Ah, Medicine! What a beautiful and challenging career option to pursue…. And I guess that if you're reading this article, like me, you are planning to pay rent at the age of 46. I mean, jokes aside, choosing to be a physician is something that takes a lot of thinking and planning. At this point, most of you are already convinced that this is what you want to do and probably already have the next 20 years of your life planned out; however, if you don’t, no need to panic right away, I know it’s a tough decision and hopefully, this article will help you out!
To start off, it is important to ask yourself: where do I want to study? Do I want to study in Brazil or abroad? These two questions are essential so that you can start thinking about your next steps. If (like me) you chose to stay here, than there are certain things you have to have in mind: will I study in a public university (the so called “federais” or “estaduais” here in Brazil, like USP) or in a private one (e.g. Einstein)? Please bear in mind that there is no right or wrong answer in choosing between these options, every doctor or faculty advisor will have a different opinion on which is better at the moment. Once you have made your decision, the following steps will be necessary: if you chose to study at a public university, the only option is through the Brazilian vestibular (ENEM) or the university’s own set of exams (e.g FUVEST). In this specific case, my recommendation having discussed with different physicians and even my father (who is a doctor) is that you first focus on finishing the IB and getting a good score, which in case you change your mind you can still use. Additionally, focusing later on the vestibular, just means you can dedicate more of your time to the vestibular you chose to do. Furthermore, it is also a good idea to do a cursinho, as medicine is very competitive and extremely hard to get into. On the other hand, if you chose to apply to private universities there are two possibilities, either getting in with your IB score (on those that accept the curriculum) or through the required vestibular. In the case of those that accept the IB score, the scores range from 30 to 40 points in the IB, depending on where you want to apply, so again it is advisable to check with any college counselors to see if the university you want accepts the IB.
Moving on, for those who are interested in studying abroad, there are some considerations you have to make before applying, especially in the USA. Starting by the USA, it is highly recommended that you take the SAT, ACT and any other required tests as most of these universities still rely heavily on them. With this said, it is good that you do all of these on DP1 as during DP2 you will be focussing on your IB exams. Furthermore, it is important to keep in mind that if you apply to the US, you first have to cover 4 years of pre-med as it’s not an undergraduate course. Having this said, once you complete your pre-med, you will have to undergo another test to get into med school, the MCAT. The MCAT will evaluate the student on their knowledge acquired during pre-med, and the university you’re applying to will also evaluate your curriculum. On the other hand, for those applying to any European universities, the IB score should be more than enough, with only some countries like the UK which might ask for specific subjects with specific scores.
Well, this is the end, I hope this short article has helped you get a better glimpse of what’s coming in the near future! Just to make it clear this article is based on my personal experience, so please contact your advisor, talk to your parents, any doctors, etc… so that you are not making any decisions solely based on what you just read because as you saw there are several steps and little details which need to be taken into account, which might not even be in here. In any case, know that whatever path you choose to go with, always bring your A-game with you and be prepared for what comes your way.