Med School Tips

UST-FMS Tuition and Fees 2016-2017

UST medicine tuition

It is known that UST Faculty of Medicine and Surgery is consistently one of the best performing medical schools in the Philippines. A lot of pre-meds consider UST as their dream med school, and for good reason.

Ever wonder how much it costs to study at UST Med School? Posted below is the actual photo of their tuition fee for the first semester of Academic Year 2016-2017. That’s roughly Php 120,000-125,000 per semester, and Php 240,000-250,000 per year for the first three years.

UST medicine tuition UST Faculty of Medicine and Surgery Schedule of Fees First Term AY 2016-2017

UST Faculty of Medicine and Surgery Schedule of Fees First Term AY 2016-2017

Were you surprised too? Believe it or not, UST is NOT even the most expensive med school! Click here to see tuition fees from other med schools in the Philippines.

I Don’t Know What Medical Specialty To Choose!

The most common follow-up question from anyone who learns you’re currently in med school – “What field are you going to specialize in?”

While some are lucky enough to know early on what they are interested in, for the rest of us who seem to like everything and nothing at the same time – this flowchart is pretty spot on.


*Found this on Pinterest and can’t identify original owner

Top Performing Philippine Medical Schools in 2011-2015

top performing philippine medical schools based on physician

Ranking medical schools based on board exam results is tricky and should always be taken with a grain of salt.

Nonetheless, it is the only objective way of assessing the success of medical schools in preparing their students, so no matter what I say – this list matters!

I compiled data from the last five years to guide med school aspirants in choosing their school and to inspire current med students to maintain or even improve their school’s performance. I know seeing my school’s name up there is enough motivation for me already. 🙂

Every time we learn that PLM is yet one of the top schools again, we are inspired to work hard and believe that the training we get in our humble school (and doubly humbling hospital) should be enough to get us to the finish line.

Wait, what finish line? Passing the boards is just the beginning of yet another journey!

Top Performing Philippine Medical Schools Based on Physician Licensure Exam Performance 2011-2015
Rank Medical School PASSERS TAKERS %
1 Cebu Institute of Medicine 416 417 99.76%
2 University of the Philippines Manila 751 753 99.73%
3 University of Sto Tomas 2041 2058 99.17%
4 Pamantasan ng Lungsod ng Maynila 572 577 99.13%
5 Ateneo School of Medicine and Public Health 365 369 98.92%
6 University of the East Ramon Magsaysay 839 855 98.13%
7 West Visayas State University 345 359 96.10%
8 Davao Medical School Foundation 335 349 95.99%
9 Far Eastern University 562 590 95.25%
10 Cebu Doctors University 236 251 94.02%

Disclaimer –  This ranking is based on the performance of FIRST TIME TAKERS during the AUGUST Physician Licensure Exam from 2011-2015. Excluded from this list are 1) repeaters, 2) February takers, and 3) schools with less than 50 examinees. Data source: PRC Website

In 2011, I did a similar ranking for our org’s guide to med school application. I no longer have a copy of that guide, so if anyone was able to previously download from this page, please send it to me!


How To Make Brainscape Flashcards Using Excel

It’s no secret that I like to use Brainscape to create flashcards that help me memorize my med school concepts more efficiently. I wrote about that in my guide on How To Study Pharmacology in Med School.

Some have commented that it takes up so much time to create the flashcards on the app itself, and I do agree. But, as with all things techie, there is always an easier way!
how to make brainscape flashcards using excel

How To Make Brainscape Flashcards Using Excel

1) Download and install Notepad ++.
2) In Microsoft Excel, write the questions in the first column, and the corresponding answers on the next.
3) When finished, save your file as [FILENAME].csv.
4) Right click the icon of your [FILENAME].csv file, and click “Edit with Notepad ++”.
5) Notepad++ should open with your file in it. Click on the tab ENCODING, then click Convert to UTF-8.
6) Click SAVE and close your file.
7) Go to the Brainscape website, login to your account, and go to My Library.
8) Find the Import Deck button, import your .csv file recently converted to UTF 8 format, and upload.

That’s it! For a more thorough demonstration, watch the video below.

EDIT (5/15/2016)
I just found out today that the Import CSV feature is no longer a free option. This tutorial is still applicable for paid accounts!

How To Study Pharmacology in Med School

how to study med school pharmacology

photo credit: February 22nd via photopin (license)

Let me start by saying that of course the best way to really learn Pharmacology is to understand it, especially the physiology and pathophysiology behind each drug. There is no shortcut to understanding the basics. Read the books. Listen to the lectures and take down notes. Re-read your study materials. Put in the hours. Ready?

Now, you need to make sure all your efforts in studying are not put to waste come exam time. This guide will give you tips on how to study pharmacology (or any other subject with lots of memorization!). Based on experience, I found that the most effective way is to create outlines and quiz yourself before the test.

A little disclaimer – I did NOT ace all of Pharmacology, but when I had the time and energy to actually apply these tips, I was able to top one or two exams. You may or may not agree with my study style, so use at your own discretion. 🙂


For me, the key to memorizing the little bits of information is to first see the general overview. You can do this best by writing an outline. The key here is to write it yourself. Copy it from a more diligent classmate, sure, but write it yourself. You’ll see why later.

In Pharmacology, outlining is very easy. Drugs fall under the same group if they have similar pharmacodynamic actions and sometimes, pharmacokinetic properties as well. Here is an example from my own notes, which was based from our lectures and Katzung Basic and Clinical Pharmacology.

Once upon a time, I memorized ALL these drugs! You can do it too!

Once upon a time, I memorized ALL these drugs! You can do it too!

Under each drug group, there is almost always a prototype drug, which typifies the characteristics of the whole group. For me, this is the only drug you have to study in detail. As in shame on you if you are still confused on the prototype drugs come exam time. (LOL, truth.) For all the other non-prototype drugs, just take note of how they are different from the prototype.


Again, once you’re done with the outline, it’s easier to make mnemonics per drug group. For example, until now I can never forget that there are only two first-generation cephalosporins – Cefazolin and Cefalexin. No offense meant to anyone, but I memorized this by the made-up joke that “ALEX is an AZOL (asshole)!”

Now if you have a tendency to forget these mnemonics you made up, it will help to either write them down or share them to a classmate while reviewing. Hopefully you can find a study buddy with the same level of humor  and wit to make memorizing more fun and effective!


Another good thing about writing your own outline is that you will have a visual memory of how the drugs are organized. For example, if you encounter an alien question such as this…

76. Which of the following drugs is used by elephants to kill mosquitoes in the snow?
a) Ciprofloxacin c) Levofloxacin
b) Ofloxacin d) Moxifloxacin

How will you pick the odd one out if all of them end with -floxacin?

Here’s how I would make an “educated guess”. I should vaguely remember from my own hand-written outline that the odd one out is Moxifloxacin, because I KNOW it is listed there – all alone in its subgroup. There must be something in that subgroup that makes it so special, even if I have no idea what. My best bet for this item would then be d) Moxifloxacin.

After the exam, I would just look back on my notes and happily  confirm that YES, Moxifloxacin is the lone fourth-gen fluoroquinolone. Now.. to learn what that has to do with elephants in the snow. Hmm.


This is me openly endorsing my one and only memorizing tool – flashcards by Brainscape! I should write a full review or tutorial on how to use this nifty app. It boasts of a “confidence-based repetition technique” and I must say – it really is effective! You can access this on your desktop, tablets, or phone. You will love how easy it is to make flashcards, either on the app itself or using MS Excel. Seriously, check out this app. It’s free!


Do it! Do it, you grade conscious person, you. Don’t mind your classmates who tease that y’all should just forget about that grueling exam and have lunch instead. Go over your notes and mark the concepts that were included – these will likely be repeated in the next exams! If you made a mistake, at least you will learn about it right away. It is better if you can do this with another classmate so your collective minds can recall more questions. Do it.

That’s it! I just shared to you my tips on how to study pharmacology. Did you find any of these useful? Do you have anything to add? Please do so in the comments below! 🙂

PLM CM Tuition and Fees 2015-2016

One of the known advantages of studying in PLM College of Medicine is the very low tuition fee. For school year 2015-2016, these are the fees per semester. This is divided per year and per category status. There is no total amount yet because the “med fund” depends per student. This is determined on your first ever enrollment based on your parents’ income tax return. It ranges from P5,000-P12,000.
As for us clerks, we don’t have semesters so the fees are for one whole year. There are also additional fees for graduation, comprehensive exams, etc.

Whole year tuition + fees for clinical clerks / fourth year students

Whole year tuition + fees for clinical clerks / fourth year students

The payment scheme is pretty forgiving too. While Category I students pay their whole tuition at once, those in the more expensive categories (Cat II and III) are allowed to pay in two, three, or even four installments throughout the year. Most of my classmates just complete their payments right before they need their clearance at the end of the year.

I hope this helped!