Published: 29th July 2023
Foreign medical graduates (FMGs) and foreign medical graduate exam (FMGE): FAQs
Here are some essential frequently asked questions for FMGs and FMGEs. Few of these have been answered by experts
Foreign Medical Graduates (FMGs) often have several questions, as norms related to their licensing and practising in India can sometimes seem vague. In a time, as FMGs themselves often share that they feel discriminated against, norms that seem confusing only adds to the discontentment.
Dr Adit Desai, Co-Founder, DocTutorials, former Managing Director, KD Hospital and Dr Vikas Keshri, Health Policy Expert, Doctoral Researcher at UNSW, Sydney try and make it clear for us.
How long does it take for an FMG to complete their degree as compared to the IMGs?
Usually for Indian Medical Graduates (IMGs), it takes up to 5.5 years to finish their degree with an internship, but for Foreign Medical Graduates (FMGs), ideally, it is stated that the degree needs to be 54 months minimum and should take a similar time with that of the IMGs but it is variable as it depends on the FMG to pass the screening test first, procure an internship and then get the license to practise medicine
How should FMGs prepare for the Foreign Medical Graduates Examination (FMGE)?
The students should plan their preparation in a way that all of their 19 subjects starting from the first year of their course are covered. The foundation of their knowledge should be solid.
Students must get external help via online platforms or offline classes that provide additional help with the test. The exam happens twice a year, which gives them ample chance to clear the exam. They must also go through previous years’ questions, and follow the pattern as to what kind of questions are asked and what topics are continually repeated. They must focus specifically on the question paper of the past five years.
Given the low pass percentage, why do you think it is difficult for foreign graduates to qualify for the exam?
Sometimes students studying abroad take the degree for granted or are oblivious to what they are being taught, later they are not well-equipped with the information needed to pass the screening test set by Indian standards. The majority of the students give the exam about six to seven times. Sometimes FMGs find disparity in the question paper pattern, but experts say that there will be a difference in syllabus in different countries as there are different pathways to practice medicine in different countries. The Indian healthcare system would examine doctors as per Indian standards.
How easy is it to procure an internship after their completion of the degree?
It is quite tough for the FMGs to procure an internship in India. After the completion of their internship for a year at the institution they were pursuing their degree, the students have to mandatorily complete their CRMI (Compulsory Rotating Medical Internship) from an Indian medical college for a duration of 12 months. An expert is of the opinion that it is illogical to give two years of internship and the National Medical Commission (NMC) can easily provide them with a specialised teaching course with an added year of internship.
Another expert deems that many countries abroad do not let the students have any practical experience and they do not have an entry exam as well to check student’s aptitude for medicine. Having a practical experience for medicine is never futile. Although he too opines that students might struggle to procure an internship in India.
A few students have claimed that they have to pay an amount to procure a seat for an internship, why is it so?
Experts think that due to the not-very simple process and lack of clarity in the rules and regulations for the FMGs, it leads to a lot of confusion amongst the FMGs. Although it is not allowed for medical colleges to levy any kind of fee, most students end up paying for it as they do not want to lose out on time.
“Foreign medical Graduates may be posted first in colleges which have been newly opened and have yet to be recognised” - Isn’t this directive contentable?
Both experts think of it to be immensely discriminatory in nature. An expert says that it is illogical as sometimes newer medical colleges require experienced people to function. Another expert says that there should not be any blanket regulation as such as it may have a bad impact not only on the morale of the students but on the medical infrastructure that is built upon such an unsystematic way of planning.
Now, here are a few essentials taken from official sources:
What is the format of FMGE?
There shall be two papers of multiple choice questions in Pre-Clinical, Para-Clinical and Clinical Medicine and allied subjects such as Obstetrics and Gynaecology. Each paper contains 150 marks with a time duration of 150 minutes each.
How many subjects are covered in the FMG exam?
A total of 19 subjects are covered in the exam from the MBBS syllabus.
Do students need to pass all the subjects together in one attempt?
There is no limit to the number of attempts but students have to clear all three papers in one go.
Is it necessary to do an internship for the FMGs?
The students have to complete an internship of a minimum duration of twelve months in the same foreign medical institution they have studied.
Are students required to mandatorily complete an internship in India?
Compulsory Rotating Medical Internships (CRMI) is deemed mandatory for each Indian citizen who has completed their foreign medical education abroad to complete twelve months of supervised internship in India after qualifying for the screening test. (Not applicable for war zone returnees or students affected by the Pandemic)
Are domiciles required to do internships?
The CRMI seat allocation procedure should not take domicile into account necessarily.
Are stipends paid to FMGs?
FMG interns are to be not charged any fee by medical colleges or institutions for seat allocation.
Should FMGs receive any stipend?
FMGs should receive stipends and other benefits which are on par with the Indian medical graduates, as fixed by the appropriate authority.