We will be adding more questions in the near future, especially about the 6 year program. For the most part all the below questions apply to all the programs here. If you have additional questions, then feel free to write to us at ASG @ mdprogram.com. We hope this will help you answer some of the questions. Also, once you have been accepted to the school, we invite you to join our Online Community (we will confirm your acceptance before granting you access to the site) and you can post other questions for all the upperclassman to read. 

 

 
  • How is PUMS overall preparation?   As with any school, there are some courses that are better than others. There are some that put you to sleep while others that keep your attention. In the first year years, of the 4 year program, the core basic sciences have a strong academic program that is modeled after the American teaching style with some exceptions. All classes have multiple choice question exams, based on the USMLE, and again with a few exception where additionally there are oral examinations. Many of the professors and assistants have experience teaching abroad in countries such as United States, Japan, England, Germany, and Norway. Ultimately, it is also the students responsibility to motivate themselves and prepare for all the exams, and at times go beyond what is presented in class. It is difficult to cover every topic from a book, thus, some responsibility lies on you.

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  • How are the professors?  All of the professors have an excellent background in their field. All of them are also conducting their own research concurrently. Their English proficiency is dependent on their experience teaching abroad; however, most of them are fluent and understandable. All professors have been found to be extremely approachable with friendly attitude and willingness to help with any problems. Show a little respect and they will do the same. They are also very open to suggestions and feedback from students on how to improve their program and the students' preparation as future physician. They also are willing, for anyone who is interested, to involve you in their research or clinical experience.

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  • What are the USMLE 1 and 2 results?  Tough question to answer as there are no statistics because the school never collected them. What we can comment is that the people who take them... pass. From the current graduating class of 2004, over 50% have taken Step 1 with all of them passing the test (unconfirmed so it may be lower). Of those, only 25% have taken Step 2. Many are opting to take a year off and prepare better for that test. One reason is that the material on Step 2 consists of Neurology, Ear-Nose-Throat (ENT), Dermatology, and a few other specialties that we are not exposed to until the spring semester of the 4th year. The scores from the past to the present have ranged for Step 1: 183-240 (unable to comment about Step 2), with majority getting around 200. Again, we do not have the statistics so you will have to take our word for it. We are aware that these percentages are not impressive, but they are getting better every year and are very much dependent on the students in that class. 

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  • What is the workload like?  Medical School is a paramount undertaking no matter what country you are studying in. The standards are very high, the schedule is demanding, and students are expected to perform comparably if not better than the United States Standards. First month of the 1st year is usually a little at ease, but by mid-October the pace picks ups. By far, 2nd year of the 4 year program is the most demanding as you live and eat pathology. To contrast to this, 2nd year of the 6 year program is the lightest and therefore we advise you to review past material, study ahead, or get involved in some research/clinical experience. All of this will help you down the road.

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  • What resources are available?  Students have free access to online journal and publications, most of whose links are available on the ASG website. If you prefer to read paper version, they and a other journals are available at the school library. The library also posses a number of great reference volumes among other a number books that the departments recommend to students. There is also a smaller library which also has some popular journals along with many other course books, BRS/NMS, and USMLE prep book which can be borrowed. That library, located in the Pathomorphology building, doubles as a private study room for all the English speaking students.

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  • Does the school offer a review program of the USMLE?  The school used to offer a review course which was taught by a US company, but due to lack of interest by the student body it was not economical. Due to the recent interest by the students, the school is considering re-implementing a review course. The administration is also in the talk with National Board of Medical Examiners to provide final exams for each course along with administration of comprehensive exams at the end of 2nd and 3rd year, of the 4 year MD program, which will ultimately double as a prep USMLE exam.

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  • What are the classrooms like and what are the class sizes?  The campus is continuously being renovated with a focus on expanding the class size and adding modern equipment. Classes are spread throughout the city with some of the lectures being conducted in the hospital setting itself. The school has undertaken a project to expand the campus where in 2008 a new academic building containing lecture halls, library, and study rooms will open near the dorms. Class size is dictated by accommodation. Typically lectures involve the entire class regardless of size. Seminars, labs, and clinical rotations are comprised of smaller groups.

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  • How is Poznan as a whole?  The city is unique in that there are many students from around the world seeking education in various fields and as a result there is a large student population in Poznan. It resembles any major modern city with wide range of educational and recreational activities which include movie theaters, opera houses, and countless clubs to let loose and meet people. If you are used to living in large cities then you should have no problem acclimating. The city represents many eras of architectural advances, showcasing its own history and influences from neighboring countries, which also reflect the cuisine, arts, and nightlife of Poznan.

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  • What is the age of students at the English program?  Within the 4 year program there are students who have recently completed their undergraduate studies therefore they are in their early 20's. On the other hand, there are also students who have complete graduate studies or who have been out of school for a few years, putting these individuals in their late 20's to even 30's. In the 6 year program, majority of the student are straight out of high school, and therefore they are about 18. 

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  • How easy is it to obtain an airline ticket to travel back and forth?  There are many agencies where tickets can be purchased. The standard is that the earlier you buy, the better the deal you will get, which applies to both your flight and the price. Each agency has certain amount of tickets that they can sell, and many students run the risk of being placed on the waiting list if they procrastinate. ASG is going to try to set up some kind of communication between a number of these agencies, where by, we will post any promotions that they will email us.  

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  • How early can one come to the school?  It is recommended that a person does not come more than 2 weeks in advance. There is no need. You better off staying home and working, or relaxing before you get overwhelmed with medical school work. If you are not coming with the group flight from New York, we recommended that you arrive about the same time as your other classmates, usually about 5 days before classes start. This way you can acclimate to the city and participate in the orientation activities designed by the school officials and ASG.

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  • How are the accommodations?  The school offers three dorms where students can reside in. Eskulap, which is the largest and build in the 1970's, is a 13 story building. The rooms there all have been renovated with internet access, and are setup in a suite style, where two people live in separate rooms and they share a bathroom. This is great for couples or long time friends. The two other dorms, Medyk and Aspirynka, are the most recently build dorms and are the place where majority of the 4 year program students reside, along with 6 year and 5 year dentistry. The rooms there are single occupancy with a private bathroom, and come with the standard high speed internet connection and cable TV.

(Building with yellow stripe is Aspirynka and is the newest dorm, opened in 2002, and building with blue stripe is Medyk, opened in 2000. They are very much alike inside)

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  • How is the interaction between Polish and English speaking students?  The cardinal rule is to treat others as you would want to be treated. Although, many Polish students speak English, the interaction between Polish and English students is low. They regard us as being spoiled since we are able to afford more things. They also feel that there is preferential treatment by the faculty because we pay. Overall though, both sides get along fine and even work together to improve the school. From a male stand point, there is a greater interaction between English male speaking students and Polish female speaking students. The reverse is not that prominent. Furthermore, the kindness applies to Poles in general, as they are very open and sympathetic to foreigners. Only drawback, is that too few speak English.

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  • Is Polish a difficult language?  During the first year, all non-Polish speaking students are required to complete basic Polish language course. Polish belongs to the Slavic languages and is considered by many to be a language that is best learned outside of classroom. Many students, by second year, become fluent out of necessity rather than from classroom experience. Students are required to learn Polish by their third year in order to take full advantage of clinical exercises. It is a difficult language but not impossible.

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  • Should I bring all my books with me?  No, unless you have the space in your luggage and don't mind breaking your back carrying the heavy luggage through the airports. You have several options. First, bring them all. Second, have them shipped to Poland once you arrive, but make sure to bring Anatomy and Histology books with you. Third, buy them through Amazon.co.uk (British Amazon.com) and have them shipped to your room (takes about 1-3 weeks depending on book availability). Fourth, go to the Bestseller website (local bookstore) and preorder your books at least a month in advance, so that when you arrive, they will be ready at the store for you to pick up. Last option, come with nothing and see what you can buy from upperclassman. They are always selling books.

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Please email any comments to asg@mdprogram.com