This week, Italy's future doctors where chosen according to established tradition. Like most countries, entrance to medical school is very competitive. So what determines who comes in and who stays out?
- * Italian High School Grades? No! They don't matter!
- * Letters of recommendation? No! They don't matter!
Last week around 4,000 Roman students filed nervously one by one into classrooms to take the standardized test that would shape their future. They eyed each other jealously knowing very well that only a lucky few would be admitted.
The medical school admission exam questions look like this (but in Italian):
Here are the previous exams: 2006-2007 2005-2006 2004-2005
Take note that this year's exam is made up of:
- 33 Culture and Logic (like the ones above)
- 13 Math and Physics questions
- 13 Chemistry questions
- 22 Biology questions
Yes, I've done my share of human cadaver dissections and long nights at the hospital.
Yes, I've also done my share of European museums and in 2002 I even studied Italian literature in an Italian University (academic year 782).
...but do you have any idea how many passages and authors there are in Italy? We're talking over a thousand years of literature! How many wars and battles in Europe? How many masterpieces and painters?
I simply will not, and cannot play a game of:
- "Who restored what chapel and in what year?",
- "which of the following masterpieces is not in the Louvre?"
- (believe it or not, that was one of this year's med school questions!)
- "which historic building is where?"
- "who made what Italian film in what year?"
- "this verse is from what Italian book made in what year by whom?".
People will immediately write to me and say that's why "American medical schools are the best"! Others will say "Hey! European medical schools are doing amazing work".
That's not my point... I'm just saying that on top of challenging medical studies, be prepared to fine tune your history and culture skills!
Take note! In Italy they study medicine right after high school!
In Italy, an American Undergrad Degree = Italian High School diploma (!)
You can only apply on for the visa on May of each year, and your documents take a while to be translated and given "Italian equivalence value". If you're documents are late, you must wait a year!
FYI...I plan to do my residency in the United States, but I wanted to live abroad for a few years before that since I love the Italian life-style, but American work ethic. (Where can I have both?!)
I hope this post helped those who wanted to study medicine in Italy (though I think most probably turned around and ran by now!)
To everyone else, sorry for boring you!