Is MBBS Abroad a Good Option for Indian Students? [Harsh Reality]

MBBS is the first step you take towards entering the field of medicine, one of the most sought-after careers today. 

The NEET 2022 medical entrance exam saw 97% attendance on 7th May 2023, National Testing Agency (NTA) informed. As many as 20.9 lakh candidates had registered for the exams this year, which had received the highest number of applications ever.

As per reports, the total number of MBBS seats available in India for the 2023-24 batch is 1,07,948 seats.

The data, when accounted for, constitutes about 20 students competing for one seat. Doing the maths, only about 5% of the NEET aspirants manage to bag a seat. As you can see, the competition is fierce.

In addition to high levels of competition and a large number of applicants competing for government medical seats, private medical colleges charge high fees, making medical education unaffordable.

Due to these reasons, many students choose to pursue medical education in foreign universities, where overall costs are slightly lower than in India.

But is it really worth it? Let’s find out!

Is MBBS Abroad a Good Option for Indian Students?

NMC (National Medical Council) doesn’t recognize medical degrees from any other country except for 5 English-speaking developed countries, the United States, the United Kingdom, Canada, Australia and New Zealand

Studying in the above countries can be extremely expensive. That’s why every year, more than 10,000 Indian students go to countries such as China, Ukraine, Russia, Philippines, Kyrgyzstan, Georgia, Bangladesh, Kazakhstan, Poland, Armenia, Nepal, and others to pursue undergraduate medical courses. 

Studying in countries other than the United States, the United Kingdom, Canada, Australia and New Zealand requires one to pass the FMGE (Foreign Medical Graduate Exam) or MCI Screening Test which is a licensing exam required to practice in India. It is conducted by the National Board of Examination (NBE).

Unfortunately, as per reports by NBE, a total of 23,279 candidates registered for the 2023 FMGE exam (June session), out of which, only 2474 students passed. This amounts to a pass percentage of merely 10.62% which translates to about 1 in 10 students passing the exam. 

Despite qualifying in the FMGE exam, candidates are still required to apply for an internship at an NMC-registered medical college in India. One year is the duration of the internship. It will be only then that he or she will be permitted to practice.

Since the pass percentage in FMGE is alarmingly low, the expenses are high, and NMC recognizes only a handful of countries’ medical degrees, studying MBBS abroad definitely involves a great deal of uncertainty and risk, and is not a very lucrative option for Indian students. 

After years of study and spending a fortune, you will get a piece of paper that must be validated by a screening test and an internship in India.

In 2022, Russia invaded Ukraine and nearly 20,000 Indian medical students had no choice but to return to India.

Further, more than 10,000 Indian medical students studying in the Philippines are in jeopardy since the NMC has invalidated the pre-medical course (BS+MD curriculum) offered in the Philippines, making students ineligible to practice in India. Consequently, the students may need to choose a different career path.

Is MBBS Good in India or Abroad?

If you wish to settle in India, an MBBS in India is more advantageous than an MBBS abroad. India will not only provide you with exceptional clinical exposure but also a high standard of education, while you are in the comfort of your own country.

I’m a medical student myself, and I believe our native country India is the most suitable place to pursue an MBBS. Jai hind! 🇮🇳

Final Thoughts

If you were unable to crack NEET in your first attempt, there is always the option to drop a year if you’re confident that your second attempt will be successful. The good news is that the upper age limit for attempting NEET has been removed by the NMC. If you have the willpower and determination, dropping a year will be better for you than pursuing an MBBS abroad.

Another option is to join a private medical college if finances don’t seem to be a problem.

There are also a lot of other bright medical fields such as:

  • BDS (Bachelor of Dental Surgery)
  • BHMS (Bachelor of Homeopathic Medicine and Surgery)
  • BAMS (Bachelor of Ayurveda Medicine and Surgery)
  • BVMS (Bachelor of Veterinary Medicine and Surgery)
  • BUMS (Bachelor of Unani Medicine and Surgery)
  • BNYS (Bachelor of Naturopathy and Yogic Sciences)
  • BPT (Bachelor of Physiotherapy)
  • B Pharm (Bachelor of Pharmacy in Pharmaceutics)
  • D Pharm (Diploma in Pharmacy)
  • BSc (Bachelor of Science)
  • Biotechnology

Other courses, such as those not related to medicine, are plentiful as well. One thing that I would like to add:

It’s a noble profession to be a doctor, but it’s not the only profession.

Nevertheless, if you’re hell-bent on going abroad and pursuing MBBS, I’d suggest being very cautious about choosing the right college, checking its FMGE pass percentage, whether it’s feasible financially, analyzing future prospects and taking the full picture into consideration before deciding. It may be a good idea to pursue your MBBS abroad if you have everything figured out and are highly confident that you will work hard to pass the FMGE eventually.

Do you consider studying MBBS abroad a good option?

Let me know in the comments below!

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