12 Misconceptions About Studying Medicine in Nigeria

Medicine and Surgery is one of the most recognized courses one can study in Nigerian Universities. The course is highly rated if not over-rated by many students. In fact, it is one of the dream courses for many Nigerian youths. But there are many misconceptions about studying Medicine in Nigeria which need to be debunked, as it could affect the mindset of young secondary school graduates in Nigeria.

These misconceptions are largely held by students who are yet to get admitted into higher institutions (Pre-degree). And to some extent, those who already students in school.

As the West African Examination Council of Nigeria (WAEC) recently released the student’s results, and JAMB Forms currently on sale, students will be making this life-time decision of a career path to take-on.

So it will necessary to thrash down some of these misconceptions. This is so as to guide pre-degree students interested in studying the course into the understanding of some of the things to expect as Medical students.

The post debunked some misconceptions about studying Medicine in Nigeria from my first-hand experience as a Medical student.

Also, Read; 6 Important Career questions for students before filling JAMB form or Choosing a Course to Study

The 12 Misconceptions About Studying Medicine in Nigeria

1. To Get Admission to Study Medicine, You Must Have “Connection”

Connection is one of those slangs popular among Nigerians which means knowing someone of repute in the society, giving one an upper-hand in getting through competitions or contests in the society.

In Nigeria, there are usually thousands of students who apply to study medicine at the university, making the competition very high, and getting admission to study the course a herculean task.

It is also true that some candidates who may not have connection within the University boards can easily find their way into Medical school.

But do not forget that there is still a category of students who get admitted to study Medicine on merit. These are students who performed exceptionally well in the exams from different states in the country.

Another category of students who get admitted on merit are students who fall under the geographical location tagged as “less-privileged” in the country, but who still manage to get a reasonable score in their JAMB, POST-UTME, and WAEC.

So, debunk that misconception that you must get a connection or pay to gain admission and start studying harder first, before thinking of any other means.


2. It takes a minimum of 6 to 8 Years to Graduate

Yes! Nigeria is one of those places where getting a degree to study Medicine takes more than 7 years (for some universities though). For schools like the University of Nigeria, it takes approximately 6 years to complete your program assuming there are no hassles on the way.

But these days, no one is certain of the fate of Medical students, and their year of graduation as a result of incessant ASUU strikes and other scenarios like the Covid-19 Pandemic.

So your year of graduation from medical schools in Nigeria these days is actually up to fate. Though this is the same for all other Universities under ASUU.

3. You Can’t Make It When You Graduate If You Settle in Nigeria

Another misconception eating up many Nigerian Medical students is that you cannot be successful if you graduate as a doctor and decide to practice Medicine in the country.

This got worse as of late; within these last few months of the year 2020. Medical students are already planning various career pathways outside Nigeria; including PLAB, USMLE, and AMC.

It is true that times are hard, and that the country has not been fair to doctors practicing in Nigeria. But this is not lost on any other career in the country either. Some doctors are still doing great jobs in the country even with the limited available resources.

Many of these doctors making it in the country are not just into the medical practice, they also took up entrepreneurship and innovation. And it has not been bad for them so far.

Also, Read; How I Passed the PLAB 1 Exam: Dr. Usman Zahid

4. Medicine and Entrepreneurship Don’t Mix

This is another lie about studying medicine in Nigeria. Words cannot count the number of medical students in Nigeria who are also young entrepreneurs, and have been using their businesses to even pay their tuition, and sustain themselves in school.

Most people are still clinging to that old conception of doctors; that professional whose daily life revolves just around the patient’s bed. But these days many doctors and Medical students are gradually taking up entrepreneurship, and it also works just fine.

Also, Read; The Entrepreneurial Opportunities For Doctors in Nigeria – Dr. Joel Akande

5. You Must Attend Night Preps (Classes) to Pass Your Exams

This is a very old belief among most young medical students. Night class, as it is popularly called by Nigerian students simply means leaving the dormitory/hostel, and going to read in the classes in preparation for exams.

It is important for you to note that some medical students don’t read in the night at all, and they still perform excellently when it’s time for exams. It is all about finding out what works best for you and implementing it at your own pace and time.

Also, Read; Why Medical Students Should Consider Entrepreneurship in Nigeria

6. Medical Students Don’t Have Fun

Another misconception associated with number five (5) above is that medical students must read heavily (We are talking of 6 to 12 hours daily) to pass their exams. With zero time to attend to other important lifestyle issues like hanging out with friends, learning and playing music, gaming, and other hobbies.

In Medical school, some students study just 2 to 3 hours daily and still pass their professional exams. In Medical school, it is all about consistency and actual time spent on active reading, not necessarily the number of hours spent on reading.

Also, Read; 9 Lists of Business Ideas for Medical Students

7. 2nd MBBS is the Hardest Exam

In Nigerian Medical schools, there is this infamous notion that 2nd MBBS is the hardest exam in all colleges of medicine. Well, Medical Professional exams in Nigeria are all hard in varying degrees. But I guess that this notion is much more attributed to 2nd MBBS because it is the first professional exam Medical students write in Med school.

So it is actually the fear and unrest associated with preparing for the exam, rather than the nature of the exam itself that makes it look hard. So if Medical students can change their outlook on the exam, maybe it will get easier.

Also, Read; Preparing for 2nd MBBS exam in Nigeria; My Experience

8. Only the Most Intelligent Students Study Medicine in Nigeria

Getting Admission to study one of the most competitive courses in a country does not necessarily make you the most intelligent in society. All other courses like Law, Physics and Astronomy, Computer Science, Pharmacy, Engineering, etc, are as hard, if not harder than medicine.

So not gaining admission to study medicine and surgery, does not make you a dullard. You may just have to try another course out there, and you will still find yourself shining.

Also, Read; 24 Medical Related Courses in Nigeria; Comprehensive list with Descriptions

9. Medicine and Surgery is a Calling

Some groups of students have this notion that it is their calling to be doctors. So they keep trying to get admission to study the course; writing JAMB after JAMB and wasting years of their career trying to get Admission to study medicine.

There are still many courses you can study if truly you have a passion for healthcare. You can take up Nursing or Medical Rehabilitation for example; the most similar courses to Medicine in healthcare assuming getting admission to study Medicine is causing you so much mental stress.

Also, Read; Career Pathways after Medical School: 6 Opportunities for Nigerian Doctors

10. 2nd MBBS is the only Rate Limiting Exam

There is this popular phrase; “2nd MBBS is the Rate Limiting exam”. Meaning that once you pass 2nd MBBS, then you are certain to graduate as a doctor.

Remember that Nigerian medical schools don’t just access students based on academics, but also morals. So one can also get suspended if they fail the morality test or fails more than 4 times in subsequent professional exams following the 2nd MBBS.

Also, Read; 6 Reasons Why Medical Student Doctor Forum is Important

11. Dentistry and Medicine are the Same

While both courses are under the same council in the country; The Medical and Dental Council of Nigeria, they are not treated as the same course in Nigerian medical school.

Well, students who are in the Medicine and Dentistry program are being taught similar courses till their 2nd and 3rd years, when the dentistry students are also introduced to their own separate program; the BDS. This continues till after the two groups of students complete their 3rd MBBS exam, then they both go separate ways to specialize in their various faculties.

Note that Dentistry programs are not always run in this manner in all medical schools in the country. But at least, it speaks for the majority.

Also, Read; How to Sell Study Material Online in 6 Steps

12. It is a Guarantee that you will Be Wealthy When You Graduate

Success in any career or profession in Nigeria completely depends on personal conviction and effort put into work. Many students believe that studying medicine in Nigeria is a passcode to wealth and abundance. It may be for other countries outside Nigeria though. But let’s not forget that there are still some doctors out there trying to make a living.

This explains why the majority of Nigerian doctors are trying hard to leave the country.

So focus more on building a positive mental attitude on your career path instead of thinking of which courses to study. Medicine is not a bed of roses, it also has it’s own benefits as well.

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Dr. Lee
Medical Student, Blogger, I.C.T Geek.

One comment

  1. Very true. A lot of people need to know this. Thank you🙂


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