Tips for Choosing Medical Schools
“The measure of intelligence is the ability to change.” ― Albert Einstein
💪Apply to your strengths
Tailour your medical application to the specific admissions criteria of your chosen universities; how do they use the UCAT and BMAT? Different medical schools will have different weightings and may even use them twice, first to shortlist applicants for interview and then again on deciding who to give offers to. Research them thoroughly
💌 Apply to the universities that you love
Remember you will spending at least 5 years at your chosen university; reputation is irrelevant with a Medical degree. You will all graduate with a medical degree and be working in the NHS as foundation doctors. Don't just apply to a university because you think it is "easy" because all medical schools are hard to get into.
👩🏫 Apply to the universities that are best suited to your learning style
Different universities have different teaching styles whether it be: PBL, CBL, integrated or Oxbridge.
📟 Research each university thoroughly
Whether it be through ordering a prospectus or browsing their website, it is essential that you make an informed decision.
🎫 Check out their website tours
Medical schools are now creating online resources to help you including virtual tours, videos and Q&A sessions with medical students. Check out their websites!
Important Dates for 2021 Open Days
(Information accurate as of 12 PM 1st July 2021. Always check the university website for up-to-date information!)
👇 We have provided a table below to give you guidance👇
"Everyone is a genius but if you judge a fish by its ability to climb a tree, it will live its whole life believing that it is stupid" - Albert Einstein
Traditional courses are split in half with the first 3 years being preclinical consisting predominantly of lectures, lab practicals, anatomy sessions, seminars and supervisions/tutorials. The supervisions and tutorials are extremely personalised and are a fantastic way to benefit from tutors who are leading experts in their fields. Similar to the integrated teaching style, a systems-based approach is utilised.
A huge portion of the independent learning is achieved through essays which allow you to delve deep into a topic to crystallise your thoughts, consider the clinical relevance as well as understand and critique experimental evidence (e.g. papers and reviews).
The last 3 years are clinically focused in which students work in hospital wards under the supervision of consultants. The traditional teaching style allows you to understand medicine from first principles and by understanding the science underlying medicine, you can become a more competent doctor or clinician-scientist.
The majority of medical schools are integrated in which the pre-clinical and clinical stages are combined. Through this integrated way of learning, you will take a system-based approach in which you consider the anatomy, physiology, pharmacology, biochemistry and histology of the system all at once. This is to help develop a synoptic way of learning in which you can combine your knowledge from different modules rather than just compartmentalise it for each module. e.g. seeing the overlap between pharmacology and physiology or anatomy with histology.
You will also have clinical experience but the amount of which varies depending on the medical school. As always, check the university websites for up-to-date and more detailed information.
⚙️Problem Based Learning
PBl is a very patient-oriented learning style in which students learn through independent studying and guided group work with a tutor. It is a very open approach in which you make your own learning objectives with your group and share information you find out with each other. This encourages self-directed learning and teamwork. You won't really find a purely PBL teaching style; consider these teaching these teaching styles as a spectrum. Medical schools tend to take a blended approach alongside lectures and seminars etc.
🩸 🧠Case Based Learning
Case based learning is very similar to PBL and usually features a facilitator that will help to lead group work; this is utilised not only for knowledge but also for clinical skills.
What does 'spiral curriculum' mean?
A spiral curriculum is one in which key concepts are presented repeatedly throughout the curriculum, but with increasing complexity. Typically, this would mean you would learn the basics of the entire human body in your first year, then explore say its physiology in more detail in second year, and pharmacology in third year. This allows students to understand and solidify key concepts by reviewing them every year, while also gradually increasing the level of complexity of the content taught.
What does 'systems based curriculum' mean?
In a systems based curriculum, students learn about one human body system at a time. For example, this would mean learning about cardiology in the first 2 months of Year 1. In these 2 months, you would cover the anatomy of the heart and chest, physiology of the heart and cardiology, pharmacology of the cardiovascular system and diseases associated with the heart. This approach allows students to relate information from different aspects of the same system.