Big Warning for Upcoming MD4 Students and AICM Students

In AICM, you will be required to sign up for a QBank, USMLE World particularly; and you are required to complete at least 50% of the Qbank before finishing the semester. They require you to start the Qbank after the USMLE Step 1 prep review and at the beginning of the rotations of AICM. There are around 2100 questions from USMLE World QBank and completing 50% of it in 2 months is possible but with full concentration. However, in AICM you are required to complete around 1050 questions, which is 50% of the Qbank, with clinical rotations. In clinical rotations you will have to do presentations for each rotations, you will be at the hospital majority of the day, plus you are required to do overnight on calls for Internal Medicine rotation, and USMLE World is a very difficult Qbank. USMLE World requires a person full concentration and commitment to successfully get the most out of the Qbank. One of my friends, who was on dean’s list in Bonaire, took an entire day to do one block of the QBank because of the extreme difficulty of the questions.

AICM Schedule includes the first 2 months of USMLE Step 1 review in a classroom, then the next 2 months the students do orientation and clinical rotations in the clinical floor. With rotations one cannot complete 1050 questions and fully get through the explanations. The only way to get through the questions is to blindly and randomly click answers so the AICM instructor sees that you are doing the questions. By blindly clicking on the questions you are just satisfying the teacher and you’re wasting your money because you are required to pay for USMLE World questions which goes from $99 for 30 days to $400 for one year.

My advice to the upcoming MD4 students is to do USMLE World questions starting from MD4. You will have a lot of time in MD4 semester because MD4 classes not as difficult as MD3 classes. Most MD4 students in SJSM make the mistake of relaxing in the last semester because the hardest semester is over. However, MD4 semester is a perfect opportunity to get started in being better prepared than the previous students. If you are consistent with USMLE World questions then you can finish all of it before MD4 semester is over. If you just do 20 questions a day from USMLE World, and thoroughly go over the answers and explanations then you will have time to study for MD4 classes plus enjoy having fun in the last four months in Bonaire/Anguilla.

For upcoming AICM students, if you have at least 2 months before AICM semester begins, then finish on round of USMLE World questions for Step 1, and trust me you won’t regret it. By doing so you will be able to go over the questions faster in AICM and you will satisfy the requirement for a grade and you will get the most out of it.

If you finish USMLE World questions in Bonaire or Anguilla, then the USMLE Step 1 review in AICM will be very effective in helping you because it will be a very good review. However, if you don’t do the questions then the USMLE review will be a waste of your time, and you have no choice about it because you have to attend it for a grade.

If I knew then what I know now I would not have wasted so much time on the island twiddling my thumbs; therefore, take my advice and start early. I write these blog posts to help my fellow students in SJSM because no one else does; that’s why I take the time to write them because valuable information can make or break a student. The information is presented to you so, it’s up to you to use it, good luck.

Congratulations to the Class of Fall 2010

I know this post should have been published before I posted the AICM posts but better late than never. Anyways, the Saint James School of Medicine class of Fall 2010 is the school’s largest class. We started with 70 students initially and graduated with less than 60 unfortunately. For the new comers this class will be remembered by all those who interacted with us. For new students, ask around and your fellow students and they will tell you our class is one of the most friendliest classes out there. We did our best and took time out of our schedules to help out the newcomers. Unfortunately, someone told me that other classes on the island are not like that. The following is a picture of the class, which was taken in MD4 semester.

Wrapping Up MD4 Semester

Health Fair
The SGA of Saint James School of Medicine held a health fair a while back to provide free medical treatment to the community. We spoke with the local church and arranged the event on October 31st to give back to the community. We set up different stations for the patients to check up with their blood pressure. BMI, height, weight, vision, dental, and other medical measurements were taken and counseling were given based on their health status. Yes, luckily we have an experienced dentist as a SJSM student in the MD4 class, and he offered his services free to the community. We also had a BBQ arranged by the MD3 students. It was a success, and several pictures were shown in the Bonaire Reporter, a local newspaper.  On of them I posted below.

Yes, the Bonairians will give your money back if you put a deposit down to get your residency permit. I got my money back and it was a stressful process. For the new upcoming students, you don’t have to put down any deposit for immigration. The policy was by the Bonairan government, but now since the island is taken over by the Dutch, no deposit is required to get a residency permit.  Also, in order for you to leave the island, make sure you get your passport stamped with the exit stamps.  If you don’t do so then there could be problems at the airport.

Final Block Tests
The MD4 students are getting rowdier day by day as the time is drawing closer to the end of the semester. MD4 students are running around getting things prepared for the white coat ceremony and getting things sold and packing things up. All the tickets out of Bonaire have been sold for half of the weekends of December. There are only weekend flights that fly to USA. Only in rare times will a plane go to USA any other time. We have 2 blocks of tests left and I have to be focused. The excitement of finishing Basic science and getting out of Bonaire is among all of us.

Clinical Preparation
It feels good to know that we’re on our way to clinical clerkship. Even though AICM is an introduction, we will be in a hospital setting so, it feels good to know that we are closer to our goal of becoming MDs. The only obstacle we have to overcome is the dreadful USMLE. My parents said the clinical package came to our house in the States. We all have to get CPR certified before the class starts in AICM.

White Coat
The white coat committee seems to be walking around taking pictures and video recording and discussion out loud what to do for the ceremony. Every semester the MD4 class makes a white coat presentation of fun times and they present it to everyone in the ceremony; for our class, the talented white coat committee is making one and I hope it turns out good.