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Foreign Medical Study

Transfer To U.s. Schools

In 1970 the Coordinated Transfer Application System (COTRANS) was established on an experimental basis to facilitate the transfer of students studying abroad to U.S. medical schools. In the past, this system involved taking Part 1 of the National Board Examinations at a U.S. or foreign test center, a program terminated in 1979. During the decade of COTRANS's existence, less than half of those who took Part 1 of the NBME passed and only about half of those who passed managed to transfer to U.S. medical schools. This points up the inherent difficulties associated with overseas medical study.

In June 1980 a special examination was developed by the NBME for U.S. citizens enrolled in foreign medical schools who wish to apply for transfer with advanced standing to a U.S. medical school. It was known as the Medical Sciences Knowledge Profile (MSKP). This examination was designed to provide medical schools with a method of evaluating such an applicant's knowledge in the basic medical sciences and in introductory clinical diagnoses. No total score or pass or fail was reported, but the difficulty of transferring to a U.S. medical school is reflected in the fact that less than 40% of students have succeeded in doing so each year. Moreover, the numbers transferring have declined. The MSKP was replaced by the USMLE Step 1 in June 1992. The grade on this exam is now used to evaluate U.S. applicants who wish to transfer.

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