Starting Medical School

Starting medical school soon and not sure what to expect? You’ve come to the right place!

This section is designed to help you settle in and will detail what studying at medical school is like, plus top tips on how to prepare for Problem-Based Learning (PBL) sessions and lectures. Don’t forget to use the subpages to make the most of the section!

Starting Medical School: How can I prepare?

Many students wonder how they can prepare for starting medical school over the summer between A-Levels and starting the course. You may also have preconceptions of what studying medicine is like, or worries about what you think PBL or seminars will be.

In the video below, Toyin, a current medical student at Aberdeen, tells us her top preparation tips for studying medicine in your first year – and dispels common worries many prospective medical students have!

What’s it like to study at Medical School?

You may be wondering what studying medicine is really like. Good news: we have lots of case studies, so you can hear directly from current students about their experiences at medical school!

How does studying medicine differ from A-Levels?

A common worry among students starting medical school is how the workload will differ, and how to adapt to a new pace of learning. You’ll cover many topics at a much faster pace, and in much more detail than at A-Level. You’ll also be expected to work independently, so you’ll need to be self-motivated in your study and revision.

The key thing to remember is that it’s normal to find it difficult to adjust at first – and everybody else will be feeling the same pressures. Secondly, you were made an offer because your admissions tutors had faith that you had the skills, attributes and dedication needed for medical school. The other thing to remember is that you’ll soon adapt to a new learning style, so try not to worry.

You might also find it useful to read the following blogs on managing your workload, studying medicine and what to expect:

What will my timetable be like?

Each medical school will differ in the structure of the course – for example, some may have a combination of PBL sessions, tutorials and lectures.

You can usually find a rough idea of what your timetable will be like on the medical school’s website. You might also find it useful to read the following first year case studies on their schedules:

What if I’m finding it really difficult?

Everybody finds medical school challenging at first. It can be difficult to live away from home, in a new city, with an enormous-looking syllabus to tackle – but you’re not alone.

If you’re struggling with your course, workload, or simply being away from family or friends, speak to your personal adviser, on-campus GP or friends on your course – they will all be more than happy to help you and make you feel more comfortable settling in.

You might also find it useful to read the following blogs:

What happens after medical school?

After you finish medical school, it’s time to begin your career as a junior doctor. Foundation training is the first step along the postgraduate training pathway, and will last for two years.

You can find out more about training pathways, medical specialties and foundation programmes on our sister site, The Medic Portal Professional!

Visit The Medic Portal Professional

Want more tips on life at med school? Read more:


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