Monday, July 13, 2020. Hundreds of future resident doctors crowd before the Ministry of Health. The nerves are on the surface, since in the next few days those gathered there will choose what they want to specialize in. Dermatology, plastic surgery, cardiology, anesthesia … are just a handful of the 44 medical specialties, distributed among the 7,512 places, which are distributed among the nearly 16,000 opponents who have submitted to the resident internal medical exam this year. But how did they get here?
After six years of careers, future medical specialists must pass the MIR exam, a test that opens the doors to specialization. “The degree of medicine per se in Spain practically does not allow the practice of medicine, so it is almost essential training as a resident intern in the different hospitals or Primary Care centers ”, explains Dr. Antonio Martín Conejero, director of the MIR faculty and tutors of the academy high school CTO. Therefore, this test is nothing more than the way to order all the candidates according to their knowledge so that they can opt for the different specialization positions that are offered in Spanish hospitals.
The MIR is convened each year between the end of January and the beginning of February, in 2020 it took place on January 25, and consists of a total of 185 questions -175 plus 10 reserve questions- that candidates have to answer in no more than four hours. “This is the best model, the fairest. In fact, countries like Italy or Portugal have already imported it ”, says Dr. Borja Ruiz Mateos, director of the Amir preparatory academy.
However, the fairness of the exam does not detract one iota from its toughness. Each place is required by at least two opponents, and this taking into account that the applicant has no preferences for either the specialization or the hospital where to train. The more desired the specialty or the center, the better the score is required. “A very good MIR exam is the 2,500 first places”, adds Ruiz Mateos. “It can be understood that the doctor” plays “everything to a letter, since the MIR represents 90% of the grade for the choice of place. This for many is unfair because “anyone can have a bad day”, but it is true that it gives all recent medical graduates the same possibilities to choose the desired position, “says Martín Conejero.
To understand the pressure on future specialists, it is enough to take a look at the allocation of places this year. Applicants with a position below 2,834 were no longer eligible for specialties such as dermatology, plastic surgery or cardiology.
To the more than remarkable competitiveness to access the best positions, we must add the detail that the MIR exam does not have an official agenda, since applicants must demonstrate that they have internalized and learned all the concepts studied in the previous six years. The evident amount of subject to review, coupled with the pressure of the exam, makes many of the future residents begin to prepare without even having finished the degree in medicine. “In sixth grade, the study of the MIR can begin to be combined with the end of the race,” explains Ruiz Mateos. In total, it would be about 18 months of study, in which both trainers agree that they require sacrifice and perseverance, in addition to the support of an academy.
Whether or not to go to a specialized center to prepare the MIR and to which one to go is one of the fundamental decisions that doctors face. “Yes, it is possible to pass the MIR without going to an academy. But it is much more complicated. We must bear in mind that the academies have years of experience preparing opponents, in addition to having the materials, specialized teachers, exams from other years … “explains Ruiz Mateos,” that’s why almost all of the aspiring resident doctors come to us ” , finishes off.
When deciding which academy to choose, it is important to know what its study methodology is and whether it is going to be adapted to the student or not. Currently most of the academies offer almost tailor-made courses for each of the students, with face-to-face, blended or distance mode; intensive courses, mock exams …
But choosing the academy that best suits you is only the first step. Students who prepare the MIR face days of 9 to 10 hours of study. “We recommend up to 10 hours of study a day, which include classes and drills. Although when they start we tell students to follow the 8-8-8 rule. Eight hours of study, eight hours of rest and eight hours of sleep ”, explains Ruiz Mateos. For his part, Martín Conejero, from CTO, is a little more specific: “in the first phases of the course, and given that the student is still in 6th grade of medicine, we ask the student to be able to take 2-3 hours of study a day MIR. We are progressively demanding more hours from the student until we reach the days before the MIR, with days of 11 hours ”.
Therefore, continuous study, together with the choice of a good academy, seem to be the bases for obtaining a good result, but they are not the only ones. Due to the unique exam modality, knowing how to temper the nerves and keep a cool head, are two fundamental qualities to face the MIR in a positive way. “It is useless that you know the entire syllabus perfectly and that you have embroidered it in the drills if before the exam you have an anxiety attack”, says Ruiz Mateos. For this reason, in recent years the academies have also focused on this fundamental part of the preparation and offer their students psychological support, and even classes of mindfulness. “I did not know what the mindfulness (full attention), until I was asked to give courses to MIR students “, confesses Ruiz Mateos, Amir’s director,” and the truth is that they give great results for the exam. “
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