Back to school!

As I’m currently mentally preparing myself to face the music of Med school all over again tomorrow, I thought it would be nice to answer the top 5 questions I’ve been asked about Medical school and share some of my ‘probably not-so-wise’ words of wisdom!

1. Do you need to do any pre-reading before Year 1?

In my personal experience, I would say no. Enjoy your summer as it’s probably one of the last ‘free’ ones you’ll get! You’re most likely going to get all the information you need as you settle into university anyways…. But don’t take my word for it!


2. Are there any textbooks you would recommend?

In all honesty, I already made the mistake of buying loads of super expensive textbooks for my undergraduate degree and ended up using them only once or twice – such a waste! I’m not sure about undergraduate medical programmes but I know for a fact that graduate entry programmes are full of so much content in so little time that you won’t even have time for textbooks!

All the information I needed during my first year was provided in lecture content, and anything additional that needed explaining was covered by the godsend that is YouTube!

Having said that, there are a few books I would recommend if you are really that desperate for those impressive coffee table aesthetics:

  • Gray’s Anatomy (Not the boxset, although that’s worth getting too if you haven’t already).
  • Pocket Tutor Surface Anatomy
  • Macleod’s Clinical Examination
  • Oxford Handbook of Clinical Medicine
  • BNF


3. How do you study?

I really struggled initially to find my groove when it came to studying; I’ve always found I work better alone where I can go at my own pace, but this year I realised that working alone all the time isn’t conducive. Learning in small focused groups is super beneficial at times, but it does mean you have to be really strict with yourselves and catch up on Love Island after all work is done. (Don’t even pretend you don’t watch it)!


4. How do you prepare for exams?

In my undergrad, I would always revise by reading and reading and reading and reading my notes until I could recite whole essays in my sleep. Unfortunately, in Medicine, that just doesn’t work anymore. It’s all about practice. And that’s where Anki comes in.  

Anki is basically quiz app that works through repetition and is really quite clever. You make your own deck of cards throughout the year (or in my case, steal them off your friends), and do a set amount of questions each day. With every day, 20 or so new cards are added to your deck so you are constantly building on your knowledge – it really helps to consolidate your learning… although by the end of the year becomes a bit traumatic when you’re reminded of the 900 due cards you have to do each day…


5. Is there time for a social life?

I want to say yes?

Even if there isn’t, you have to make time for one. With all the stress you’ll be facing each day, it is soooo important to have time to wind down and live a little. One of my regrets is that I didn’t make enough time for myself during first year, and that is definitely something I aim to change this year!


Just remember that your time at Medical School is meant to be some of the best years of your life (or so they keep telling me), so take it easy and remember to create balance. If you’ve made it this far you’re obviously doing something right, so keep it up!


Welcome to Medical School 😊




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