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Uni Guides: Studying medicine

Becoming a doctor is a very rewarding but difficult career and getting accepted onto the course is the same. The process of studying medicine (and dentistry) is a bit more difficult than others.

Getting into medicine requires sitting an entrance exam, the UKCAT or BMAT for undergraduates and the GAMSAT for graduates as well as getting top grades. These exams test your ability to work under pressure, solve puzzles and test your judgment. There are a lot of prep books and websites to help you with this. As well as that there are lots of books written by doctors that will give you a true insight into the career.

‘This is going to hurt’ by Adam Kay gives a harrowing insight into life as a junior doctor in the NHS. It is beautifully written, it is Mr. Kay’s diary from when he was training in OB/GYN, and it highlights the highs and lows of becoming a doctor working for the NHS. ‘Do no harm’ by the neurosurgeon, Dr. Henry Marsh and the seven ages of death by a forensic pathologist, Dr. Richard Shephard are two more books to most definitely read.

These books give a personal perspective on their careers in medicine. No two people follow the same path and have the same experiences, but they give you a good insight as to what you might expect working in medicine in the UK. All of you who are interested in medicine know that it is a turbulent ride to get into medical school but there are a lot of YouTube channels and Instagram pages by medical students and doctors that give their own experiences of what medical school is like. These can be very helpful in deciding if the medicine is for you.

A lot of people shadow doctors as work experience, this is great to see what life is like on ward rounds but working in a nursing home is a lot more valuable and hands-on. Developing empathy, communication, and teamwork skills are very valuable to express in your personal statement when applying for medicine. So, developing these is extremely important.

The pre-clinical years of studying medicine (the theory years) involve studying all the body systems, from their anatomy, physiology, and biochemistry all the way to problems and pathology that can occur.

Come along to our new show for 2022, ‘The Death of Anton Orlov’ to grasp an understanding of these different systems and how a post-mortem is carried out.

Get hands-on experience dissecting these organs for yourself. It’ll also look great on your personal statement!


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