The University of Bristol’s five-year MBChB programme is designed to equip students with the necessary skillsets needed by doctors in a 21st-century healthcare system that is continuously changing. In the first year, the fundamental concepts of health and wellbeing are explored from numerous perspectives. The medical school estimates that in the first year, roughly 29% of your time is spent in lecture, 65% independently learning and 7% on placements.
In your second year, the programme enables students to explore disease processes and understand different diagnoses for common symptoms. By the third year, you will be working in a hospital and primary care setting within the clinical academies. Here, students will meet patients for unscheduled and emergency care as well as scheduled maintenance and learn about how the NHS manage these common conditions.
Intercalation is available between year three and four which offers students an opportunity to study for an intercalated degree in either a medical science or humanity subject. In the fourth year, students will get to grips with the life course within hospital and primary care, from birth to old age.
In the final year, this programme prepares its students for the foundation programme by allowing them to work alongside clinical teams in order to deepen teamwork and decision-making skill sets. Support is given to deal with uncertainties, and students will be equipped to provide safe care in medical emergencies.
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What are the best things about your Medical School?
- Rotations in clinical academies allow students to experience clinical medicine in different settings, ranging from small district hospitals to main tertiary care centres.
- Early on from first year in the MB21 curriculum, students at Bristol also have the opportunity to learn how to design posters, give oral presentations and attend local conferences to prepare you for bigger conferences in future.
- A variety of research opportunities are available through an intercalated degree or student-selected projects.
- Bristol is a cosmopolitan city with an eclectic mix of people from a variety of backgrounds and cultures. Bristol is home to numerous Banksy artwork pieces and also boasts a rich and vibrant history with most of its unique architecture surviving to this day.
What are the hardest things about your course?
- Although accommodation is provided during academy placements, living outside of Bristol for half a year can be slightly inconvenient.
- Because the new MB21 curriculum estimates that 65% of your first two years in medical school are spent on independent learning, it can be difficult to know when one should seek help.
- Due to the competitive nature of medical school, students have to learn to accept their own imperfections and limitations early on.
- No feedback from your finals is given, so you will never know your mistakes and how to improve for the next exam.
What’s the social side of your Medical School like?
Galenicals, the medical society at Bristol, also the largest student-elected society at the University, offers a wide array of social opportunities, including wine tasting night, the infamous medics bar crawl and the elegant Christmas Ball.
Additionally, there are a variety of sports clubs that compete in intramural games and even travel away for tournaments. And don’t forget about all the drama, dance and art societies that are specifically geared towards medical students!
Whether you enjoy a standard night out or are looking for more of an alternative vibe, there is always something for everyone!
What tips would you give to someone applying to your Medical School?
- Start preparing early and take a year out if necessary, as opposed to submitting a rushed application.
- Through your work experience, demonstrate that you have an understanding of the ethical dilemmas doctors face. Make sure you know the four principles of Beauchamp and Childress by heart – autonomy, non-maleficence, beneficence and justice!
- Be yourself at your medical school interview. Interviewers don’t expect you to have a ready answer for every question, but they do expect you to be able to think on your feet and give a considered response. If a question catches you off guard, don’t be afraid to take a moment and formulate an answer before you open your mouth.
- Sir William Osler teaches us to treat the patient, not the disease. Understand that both art and science are needed to practice medicine!