Barts (Queen Mary, University of London)

Ranked 6th by the Complete University Guide, Barts offers a five-year Medicine programme that is driven by a problem-based learning teaching style. This means groups of eight to ten students work with a facilitator to solve clinical scenario problems. Emphasis is placed on practical sessions, work within the local community and learning communication skills – and lectures do not play a significant role. Students will find themselves excelling in their development of functional areas such as clinical, management skills, observation and teamwork.

The Course is split into three phases. Phase one happens in year one and two and is structured as systems-based modules that introduce fundamental biological concepts to students. Some key topics that are covered include biological structure, the function of cells, body systems and the impact of illness of people and their family. Students must take five systems-based modules and three student selected components (SSCs) every year. There is regular patient contact in this phase too.

Year three and four is when phase two happens, and sees students undergo teaching weeks, assessment and introduction to clinical medicine via placements. Clinical knowledge and skills are enhanced through working alongside clinical teams in various settings. This also provides an opportunity for students to apply knowledge learnt in phase one. Three SSCs are completed each year, with a focus on clinical scenarios that include patient interview and history taking.

The final year marks the third phase when students further their clinical and community placements and first-hand insight into the life of an FY1 doctor. Students will be placed in hospitals and firms that they will be based in for their FY1 training. In this period they will shadow current FY1 doctors. Throughout the final year, students return to the medical schools for a teaching programme that involves simulated patient scenarios and individual sessions in enhancing communication skills.

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Case Study

Jay Stanley
Year of Study:

What are the best things about your Medical School?

  1. The sense of camaraderie between all students. Although there is a healthy amount of competition, everyone is there to support one another through our medical school journey.
  2. The satisfaction from learning new things and being able to meet patients with some of the conditions you are learning about quite early on in the course.
  3. The huge range of society and sports activities you can be involved in.

What are the hardest things about your course?

  1. The volume of information that you have to remember, but this is probably the same for all medical degree courses.
  2. Keeping on top of the workload and extra-curricular activities at the same time. It can get quite intense, particularly in the lead up to in-course assessments throughout the year.
  3. Adapting to a new style of working where you are expected to do quite a bit of independent learning. It is a significant step up from A-Levels and even other degree courses.

What’s the social side of your Medical School like?

It is absolutely fantastic. Whether you are an avid sports-person, interested in academic medicine or just like to volunteer with friends doing something fun, there is something for everyone to get involved with and enjoy with other students.

Barts and The London is known for the friendly atmosphere between students and I’ve definitely experienced this first-hand since I started.

You will always have someone to look out for you, which is important when you are studying a challenging subject like medicine. If all else falls through, there is always our beloved Griff Inn where you will find many of your fellow medical students kicking back and enjoying the precious time we have before we become doctors.

What tips would you give to someone applying to your Medical School?

  1. Know how the course is organized as this will help in answering questions about why you want to study here.
  2. Think of something that you have that you could contribute to the student body at Barts and The London. It is always nice to see students that are well rounded.
  3. If you want to be a doctor because you like helping people, remember to think of ways in which you have showed this and be able to reflect on those experiences.


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