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Thread: Just Accepted - Semmelweis Dentistry (LOTs of questions)

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    Marlowe_Dental is offline Newbie 510 points
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    Just Accepted - Semmelweis Dentistry (LOTs of questions)

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    Last edited by Marlowe_Dental; 09-10-2012 at 05:28 AM.

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    african_child is offline Member 521 points
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    Hi,
    I would say I have some answers to a few of your questions, but a few requirements disqualify me from being the most appropriate person to answer your questions completely while giving you the satisfaction that your questions have been fully answered. They are:

    1. I have never studied in North America, so I can't compare it to Hungary.
    2. I do not study at Semmelweis.
    3. I am not in the Dentistry programme.

    However, if you are still interested in my answers to some of your questions just let me know. I check in here once in a while to share my experiences about Debrecen Medical University.
    I would have to insist that you keep trying to contact someone from Semmelweis on their Facebook page. (It might be a little hard as exams are just 2-3 weeks away). As I hear, there are more American students studying there than in any other Hungarian medical school and their students' association is the most professional and helpful.
    Hope someone helps you soon.
    V/VI
    UD-MHSC, Debrecen, Magyarország.
    edu.dote.hu.
    Pls peruse the forum before sending me PMs. All answers to your questions are there!

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    Marlowe_Dental is offline Newbie 510 points
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    Thanks for replying african child! I imagine that things aren't too different in terms of the way things are run in classes between the two schools and the first 3 years are the same for Medical and Dental anyway. I'm very interested in any information you can give. You're probably busy studying as well, so even yes/no answers to my first post would be great!
    I just really want to educate myself on what I should expect before I full commit. I have received word from the representative who has said the school wants a deposit withing 2 weeks (is this consistent with you, or anyone elses acceptance experience? having to pay so soon).

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    bitebullet1 is offline Junior Member 512 points
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    Quote Originally Posted by african_child View Post
    Hi,
    I would say I have some answers to a few of your questions, but a few requirements disqualify me from being the most appropriate person to answer your questions completely while giving you the satisfaction that your questions have been fully answered. They are:

    1. I have never studied in North America, so I can't compare it to Hungary.
    2. I do not study at Semmelweis.
    3. I am not in the Dentistry programme.

    However, if you are still interested in my answers to some of your questions just let me know. I check in here once in a while to share my experiences about Debrecen Medical University.
    I would have to insist that you keep trying to contact someone from Semmelweis on their Facebook page. (It might be a little hard as exams are just 2-3 weeks away). As I hear, there are more American students studying there than in any other Hungarian medical school and their students' association is the most professional and helpful.
    Hope someone helps you soon.

    Hi,
    do the professors lecture notes not provide enough info for exams in hungary too(unlike the US,where students get great lectures where everything needed for the exams is covered in these?).
    I just cant see myself trying to learn from big textbooks on my own and i assume this is why the droput rates are so high yes?
    Thanks a lot

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    african_child is offline Member 521 points
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    Hi,
    To reiterate, all the information I'm giving below applies to my limited experiences (I'm just in the 2nd year) at the University of Debrecen Medical School ONLY. I have never been to Semmelweis university nor do I claim to study there. However, I believe that give or take, there're similarities between the two schools. Nonetheless, Semmelweis has some added advantage-it is located in Budapest! That should say a lot.
    With the above in mind, then let's get down to business. Hmm...let's see some of your questions (again, I'm NOT studying at Semmelweis!)
    how did you find the teaching styles and examination style?
    Teaching is divided into lectures, seminars and labs. Most lectures (more than 95%) from the majority of departments are voluntary (not obligatory). In the 1st year (and especially during the 1st semester), lecture halls get filled up. But as soon as students realise that lectures are not compulsory (most times they get this bad (?) info from higher level students), they stop coming. You would notice the lecture halls shrinking in size as the semester progresses.
    In contrast, seminars are compulsory. The teacher that gave the lecture (or their PhD student) comes for the seminar. It is expected that students should ask questions that they may have from the lectures, lecture slides or the official textbooks. IMHO, to get the best out of the seminars, try to read something, no matter how little, from the lecture slides/notes to prepare yourself for the seminars. You will benefit immensely from the seminars if you did this. However, since most times students don't study before the seminars, the teacher is left with no other choice than to repeat some important points from the lecture in the seminars.
    Needless to say, labs are compulsory. Of special note is Anatomy, Histology, Biochemistry, Biophysics, Cell Biology...in fact all of them! If you miss one lab, you have the chance to make it up with another group within the same week. (Students are split into groups and you take seminars and labs with your group. But everyone comes for lectures)
    Lastly, exams are a mix of orals and written. A lot has been said about this, please do a search on that in this forum.
    What is a lecture like?
    Lectures are the same like in any other university. However, here the teacher speaks throughout. Some of them entertain questions during lectures (mostly the younger generation of teachers, who are the majority). But the older professors hardly allow time for fielding questions. They expect you to ask all your questions during the seminars.
    Does the teacher post slides?
    Yes, they do.
    Do they use a chalkboard?
    Chalk boards and white (marker) boards are available. They use this to emphasize their points.
    Does the material follow a textbook (or do they suggest readings to do)?
    The materials do follow official textbooks, for some of the professors. I can cite a few examples. Physiology follows the official textbook (written by Fonyo, a Hungarian). Neurobiology material follows the textbook by Haines. I dunno in higher years.
    However, others don't. The materials given in Biochem here is more than enough. ( They follow the material in Devlin). I know these books may not make sense to you now. But I hope I made my point.
    Are notes available online before lectures?
    Some are, others are not. But for the most part, they are available after the corresponding lecture. I remember a student once asking the professor about this issue. The professor replied, "Well, as you can already see, there're only 16 students in the lecture hall out of about 200 that have registered for this course. If I post my slides on the website BEFORE the lecture, everyone then can just get and read them. Then maybe nobody would come for the next lecture." But even if they are available before the lecture, they may not make any sense as a lot of the slides are figures, annotated diagrams, schemes or pathways that need the teachers explanation.
    How "electronic" is the teaching there?
    I'm not sure what exactly you mean by this. But there're projectors in all lecture/seminar halls. Some teachers play videos to buttress their points. Each department has a website where the slides are uploaded and notices conveyed to the students. Well, some of the websites lack aesthetics though!

    Could someone also further explain groups and class size? From what I've read, it sounds like you're with a small group of people in classes.
    Unfortunately, Hungarian medical schools admit a lot of students into their medical schools. This in itself is one of the flaws of the system. But we're not on that yet. So class sizes are not small anymore. Yes, you would get split into groups. But some of these groups are up to 20-30 students. And sometimes when the repeating students from upper years are added, you may increase in number (assuming only a few people are repeating in your group).

    In general (I know not all profs will be like this), how available is a prof outside class time to ask questions? Or would I have to seek paid tutors?
    This varies among the professors. Some can entertain questions anywhere anytime. Others won't. To my knowledge, tutors are students in the upper years. Their methods highly vary. Some are very well sophisticated and know the materials. I have never used a private tutor before, but some of my friends have. There's a popular Histology tutor here. As I hear, they have their own microscope and slides!

    My impression is that getting past exams/notes is seen to be a sneaky and lazy way of trying to get by. Do more legit, exam banks exist? Or are review sessions run? I know I shouldn't expect hand holding and spoon feeding, but are any support systems like review sessions held?
    Oh yeah, you will see a lot of past questions papers. Since only anatomy tests and exams are oral, there are a lot of past papers available. There're are also what are called minimals (provided by most of the departments). These are the very basic concepts you're required to know about a course. Of course, you can read more.

    I have to tell you that the Hungarian system is totally different from the American system. Expect put in a lot in your studies on your own. You would be expected to study lecture slides and textbooks.

    Would you say having the habit of previewing notes (if they're available) before class, then following up on notes immediately after class, and consistantly staying on top of things, working hard, etc is the recipe for success?
    Right on cue! I couldn't have put it better myself
    Some of the more strong opinions on the negative aspects of Hungarian schools (and the bystanders agreeing!) worry me.
    If you can bring yourself to do the above, then these negative comments need not worry you. As I mentioned earlier, a lot of people are admitted. Some lacking in a good command of the English language. (How can they read textbooks written by people whose first language is English?). However, this doesn't hinder some students. I have a Japanese friend who has a Japanese version of the anatomy atlas, Netter. She reads them side by side with the original English version. And she did very very well!
    Other students are just not meant to be in Medical schools. Medicine is not for the faint-hearted. Unfortunately, when they fail, they blame everyone except themselves.

    Another thing, how is the student life there?
    Don't expect an American-type of student life. The Europeans have their way of fun. I don't think I'm the right person to give you info on this. (I have only been to clubs/pubs a few time here). But since you gonna be in Budapest, then I'm already beginning to envy you

    How is the North American student community anyway?
    Sorry, I can't help here.
    How open are students to people of other nationalities? Or do nationalities tend to stick together?
    It's sad, but nationalities stick together. But you can make friends of course. Expect a few instances where you would feel left out when you're with two or more people from the same nationalities and they start speaking in their language.

    The fact that I'm applying to Semmelweis means, yes, I'm not a super stellar student right now. But, I'm willing to work my tail off. If that means spending every day at the library (how are the libraries btw? or should I expect to just work from my flat?), I will do it.
    Oh libraries are good. But sometimes noisy. They have all the official books in their latest editions. Borrow early, as they tend to be lent out fast. Reading in library is great, but being able to read also in your flat is an added advantage.

    As you would have realised, this post is long. And I have already written much more than I earlier intended. But it's OK, I myself had a lot of tremendous help from this forum when I had questions.
    A lot of posts have been written here about Semmelweis, please do a search them. And keep trying to contact someone at their FB page. Someone will definitely reply.
    Last edited by african_child; 04-29-2010 at 02:22 PM.
    V/VI
    UD-MHSC, Debrecen, Magyarország.
    edu.dote.hu.
    Pls peruse the forum before sending me PMs. All answers to your questions are there!

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    Marlowe_Dental is offline Newbie 510 points
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    Wow, thank you so much! You're answers were very detailed. And it actually sounds like the school has a very similar lecture style and approach to teaching as North American (well, Canadian) schools. The lectures are just the professor speaking and for some classes they have a little seminar type session where you can ask questions here too. I'm also used to learning from a textbook if I have to.

    I have 2 years of university behind me already. So, the hype and excitement of being away from home, living by myself, isn't really there anymore. Plus I don't care much for clubs or pubs either. Budapest, the city, will know doubt be a distraction early on, but hopefully I'll get focused fast. I don't really plan on enjoying the city until I have a firm study schedule and my habits are set.

    I was looking at the curriculum on the Semmelweis English language program website (sorry my post count isn't high enough to link it here) and your comments on the lectures, seminars and lab. I’m guessing you have a similar schedule and curriculum at Debrecen, so I was wondering if you could explain the hours a little?
    Is the P=practice referring to the seminars?
    Also, are classes strictly at a certain time (does everyone have the same schedule?) or does the same class run a few times a week (like the labs?). Is this what you meant by splitting into groups?
    What does "electives" refer to? I wish they school had a more detailed outline of their curriculum online.

    I'm not sure what exactly you mean by this. But there're projectors in all lecture/seminar halls. Some teachers play videos to buttress their points. Each department has a website where the slides are uploaded and notices conveyed to the students. Well, some of the websites lack aesthetics though!
    Yeah, that's exactly what I was trying to ask haha, sorry I wasn't very clear. I got the impression that the school was very much about tradition and thought that might translate into old fashioned teaching methods too. I'm extremely relieved to hear that the professor uses lecture slides and some post them.

    Oh libraries are good. But sometimes noisy. They have all the official books in their latest editions. Borrow early, as they tend to be lent out fast. Reading in library is great, but being able to read also in your flat is an added advantage.
    This is good news, I know it may be different in Semmelweis, but it sounds like any library anywhere . What do you mean by official books in their latest editions though? Textbooks? Don't people just buy their textbooks? Or do mean books for leisurely reading?
    Anyway, I really appreciate you taking the time to answer my many questions! And I'm sure anyone peeking in on this thread does too. This really settles some of my worries about Semmelweis.

  7. #7
    african_child is offline Member 521 points
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    And it actually sounds like the school has a very similar lecture style and approach to teaching as North American (well, Canadian) schools.
    Yes, it may be the same. However, don't expect the quality of teaching (i.e how the teacher delivers the material) to be at par with your Canadian professors. Expect to see a mix of outstanding teachers and others that are so-so. As for the quality of the education itself (I can only speak for the first 3 years), it's beyond excellent!

    I have 2 years of university behind me already.
    This will come in very handy as you will bring in a lot of experience from your previous university years. I would advice you to learn as much as you can on how the Hungarian university system works during your early days here. Pay particular attention to what points are required for exemptions (from sitting the final exams in a given course), required number of electives to take, sports, etc. Don't worry, they're not really a problem. You just need to know how to make the best use of the system.

    Seeing you're from Canada, I would like to point out that you would see a lot of differences between here and Canada. First off, don't expect all those futuristic skyscrapers covered in glass dotting the skyline here as you see in Canada. Instead, you would see a lot of Victorian (?) buildings here. Second, the facilities in the labs are a mix of old and new. Third, expect the English secretariat to piss you off a few times by delaying your requests, lacking in certain information you might inquire about other departments or at times having "miscommunication" with the dean's office. However, things are getting better and Budapest is reputed to have the best student services.

    I don't really plan on enjoying the city until I have a firm study schedule and my habits are set.
    This is a good plan.

    I was looking at the curriculum on the Semmelweis English language program website (sorry my post count isn't high enough to link it here) and your comments on the lectures, seminars and lab. I’m guessing you have a similar schedule and curriculum at Debrecen, so I was wondering if you could explain the hours a little?
    Generally, lectures are 45 mins long. If you have double lectures of the same course, the teacher may ask to give a 15mins break in-between or continue so that you spend a total of 90mins. Usually, there are 8-10 hours of lecture spread across 5 days of the week. But this varies among semesters.
    Seminars are mostly 2 hours, once per week for each course (except anatomy where you have dissections or histology labs twice in a week for 2 hours each). For example, I have 2 hours of Biochemistry seminar only on Tuesday. By the next Tuesday, the teacher will entertain questions from the lectures of the previous week. Labs are as such in Biochem and Physiology i.e you go to labs and carry out experiments.
    But for anatomy and histology, seminars are used interchangeably with dissections (gross anatomy) or viewing slides on both screens and microscopes (histology). During these times, the teacher guides you, add some more details left out in the lecture, dissects for you or you can try dissecting by yourself etc. It's really fun if you make it so.


    Is the P=practice referring to the seminars?
    Yes, but only in anatomy and histology. See above.

    Also, are classes strictly at a certain time (does everyone have the same schedule?) or does the same class run a few times a week (like the labs?). Is this what you meant by splitting into groups?
    What does "electives" refer to? I wish they school had a more detailed outline of their curriculum online.
    Only lectures have a fixed time where every student has no other thing (seminar or labs)to do except that lecture. So everyone has, let's say, Physiology lecture from 12.00pm -2.00pm. After that, if I'm in ,say, Group 4, I may have histology seminar next while if you're in Group 10, you may have Biochemistry practicals next. So I'll rush to the histology lab, while you'll rush to Biochemistry department for your practicals. And we wont meet again except in the next lecture which brings us to the same lecture hall.

    The same lab is run in the same week (or even the week after like in the case of Biochemistry). This is good because if by any ill-health or otherwise you miss your lab on, say, Tuesday, you can make it up with, say Group 12, when they have their own lab(the same experiment as yours) on Thursday. But be aware that there is a maximum number of labs you can make up for in a semester. I think 2 is max. Missing 3 labs in anatomy within one semester is an automatic repeat 'cuz the head of department won't sign your grade book as confirmation you are through with that course.

    Electives are courses you take which may or may not be directly linked with your medical education. Some are research-oriented, some are advanced studies on your regular subjects like Physiology or Cell Biology, yet some are just plain fun. For example, there's an elective here called Cinema (or something like that). You just go to watch movies (of course, movies with medical undertones). In Debrecen, electives take 15% of your total credit points in medical schoool.


    What do you mean by official books in their latest editions though? Textbooks? Don't people just buy their textbooks? Or do mean books for leisurely reading?
    I meant the latest edition of textbooks. e.g if a new edition of Essential Cell Biology comes out in 2010, they gonna have it that same year.
    Of course you can buy ALL your textbooks even from your home country. But medical textbooks are expensive (and I'm not on a government scholarship of any sort ) . I buy some, I borrow some from the library.
    Talking about textbooks and Budapest, I remember this website of a former Budapest student (I think he's a doc now). You will a lot of useful materials there : BudapestStudent.com

    Even though I read novels, I never tried asking if they have them in the library. Even if they do, they might have it in Hungarian

    Anyway, I really appreciate you taking the time to answer my many questions! And I'm sure anyone peeking in on this thread does too. This really settles some of my worries about Semmelweis.
    I'm glad you found this useful. But please be aware I'm not in Semmelweis, so there may be some differences from all that we have discussed.
    On a lighter note, you're Canadian, eh? I bet you hate South Park then. He he...Terrace and Phillip? Damn! Mat & Trey really make fun of you guys. But hey, who hasn't been mocked by South Park?
    V/VI
    UD-MHSC, Debrecen, Magyarország.
    edu.dote.hu.
    Pls peruse the forum before sending me PMs. All answers to your questions are there!

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    Princess_Deroy is offline Newbie 510 points
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    Thanks for the replies @ African Child!! The load of information sure did help.
    I was wondering if u have any idea on which one of the 4 Universities u think is best in dentistry.?.

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    african_child is offline Member 521 points
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    Quote Originally Posted by Princess_Deroy View Post
    Thanks for the replies @ African Child!! The load of information sure did help.
    I was wondering if u have any idea on which one of the 4 Universities u think is best in dentistry.?.
    I don't wanna make assumptions, Princess. But if you can gimme a few days I'll ask some of my friends here in Debrecen about their opinion on which is the best in Dentistry.
    However, I think the curriculum of all the schools are the same. That said, If I were you, I'd pay more attention to which school has the best foreign students services, have a better teaching approach and located in a nice city with good weather and friendlier Hungarians (like Szeged)
    V/VI
    UD-MHSC, Debrecen, Magyarország.
    edu.dote.hu.
    Pls peruse the forum before sending me PMs. All answers to your questions are there!

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    Princess_Deroy is offline Newbie 510 points
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    Thanks a lot!! i will be waiting for the feedback while i try to do my own research aswell

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