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Preparing for Medical School 101

Med School 101

I’m sure it’s not been at the forefront of your minds so far this summer, but it’s now time to start thinking about that next step of your journey to becoming a doctor: the first year at medical school!

There are many exciting and fascinating experiences coming up, but what do you need to do to be able to get off to the best possible start in your new university? Here I provide the top five tips from my experience that I feel will be key to preparing for medical school!

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1. Buy the essential medical equipment

Medical schools all have different requirements, but the majority will require you to buy a stethoscope and lab coat (and sometimes a pocket mask) so find out as early as possible if you need these. There’s nothing worse than not having the right equipment on the first day of medical school!

Read 3 things you might not expect from your first year>>

2. Decide on your strategy early

I know it doesn’t seem that long ago since you were sweating through your A-Levels, but just think back to those exams and reflect. What strategies worked and which ones were a waste of time?

The important thing to remember is that the volume of material taught at medical school is higher than that at A-Level, so pick a strategy earlier and prepare. If you use flashcards, make sure you have bought them all prior to starting so you don’t have a mountain of work to do in three months!

Read How Does Studying Medicine Differ to A-Levels?>>

3. DON’T buy all the textbooks!

Medical schools often recommend certain textbooks that will help during your time there. These textbooks are often expensive and can end up costing hundreds of pounds in total, so there’s no need to buy all of them!

You’ll receive more than enough material to assist your revision during the next few months, including lecture notes, tutorials and practice questions. In addition, there are often free online copies of the textbooks as part of your university’s online portal, so my advice is to avoid spending all that money unless you absolutely need to.


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4. You don’t need to have read through everything medicine-related!

The point of medical school is to teach you all the knowledge and skills required to be a doctor, so don’t spend the rest of your well-earned summer trying to prepare! Enjoy the freedom of the first few months at university without fretting (too much) about work. A little every day is appropriate.

Read how to make the most of the summer before med school>>

5. Get excited!

As any overworked junior doctor or consultant will tell you, medical school years are the best years of your life, so enjoy them! If you are struggling at any point, just remember that your peers are in the same boat as you.

Words: Ben Fox

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