Medicine in Milan, Italy - International Medical School Watch

shinwave
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2018 Update - I am currently a Foundation doctor back in the UK. Buona fortuna to everybody applying/graduating!

Important update for 2016/17 Entry - See links at the bottom.

The following article was written by me back when I was a first year student, for the year 2011/12. It is a subjective article, based around my personal experience. Following many changes (including moving of the facilities in 2014 away from Humanitas, and Changes to IMAT protocols), some of it may not be as relevant today, but I am leaving it as it does still serve a purpose of informing people about my personal experience of what it was like to move to Italy, and some aspects of the program itself.

I am currently a student studying medicine in Milan, Italy, and am writing this to help any prospective students in their decision-making process! I will be talking a lot more subjectively on this topic, my personal decision-making process, and some general info with regards to my experience thus far.

The program I am enrolled on is the Medicine and surgery (medicina e chirurgia) program in English. It is a program run by the University of Milan (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/University_of_Milan) and is called the International Medical School (IMS), with everything being based at istituto clinico Humanitas.

Why I chose this course

The course is a 6 year degree in medicine, and all lectures are in English. I am currently a first year, with no previous knowledge of Italian.

Having researched the University itself, I found that the University of Milan has an international reputation - something important in my eyes when considering the future - It is considered one of the best in Italy (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/University_of_Milan). The degree is recognised in the UK (http://www.gmc-uk.org/doctors/regist...ence_italy.asp), and so I thought "Why not; the exam entrance fee is cheap, course is in English and is in Milan, Italy, rather than somewhere possibly more obscure - works to my advantage when applying internationally after graduating. What, tuition fees are no more than 4000 euros a year?!"

On the course, the lecturers are excellent (I have previously studied at Bristol and Nottingham - I graduated with an Msc in Immunology) in comparison with other top universities. The class sizes are small (50 in our year), and very international - we have about 15 Italians, 10 Israelis and 10 Brits, with others coming from Lebanon, Taiwan, South Korea, Germany, Sweden - you get the idea. The small class definitely helps in terms of student-professor rapport; we really get to know each other. This is almost unique in terms of the professor getting to know each student (Does not happen in the UK).

Literally today, one of our coursemates went and watched a surgery to fix an aortic aneurysm: again, does not happen in the UK. However, with Italy being a catholic country, dissections are illegal. Instead, as first year students, we already have our white coats, are shadowing doctors and sitting in at consultations (yes, knowing Italian is a benefit). Students have the option to go visit the ER over the weekends. All in all, it is very exciting (albeit the majority of our time is spent in lectures or studying in the library).

The course is moulded around other international models (e.g. Stanford etc etc), and I really do get the feeling that they have made an effort rather than just port over the Italian system and Googletranslate everything (I have heard other courses in English are doing this...). The lecturers are excellent, the material is theoretically challenging (as you would expect any decent medical school to be), proper patient interaction starts in the THIRD year, and the facility is amazing.

Lunches are subsidised (3 euros for a really good meal), we all have our own lockers, the teaching staff for our PBLs are all very experienced physicians, everything is pristine clean, and there seems to be one or two international conventions happening every week, and as students we are welcome to view them. State of the art equipment (e.g. really powerful PET scans), and the concept that if you contact the doctors beforehand, they will be more than happy to accommodate for one extra student on their rounds - some of the benefits of being a medical student here.

The hospital itself - Istituto clinico Humanitas (ICH) - is one of the best in Italy. It is a private hospital, with the capability to accommodate for patients on the national health service. With that being said, it has some of the best doctors and facilities around. I have been told that there is a 2:1 ratio of student to physician tutors (paid to be tutors). All the doctors I have met thus far have been more than supportive (a la coursemate today, who was asked whether he wanted to sit in on the aortic aneurysm surgery).
I have so far met intern residents from the US and the Netherlands, who have been saying the facilities here (e.g. nuclear medicine department, where he is an intern) are truly state-of-the-art, and that was an important factor in them coming here.

Our classes are held in one classroom, with our professors coming to us. Since we are so few, you really get to meet everybody intimately. Our class has already been on skiing trips together, visited Nice over the weekends, and even invited friends over for Christmas/New years/Easter back to the UK!
On top of all this, we frequently go out together to the very cosmopolitan city that is Milano; sushi all-you-can-eat-buffets, coffee and drinks at any number of bars, karaoke, football, and apertivos!

The entrance exam

This is what happened last year.

I took the IMAT test (BMAT equivalent) in September having signed up, and waited two weeks for the results to be published online. There were 100 people taking the exam in London, and a further 500 Odd taking it in Milan, for 30 Eu places and 20 non-eu places.

NB they advertise a minimum mark of 20; this is NOT what you should be aiming for. This was only the second year, and the competition for places in the eu category was much harder than for the non-eu.

After the results are published online and you place within the top 30, ZOOM you should pack and get out to Milan asap and start looking for an apartment - Last year the entrance exam was on the 9th of September, results were published on the 1xth, and we had to be here for registration by the 23rd or so. It happens very quickly, and they expect you to pay the first instalment at an Italian branch of Intesa Sanpaolo (I made the mistake of going to the Intesa Sanpaolo branch in London but they dont deal with private payments). First date of term was the following monday (26th I believe).

NB - the application procedure is not easy takes time - start well in advance of the application deadline, but in the worst case scenario, contact the medical school as shown on www.mimed.it

In summary
Pros: Environment (small classes, excellent teaching staff, facilities), early clinical experience (tasters in the first 2 years followed by proper patient contact in the third year), course taught in English (but must learn Italian), top university in Italy, top hospital in Italy, and cheaper tuition than UK. Food is great in general!

Cons: Having to learn Italian within 2 years (I intend to study over the summer holidays), no dissections, had a really tough time getting all the paperwork together (Italian consulate blew 2 separate confirmed appointments with me, then lost my paperwork...)
With this being a new course, sometimes things dont go as smoothly as you would like, but having chatted with the year above, things are definitely improving. I assume it will get even better in years to come (Means some of this information may be outdated soon)

Possible pros or cons (depends on how you look at it): the hospital is not actually in the city of Milan; rather it is several kilometres to the south. However, there is a shuttlebus that runs every 20 minutes from morning till 8pm every day to Milan, and it takes about 15 minutes.
The lecture timetable is not as intense as in the UK. Its not 9-5 everyday, but with more time allocated to "self-study". We have on average 4-5 hours a day of lectures (just quick-maths involved here), which may be less intense than in the UK, but the students then go off to study at their own pace by themselves.

I hope this helps - I myself was daunted last year when faced with the prospect of this mysterious course. I would strongly recommend people to come and investigate (as some people have already done) -it's only Milan and costs under a hundred pounds to come and investigate for yourself!

---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

As of 2014, a few changes to the following article.
In short - The International medical school is now moving from Humanitas, Rozzano where it has been located thus far.
1) The preclinical 2 years will be based at LITA-Interdisciplinary Laboratory of Advanced Technologies, Segrate
2) The clinical 4 years will be based at the Sacco hospital campus (and others around Milano)
3) The intake this year is undefined as yet.
4) The IMAT exam is 60 total questions - 2 general knowledge, 20 logic, 18 biology, 12 chemistry, 8 physics and maths combined.
5) There are no extra marks for English certificates.

Unfortunately, I myself have never visited either of the new facilities above, and therefore cannot comment. All the best to those applying this year!

For those interested - Some useful websites:
Last year's IMAT scores: http://accessoprogrammato.miur.it/2015/IM_RI.html
Official websites: http://www.imschool.it/,
Registration for IMAT (will open closer to September - keep checking this link!): www.universitaly.it
Last edited by shinwave; 3 months ago
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Waterstorm
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So is there no interview or anything, basically if you get in the top 30 for the IMAT exam you're in? And what are the entry requirements?
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shinwave
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To date, the application procedure has been: To apply before the deadline (harder than it sounds - as I've previously stated, Ive had problems with the Italian consulate, and the required paperwork is very confusing etc etc.), and then place within the top30.

The IMAT entrance exam is very similar to the BMAT (both are created and run by Cambridge Assessment).

80 questions in total; 40 General knowledge/reasoning, 40 science. This of itself makes it similar to the Italian entrance exam for Italian courses, except if you were applying to an Italian course you would be expected to know all sorts of general knowledge. For our course, it was predominantly reasoning questions interspersed with a few general knowledge questions (e.g. who was Dante? Permanent security council members of the UN).

3 Science parts: Biology, Chemistry, Physics and Maths (these together). The standard that they stipulate you know would be A-level for every subject, but in reality some questions were much harder (e.g. I was expecting myself to know all the biology questions but this wasn't the case), whilst others were much easier (I actually did best in the physics and maths section - without answering any physics questions at all. Having said that, I did do further maths).

An example chemistry question involved different aromatic ring structures - something I had done years ago in A-level chemistry (Im a mature student)

So, the exam is out of 80 total and is MCQ (Multiple choice questions).
5 options, +1 if you answer correctly, -0.25 if you answer incorrectly, a "Don't know" option is also provided = +/- 0
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shinwave
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As far as entry requirements: you need this thing called a DV (declarazione di Valore - certificate of equivalency).

4 step process: You take your GCSE and A-level certificates and take them to a local solicitor asking for "certified copies". This does not take long - maybe 2 hours at max.

Take these Certified copies and send them off to somewhere in Milton Keynes to get them "Apostilled". This takes about 2 weeks, if you're lucky.

With your apostilled certified copies, together with your original certificates (God knows why) and many passport photos (you will need loads of these later - make em pretty ones) you take them down to the Italian consulate in London (136 Buckingham Palace Road), to get the Apostille Stamped and the DV. This final step should "take you about 30 days"...

Requirements for the DV (for Brits) is to show that you have been in full time education for 13 years. I cannot remember seeing anywhere that minimum grades were required - but I assume the entrance test accommodates for this.

Somewhere along the line, you need your certificates translated into Italian to bring with you to registration in Italy.

General theme throughout: Start early as hiccups are bound to happen, and make many passport photos and photocopies and bring these with you to Italy for registration.
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AiB
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Thanks a lot for the information shinwave. Regarding the IMAT, how did you prepare/ revise for it? And although you're taught in English, what's the quality of the books?
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shinwave
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The IMAT is very similar to the BMAT. Similar format, similar time pressure.

For the general knowledge/logic section (half the test), I personally found it hard to revise for general knowledge. Also, there were very few general knowledge questions - and the majority were logic/reasoning. I personally practised the BMAT example question papers, and also other aptitude tests (GAMSAT, UKCAT etc.)

For the science/maths section, biology (18), chemistry (11), Phys+Maths (11), the comprehensive list of possible topics are on http://mimed.it/admissions.shtml
Yes, it seems a curriculum of itself,but it is doable - each topic may have a few hard questions, but with many easier ones too. And since the marks are averaged out over the total 80, you CAN do well without flattering yourself in, say, the Phys+Maths. [Do not recommend counting on this though - ideally you'll do well in every topic, as marks are hard to come by]

For books, we use the same books used internationally - Just to give you an example, Ross/Wheater's for Histology, Larssens/Moore Persaud for embryology, Grays for students/clinically oriented/Grays 40th for anatomy, together with a host of different atlases. In English of course.

I don't think you should worry about the books until you get in - when you arrive here, the professors always recommend which texts are required for their course.

As for the library on the ground floor with new books - there are 4-5 Grays 40th anatomy, 6 or so Ross&Pawlina Histology, 5 clinically oriented anatomy... etc.
Obviously not enough for the entire class, but people usually buy their own books (amazon do a good job shipping to Italy)
But remember, these books are meant for 50 people a year, not for 300.
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AiB
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Hi shinwave, do they offer any financial support for international students?
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shinwave
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As far as I know, there are 3 forms of financial support.

1) The tuition itself is financial means-tested. Dependent on your parents income, you could end up paying as little as the first instalment due in october (700 euros), or the maximum 3200 euros.

2) There is a scholarship to which you can apply for - I believe it is awarded partially meritoriously, but family income is also taken into consideration.

3) For non-eu students only, there is an additional scholarship based on family income only.
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rainbowsxyz
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(Original post by shinwave)
I am currently a student studying medicine in Milan, Italy, and am writing this to help any prospective students in their decision-making process! I will be talking a lot more subjectively on this topic, my personal decision-making process, and some general info with regards to my experience thus far.

The program I am enrolled on is the Medicine and surgery (medicina e chirurgia) program in English. It is a program run by the University of Milan (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/University_of_Milan) and is called the International Medical School (IMS), with everything being based at istituto clinico Humanitas.

Why I chose this course

The course is a 6 year degree in medicine, and all lectures are in English. I am currently a first year, with no previous knowledge of Italian.

Having researched the University itself, I found that the University of Milan has an international reputation - something important in my eyes when considering the future - It is considered one of the best in Italy (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/University_of_Milan). The degree is recognised in the UK (http://www.gmc-uk.org/doctors/regist...ence_italy.asp), and so I thought "Why not; the exam entrance fee is cheap, course is in English and is in Milan, Italy, rather than somewhere possibly more obscure - works to my advantage when applying internationally after graduating. What, tuition fees are no more than 4000 euros a year?!"

On the course, the lecturers are excellent (I have previously studied at Bristol and Nottingham - I graduated with an Msc in Immunology) in comparison with other top universities. The class sizes are small (50 in our year), and very international - we have about 15 Italians, 10 Israelis and 10 Brits, with others coming from Lebanon, Taiwan, South Korea, Germany, Sweden - you get the idea. The small class definitely helps in terms of student-professor rapport; we really get to know each other. This is almost unique in terms of the professor getting to know each student (Does not happen in the UK).

Literally today, one of our coursemates went and watched a surgery to fix an aortic aneurysm: again, does not happen in the UK. However, with Italy being a catholic country, dissections are illegal. Instead, as first year students, we already have our white coats, are shadowing doctors and sitting in at consultations (yes, knowing Italian is a benefit). Students have the option to go visit the ER over the weekends. All in all, it is very exciting (albeit the majority of our time is spent in lectures or studying in the library).

The course is moulded around other international models (e.g. Stanford etc etc), and I really do get the feeling that they have made an effort rather than just port over the Italian system and Googletranslate everything (I have heard other courses in English are doing this...). The lecturers are excellent, the material is theoretically challenging (as you would expect any decent medical school to be), proper patient interaction starts in the THIRD year, and the facility is amazing.

Lunches are subsidised (3 euros for a really good meal), we all have our own lockers, the teaching staff for our PBLs are all very experienced physicians, everything is pristine clean, and there seems to be one or two international conventions happening every week, and as students we are welcome to view them. State of the art equipment (e.g. really powerful PET scans), and the concept that if you contact the doctors beforehand, they will be more than happy to accommodate for one extra student on their rounds - some of the benefits of being a medical student here.

The hospital itself - Istituto clinico Humanitas (ICH) - is one of the best in Italy. It is a private hospital, with the capability to accommodate for patients on the national health service. With that being said, it has some of the best doctors and facilities around. I have been told that there is a 2:1 ratio of student to physician tutors (paid to be tutors). All the doctors I have met thus far have been more than supportive (a la coursemate today, who was asked whether he wanted to sit in on the aortic aneurysm surgery).
I have so far met intern residents from the US and the Netherlands, who have been saying the facilities here (e.g. nuclear medicine department, where he is an intern) are truly state-of-the-art, and that was an important factor in them coming here.

Our classes are held in one classroom, with our professors coming to us. Since we are so few, you really get to meet everybody intimately. Our class has already been on skiing trips together, visited Nice over the weekends, and even invited friends over for Christmas/New years/Easter back to the UK!
On top of all this, we frequently go out together to the very cosmopolitan city that is Milano; sushi all-you-can-eat-buffets, coffee and drinks at any number of bars, karaoke, football, and apertivos!

The entrance exam

This is what happened last year.

I took the IMAT test (BMAT equivalent) in September having signed up, and waited two weeks for the results to be published online. There were 100 people taking the exam in London, and a further 500 Odd taking it in Milan, for 30 Eu places and 20 non-eu places.

NB they advertise a minimum mark of 20; this is NOT what you should be aiming for. This was only the second year, and the competition for places in the eu category was much harder than for the non-eu.

After the results are published online and you place within the top 30, ZOOM you should pack and get out to Milan asap and start looking for an apartment - Last year the entrance exam was on the 9th of September, results were published on the 1xth, and we had to be here for registration by the 23rd or so. It happens very quickly, and they expect you to pay the first instalment at an Italian branch of Intesa Sanpaolo (I made the mistake of going to the Intesa Sanpaolo branch in London but they dont deal with private payments). First date of term was the following monday (26th I believe).

NB - the application procedure is not easy takes time - start well in advance of the application deadline, but in the worst case scenario, contact the medical school as shown on www.mimed.it

In summary
Pros: Environment (small classes, excellent teaching staff, facilities), early clinical experience (tasters in the first 2 years followed by proper patient contact in the third year), course taught in English (but must learn Italian), top university in Italy, top hospital in Italy, and cheaper tuition than UK. Food is great in general!

Cons: Having to learn Italian within 2 years (I intend to study over the summer holidays), no dissections, had a really tough time getting all the paperwork together (Italian consulate blew 2 separate confirmed appointments with me, then lost my paperwork...)
With this being a new course, sometimes things dont go as smoothly as you would like, but having chatted with the year above, things are definitely improving. I assume it will get even better in years to come (Means some of this information may be outdated soon)

Possible pros or cons (depends on how you look at it): the hospital is not actually in the city of Milan; rather it is several kilometres to the south. However, there is a shuttlebus that runs every 20 minutes from morning till 8pm every day to Milan, and it takes about 15 minutes.
The lecture timetable is not as intense as in the UK. Its not 9-5 everyday, but with more time allocated to "self-study". We have on average 4-5 hours a day of lectures (just quick-maths involved here), which may be less intense than in the UK, but the students then go off to study at their own pace by themselves.

I hope this helps - I myself was daunted last year when faced with the prospect of this mysterious course. I would strongly recommend people to come and investigate (as some people have already done) -it's only Milan and costs under a hundred pounds to come and investigate for yourself!
Hi, quick question.
When did you apply for this course? Did you apply the July before you start?
For instance, I'm interested in applying but I'm not certain whether the dates mentioned on the website are for 2012 entry.
Thank you!
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shinwave
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(Original post by rainbowsxyz)
Hi, quick question.
When did you apply for this course? Did you apply the July before you start?
For instance, I'm interested in applying but I'm not certain whether the dates mentioned on the website are for 2012 entry.
Thank you!
I myself applied about the July before i started, yes.
I heard today that the entrance exam for this year will be announced as September the 5th. The places to take the exams may vary from last year - it was Milano and London, but they're considering more places as an additional option.

More details will be announced on www.mimed.it once things are finalised.

Also: For those interested - the 12th of May is the university open day, and you should try and visit if you can - it wouldn't be harmful in anyway (yes, I understand its a little more difficult that just popping on the train and going for 30 minutes).

If you cannot visit on the 12th of May, I would recommend visiting at some point - although our exams are starting very soon and then we're off on holiday so finding people to show you around may be a little harder (assume it could be very quiet in July)
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syelem
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Hi,
I was looking for a student of this school since a few months
I am from France so the GMAT I don't know what it is about, I have a few questions to ask to you because I need a lot of other informations.
Thanks
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shinwave
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(Original post by syelem)
Hi,
I was looking for a student of this school since a few months
I am from France so the GMAT I don't know what it is about, I have a few questions to ask to you because I need a lot of other informations.
Thanks
If you have questions that I can answer, I would be happy to answer them here. If personal, then you can pm me, but if it's relevant for everybody then perhaps it would best to ask them here, as many people have the same questions and problems.

I have written about the IMAT exam above, and also you should explore www.mimed.it - yes it has last year's information, but it should be the same this year too. In addition, I HIGHLY RECOMMEND you study a little italian (even the minimum helps a lot)
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syelem
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I would like to see last year's subject to know if I will be able to do it. We have a couple of hours if I'm not wrong and I don't know if my english is enough good to understand and answer to the questions quickly.
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shinwave
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Afraid I can't find the link to last year's exam. You can easily search for BMAT online - the test is by the same organisation. The wording/language is very similar
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t.hopkins
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Hi,

Thanks for all this info, its really helpful. Just wondering, what mark did you get on the IMAT paper to be accepted? I read somewhere that the average mark to gain a place was 42/80, but this seemed a little low to me?
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shinwave
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(Original post by t.hopkins)
Hi,

Thanks for all this info, its really helpful. Just wondering, what mark did you get on the IMAT paper to be accepted? I read somewhere that the average mark to gain a place was 42/80, but this seemed a little low to me?
I got 47.5 or something close-by. It may seem low, but it's all relative... The exam is different to the one sat by Italian students, so I don't think you can transpose the marks directly to compare. I think only 4(?) people got over 50, so it was pretty tight.
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mnuff
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Oh my, thanks a lot shinwave for existing, because I have so many questions and no one to answer them

Firstly I'm not sure if I understood it right, it's whole university of Milan located outside the city or just IMS part. Do you send them all the papers after passing the exam or before? And when would you recommend to start all the work with Italian consulate? Is it expensive to live in Milan, hard to find an apartment (about how much do you have to be ready to spend per month)? Oh, and when does the school year start and when do you get a response whether you got into IMS or not (because it may be different in Italy than it's in Poland)?

And yes, I think that's all I wanted to ask. I'm sorry, but I don't really know a lot about this school but it seems super interesting to me
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shinwave
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Hey mnuff I'll try and answer your questions 1-by-1.

The University of Milan (statale) is spread around Milan by departments. However, our IMS part is not based within Milan but in a small town ~15minutes (by bus) to the South - Rozzano.

Technically you need to pay for the exam in order to be eligible to take it (was about 50 euros + international transaction fee). For the exam bring ID and receipt of payment.

The actual paperwork is required for when you matriculate (iscrizione) here in Milan at the International Student office. You need your DV and passport, Codice fiscale, and receipt of having paid the first instalment (about 700 euros). You pay the first instalment only if you place within top places to confirm your place, and you have to pay in Italy. Codice fiscale is your tax code you create when you come here.

I recommend starting with work with the Italian consulate asap, as it can get very confusing.

Living in Milan can be quite expensive if you want to enjoy the lifestyle~ obvious answer really. Going out for a pizza is 7 euros, but going for an apertivo at a bar can be 10 euros for 2 drinks and small snacks. But if you want to go clubbing and drinking every night - yes, it can be very expensive.

Accommodation is not very hard to find, but it won't come cheap. You have 2 choices - live in Milan and pay 450-600 and above, or live here in Rozzano and pay about 250-300. However, living in Milan is much more desirable for most people, and this area Rozzano is not very safe at night (or so I've been told on multiple occasions but I have to say I haven't experienced anything myself...)

p.s. be wary of scammers. They will post awesome looking accommodation for 300 euros in central milan, and say something like "I'm in London and so I need this house to go quick; pay me on this website and i'll have the keys sent over to you". Don't be fooled - I highly recommend you actually come here and see the place yourself before committing to anything from online pictures.

Uni term started late September last year for the first years - I assume it will be similar as the exam is scheduled for the 5th. Details are on: http://www.mimed.it/admissions.shtml


I wonder whether they will implement some system to tell people that they have been admitted or not - last year was a bit hectic as it was run by the central admission office and the timing was different for IMS and the Italian course. Long story short - I had hardly any time to pack and leave for Milan. If you place within top 50 (eu) then assume you've made it!

I've just seen for this year - 60 places total, 50 eu and 10 for non-eu. Was 50 total last year, 30 eu and 20 non-eu.
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hannahruth56
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Hi Shinwave, I'm interested in studying Medicine in Italy and I understand that you can only chose one Italian University to sit the IMAT for. As an insider, what pros do you think there are to studying at the University of Milan rather than Pavia? Also, can you remember the details about the place in Milton Keynes you have to send the certificates to, or will my local solicitor give me all the information on how they are to be 'apostilled'? Thank you for your help.
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shinwave
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(Original post by hannahruth56)
Hi Shinwave, I'm interested in studying Medicine in Italy and I understand that you can only chose one Italian University to sit the IMAT for. As an insider, what pros do you think there are to studying at the University of Milan rather than Pavia? Also, can you remember the details about the place in Milton Keynes you have to send the certificates to, or will my local solicitor give me all the information on how they are to be 'apostilled'? Thank you for your help.
Firstly, your solicitor should know everything.

Secondly, I can't really compare between the two courses, but I can reiterate what swayed me.

a) International reputation - University of Milan (check wiki). Recognition of uni helps a lot!
b) Hospital is Humanitas - really good reputation and facilities!
c) Professors are actually very, very good! Including invitational lectures (from leading authorities who publish in top journals eg nature)
d) The fact that you live in Milan rather than in a small student-town.

I don't want to really say anything bad about other institutions, but from what i've heard thus far our course is a lot better (not my words :P)
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