Published on 18th July 2019 by laurenwade

Doctors stand over a table

As September approaches the UCLan Medical School are familiar with the types of questions that are running through the minds of students.

Whether you’re searching for a university, or waiting for your results, it’s an exciting and nerve-racking time, so that’s why we have teamed up with one of our second year MBBS students to answer some important questions and give some helpful tips on how to succeed at medical school.

Dean Hardy has given us an insight into how he copes with the workload, stress and pressure that comes with being a medical student. He’s also given his top tips on what it takes to succeed.

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1. How do you cope with learning such a broad depth of information?

The range of content you will learn in medical school is beyond anything else you will ever learn. You will get pushed to your limits and that’s why it’s important to have a range of coping mechanisms to help alleviate any stress.

Personally, what has always worked for me is writing lecture notes up before the class, listening and adding onto the notes in class, then spending an hour after class going over it.

This requires constant organisation and time-keeping, but by doing this, you give yourself targets. It motivates you, and you still find plenty of free time around studying to relax.

During exams, I tend to go into hibernation, set out a timetable (again motivating myself with targets) and study for long hours. Unfortunately, there are no real short cuts in medicine; you have to put in the long hours to be rewarded.

Read 7 Tips for Keeping on Top of Your Workload in Med School

2. How do you organise your time properly between lectures, placement, study groups, and social time?

The course is full on, but if you organise yourself, you will have plenty of free time. Monday to Friday, I get up around 6am and go straight to the gym.

Following that I have a shower, have my breakfast and I’m sat with a coffee reviewing the day ahead by 8am, ready for a 9am start. My day normally finishes around 5pm, but I will stick around for a few hours, in the anatomy lab, to review any work I did not understand.

I work hard during the week day, so I can have weekends off. On Saturdays and Sundays, for most of term, I do not touch a single piece of work.

Instead, I spend my weekends going out with friends, playing football, eating out and simply relaxing. By Monday I’m fresh again. Setting targets in Medical School really does help.

Read 5 Secrets of Surviving First Year of Med School

3. What are your top tips for success in Medical School?

  1. Be willing to sacrifice a lot of your social life to revise, especially close to exams – it’s not easy but it’s always worth it.
  2. You will find some things impossible to learn, you may struggle and have doubts. Find a way to deal with this. Support from family, peers and teachers is really important. UCLan offers a range of support including WISER, your own personal tutor, staff keen to care and much more.
  3. Look after your wellbeing; take time for yourself and relax. Exercise and healthy eating help to keep your mind refreshed. UCLan offer a free gym membership to the Sir Tom Finney Sports Centre, where a lot of medical students attend.
  4. Understand that you are now in classes where every student is accustomed to being the brightest student; it will be competitive.
  5. Medicine is not just about having knowledge; you need to be good with people. Learn how to gain patients’ trust and become an overall good person. In medical school you will attend communications skills sessions, but essentially they train you to talk like a doctor.
  6. No question is a silly question in medical school – ask away! Learn from others, medicine is a team game.
  7. Most importantly, respect the nurses, they are heroes and will help you in your time of need.

Read 5 Things to Know Before Choosing a Med School

This post was created as part of a sponsored collaboration with the University of Central Lancashire (UCLan)

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