57. No classes in 35 years. No LOR's No interview's. Started top 100 Med school.

Sounds a bit like a joke only I’m dead serious. Basically unemployed and was looking for a job retraining program. Stumbled on the IMAT test web site and thought why not. Similar to the MCAT but specifically for the Italian medical school admission competition. IMAT is in English. Italy has 6 state schools that teach medicine in English. These are different from the private schools that charge 20,000 a year. The state schools have grouped together and do one admission competition for all six. Here’s where it gets good. Competition is open to all with at least a high school degree. You do not have to be Italian or speak Italian. The test is held in 20 some locations worldwide. New York for sure. Pass the test with high enough marks and your in. No interviews, no letters of recommendation, no age limit. Tuition is between 1000 and $5000 per year based on income. You will have to prove you have a 13 years of education to the Italian Consulate. 13 year schooling is general in Europe. You may need a year of college for North Americans. These are 6 year programs, You might get credit for classes taken and skip a year but more likely they will just exempt you from that exam. My experience was sign up for test April 1, take test end April, results June 1, Notified of acceptance July 1, Start classes Oct 1. Tuition not due till May of the next year except for 750 Euros on acceptance. The med schools participating have variable reputations from Milano with a very good top 100 reputation worldwide to less desirable schools. You get to select an order of preference at test registration. I went through this thing a bit blind thinking when they see my age they will can my a… but guess not, I’m here eating spaghetti 6 months into year 1. First 2 years are basic courses Chem, Physics Anatomy Histology but no wasting time with art history or other liberal studies. If you have studied for the MCAT your ready for IMAT. You have 2 years to speak Italian.

Hello Oldredneck,

Is there a limitation on specialty?

Hello Oldredneck,

Is there a limitation on specialty?

Good grades are required for specializations in Italy but I suspect that most foreign students will be returning to their home countries for specialization.

The six year program just covers General practice although you have a good exposure to surgery and most specialties. There is some flexibility in courses you take so you can prepare for a specialty. The degree is accepted in the European Union so grads here are looking at practice in Great Britain, France, Ireland, and Switzerland. Unlike a Caribbean school where you basically have to get a residency in the US or Canada, you can get one in Europe or still do the north American residency. Mostly for European residencies it a question of availability and language requirements. There is a looming doctor shortage in Europe. Half the doctors in France will retire within 10 years. Italy and Romania happen to have surpluses. There are 40 students in my class. 7 are from english speaking countries. None from USA, 2 canadians, 1 irish, 3 british, another 8 or so non-Italians from various places the rest are Italian. I think for most of the Italians they took the test as a backup to their application to the Italian language classes. Some Italians because they want to practice overseas. 40 in the english program 400 in the Italian. You only need Italian to talk to patients and other Med staff in the hospital starting year three. One key to being accepted is selecting the right school at exam registration, if you know you will do very well select the school you want. If you just want to get in, select the lower requirement schools Bari, Naples. For these 2 all non-European applicants that met minimum pass score (20) on the exam were accepted, very few applied. You will not be allowed to switch school without redoing the competition. English native speakers have an advantage on the IMAT. Hope this helps.

I asked a few people about admission to specialties and a better answer is that each specialty has an exam for admission at end of year six. The questions are mostly specific to that specialty. There are about 2 applicants for each position, but I’m sure this varies for specialties. Grades only enter the picture as a tie breaker. Otherwise no limits that I could find.

For anyone considering this route, and then planning to come back to the United States for residency – just remember that international medical graduates are at a disadvantage, especially if you’re interested in a competitive specialty. I would be curious to see the school’s match numbers for those wanting to practice in the United States. I would certainly want to see that information before attending.

It is certainly true that unlike some schools the programs here are not designed specifically to pass the USMLE. English language Program is only about 6 years old in Milan maybe a couple of more years at Pavia. There are no Americans at Milan this year and I’m not aware of any in the year above. There would be some Italian program grads that emigrated but I think the numbers are too low to be significant or even available. Going to the US isn’t a priority here and we’re talking about the graduates of 6 schools not just one. Bari and Milan would have different match rates. Quality specialty programs are available in Europe as an alternative. Milan has what is reputed to be the best neurosurgery program in Europe. At least here if you fail the American match you still have all Europe to work in and not be limited to the likes of Grenada.

One could use First Aid for USMLE and DIT (Doctor’s in Training) to prep for USMLE. My fav. of the do-it-yourself strategies. Tried Boards Boot Camp and it was WAY too long and also a very scattered vs systematic approach, which does not work well for me.



Great story - I’m sort of in your same situation - I’ve looked into taking the IMAT and what you’ve described sounds pretty cool. I have a friend who teaches at the University of Zagreb in English for medical school as well…I’m also looking at IUHS.

Little bit about me - I’ve lived in Europe before for 7 years - I have a consulting business in Biomedical Engineering and half of my business is European - looking to get an MD to bolster the clinical side to my technical side (MS in Biomedical Engineering with international certification in clinical engineering). My husband is eligible for EU citizenship on top of his US citizenship (long story), so I could get a ‘EU Green card’ once he gets his other passport

In any case, I have a few questions, and if you have time to answer, that would be great:

  1. Which Italian med school are you attending? How did you find out which schools there were and how they were rated/ranked?
  2. Are you taking Italian on the side?
  3. Do you come back to the US at all during breaks?
  4. Living expenses - how are you handling those?
  5. Are you going for residency (not medical residency but citizenship) in Italy?
  6. Had you done any studying for the IMAT? I looked at the sample exam and frankly found it fairly simple except for the Chemistry (which I haven’t done in a long time); engineering is all about critical thinking skills, math and analysis…been doing it for 30 years now, so those parts of the test were easy.

    Thanks in advance -I’m new to this board - so don’t know if you can PM me yet, but if you want to do that instead, that’s fine.

    Regards - Bridget

I sent a PM to the author of the questions but I post a shorter version of the answers here.

  1. I am at Universita Degli Studi di Milano’s International Medical School in Milan. There are 6 schools in the group, listed on the IMAT web site I’m sure but in short Milan, Pavia, 2 in Rome, Naples and Bari. Rankings are available from at least 2 different sources QS and Shanghai Ranking and probably others, these 2 rankings are similar but be sure to look at just medicine and not overall university rankings. I take the rankings with a grain of salt as UDS Milano has 4 separate medical programs 3 in Italian feeding different hospitals and the small one in english 45-50 students per year. They can’t all rate the same but are ranked as one. Milano was ranked around 88, only Italian in the top 100. Pavia was around 220 Rome La Sapienza was also ranked Ok. The other 3 don’t score so well. There may be other rankings but I’m not sure any really paint an accurate picture.
  2. The Med school provides a once/twice a week Italian class for the non-Italians. You have 2 years to get up to speed. Spanish/French will help. After 6 months I’m up to pidgin level. At least I can order a pizza and not get an old boot.

    3)I have a house in France a 6 hour drive from Milan. I go there during breaks which is about 6 MONTHS of the year. They give lots of Individual Study time before exams. The other Canadian here does go back and forth to North America for vacations.

    4)I have a small income from rental property, It allows me to eat and I live in a camper for 6 months. Did I say camper, sorry more like old cattle hauler. Rent in Milan is higher than Rome. Pavia is supposed to be cheaper. Bari and Naples would be quite reasonable. Work or getting paid for research is unlikely here, count on paying your way.

    5)Getting citizenship does not seem that hard, there are residency requirements of course but for me with EU citizenship already I see no advantage to starting a collection.

    6)I did spend about 2 months studying for it (IMAT). I’m not sure it was all worth it. The best thing I did was take the old practice tests that they provided, mainly to practice strategies for solving the puzzles they provided. Some similar puzzles showed up. I spent a lot of time on Biology and did the worst on it. Spent little time on Physics and did much better than for Biology proportionately. Mostly I did well on the problem solving (old tests). I did find the test harder than I expected, I think they made last years tougher but its all on the curve so just have to beat the competition. Anglos have the English mother tongue advantage. I used Kaplans MCAT prep guides. It’s a level above whats needed for the IMAT. Test this year is September 16 so it’s real late compared to last one. Probably need your paperwork prepared in advance. Take the test start 2 weeks later OMG that’ll be a ride.

This is a follow-up to this thread - I want to personally thank Oldredneck publicly as his post and explanations as well as follow-up conversations have directly helped me become an incoming student at the University of Milan IMS this year…I will be starting late due to some Italian idiosyncrasies, however, I took the IMAT and picked Milan as my school, jumped through the DV and (hopefully) visa hoops and am now a first year student.

This board is for non-traditional pre-med and med students and this approach regarding going to school overseas is one way to become an MD. I also happen to have a friend and colleague who teaches at the University of Zagreb medical school English language program and it is fairly inexpensive and similar to the Italian one, although, they require taking the MCAT and an application. Another approach is the Atlantic Bridge program which is between America and Ireland and they offer 4, 5,and 6 year study programs in Ireland - no MCAT required for the 5 and 6 year programs - but it is an extensive application and depending on the school you wish to attend, may require an interview. I have applied there and should hear something this spring. (If I do get accepted I’m going to have a difficult decision to make, for sure). I also applied to IUHS. Interestingly, I also spoke with an MD who went to Med school in Australia - they require the MCAT, however, she told me (I have not personally verified this) that the last two years of school were spent in the US doing the clinical rotations, so you would be exposed to and get to network in the US medical system.

In any case, there are many options, you just need to research them and determine what will work for you. In the case of the Italian approach, it is a very inexpensive way to to get the MD and as others have said, you can use the First Aid and other options to study for the USMLE so that you may be competitive for a residency in the US.

Thanks again, Oldredneck and I’ll see you in January! Ciao…

Is the OP still checking this forum? :wink:

I love this story! I checked out some IMAT questions, it looks like you need to have science under your belt. Did you have an undergrad science degree back in the day?

How’s Italia treating you? Do you think you will stay and practice medicine there?

I had a masters in Biology but strangely but did really bad on the biology section. Mostly I made my points in IMAT reasoning and a few points here and there in Chem and Physics. It was never my plan to practice in Italy and I still don’t think I will but there are lots of other countries in Europe where all you need is the language knowledge. Within the EU the countries accept the degree credentials. Speak Finnish go practice in Finland. I speak French, English and by the time I’m done will have Italian down so my options will be Great Britain, Ireland, France, Italy, Monaco, Malta and parts of Belgium and Switzerland. Probably just stay in France though, I already have a house there and just commute for medical school. My advice if you want to apply, this year the test is in September, really late. You will already have wasted all other options for this academic year, the results come out within 30 days and you start immediately. Select Bari as first choice for university, they are the least selective, not a well respected school but 60,000 students and you are in. Next year take the test again select a school with better reputation if you like. In the meantime any courses you have passed will probably be transferable. If you select Milan or Pavia you will have to do well on the IMAT and if you fail you just wasted another year. For IMAT study the old tests on the website. Good Luck.

Thank you for posting the information about IMAT and Italian medical schools. You mentioned that you have 6 months worth of vacation each year. Could you let us know when those breaks are and for how long. Thank you very much.

Classes run from around October 1 to about December 19 for the Fall semester. They start back around March 1 and go to May 20 for 2nd semester. Exams are during the breaks so you could say they are not really breaks, you need to be studying. The exams for each class are offered several times during the winter and summer breaks. Its sort of up to you how you play it. There’s nothing to stop you from going to 2nd year but to advance to 3rd year you have to complete all the required exams including one for B2 level Italian language. If you pass your exams right off then you have a vacation. Most however do not and butt their heads against the wall all during the exam periods. Clinicals start 3rd year at least in Milan. Due to the late date for IMAT the incoming class may not start till November and run till end of January. There has also been some added EU requirements for class time so future classes may have to sit more hours in the classroom. Whatever the required class time is when you start is what will apply for your entire 6 years. Hope that helps.

thank you for the information - this will be on my list as a possible option.

anyone considering this route could do worse than visiting http://www.medschool.it/ which was written by a graduate of, and current students of, the above program.

Hello All,

New to this forum and really intrigued by IMS. I was wondering if anyone who is a current student or graduate there knows if there is any information available about Residency/ Internship Match stats either in the EU or US. Thanks so much for the great info everyone who who has shared on this thread!

The stats are hard to come by, as most stats are for the whole university, not the individual med program. But the original author pointed out that unlike the carib schools, if you fail USMLE or fail to match, you still have the whole of the EU to practice in. (as opposed to the whole island of Grenada, for example.)