There are no more entrance exams, but an entrance competition: this is what awaits future medical students who wish to enter a French-speaking Belgian university. A stronger selection that could have an impact on French candidates, many of whom try their luck in Belgium.
Future white coats, if Belgium is one of your destinations of choice to obtain your medical degree and thus take the Hippocratic oath, the task may (perhaps) be more complex than expected.
In late April, the federal government and the Wallonia-Brussels Federation decided to introduce a real entrance exam in 2023 instead of entrance exams.. Tests that took place over two days to assess mainly scientific skills.
The new Belgian admission procedure will therefore be more selective with a defined numerus clausus (a specific number of candidates admitted to medicine). A decision not very reassuring for French students who preferred precisely to go to Belgium to avoid the new reform of access to health studies.
A competition, but still so many French students admitted to medicine
Because more and more of them are trying their luck with our Belgian neighbors. Last year, 3,303 students took the entrance exam for medicine, against 1,291 in 2020. This increase can be explained by the abolition of PACES in favor of PASS and L.AS in France in the same year.
This summer, French candidates wishing to enter a Belgian university will still take the entrance exams. Two sessions are offered on July 5th and August 27th. Nothing changes for the start of the 2022 school year… Next year, on the other hand, it will be necessary to go through a competition, but finally, theThe impact on French students must be quite low.
Alexandre Legrand, Dean of the Faculty of Medicine and Pharmacy at the University of Mons, confirms: “Are French students affected by this measure? Yup. Are they the cause? No“, he emphasizes. The influx of non-resident students in medicine is one of the specificities of the French-speaking side. In the 2021 entrance exam, the proportion of non-residents reached half of the candidates! Therefore, in order to maintain the quality of the training offered, they could not exceed 30% of the winners.“
Conclusion: whether the 2022 or 2023 school year starts, your applications will always be affected by the 30% meter. “The terms of the competition have not yet been specified. We currently have no information from the ministry on the matter.”
Limit access to medical studies to train better
According to Alexandre Legrand, the change in the course of the Belgian medical studies system was “predictable.” “Restricting access to the medical profession is a long story for many European countries,” he adds. In France and Belgium, the challenge is the same: balancing the number of doctors required by the federal government, the quality of their training and the care provided to the population.
But hard to find the right strategy. In France, PACES has long been criticized. in universities, everyone agrees that the reform was necessary even if, two years later, it is still far from reaching a consensus. History also repeats itself in Belgium: even before the competition arrived, “the entrance exam took a long time to assemble. Some consider it unacceptable in principle or inappropriate in a region, where general medicine is considered a scarce profession. While others felt that the specifics of the French community were not sufficiently taken into account.” Nothing is therefore played for this new 2023 version.
More flexible modalities to integrate medical studies elsewhere in Europe
Be that as it may, the Belgian numerus clausus may hold back French candidacies. But other European destinations could benefit from their more flexible admission procedures.
O Romania, for example, which offers French courses, chooses its students on a form made up, among other things, of the marks obtained in the baccalaureate, but also by criteria such as associative experience. Inside latvia, where classes are taught in Latvian as well as English, having followed high school biology and chemistry classes is inseparable from obtaining sesame. Finally, in Czech Republic, an entrance exam awaits candidates. But the Masaryk Faculty of Medicine helps them prepare for this by setting up an online and remote preparation, where it is even possible to exchange with the professors responsible for the leave.
Before you start, find out: only graduates from a European Union country are allowed to practice medicine in France. To each his strategy…