UK vs. US

Some of my family friend’s are visiting from America for a few days. They are both girls and medical students. I was talking to them about medicine for about an hour as I was really interested to know about the system in America. I can safely say after talking to them that I am glad that I am living in England. In America, they study medicine at university for 8 years, instead of the 5 years we do in the UK. Also in America, they have 3 foundation years instead of our 2.

I found out that the medical degrees are different too. In America, the degree is MD which stands for Doctor of Medicine, whereas in the UK it is MBBS or a similar degree which stands for bachelor of medicine and bachelor of surgery. I researched the topic UK Vs US Medical Schools and read some of the posts on forums about it. The general consensus seems to be that neither produces better doctors than the other; it is purely just different systems.

I am sure you are familiar with the university application process in the UK for medicine so I will just explain the US process. They don’t have a limit of 4 universities to apply to, they can apply to as many as they want; 15-20 is recommended. I don’t know whether that is an advantage to students living in the US or not. They would have a bigger chance of getting into medical school but perhaps they would have put less thought into which university they really want to go to and which course would suit them best.

There is an application form, similar to the UCAS form, where they put their personal statement and can describe relevant work experience, extracurricular activities etc. They also have to send coursework. Instead of just having one letter of reference sent to all the universities, they have up to 10 letters of evaluation which they can target to a particular university and specify which letter goes to which university. There is a standardised test that all medical school applicants have to take, called the MCAT (Medical College Admission Test), and their scores are sent to the universities they apply to.

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