In this post, I write about the premed period as a foreigner living in Norway.
I haven’t really been able to sit down and study since the 21st of October.
After the Bergenstest it feels like there is no real goal to fight for. But there is (even though it feels far away) and I have been studying the best way to prepare myself for the final and ultimate goal. To transition from premed to medical school.
If you want to study in Norway, tuition is free but you have to support your living costs. Since medical school is barely impossible to combine with a part-time job, most students apply for a loan anyway.
The competition to get a spot in medicine in Norway is crazy. Pretty much like anywhere else. Unless you get straight A’s in high school you should really consider other options.
Their score system has a range between 0 and 6 where 1 is a fail and all the other digits are a pass. The GPA to get into medical school in Oslo is about 6.7. How is that possible? Well, they can get some extra points here and there. Nevertheless, it’s really competitive fairly normal to apply more than once or twice.
As a foreign citizen, you must fulfil several requirements in order to apply for a study loan. One of them is to be proficient in Norwegian and English languages. Don’t ask me why they require English as well, but they do. I can prove my English proficiency level. Hopefully, this time I’ll pass the Bergenstest and then I’ll be able to move on to the next step.
What is the next step? Translate my grades and diplomas from Portugal to the Norwegian ones. They will evaluate my documentation and tell me what is the equivalent GPA in Norway, based on the final grades I got in Portugal. Then, and only then, I can have a better understanding of what are my real chances to get into medical school in Oslo.
Furthermore, I need to take an exam in chemistry and physics (the science subjects that I am lacking from high school). I am going to take them here in Norway anyway. I will need a formal grade on those subjects in the future, in case I don’t get a place at university in 2015. Those exams will be in May.
Surprisingly, biology is not mandatory. So I only need to take the biology exam in case I decide to apply abroad.
Moreover, if I get the student loan, I may have other options. I can apply directly (through an agent) to medical school in Eastern Europe. Some schools in Poland, Slovakia, Hungary, among other countries, have agreements with the Norwegian institutions. Many students take the opportunity and move abroad to take their medical education. Most of them are not even close to the top grades needed to get a spot in Norway. Others, because they are not willing to wait one or two more years until they make it in here. It is always a big deal to take your medical degree abroad but I’m sure that it pays off in the end.
In order to apply to medical school in the US, you need to take the well-known MCAT test. In Europe, there is no need to take it. Different universities have different requirements and different examination dates. For instance, Semmelweis University (in Budapest, Hungary) gives you two chances to take their exam+interview. The first at the end of February or beginning of March, the second in June. Gdansk Medical School (Poland) gives you only a chance around May or June.
Usually, the exams cover high school content in biology and chemistry. Some universities do not require physics but you’ll need in your first year anyway. Therefore it is not smart to get a place in medical school without any basis in physics.
Wrapping it all together, in order to be able to apply to medical school, I need:
- To pass the Bergenstest.
- To take an exam in chemistry and physics.
- Decide where to apply based on those grades.
What should I be working on? Yes, you got it. Learn biology, chemistry and physics.
First things first! It’s premed time after all.
The whole process makes me feel a bit small. But I can’t fold my arms and give up. I have a dream. I will fight for it at all costs. So let’s look above and focus on the final and relevant goal.