (I believe, for example that you may be barred from the ER)and remember that the 3rd and 4th year students have precedence over you on clinical rotations.
8) get some exercise - do not turn into a blob like I did. :)
9) if you have a science background the first block may be slow for you, as they are easing into it. DOn't fall into the trap of getting lazy. Use this time to review basic Physio, Anatomy and other basic sciences.
10) have fun!!!

These are just off the top of my head and I'm sure you'll make your way. Please let me know if you have anymore questions. Its easier if you email me - your identity will be protected I promise! Just click on my name at the top of this post in the upper right hand corner.

Posted on Apr 9, 2001, 2:29 PM
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flinders university
by jillianteubner (Login jillianteubner)

At Flinders we have accepted low VR scores in MCAT provided **, PS and GPA are good.Our entry score combines MCAT, GPA and Interview so if your VR is low, we assess communication skills at interview.This over-rides the VR score. Re discussions about Flinders and Sydney, there are a few important points to note. Flinders was the first Australian medical school to offer a US style of medical education and has more more grads back in residencies in the US. We have students who have matched in orthopedic surgery, pediatrics, pathology, radiology etc, and in good programs eg Duke, Penn State, Cleveland Clinic, Wayne State. Our USMLE Step 2 and CSA pass rates are 100% and Step 1 90%. You should check Sydney's results before making a decision. One of the best things about Flinders is the cost of living in Adelaide - the lowest in Australia.
Good luck
Jillian Teubner

Posted on Mar 26, 2001, 4:35 PM
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hey jillian
by pinoymax (Login pinoymax)

i would like to study at flinders , is it possible to get in without the mcat/gamsat , but i have completed one year at a WHO recognized uni and i have good gpa's. thanks.

Posted on Mar 26, 2001, 7:01 PM
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FLinders
by Kimberli Cox (Login kimberlicox)

HI...

I know I'm not Jill but figured I'd help you out while she's busy interviewing.

In general, no one is accepted without the MCAT or GAMSAT scores. There are just too many applicants and it is necessary to use these scores in the evaluation of potential candidates.

However, I assume you are interested in not repeating first year but gaining advanced standing admission. This would be difficult, if not impossible, because of the PBL format of the curriculum. Unless your school had a highly similar curriculum I doubt it would transfer over and you would be unable to start in the 2nd year.

Some consideration may be given to 3rd year transfers from approved schools and in individuals with good USMLE Step 1 scores. I do not know if there is a precidence for this or not, but at least during my tenure, only transfers from other Australian schools were accepted.

I think in the end, your best bet would be to take the MCAT (GAMSAT is only offered to Australian citizens; everyone else must take the MCAT) and apply for first year admission if you wish to leave your current school.

Posted on Apr 14, 2001, 8:15 AM
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GAMSAT
by Pu (Login pu)

I don't think it's true that only Australians are allowed to take the GAMSAT. From what I know, it's just that Australians are not permitted to take the MCAT in place of GAMSAT. Please correct me if I were wrong Kim. I kinda have some questions for you...who are the foreign fee-paying students in your class? Are they all Americans/Canadians and Indians? Are all the exams in essay-type format? How hard it is to obtain PR status in Australia? Thanks Kim.

Posted on Apr 20, 2001, 11:56 AM
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GAMSAT
by Kimberli Cox (Login kimberlicox)

Thank you - on further reflection I do recall that Australians could only take the GAMSAT but that international students had the choice between it and the GAMSAT. Because of the extensive review and experience with the MCAT, I would prefer it, but some wags say that the GAMSAT is easier.

All of my international classmates and those in the classes below me were either American or Canadian, with the exception of two Japanese students who did their HS and undergrad in the US. The vast majority were Americans. There were a couple of Malaysian students in the year ahead of me, but there have been no East Indians in the program during the last few years that I am aware of.

Exams are all essay and short answer until 3rd year when one of the exams is MCQs and matching (you have 3 days of exams in 3rd year). In addition, you will also have clinical OSCE exams every year which entail an oral examination element. IMHO the essay based exams proved difficult for some to master - the timing, the wordsmithing, phrasing, etc. And because they are a bit more subjective than MCQs, more students tended to argue over results (not that it did any good). ;)

I understand it is very difficult to obtain PR or citizenship in Australia, even for those marrying Australian citizens (as one of my classmates did). Even if you did, be aware that should you be admitted to an Australian school under the international student quota, that will NOT change for the duration of your education - you will still be required to pay tuition at the international student rate for the entire 4 years.

I have posted extensively on this topic elsewhere in this forum I believe. I know of no one who has been successful in obtaining a PR in Australia while down their on a student visa. Since I am not the most informed source on the process of obtaining such a designation, you would be well advised to seek counsel at your Australian Consulate/Embassy.

Hope this helps and please feel free to contact me should you have any other questions.

Posted on Apr 21, 2001, 12:26 PM
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thanks
by Pat U. (Login pu)

Thanks Kim - I'm assuming that most of the American/Canadian international students there have the ultimate goal of coming back to practice in the US..are non-americans like those japanese/malaysian students also competing for residency in the US? I'm just curious. I have read your other posts it seems that Flinders is a very respectable school..I'm hoping there won't be any problem when it comes to residency matching. How did you go about applying for rotations in the US? Thanks for answering those questions for me! :)

what is IMHO btw?

Posted on Apr 21, 2001, 12:43 PM
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You're Welcome
by Kimberli Cox (Login kimberlicox)

Glad I could help.

To date, the Malaysian/Japanese students have not applied for US residencies and I have no information that they will be in the future. MOST of the Americans and Canadians have gone through/will go through the US residency match; however, a small group has elected to stay in OZ for internship. Bear in mind that this internship does NOT transfer to the US; they are only doing it for experience or personal reasons (ie, having a partner in lower years).

Setting up US clinical rotations for your electives is not difficult at all. Flinders has some formal relationships with US schools or you can choose, as I and most of my classmates did, to set up others on your own. Most US medical schools have their electives policy and applications posted on-line. I simply chose programs of interest to me because of their geographical area or well-known faculty and applied. Some schools will ask that you have a faculty sponsor - this wasn't a problem, I just emailed a faculty member and asked if they would and the reponse was almost always "sure". Most of Flinders faculty have done US fellowships and can also direct you to colleagues of their in the US.

For some reason people think this is really difficult to do (setting up electives), but frankly I appreciated the ability to basically go anywhere I wanted. To be honest, there are schools which will not allow IMGs to rotate through or schools which require an application to the state (any one in NY), but I rotated at some pretty big places and these were all the first places I applied to - I didn't have to go hunting for the spots. If you wanted to make it easier you could simply go with the programs Flinders has relationships with.

Hope this helps.

Posted on Apr 22, 2001, 8:08 AM
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Untitled
by Pat U. (Login pu)

I'm assuming that having done some electives in the US would significantly help our chances of securing a US residency..but do you get a class rank at Flinders or some sort of grade? Do you have problems preparing for USMLE since curriculum of the med schools there may not stress subjects deemed important by the US curriculum? I read about your classmates getting residency in Penn State, did they encounter any problems with other programs? what areas should you focus on to be competitive for a "good" residency? I am of the opinion that you are in medical school to learn medicine, so good grades and board scores should be looked at most. What other things might the people selecting residents be looking for? thanks Kim

Posted on Apr 22, 2001, 9:46 AM
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Residency
by Kimberli Cox (Login kimberlicox)

HI Pat...

At Flinders you do receive grades in the form of Honors/Credit/Pass/Fail for the final two years. Despite the first two years being Pass/Fail, your scores ARE kept, resulting in a class rank during 4th year. The Dean's letter will contain this information.

>Do you have problems preparing for USMLE since curriculum of the med schools there may not stress subjects deemed important by the US curriculum?>

Sure...it meant I did most of my preparing on my own, rather than relying on lectures at school. It would have been easier had I had that benefit, but all the books and other resources were available to me. Some students have done extremely well on Step 1 but at the expense of their clinical education - you have to make the decision what to focus on, given the limited hours you have. However, bear in mind that the USMLEs are increasingly clinical and I believe that taking them after 3rd year only helps you, given the increased clinical knowledge you will have. For example, NONE of the biochemistry questions I had were repetition of complicated enzymatic pathways but rather queries about missing enzymes or symptoms in clinical diseases. I largely attribute my average scores to the amount of studying I did and how I did it, not the lack of focus in the lectures (although I'm sure that would have helped) given the fact that others have done quite well.


> I read about your classmates getting residency in Penn State, did they encounter any problems with other programs?>

Include me - as I'm doing residency there as well. I'm not sure what you are referring to in regards to "problems". I am sure there were programs that did not invite me/us for interviews because they didn't want any IMGs in their programs, but honestly - in my case - I assume it was because I was applying for a competitive specialty with only average Step 1 scores. If you'll clarify what exactly you are questioning here, I will be glad to answer.


> what areas should you focus on to be competitive for a "good" residency? I am of the opinion that you are in medical school to learn medicine, so good grades and board scores should be looked at most. What other things might the people selecting residents be looking for?>

For competitive specialties, board scores, grades and letters certainly serve as a weeding process. Some schools require at least 8 months - 1 year of US clinical experience (you will obviously be out of the running at those programs; the only one I applied to which stated this was VCU). Some require the ECFMG certificate (U of ND required this - despite the fact that their web site did not specify this and it would require a year off after graduation to get the certificate before the match). California programs require the California Status Letter.

However, despite all the focus on numbers I am aware that at least several places that interviewed me did so because of my personal statement - something they said made them "want to meet" me. So it is encouraging that some places are looking for candidates who are "outside of the box" and as long as you have the academic credentials they are willing to look further at the type of person you are. Once you obtain an interview, the decision process becomes much more about how well you fit into the program, how well you get along with everyone, etc. This obviously can be difficult at places you only spend a few hours. Faculty and residents want to make sure you are someone they would like to spend the next few years with - working with, relying on, etc.

Doing visiting electives is a must in my book AS LONG AS YOU DO WELL and ARE LIKED. The US rotations are NOT guaranteed by Flinders; you must be in good academic standing and have their permission (this was intended to only send good "representatives" of the school but so far I know of no one who has been denied the chance to do the rotations). I was invited for interviews at all of the places I did rotations and was told that they weren't courtesy interviews and that at least at 2 of them I probably wouldn't have gotten the interview based on my application but did because they had worked with me and knew me. Obviously a double-edged sword because if you are less than impressive, friendly, etc. you may not get an interview or LOR. Your supervisors at these rotations may be willing to go beyond letter writing and be willing to call PDs on your behalf. Such contacts are especially valuable in small fields where everyone knows everybody.

Bottom line is that there is no magic formula - I have broken most of the rules along the way. You should do as well as you can academically, obtain good US letters and experience and choose your programs wisely.

Hope this helps and let me know if you need anymore information.

Posted on Apr 23, 2001, 5:59 AM
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IMHO
by Kimberli Cox (Login kimberlicox)

Sorry forgot to answer this earlier.

IMHO = in my humble/honest opinion

Posted on Apr 23, 2001, 6:01 AM
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GAMSAT
by Joe (Login joechan)

If I were you , I wouldn't take the GAMSAT because it was so much harder and less well written than the MCAT.
I registered for the exams before but decided not to show up because not until later I realized that I didn't want to apply for Queensland.

Joe

Posted on Apr 25, 2001, 4:46 AM
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God bless us all.
by Prospective Student at any Australia Medical Schoo (Login Johnnn)

Hi,

I want to apologize ahead for the following messages, because I may write something rude.... I am kind of frustrated that I can't get into to those medical schools in the US and Canada, because of my MCAT scores. My GPA is good, if not great. Do anyone know if any Australian Medical school will accept someone with a 4 in VR in MCAT? Who started that MCAT anyway? Why do anyone need to take it when academic scores can prove academic competency of applicants. I personally think, MCAT means nothing. It's just one day work at it and if you are lucky, you got it! My GPA???? It's good for any medical school, except Harvard...! Why doesn't any North-American Medical Schools recognize it.... I am sorry guys. I guess I just need those answers and some encouragement from you. (VR=4 OK for any Australian Medical School?)

Sincerely,
NC

PS= Congratulations to all who are in medical school. I pray I will join some of you either this year or next year. God bless us all!

Posted on Mar 23, 2001, 10:50 AM
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This is interesting
by Joe (Login joechan)

I can understand your frustration. Yes it is very true that MCAT has NOTHING to do with your accomplishment in medical school, it's just a screening test. But then sometimes I wish they just use academic criteria for admission cuz I also got really high GPA and MCAT but still wasn't able to get in. I am not sure whether they will accept the 4 on the Verbal but I would venture to say they don't, at least not at Sydney University. Most admitted applicants have at least 8 or 9 on their verbal in Sydney. What I recommend you to do is to contact the admissions at Sydney and Flinders and to see what they have to say. They will probably tell you to retake the MCAT again and see if you can get a higher score. As for your high GPA, they don't really take that into account at Sydney. But keep in mind that this is just my observation cuz i know two people in my class who have crappy GPA but high MCAT and got in. Maybe it works differently.

Cheers,

Joe

Posted on Mar 24, 2001, 5:12 PM
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Not that interesting...
by John (Login Johnnn)

Thanks Joe for your response.
Forget about what I said earlier...I did get an interview from a medical school and it was good. I think I got into the medical school but I can't be sure yet. The reason I wrote that was just out of unrestrained frustration. it seems like North American medical school do not recognize my suitability to study medicine. Well, this can be another biased and selfish view of mine. Those schools can say I don't have the scores to be considered and if I was so suitable, I should've gotten the scores.. and etc.. Arguments have no ends anyway. Complaining, thus, seems useless. And I do regret that I wreaked my frustration to this forum. Sorry guys. Do your best and I am sure you will all get in. Although it seems that I have been accepted to a med school in UK, I still want to study in Australia. UK was on my list before I found about medical school in Australia. .. Well, let His will be done. God bless us all.

sincerely,

John

Posted on Mar 26, 2001, 10:02 AM
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To Kimberli Cox
by wmg (Login wmg)

Hi Kim, Thanks foar your responses. If I may ask another couple...were you able to do some US rotations and if so, where? Do you know anything about Flinder's Early Dec Program? Are there opportunities to take "formal" biochem classes? Do you have Anatomy that included cadaveral dissection? Any thing else would be appreciated. Thanks for your time. What are you doing now? Wade

Posted on Feb 26, 2001, 8:39 AM
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Flinders
by Kimberli Cox (Login kimberlicox)

Hi Wade,

I'm glad to be of help. As a 4th year student you are allowed to do several weeks abroad as electives and I highly recommend it. Some US residency programs *require* US experience and doing a US elective is the best way to get valuable LORs from US faculty. Flinders will allow you to do 12 weeks of electives away from Adelaide (providing you are in good standing and have prior approval); you may also secure permission to do your 6 week Undesignated and Rural Terms away as well. Of course, if you choose to do so, you may also work during your 6 week vacation block (although it is not encouraged).

Flinders does offer Anatomy with a dissection component during the 2nd year. It was an elective during my tenure, although 99% of the students took the course. There were 4-5 students per cadaver, with the work being pro-sected (although obviously if you so choose, you could be there for the other students' work). At the time I took the course, it was not very rigorous, but things have changed since then I understand. There has been talk of making it a required course but I am unaware of any changes to do so as this point. This is also true for a "formal" Biochemistry course - I too the Biochem elective which was taught in a PBL fashion - interesting, but not detailed enough for USMLE (or so I thought at the time; turned out I got very few Biochem questions that weren't clinical in presentation). Please check with Flinders administration for a current 1st or 2nd year student who can give you more up-to-date info on requirements and coursework offered.

I am currently awaiting information on matching into a General Surgery residency. Match Day is March 19. I was offered a spot outside of the match but elected to take my changes in the match (as the offered spot was not my top choice). So here I sit with baited breath and chewed fingernails for the next 3 weeks!

Hope this helps.

Posted on Feb 28, 2001, 8:37 PM
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ED Program
by Kimberli Cox (Login kimberlicox)

Sorry - I see I left some of your questions unanswered. As I mentioned in my post to your query about grades, the ED program is a new breed and I know nothing about it. Please check with Flinders admin on restrictions (ie, do you lose your deposit if you choose to matriculate elsewhere?).

As to where I did my electives, they were as follows:
University of Virginia
University of Louisville, VA
Baylor College of Med, Houston
UC San Francisco

Flinders has formal agreements with Harvard, Yale, Columbia, Case Western, U of Cal, New Mexico I believe. Others, like I, arranged their electives at places which suited them - either geographically or because of the program. For the most part this was not a problem except for NY programs which require you to have a letter from the state saying that it is ok to rotate there (and you must have done Step 1 before applying as well). Classmates have rotated at: UCLA, Cleveland Clinic, Rochester, Albany, Penn State, Hopkins, Cornell, LSU. I'm sure there are others that I just don't know about.

Email me if you have any other queries.

Posted on Feb 28, 2001, 8:45 PM
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Calling Dr. Cox!
by Jessica (Login caljay96)

Hi Dr. Cox...it seems you are following the same path I am, although I am applying to Usyd. I am having a hard time finding info on the application process for US residencies. I have been cautioned about going abroad for med school, but as a citizen OZ med shcools are much, much cheaper. Plus, they have top notch programs in a really great living environment. Can you tell me what the process is for moving back to the states? Do I need to do 4th year rotations here...where can I find out about affiliations or schools that have accepted Ox med students before? Is it difficult to get a residency as a foreign grad, or is Oz well respected. Any info you can give will be appreciated. Thanks so much! JEssica

Posted on Aug 31, 2002, 4:38 PM
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whats up with grades
by wmg (Login wmg)

Do we, as American applicants to Oz med programs, have to translate our grades to GAMSAT grades? For Flinders I have been told NO (thank heaven). Does anybody know about USyd? I thought AMCAS was insane, how do you translate a 3.5 or 4.0 into the GAMSAT system, there are no columns to do so! Any help/experience would be much appreciated. Thank you.

Posted on Feb 21, 2001, 6:08 PM
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Grade Translation
by Kimberli Cox (Login kimberlicox)

I believe the answer is "no" for the University of Sydney as well. Check the ACER literature on international applicants.

Bear in mind that the GAMSAT is the Oz equivalent of the MCAT; it is not related to your gpa or pre-med grades. Your MCAT scores do not need conversion and they will calculate your gpa themselves.

Best of luck...

Posted on Feb 22, 2001, 5:46 PM
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thanks kim!
by wmg (Login wmg)

Thanks for the response! So they will convert my grades themselves? That hopefully will utilize the graded approach, each succesive year of undergraduate weighing more heavily. I have applied to the Early decision program at Flinders and am hopeful. Do you have any experience with the interveiw process, phone versus in person or ? Thanks again. Wade

Posted on Feb 23, 2001, 6:05 AM
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Grades. etc.
by Kimberli Cox (Login kimberlicox)

You're welcome Wade. Yes, they will do the grade translation themselves and given the weighting system (ie, more weight given to your last 2 undergraduate years) your gpa will look shinier if you've shown progressively better grades in your later years.

As a recent graduate of Flinders, my interview there was some years ago, but it was really low key and rather enjoyable. If you make the "short list" of interviewees (ranked on basis of gpa and MCAT scores), they will essentially be looking for someone who is an independent learner, motivated (especially important with PBL), who expresses themselves well in the English language and who works well with others - qualities which serve future physicians well and are good attributes in a PBL environment. Knowing something about the country, PBL and why you want to study in Australia will be beneficial.

The Early Decision program is a new breed - I suspect it might be designed to prevent the outflow of Americans who use Flinders as a back up and then leave when they get accepted to a US school. I never did consider that ethical (especially when the fact of having active US applications was concealed) but to each his own. Just ends up robbing someone else of a place because they leave after Flinders has started - too alte for someone off the waitlist to matriculate. Anyway, not being sure of the reasons behind a ED program, I might be *way* off base here.

Please feel free to inquire if you should have any more questions.

Posted on Feb 23, 2001, 5:21 PM
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need flinders info
by wmg (Login wmg)

Hello. I would like to know what the competition to get into Fliders is for US students, average GPA's, MCAT's, etc. Any feedback from current students on how they like the program, comments on the problem based learning, info on Stafford loans available to Flinder's students, and Adelaide in general. ALl would be most appreciated. Thanks

Posted on Feb 6, 2001, 6:10 PM
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Flinders Info
by DrB (Login ********)

I think Flinders weighs the MCAT pretty heavily. I think that the average MCAT is around 30 (I can't recall the source of that info however). I think you can find more information by scanning previous posts.

Here is some info on that I got from a Flinders student.


Question: How are Flinders students faring in obtaining residencies in the US? I would guess that Flinders students do well - but I have not
heard any statistics.

Answer: The most recent match was the first for the new curriculum and intake of international students for Flinders. In the first class, there were only 5
Americans (word hadn't gotten out yet); two of whom decided to stay here and do internship (they have girlfriends in lower classes). The other three
matched as follows:
1 to Orthopaedic Surgery in Michigan (Detroit)
1 to IM in Michigan (not sure where, perhaps Grand Rapids)
1 to IM at Penn State (he was actually offered a spot outside of the match, and signed his contract last fall).

I haven't any data for Aussies from Flinders previously going through the match, but would expect it would be fairly good, although you'd be dealing
with a select population.

Step 1 and 2 pass rate so far is 100% for Americans, but again so far we're dealing with small numbers. Pass rate for Aussies is about 98% I believe.

Question: How do you feel about the quality of education?

Answer: Its a difficult question to answer because I have some concerns about the adequacy of the PBL curriculum. The resources are there for you to do well, but the PBL curriculum doesn't prepare you well for Step 1 (there is very little focus on Basic Science, although I do believe they are rectifying
that with more recent classes. A current first or second year would be better qualified to address that.). However, with that said, obviously given
the Step 1 pass rate, students are able to do it "for themselves" and you'll find that a lot of the Basic Science isn't necessary to practice good medicine.

Clinical education is wonderful. You'll start seeing patients during the 2nd week and have access to patients whenever you want. You are also encouraged
to see patients at other affiliated sites which don't get as much "student traffic" as Flinders does. The emphasis is definitely on clinical medicine.
Their focus is preparing people to be GPs (really the Aussie equivalent of an FP), which is great, except for those of us who want to be surgeons! ;)

Some of the differences also have to do with the cultural makeup of the Aussies and the "don't worry mate" attitude. For example, you'll find that
the lectures are pitched at a fairly low level, pretty easy stuff, and you're told "don't worry". However, the exams are much more difficult than
in comparison to the lectures. Sort of the reverse to what I experienced in the US. Since all the exams are essay type format, it really is a different
testing experience than multiple choice exams - but I found it better because you really had to know the stuff to explain it in essay form, rather
than rote memorization.

All in all, the resources - e.g., computers, books, faculty, etc. are there for you to do well, but you must recognize the holes in the curriculum and
your knowledge. You can pass without detailed knowledge of Biochemistry, but it will hinder you once you hit the wards and of course, on Step 1.

They have a strange habit of passing most people the first two years and then lowering the boom for 3rd year - so don't relax if you get to third
year!

This probably sounds pretty wishy-washy - I don't mean it to be. I think you'll find the first few months pretty slow, especially if you have a
science degree, and its best to use this time to bone up on the basic sciences and get into the rhythm of studying for essay and clinical type
exams, rather than goofing off like a lot of students do.

Question: How do you feel about teh quality of life in Adelaide?

Great. The rents are unbelievably cheap here. I couldn't believe how cheap it was, and this was before the dollar dropped so ignifcantly! Food, utilities, etc. are also reasonable. Gas is much more expensive - around .80 AUD per litre right now. I found my quality of life a bit lacking because I didn't have a car - if you get one, I think it would
open your world up a bit, besides making things a lot more accesible. We are close to the beach, the downtown is about 20 minutes away and has art
museums, nightlife, plenty of cafes, etc. Flinders is in the suburbs so not much within walking distance, although the largest mall in the state is
probably around a mile away. The major hassle is the restriction of shopping hours in the suburbs - most stores are only open until 7 pm/9 pm on
Thursdays and not at all on Sundays. You'd have to go into the city then. You basically work around it - but it can be a drag to realize when you leave the medical centre after 9 pm on a weeknight and have no food at home. Of course, there's always Burger King or McDonalds - but that gets old after
awhile.

Despite having over 1 million people the city of Adelaide does seem smaller, less cosmopolitan. However, depending on what you like to do, there should be something to interest you. Foothhills for hiking are close by as well, and lots of the guys play soccer, cricket or golf as well. Plenty of university clubs to join if you're into that sort of thing.

Question:Any pleasant surprises?

Answer: I've really enjoyed living here and making friends. Not that that was a suprise, mind you. Probably the friendliness of most people, and the overt advantage that my accent gets me in talking to patients who are otherwise recalcitrant.

I was frankly worried when I started my 3rd year rotations because the hours expected of us are *much, much* less than those of our 3rd year colleagues in the states. However, I was pleasantly suprised when I looked at expectations for 3rd year students in the state I was meeting most of them, if not exceeding them. Therefore, I'm no longer convinced that 5 am
pre-rounds are essential to your learning!

Question: Any unpleasant surprises?

Probably the curriculum. I think Flinders made a mistake in trying to change to a 4 year curriculum at the same time as going to a PBL format. I think I
would have done better in a more traditional, lecture based format, although I wouldn't have enjoyed it as much. it all really depends on your learning
style and how compulsive you are. You must be motivated and self-directed to succeed here. I don't thjink I'll relax until I see how well I stack up
against American 4th year students.

Oh yeah...and some of the houses don't have air conditioning. When you get here, they'll put you up in student housing, also without air con. Its
miserable when its 107 outside. Believe me, consider it when renting a place!


Posted on Feb 7, 2001, 4:30 PM
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Newer Info from current 2nd year
by Anonymous (Login OzTexan)

Regarding MCATs: they are still around the 30 range with a good GPA.
Regarding Loans: No problems with Stafford or sup. loans
PBL course: If you need to be spoon-fed your material in lectures, this is not the place for you. If you are self-motivated and want to be a good clinician this is the place for you. I find that the PBL curriculum is better oriented towards clinical practice and life-long learning.
Adelaide: Excellent!! Great people, great beaches, GREAT WINE!!!
USMLE Prep: 100% pass rate...I guess it is going well, and with the new clinical/systems based format for 65% of the exam, the PBL is a great prep.



Posted on Feb 10, 2001, 6:29 PM
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Flinders Info
by Anonymous (Login kimberlicox)

I am the "source" quoted in the earlier email about Flinders info. I'd like to add an update if I may.

1) I agree that the average MCAT is about 30, and I have a remote recollection that the average gpa was 3.4. However, this could have changed recently.

2) so far of my class which just graduated, I know of two individuals who have signed outside of the match and are already working: 1 in Path at the Cleveland Clinic and 1 in Peds at Albany. The rest of us (who didn't decide to stay in Adelaide for internship - which a few did) are going through the match and will have results after March 22, 2001. Keep your fingers crossed!

3) after doing over 20 weeks of clinical rotations in the states alongside 4th year US students I must say:
a) for specialty clinical rotations I was on par with the US students with regards to knowledge and clinical skills (was told so by supervisors)
b) my anatomy knowledge was/is weak (as I feared) but not too far off US students who also had not had anatomy since first semester Year 1
c) not much chance to assess basic science knowledge but I'm pretty sure that my foundation was below par in comparison with US students
d) some things will have to be learned fresh: ie, chart notations for writing down labs/US abbreviations/ etc. Not that this was unexpected, but it did disadvantage me as the 4th year US students had been documenting lab results using the same shorthand method since 3rd year rotations
e) neither the Medicine or Surgical rotations at Flinders include ICU time. Thus when doing a rotation which included some critically ill patients I felt really at a loss - I had never managed a vented patient for example.

All in all I would say that clinically I stacked up satisfactorily against US students. However, I'm not sure I would have been a "star" on say a Sub-I or other core specialty rotation - largely because the experience at Flinders wasn't as rigorous as in the US (I'm working with 3rd years here and see what kind of hours and work they do and the expectations are much greater than at FLinders). I do worry a little about being the loser intern when I start in July, but frankly its mostly stuff that I can learn - how to write fluid/nutrition orders, anatomy/basic science.

Hope this helps.

Posted on Feb 16, 2001, 4:03 PM
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anatomy/basic sciences
by pinoymax (Login pinoymax)

i'm not in flinders and this is only slightly related to u'r topic but i'm hoping u can help out.
anyway i'm in a med school right now and i've almost completed my first year but i've got a problem i haven't been paying much attention to my anatomy lectures and lab work and although i've managed to pass all the exams i don't know if my lack of knowledge will militate against me when i get into a residency program.
i was thinking about doing the whole first year again but after i read u'r mail i had to reconsider, d'yu think i can make up for anatomy by just looking at really good atlases and studying really hard or d'yu think that i have to take the year again. please feel free to type exactly what you think.

Posted on Feb 16, 2001, 9:09 PM
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Anatomy/Repeating First Year
by Anonymous (Login kimberlicox)

Only you can decide whether you would benefit sufficiently from repeating first year to warrant the extra expense, stress, etc.
Some things to consider:

Step 1 and 2 require *very* little anatomy knowledge. Grad yourself a copy of First Aid for the Boards and/or Clinical Anatomy Made Ridiculously Simple and you will know all the anatomy you will need to know for the USMLE


Most medical practice, with the exception of surgery, does not require detailed anatomy knowledge. Many medical schools are cutting back on the emphasis given to this subject. Is it important as a Pediatrician that you be able to track the path of the recurrent laryngeal nerve? Probably not, but you damn well better be able to if you are doing any neck surgery!

Some anatomy is very useful - for example, you should know the names of the all the main muscles of the extremities, the axial skeleton and probably the facial muscles as well. You should know the names of all the bones. It is very helpful to know the dermatomes, and distribution of major nerves - you will find this helps enormously in 3rd year for Neuro exams. Main arteries and veins of the extremities and to major organs is essential. Do you need to know all the cranial foramen and what exits from them? Yes, for your neuro exams and you should know them for Step 1 - but in clinical practice unless you are an Interventional Radiologist, Neurologist or Neurosurgeon it probably isn't important.

I can't tell you the times surgeons have told me that they only know the anatomy of the body part which they most often work on (ie, a vascular surgeon doesn't spend a great deal of time remembering neuroanat.). I was only quizzed once on anatomy during a surgical residency interview; otherwise it never came up. But you can better believe I will do some studying between now and start of internship.

So, if you find that your anatomy knowledge is so weak as to not be able to name the "basics" (as I've so defined them) then perhaps you should consider redoing it. However, repeating the entire year seems a bit of trouble. Can you repeat only Anatomy? Or can you devote enough time to studying it on your own without dissection. Most of my current knowledge comes from repeatedly looking at atlases, and during surgical cases rather than remembering Gross Anatomy dissection.

Hope this helps.

Posted on Feb 18, 2001, 9:34 AM
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thanks a lot
by pinoymax (Login pinoymax)

thanks a lot , i guess i was just worrying over nothing after i posted the last e-mail i spoke to some of the upper class men at my school and they all said what you said. so i guess i'll just go to work on the atlases then. thanks again.

Posted on Feb 18, 2001, 1:24 PM
from IP address 203.167.69.189







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