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Choosing A Medical School: Course Types (Part Two)

Choosing a medical school can be daunting, especially when considering the type of course you want, and where you want to study. Not sure of the difference between Problem-Based Learning (PBL) and a traditional course?

This blog will help you to consider the key factors in choosing the right Medicine course for you – from deciding on location to different course structures. This is the second part of a three-part series on how to get ahead with choosing a medical school by looking at your options in Year 12. You can read Part One here.

1. Investigate course length and fees

The majority of medical schools offer a five-year course, with many offering the option to intercalate (gain the equivalent of a second degree) between the third and fifth years. For other courses, intercalation is compulsory, making the course six years long.

Most medical schools charge £9,000 per year tuition fees, but fees may differ for Scottish students and non-EU students. A handful of private medical schools have now also opened around the country which charge tuition fees of around £36,000 to all students, but these are few and far between.

2. Think about how you’d like to learn Medicine

There are four main types of Medicine courses in the UK: foundation, PBL, integrated and traditional.

If you aren’t studying sciences at A-Level, or have already taken your A-Levels but didn’t quite make the grades needed to get into Medicine, you might need to consider applying to a foundation course, which are only offered at certain medical schools.

PBL courses are more suited to those who prefer self-directed group learning, with a focus on clinical scenarios, whereas traditional courses separate pre-clinical and clinical teaching and have a more academic emphasis.

Integrated courses combine elements of PBL, clinical teaching and traditional courses from the very beginning. Each medical school is unique in how they deliver their course, so it’s important to think about which style of teaching/learning is best for you. TMP has a Medical School Comparison Tool which allows you to compare course types across all UK medical schools.

3. Consider where you’d like to study

Do you want to be close to home? Do you want to move as far away as possible? Do you want to live in a city or in a campus environment? While a medical school’s geographical location might not seem like a deciding factor, it’s an important thing to consider.

If you think you’ll be visiting home a lot during term-time, you’ll need to consider transport links and prices. Some regions of the UK also have inherently higher living costs, although you should remember that a higher maintenance loan is currently available for students studying in London.

Words: Katie Hodgkinson

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