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Thread: READ before attending MUA

  1. #1
    active is offline Newbie 511 points
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    READ before attending MUA

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    I wanted to share my experience with everyone who is thinking of attending MUA, or other caribbean school.
    I am currently finishing clinicals and have applied to match, I will hopefully start residency next July.

    There is a LOT of bad info about caribbean schools, and a lot of exaggerations and misconceptions. So heres the truth.

    I started MUA with a class of 109 people, by Med 5 we had 34 people in my class from our original class. Most failed out, some transferred or just went home to do something else. Of those 34, over 10 (not sure exact number) failed the comprehensive final, meaning they had to return to take it again and pass before taking the USMLE STEP1. Of the 20 or so people who passed Comp, I personally know 8. 2 passed the USMLE STEP1 with below a 210, (BAD). 6 have passed the STEP1 with above a 230 (according to them, they might be lying). I don't know anyone who has passed comp and then failed the STEP1, although I do know people who know people who have failed.
    I personally did well on STEP1, and will be fine. Once you pass STEP1, clinicals are easy enough, but residency match is insane. the statistics say about 56% of IMGs will get a residency, and I believe those stats. through this process I have seen just how challenging it is for IMGs, especially ones who don't speak proper english. I have friends who were not able to even apply to dozens of residency spots because they are not a US citizen. I have one friend who has a 240 on STEP1 and he hasn't gotten a single interview (he is indian and needs sponsorship). If you need sponsorship into the US, whether you're canadian or other, it will be HARD for you to match. MANY residency "people" I have spoken to have told me that I will be fine based on my english skills and US citizenship. I know this may not be fair, but its the truth and something to consider before jumping into a caribbean school.
    MUA itself is a decent school, and it will give you the opportunity to become a physician, but its a challenge. I know a lot of people who were paramedics and RNs who ended up failing out Med3 and Med4. Its a lot of work and its hard.
    So, my advice to you, think long and hard before attending medical school. Its a LOT of work, and a LOT of stress, and its not guaranteed you will be a physician. I received a biology degree before attending, and honestly MUA was harder than university. MUA is a decent school and the professors are nice, but you will have to do a LOT of work on your own.
    Read the book First Aid, and gather "docs" and "review" material from students in higher Meds than you.

    AGAIN, This is a decision that may not be the right one for you. If you can see yourself doing ANY other career, then don't go to medical school. You have to REALLY want it. My professor the first day of class said to me "half of the people in your class with you will not graduate" and he was right. I honestly didn't believe him, but now I do. I feel really bad for the friends I made who ended up wasting a lot of time and money.
    Last edited by active; 11-23-2015 at 12:16 PM.

  2. #2
    active is offline Newbie 511 points
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    Also, they have a good IT guy, so bring whatever computer you want. MUA is good, just be warned, you will face challenges even when back in the States.

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    torontoteam is offline Junior Member 511 points
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    what do you mean by

    " Once you pass STEP1, clinicals are easy enough, but residency match is insane. the statistics say about 56% of IMGs will get a residency, and I believe those stats. through this process I have seen just how challenging it is for IMGs, especially ones who don't speak proper English"

    going trough med school and clinical doesn't help people who have English has there 2nd language better? but I feel you with the part about citizenship!

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    Torontomed is offline Member 527 points
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    Quote Originally Posted by torontoteam View Post
    what do you mean by

    " Once you pass STEP1, clinicals are easy enough, but residency match is insane. the statistics say about 56% of IMGs will get a residency, and I believe those stats. through this process I have seen just how challenging it is for IMGs, especially ones who don't speak proper English"

    going trough med school and clinical doesn't help people who have English has there 2nd language better? but I feel you with the part about citizenship!
    Step 2 CS, which is one of the exams you technically MUST pass as an IMG on your first try, is entirely oral. I'd guess a good command of English would do wonders.

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    active is offline Newbie 511 points
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    Quote Originally Posted by torontoteam View Post
    what do you mean by

    " Once you pass STEP1, clinicals are easy enough, but residency match is insane. the statistics say about 56% of IMGs will get a residency, and I believe those stats. through this process I have seen just how challenging it is for IMGs, especially ones who don't speak proper English"

    going trough med school and clinical doesn't help people who have English has there 2nd language better? but I feel you with the part about citizenship!

    STEP2 CS as well as interviews for residency. I have friends who are basically hoping for interviews in New York, New Jersey, or Illinois, because many states are pushing for more residents with the last name Smith...

    im not trying to insult or start any issues, I'm just pointing out some aspects of becoming a physician that were not clarified for me before entering medical school. Medical school is hard, but it's only 5 semesters on the island, and then you still have to match, which is proving to be very hard for a lot of people. Just make sure this is what you really want and you will do anything to achieve it. You will be traveling for clinicals and you will end up doing years of residency away from home.
    I can't tell you how many Canadians told me med 5 they are going to do clinicals and residency in Chicago so they are close to home. Sorry but this will not happen. You're not leaving Toronto for 18months, you're leaving for 7-10 years.
    Again, it's doable, but make sure this is the only career you want to do. I have friends who passed step1,step2 and didn't match, they spent 4 years to now basically start over.
    40% of IMGs wont match. That's a big number. Good luck to you all and work your butt off.
    Last edited by active; 11-23-2015 at 05:59 PM.
    Paleo2015 likes this.

  6. #6
    torontoteam is offline Junior Member 511 points
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    dawn!! guess i need to focus more on my english!! thanks for the tips!!

  7. #7
    don1 is offline Moderator 547 points
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    active, you have very good points. until you match, it is very stressful.

    I thought of medical school abroad has being the most challenging part getting into residency. Oppose to getting into a US or Canadian medical school, which is the most challenging part for them. Even north american graduates find it very challenging getting into competitive residents; although they a likely to match into something if they backup with a uncompetitive residency.

    Overall I agree that going to medical school is a huge decision and that there is a lot work to make it through. At the end of the day, you are responsible for someones life. Last thing someone wants is to die from is because their doctor as inadequate medical knowledge or is a poor communicator. I have met people who have advanced metastatic disease because their family physician missed obvious signs of malignancy that could have be discovered earlier in a treatable stage. If someone wants to become a physician and is willing to put in the hard work and doesn't have significant learning disability or inability to do well on standardized exams they can make it. Becoming a physician is the longest profession that I am aware of, and not for the those unwilling to put the hard work in.

    All the best in the match, 'active'. From experience, it is a very stressful wait until match day, unless you have a prematch offer (which I am not sure if they still do).
    Last edited by don1; 11-23-2015 at 10:30 PM.

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    active is offline Newbie 511 points
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    Quote Originally Posted by don1 View Post
    active, you have very good points. until you match, it is very stressful.

    I thought of medical school abroad has being the most challenging part getting into residency. Oppose to getting into a US or Canadian medical school, which is the most challenging part for them. Even north american graduates find it very challenging getting into competitive residents; although they a likely to match into something if they backup with a uncompetitive residency.

    Overall I agree that going to medical school is a huge decision and that there is a lot work to make it through. At the end of the day, you are responsible for someones life. Last thing someone wants is to die from is because their doctor as inadequate medical knowledge or is a poor communicator. I have met people who have advanced metastatic disease because their family physician missed obvious signs of malignancy that could have be discovered earlier in a treatable stage. If someone wants to become a physician and is willing to put in the hard work and doesn't have significant learning disability or inability to do well on standardized exams they can make it. Becoming a physician is the longest profession that I am aware of, and not for the those unwilling to put the hard work in.

    All the best in the match, 'active'. From experience, it is a very stressful wait until match day, unless you have a prematch offer (which I am not sure if they still do).
    Thank you!
    No prematch for me, I have had 4 interviews so we will see. If not, then I will scramble or match next year for family med back in my home town. Im trying to do surgery but it might be a stretch.

    What sparked this thread for me, is the amount of friends I have seen lost during this process. We all thought Med 1 was hard, haha, then they just got harder. STEP1 was hard, but doable. STEP2 was actually pretty hard. And now, almost 4 years later, some of my friends will not even become doctors. I have one friend who applied to the same residency as me (gen surg), I have had four interviews and he has not received one. He is canadian born and raised. He has a 242 step1 and I have a 224. CRAZY!

    Just all of you, please look into this career, go follow a resident on rounds, get a feel for what you're actually getting yourself into. Its a LONG road and even if you succeed your life will never be the same, you will be setting up a new life for yourself somewhere away from where you live now.

  9. #9
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    SPODAT is offline Senior Member 520 points
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    Coming from 5 years now post graduating MUA, and working as a staff physician, I do agree with everything said.

    MAIN THING: it is an incredibly long road. My children were 3 and 10 when I started. They've suffered unfortunately, by my long hours of not being available, and the stressed/negative mentality I often carried around. There are many, many effects of prolonged severe stress. Of course, there are also many rewards including caring for patients, very meaningful daily work, very positive relationships, and not least of all the high salary.

    Some reflections; I am American born, Caucasian, native English speaker, and I suppose I underestimated how important that really is. I had low scores, just barely passing on Step 1, and 210 on step 2. I had lots of interviews in my (fortunately, non-competitive) field of choice. I did see many Indian residents in my program really struggle on step 3 and other tests because of their language barriers, and as well, consistently making cultural and basic factual mistakes from not interpreting communication correctly. I saw many many "visitors" coming for "audition rotations" who were foreign born fully qualified MD's in their own country, trying to land an American residency spot. They are all trying so hard, and are so qualified, and will to work so much harder. My program ended up hiring many of them because they were such good people.

    I believe the stats from my Med 1 forward were a little more positive, by roughly 10%, but close overall.

    These are all good things to consider and beware of. But if you have a dream and a passion, this won't stop you. All the best.
    MUA finished.
    Psychiatry residency finished.
    Staff psychiatrist. Hidden Content

  10. #10
    don1 is offline Moderator 547 points
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    Gen Surg, that's awesome active. I'm in surgery. People use to say that people who choose surgery when they can not see themselves doing anything else. I wonder why they said that and now I know. you will be super busy and in surgery, but it can be equally rewarding.

    regarding matching, I found that people who had impressive stats who did not match had sometime else working against them. sometimes they apply to only competitive programs, or personality issues. who knows...

    hope you get the program you want.

    Quote Originally Posted by active View Post
    Thank you!
    No prematch for me, I have had 4 interviews so we will see. If not, then I will scramble or match next year for family med back in my home town. Im trying to do surgery but it might be a stretch.

    What sparked this thread for me, is the amount of friends I have seen lost during this process. We all thought Med 1 was hard, haha, then they just got harder. STEP1 was hard, but doable. STEP2 was actually pretty hard. And now, almost 4 years later, some of my friends will not even become doctors. I have one friend who applied to the same residency as me (gen surg), I have had four interviews and he has not received one. He is canadian born and raised. He has a 242 step1 and I have a 224. CRAZY!

    Just all of you, please look into this career, go follow a resident on rounds, get a feel for what you're actually getting yourself into. Its a LONG road and even if you succeed your life will never be the same, you will be setting up a new life for yourself somewhere away from where you live now.

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