Studying Medicine at Charles University: Success on the Second Attempt
The Czech Republic is the main option for an international student looking for a free medical education in Europe. The competition for the medical faculties of Charles University is fierce. But it is worth it as after graduation you will be able to practice medicine anywhere in Europe.
Viktor Shorokhov, one of GoStudy graduates from a few years ago, managed to get a place at the First Medical Faculty of Charles University on his second attempt. Viktor’s first attempt was unsuccessful and he chose his back-up option – Medical Faculty at the University of Chemistry and Technology in Prague.
Viktor told GoStudy blog readers about his studies at the UCT in Prague and what was required to get a place there.
“If you go to study in Europe, then go to the doctor”
I came to Prague from Irkutsk with the aim of going to study at the Medical Faculty and precisely at Charles University. My family and I have decided that if I go to Europe, then I should study medicine. There is a high level of healthcare in the Czech Republic and I liked the idea that later I would be able to work anywhere else in Europe. But I was prepared that I may not get in on my first attempt. Very few people succeed. In Russia I studied at a college specialising in physics and maths. I did not know enough biology and chemistry. I came to the Czech language courses only in November and missed my chance to enrol in the preparation course for the Faculty of Medicine at Charles University. The first year, in addition to Czech classes, I went to classes in physics and chemistry at GoStudy. Plus, I was lucky to be able to sit exams in biology and chemistry to get nostrification. I made good progress in these subjects; nevertheless, I did not succeed that year.
“I really enjoyed studying there”
I can recommend to the applicants of medical faculties: if you failed to get into Charles University, you should go to University of Chemistry and Technology in Prague (Vysoká škola chemicko-technologická v Praze – VŠCHT). To be honest, I was not upset, that I had to go there. Chemistry is an interesting faculty, and I really enjoyed studying there.
You do not need to sit the entrance exams, only the Czech language test. But it is not easy to study there. This is a prestigious university where world-renowned chemists and Nobel Prize winners came to study in the past. For example, Otto Wichterle, the inventor of contact lenses, graduated from the University of Chemistry and Technology Prague.
Large lecture halls, modern laboratories and a very friendly team. I made good Czech friends, who helped me master the language and I learned chemistry and physics well. When I came to apply for a place at the Medical Faculty for the second time, I was more prepared.
Many applicants who like me did not get into the medical faculty at Charles University choose go to the University of Chemistry and Technology Prague and plan to try and get into Charles University next year, but many end up staying at the UCT in Prague as it is a great place to study.
“There will be questions from the collections”
Charles University has three medical faculties. Two faculties publish sample entrance exam questions online so you can see what to expect during your exams. The third faculty does not publish sample exam questions, so it is impossible to specifically prepare for the exams.
I initially focused on the first faculty as it is easier to get in, it recruits more students, than the second faculty. It is also easier to get kicked out of there, almost half of the students get expelled after the first semester.
Admissions statistics for 2014–2015
First Faculty of Medicine: 3,580 applicants, 799 accepted (5 people per place) Second Faculty of Medicine: 1,827 applicants, 187 accepted (10 people per place) Third Faculty of Medicine: 1,919 applicants, 160 accepted (12 people per place)
To prepare you need to buy sample entrance exam tests of the Faculty and Czech textbooks for graduates of Odmaturuj schools in physics, chemistry and biology. There is also a good website www.wikiskripta.eu, where students and lecturers share medical materials, there are sections for applicants.
While studying at the UCT in Prague, I attended the preparation course for the Medical Faculty. By that point I was living in the Czech Republic and understood Czech well.
“The First Faculty of Medicine accepts 700 people”
Entrance exams are all held on the same day. First, we sat a chemistry test for two hours, then after a 30 minute break, we sat a physics test for an hour and a half, and then we had an hour long test in biology.
We got the results two days later. The First Faculty ranks its applicants and accepts the first 700 people and those who have the same points as the 700th applicant. I was not sure if I would pass. But I was 685th. There were more than 3,500 applicants in total which works out at five people per place.
I answered 200 questions out of 300 correctly. Each question has several correct answers; you need to include everything to get a score.
“All international students should study the Czech language in depth”
All students of the Faculty are divided into groups of 25 people. Each group has its own schedule and its own curator—a senior student, who helps to solve various issues, that arise at the first stages.
The General Medicine program is designed for 6 years of study.
The first 3 years are for studying theory. First-year studies consist of lectures (for the entire intake) and practical exercises (seminars and laboratory). During the 4th year, students study and practice in clinics.
At the First Medical Faculty, all international students should study the Czech language for two years. During the first year they learn in-depth general vocabulary, and in the second year they study medical terminology.
From the 4th to the 6th year, training is divided into internships. Students work in one of the departments of the clinic (for example, orthopaedics, gynaecology, ophthalmology) for a certain number of weeks.
“I am thinking about staying in the Czech Republic”
I like the Czech Republic in every sense. I have been to hospitals several times and saw the attitude of Czech doctors towards patients. You can see that they love their job.
Prague is a very cultural city. There are many places to go and things to see here. I made new friends in Prague. Once you get a hang of the language, you begin to see everything differently. I am thinking about staying in the Czech Republic. It’s a great place to live and study.