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    I am from Southampton, on a gap year and am so fortunate as to have three unconditional offers for medicine from Leeds, BSMS and Cardiff, and I am trying to decide which one to choose! This is proving difficult and I am weighing up the pros and cons of each, points include:

    - class size
    - supportive course
    - the best medical school (league tables)
    - distance from home
    - difference in difficulty (would leeds be more academic than BSMS, therefore would I struggle more at Leeds?)

    any advice, tips or pointers would be much appreciated! If anyone has visited these med schools, knows about the course or is a student there I would be very grateful for some help! Thank you, hope all your applications are going well!
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    Could someone please help!
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    (Original post by Quilt94)
    Could someone please help!
    Leeds. imo
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    (Original post by Future_Dr)
    Leeds. imo
    Thank you! But why would you choose leeds?
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    (Original post by Quilt94)
    Thank you! But why would you choose leeds?
    Well personally, I live near Cardiff, but I really would like to go away from home. Out of bsms and leeds, leeds is higher in the leagues table. but then again Brighton has a beach... hmm. That's a tricky one. You just have to look at which suits you best. the location, accomodation. Whether the teaching styles differ. etc. Must be a great feeling that now it's your turn to choose a uni and you are garenteeted in. :P
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    (Original post by Quilt94)
    I am from Southampton, on a gap year and am so fortunate as to have three unconditional offers for medicine from Leeds, BSMS and Cardiff, and I am trying to decide which one to choose! This is proving difficult and I am weighing up the pros and cons of each, points include:

    - class size
    - supportive course
    - the best medical school (league tables)
    - distance from home
    - difference in difficulty (would leeds be more academic than BSMS, therefore would I struggle more at Leeds?)

    any advice, tips or pointers would be much appreciated! If anyone has visited these med schools, knows about the course or is a student there I would be very grateful for some help! Thank you, hope all your applications are going well!

    (Original post by Future_Dr)
    Well personally, I live near Cardiff, but I really would like to go away from home. Out of bsms and leeds, leeds is higher in the leagues table. but then again Brighton has a beach... hmm. That's a tricky one. You just have to look at which suits you best. the location, accomodation. Whether the teaching styles differ. etc. Must be a great feeling that now it's your turn to choose a uni and you are garenteeted in. :P
    Why have you both even mentioned this?

    Do those higher in the league tables produce better doctors?
    Are their students more likely to get a a job in the foundation programme? Are they more likely to get their first choice foundation school?
    Does it make a difference to their selection for speciality training?
    Is their course likely to be more fun or provide a better education?

    (Ill make a more useful post for the OP next)

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    Thanks future dr and carcinoma all points to think about! Any more helpful posts would be appreciated!
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    (Original post by Quilt94)
    I am from Southampton, on a gap year and am so fortunate as to have three unconditional offers for medicine from Leeds, BSMS and Cardiff, and I am trying to decide which one to choose! This is proving difficult and I am weighing up the pros and cons of each, points include:

    - class size
    - supportive course
    - the best medical school (league tables)
    - distance from home
    - difference in difficulty (would leeds be more academic than BSMS, therefore would I struggle more at Leeds?)

    any advice, tips or pointers would be much appreciated! If anyone has visited these med schools, knows about the course or is a student there I would be very grateful for some help! Thank you, hope all your applications are going well!
    Well first thing is first which course do you prefer? They all have distinct courses, does one of them stand out?

    Then where can you see yourself spending the next 5/6 years of your life? How important is it to you to be able to get home relatively easily?

    In a larger cohort size it is likely to be more competitive An more difficult to get to know your whole year, in a smaller cohort you are likely to know your whole year by name and have more of a community feel.

    How academic the course is depends on the structure and exam format? Medicine is a very competitive course due to the nature of the selection (everyone would have AAA/A*AA at a level). So it is more a matter of choosing the course that suits the way you learn better.

    What are the most important things for you?

    So why don't you make a table of pros and cons of each and then post it in this forum and we could help you more efficiently.


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    (Original post by Quilt94)
    Thanks future dr and carcinoma all points to think about! Any more helpful posts would be appreciated!
    Personally applying to similar medical schools this year I would pick leeds

    - early patient contact from second term
    - One of the biggest medical schools
    - Night life/social life one of the best schools. Infact let me link you somthing that sums up basically everything I'dd say seems good about it from what I've heard at open days and speaking to medical students. Its long ...

    Sorry this is so late... Not sure if Leeds has been covered before, but here is my view. I'm a 2nd year student at Leeds, and this is what I've observed over the last 12 months.

    Pros:

    -Excellent anatomy and basic medical science teaching. Lecturers are highly enthusiastic, very good at presenting the information and very keen to chat about their leading research. Most are very funny too.
    -Lecture topics are very interesting, especially in basic medical science and anatomy of the heart/lungs/digestive system.
    -Good system of reinforcing lectures with small group tutorials later in the week. Allows us to know how much to revise, what we will be examined on etc.
    -I wouldn't be in Leeds without it's very well-established links to Clinical Science at the University of Bradford, which allows students like me to transfer to the MBChB. This is the only Widening Access programme of its kind in the UK and it works incredibly well - the success rate of students entering Medicine at Leeds from Clinical Science is amazing. Anyone who is committed to entering Medicine should put Bradford Clinical Science as their 5th option - it's an alternative route to fall back on in case (God Forbid) you don't get a straight offer for Medicine.
    -Great Fresher's Week and Medic Fresher's Week. Huge programme of new societies and welcome talks.
    -Highly useful online system (VLE) and easy to navigate emails.
    -Regular announcements on the VLE and through email ensure that you are always regularly updated about assignments, lectures/tutorials and deadlines. It's really hard to fall behind or miss things, unless of course you don't check your email!
    -The university and medical school is such a close-knit community, and most medical students make a big effort to get to know students studying other courses.
    -Russell Group university - very prestigious and a great honour to be part of. Always interesting to read in the national news about research being carried out by staff from your own university.
    -The SCONUL scheme - meaning you can get a card from the med school library that lets you enter other university libraries at Russell Group universities in the UK and do as you please, within reason. I've been to King's, UCL and Birmingham University to do revision in the holidays.
    -Varied styles of buildings on campus ensure you always have something nice to look at. Particularly the historic Parkinson Building, Great Hall and Clothworkers' Court.
    -Excellent societies. It's a bonus being a medical student as you can choose to be part of medic societies, university ones or both. Whatever your taste, there is something for you here - everything from Poetry to Vegetarians, Film Soc to Bhangra and Bollywood dance!
    -Being at one of the biggest universities in the UK means you are never short of friends and support.
    -Excellent student services programme. Help with finance, accommodation, personal problems etc.
    -Student accommodation in 1st year is excellent. Especially the Tannery (v.popular with medics), Sentinel Towers, Leodis, Henry Price, Charles Morris, Oxley and places in Headingley.
    -Very well-established integrated style of teaching Medicine at a historic and well-respected medical school. Lectures mostly 9am-4/5pm - but at least you're getting your money's worth!
    -Leeds Medical School's Surgery society (Cutting Edge) is one of the best in the country. The committee are always extremely organised, very kind and helpful and arrange talks from leading surgeons in the UK as well as suturing classes to improve your own skills if you're interested in surgery. In 1 year I've been to talks given by a neurosurgeon, ENT surgeon, cardiothoracic surgeon, cosmetic surgeon, paediatric surgeon and others. The annual Cutting Edge Surgical Conference is always an amazing opportunity to meet consultant and trainee surgeons, talk to them about their jobs as well as meeting other committed medical students from all years.
    -Many opportunities to visit national medical/surgical conferences in Leeds or further afield. You can find out about these through societies (e.g Cutting Edge) or lecturers, but if you go to anything (usually just a couple of hours on 1 day), it will demonstrate your interest and commitment to your chosen specialty or Medicine in general.
    -Clinical symposia teaching sessions puts all the anatomy in a clinical context, making things very relevant and interesting for future practice.
    -Full-body dissection and prosection. In both 1st and 2nd year, 5-6 people per cadaver and detailed instructions given on work to be carried out.
    -The medical school common room (the "Airport Lounge" or APL, as we call it) has just had major refurbishment and welcomes you to the medical school much better than it did before.
    -Medical Ethics and Communication Skills taught in an adequate level of detail.
    -Dissection Room open for group revision - not just practical classes.
    -Full-length anatomy videos provided for revision in own time.
    -Library is huge, with plenty of books on each subject so you always have something to revise from. As well as both quiet and group study areas.
    -Placements start very early on in pre-clinical years. From the second term in 1st year, you spend half a day per week in a hospital or GP surgery, while in 2nd year it's 1 day a week.
    -Very good emphasis on the transition between university and healthcare area. Preparation for placements and reflections on what you see outside university.
    -Interactive lectures with e-voting pads, podcasts, videos and self-directed learning quizzes.
    -Good teaching of professional practice by looking at clinical scenarios. Areas such as patient safety, enterprise, leadership and teamwork are all covered in the IDEALS strand.
    -Multi-layered and interesting teaching of human psychology, mental health and brain development in Individuals & Populations.
    -High number of varied topics for SSC choices and individual projects.
    -Early emphasis on the importance of research and the opportunity to get involved/learn more about research going on in Leeds/West Yorkshire, as well as further afield.
    -Students from completely different backgrounds and from all over the world come to Leeds to study Medicine. Some of my friends are home students from London, Kent, Birmingham, Bradford, Manchester, Plymouth, Hertfordshire, Newcastle, Leicester, Glasgow and further afield. Others are international students from Mauritius, Sri Lanka, Australia, Hong Kong, India, Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, Singapore etc. Makes your year group incredibly diverse and your experience of socialising is miles better than if you were studying any other course!
    -Visits to volunteers with chronic illness/disability and those who have had acute treatment, provide a good first practice for interviewing future patients.
    -Tutorials focused on communication skills emphasise from very early on that your manner with patients is the most important thing about clinical practice. Learning the skill required in order to inspire trust in your patients is something you will start as soon as you get here.
    -Group and individual presentations always turn out to be lots of fun. Prizes awarded for the best groups/presentations.
    -It goes without saying that Leeds has an amazing nightlife. I don't party much but I'm always hearing stories about the clubs in Leeds. Tiger Tiger, Oceana, Warehouse and Mission are just some examples.
    -The medical school's own society, MedSoc, is infamous for organising some of the best university parties and activities you could hope for. They go mad on nights out so it's always funny to see videos of their antics!
    -For people like me who don't drink, the city is still pretty awesome. Cinemas, restaurants, shopping, activities. Plus it's really easy to travel to the Yorkshire Dales and Peak District for day trips.
    -Leeds is in a fantastic place geographically. Bradford, Sheffield, Manchester, York, Birmingham, wherever you want in just a few hours by train/coach - both of which run very regularly. Links to London by road or train are very straight-forward. For me, back home to London in 2 hours 15 minutes on the train.
    -Medical students are pretty intense, but they're all incredibly lovely people. In 1 year I know pretty much 3/4 of my year group - a big year group means many more opportunities for socialising.
    -Clinical skills teaching on GP placements is often lots of fun. My GP supervisor is a great laugh!
    -Opportunity to see lots of different diseases and presentations in one of the most deprived areas outside London.
    -Gym and sports facilities at the university are excellent and very popular.
    -10am starts on some days is a nice break from routine - although I am still late every day!
    -Great opportunities available for intercalating in a BSc, at Leeds or elsewhere.
    -Small group teaching is always a good opportunity to have a laugh!
    -Union building is excellent, well-refurbished and a great place to chill.
    -Food is pretty cheap on campus and there are rows of restaurants very near the university. Whatever you choose, you can find it for a good price.
    -The amazing Leeds City Centre is less than 10 minutes walk from the med school. If you have a long lunch break, go shopping!
    -Going away for your elective between Years 4 and 5 is an amazing opportunity to experience healthcare in another part of the world and compare it to the NHS.
    -Some boring/depressing/gibberish lectures are a good opportunity to sleep or listen to music or play Angry Birds/Doodle Jump/Temple Run/whatever you like. Bring headphones and charge your phone the night before!
    -There are some modules for which you can go to almost no lectures, and still pass at the end of the year.
    -Absolutely ZERO PBL. IMO, this is the best thing about Leeds, as I completely despise PBL.

    Cons:

    -Some lectures and tutorials are utter BS. Examples such as "How to reference", "Statistics in Research" and "How to interpret statistics". As you can probably tell, I HATE statistics.
    -Research lectures and tutorials as part of the RESS strand are often very boring and pointless.
    -Some small group sessions in the IDEALS strand are completely laughable as they're so hurried and irrelevant - I know the med school are working to improve this for the future though.
    -Some SSC choices in 1st year are complete rubbish. Examples include "use of biomarkers to identify rheumatoid arthritis" but the choices change every year so maybe it's just me.
    -Being at a RG university means research is always involved in some capacity. Lecturers always discuss the research they are involved in and almost persuade students to get involved. But I hate research and always will - it's just not something I'll ever be interested in, so I can't make good use of all those opportunities.
    -Clinical placements in 1st year are sometimes not very well organised and a bit... fluffy. I was placed in Bradford for my 1st year attachment and I had to visit 8 different departments for 2 hours each. Whereas some of my friends placed in Leeds and Wakefield had the opportunity to stay with the same department for 3 hours every week and, as a result, had much more informative and enjoyable experiences. Would have helped if all the placements were arranged like that.
    -Clinical skills teaching on 1st year hospital placements is lacklustre because most doctors/tutors believe 1st year medical students don't have to know them - even though it's part of the competencies you have to pass in order to progress to 2nd year and complete more placements.
    -Some tutors can't be understood because their accents are so thick. If you originate from another country like me, you will be fine - but if you are not used to people speaking without British accents then you might struggle!
    -If you get a clinical placement in Bradford, it might be quite weird to hear entire consultations being spoken in Urdu/Punjabi and having no-one to translate for you!
    -Probably too much emphasis on night-life and clubbing. Not enough suggestions for people like me who don't drink - what are we supposed to do while everyone else is out clubbing?
    -Sometimes quite annoying to be hassled by students who are being paid to throw leaflets about parties and club nights at me, when I have no interest in any of their offers. This happens quite a lot outside Parkinson Building, especially during Fresher's Week, and can get on my nerves.
    -The medical school only has one main lecture theatre (imaginatively named the Medical Lecture Theatre, or MLT), which is mostly used for 1st year teaching. Often means that us 2nd year students are based in the Roger Stevens building or the Clarendon Lecture Theatre (part of Leeds General Infirmary, next door to the medical school). Both of those are quite cramped and not very nice places in which to sit through a full day of lectures.
    -The Medical Teaching Centre (MTC) is a set of small group teaching rooms on Level 8 of the medical school. You'll quickly realise that Level 8 is a maze of corridors, cupboards and staircases - very easy to get lost when you first start.
    -There's sometimes just not enough hours in the day to do everything you want. A full day of lectures (9am-5pm) followed by clubbing and/or society meetings going on every night of the week, means that you absolutely must give something up to get a good balance between work, play and rest. For example, I don't go clubbing so that frees up a lot of my time for societies - in 1 year I managed to attend meetings, socials and other events held by Cutting Edge (Surgery Soc), Psyched (Psychiatry Soc), LUMPS (Paediatrics Soc), Badminton, Bollywood dance and Bhangra. That's still loads but there were many others I wanted to be part of - swimming, street dance, anaesthesia, tennis, childrens' hospital etc.
    -It's sometimes quite depressing to know that medical students always have exams before holidays while all your flatmates doing other courses have the whole holiday to revise. Less revision time and more rushed for us - but we do get to relax in holidays!
    -Student houses in 2nd-5th year can be awesome or absolute horror stories. Be careful where you stay and who you choose to live with.
    -If you don't go clubbing and/or you don't drink like me, things can get a bit lonely sometimes. Especially in Leeds, there just isn't enough going on to appeal to people who haven't been brought up to drink themselves into the ground.
    -The medical school ask you to pay £20 for an e-voting device which we are supposed to use regularly in lectures across all of 1st and 2nd year. In 1st year, we barely used them 4 times in 8 months because they are always having problems with the software or lecturers are not hugely bothered about using it anyway. Bit of a gimmick really - but this has been fed back to the staff and they are working to change this.
    -Not enough one-to-one time with personal tutors. Meetings are once every term and only involve discussion of your performance/thoughts about being at university. My tutor is a great guy and makes me laugh, but unfortunately I won't build up as much of a relationship with him as I had with my teachers at school and sixth form. Most of the tutors are practising doctors so they won't get much time to see you anyway.
    -In first term, the Integrated Medical Science (IMS) module can make you feel like you're just studying a pure science degree. Virtually every lecturer will be from the school of Biological Sciences, there to bombard you with information about cell pathways, and there is very little clinical application. Quite depressing at times and some topics have almost no relevance. But keep looking forward to 2nd term when you start anatomy and clinical placements, and you will forget all about that - first term is over in a flash.
    -The Medical School is sometimes not very nice to look at from outside. If you're there at night, it looks like a prison.
    -Anatomy is sometimes pretty difficult to learn and understand, especially when you first start revising it.
    -Hyde Park (the area as well as the actual park) is dangerous at night and not very well lit - avoid as much as possible.
    -Some areas in Leeds are unattractive as well as dangerous at night. Examples include Harehills (surrounding St James' Hospital) and some parts of Kirkstall.
    -My year group is not as diverse as I expected it to be - roughly 75% Caucasian British and 25% ethnic minorities (including international students). I don't know if the demographic is the same at other medical schools or not, but it can be slightly unsettling to come from a widely diverse school/sixth-form college into a university where there aren't many other students of the same nationality as you. I'm one of 6 or 7 Pakistani guys in a class of ~270 - even though we are studying 10 miles away from Pakistan (Bradford)!
    -Placements in 2nd year are not very different to how they were in 1st year, when our experience was really limited to sitting in GP consultations and going on tours of hospital wards. The only difference in 2nd year is that we stay on placement all day, but the amount of time getting actual clinical experience is less, if not the same, as it was in 2nd year. We travel quite far out of Leeds to sit in hospital classrooms - bit annoying to get up really early and travel when the same thing could be done in university. Unfortunately some of these pre-clinical placements just feel like a waste of 1 day a week.
    -By the end of 1st year, many medical students have formed cliques and don't see or talk to a huge number of others. This is partially due to some small group teaching sessions being done just with students near you on the register, and most groups stay the same for the whole pre-clinical stage. To get around this, do your best to become part of several cliques and make friends with as many people as possible - it worked for me!
    -Food in the Union is not as cheap as it could be when compared to the restaurants 5 minutes away from uni.
    -Food in Leeds is great - but it's not Bradford food! One thing I sometimes miss about my year in Bradford is the food.
    -Lots of itty-bitty assignments, reflections and statements to fill out in order to pass some modules, especially in Campus To Clinic (C2C). If you don't write 100 words by the end of term you can fail!
    -For some students like me, the quality of revision you do can have no effect whatsoever on the grade you get in your exam. For my most recent exam I worked 5-6 hours a day for 3 weeks before the exam, consolidating a whole term of work, and still only just scraped a pass - not because anything went wrong on the day, but because barely 25% of the content came up in the exam. Everything else was on topics we were not supposed to learn, or so unrelated to the module that we were literally supposed to guess. I don't know about other medical students, but I'm absolutely sick of doing a huge amount of work, to never achieve above 60%.
    -The most difficult part about Medicine is getting in. Leeds is such an amazing university and medical school, but Medicine here is intensely competitive. For 2012 entry there were 4000 applicants for ~250 places - make sure your application is airtight.
    -The cinema in the city centre only shows 1 Bollywood movie a week! What's even worse is that, for the Bollywood films that ARE screened in Leeds, there are only ever 3 showings a day and the films are only kept on for 1 week so more often than not I end up travelling to Bradford to catch them. Anyone I know will tell you that I am completely addicted to and obsessed with Bollywood - so this just does not work for me. A minor irritance, but majorly annoying for me.

    Will add more if I think of anything. Hope that helps!
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    (Original post by Richyp22)
    Personally applying to similar medical schools this year I would pick leeds...

    Will add more if I think of anything. Hope that helps!
    Thank you so much for posting this! Very very helpful I am now definitely firming leeds!
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    (Original post by carcinoma)
    Why have you both even mentioned this?

    Do those higher in the league tables produce better doctors?
    Are their students more likely to get a a job in the foundation programme? Are they more likely to get their first choice foundation school?
    Does it make a difference to their selection for speciality training?
    Is their course likely to be more fun or provide a better education?

    (Ill make a more useful post for the OP next)

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    No it's doesn't.. I know we all end up in the same position later on. But, in terms of student staisfaction and teaching, activities, this might be important to look at.
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    (Original post by Future_Dr)
    No it's doesn't.. I know we all end up in the same position later on. But, in terms of student staisfaction and teaching, activities, this might be important to look at.
    I totally agree with looking at student satisfaction it is a good indicator of what the course is like.

    The only factor I somewhat dislike about league tables is the weight they put on average entry score and research.

    Yes research is very relevant to medical education, however, much of the time students neither know about it nor learn from it.


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    Hi, I'm at BSMS and I hope that I can shed some light on some of your questions from my point of view anyways...

    - class size- Small, very small. I think like 130ish. Less for the coming years. What does this mean? Well, I know most, if not all the people on my course. Which is amazing. You can walk into a lecture or into a seminar or such and know everyone. And this also means that there's a lovely community feel at the med school. So you have the med school family but you're also part of 2 universities if you want to go out and meet lots of new people! That's what I really like. That in the place where I spend most of my time i.e the med school, you know everyone and it feels like another home but when you step out of it, you have the wider university to explore and enjoy

    - supportive course- Very supportive. You get to know the staff quite well and there's a support system in place that you can reach out to if you need. You can approach all of the lecturers and I've seen some go out of their way to help people. And again, being such a small med school, they take your view into account. They have feedback forums and I've found that some of the stuff we've suggested have been implemented. It's nice to know that they actually DO LISTEN to you.

    - the best medical school (league tables) Meh, see above posts.

    - distance from home- I think it's not too hard to get to Brighton from Southampton... Not sure though!

    - difference in difficulty (would leeds be more academic than BSMS, therefore would I struggle more at Leeds?) Ahhhhh, well, here's an interesting question. I don't know the Leeds course but I can certainly tell you the one I'm on. You'll have to compare.
    It's hard of course. But the academics are complemented with awesome clinical days- where we actually do get to meet patients, take histories and generally learn. It helps put all the academics in perspective, it shows you what you're aiming for. The course isn't that all over the place. With the systems based modules, you learn everything related to certain systems in one go. Helps to maintain focus.

    Hope this helps! (I did make an account to answer this. I've been meaning to for a while anyways.)
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    (Original post by Substantia)
    Thank you so much for posting this! Very very helpful I am now definitely firming leeds!
    Leeds is brilliant! It's quite middle of the road, not too wishy washy and tons of PBL to prepare for but not tons of dry lectures either. It's great if you want a good social life and medics are really friendly. The course is brilliant, it's challenging but there's support available if you're struggling.

    Leeds is such a good student city, there's uni of, met, trinity and the art college so tons of students. Brilliant nightlife and shops, cheap living costs, it's got a good compact city center which has everything you need nearby. Medics have their own societies and freshers week but you can still get involved with uni societies too.

    I am just a little biased (ok more than a little), but hey there's got to be a reason so many people apply for leeds

    Most importantly for me unlike HYMS, Durham etc it doesn't ship you off away from the rest of uni which was a massive deal breaker for me and I wanted to be in a city so avoided Keele etc, if you're somewhere for 5/6 years you need lots to keep you occupied . I wanted the whole uni experience, Leeds medical school is the oldest part of the uni and fully integrated with the rest of the uni. You're still on the same campus.
 
 
 
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