Should I firm BSMS or Plymouth Univeristy? (Medicine A100) Watch

michellelinnea
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I'd love to hear opinions from current students or other people in between choices. What made you choose BSMS/Peninsula? Any opinions or remarks wil be helpful
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username1824715
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I'm a final year at BSMS! It was my first choice, although I can't comment on Plymouth as I never applied there or went to any open days.

1) Brighton is awesome! Great nightlife, close to the beach, close to the South Downs, very quirky with weird shops down the lanes, lots of music festivals and lots of things going on.
2) BSMS only has about 150 people per year, so you get to know everybody in your year and some of your lecturers get to know you. It means that whatever small groups you're split into you feel comfortable chatting to everybody (even if you don't know them very well).
3) BSMS is only 11 years old and it means that they really listen to feedback from students and try to change their course to improve it based on what people say. For example, I did my Obs/Gynae placement in 3rd year. We fed back that it was quite stressful and that we thought it would be better in 4th year, and now that's what future years are getting. Also we used to have our elective at the beinning of 4th year but people fed back that they would gain more out of it if it was after finals and so I think that future years are having that too!
4) Integrated course - first and second year are mostly lectures but you have 1 day a week of clinical skills and get exposed to communication skills and history taking early on. From year 3 onwards you are more based in the hospital and then things become a lot more clinical.
5) As BSMS you are a part of BSMS, Brighton and Sussex. This means you have 3x the number of societies you can join, 3x the number of libraries etc.
6) Very friendly staff and (for the most part) consultants that are very keen to teach.
7) Dissection in first and second year! I can't remember if Plymouth offers that or not but it's good for anatomy learning.
8) They are listening to and responding to a lot of feedback about how prepared finals years felt when they became F1 doctors. This is more relevant for me right now but they are putting on a lot of extra sessions to prepare us in the interim between passing finals and actually starting jobs in August.
9) Good links to London (if you care about that sort of thing!)

Downsides, in the interest of fairness:
1) Brighton is expensive to live in. My rent currently is £375 per month for one room in a 4 bed house and I would say that that's average/towards the good end of the price range.
2) The hospital has got some building work starting - I don't know how much it will affect anything (the hospital is still going to be running so it can't be that bad! And it's all so they can become a major trauma centre in the future) but it might mean slight disruptions (at a guess).
3) Because we're on the coast you have a bit of a trek for some of your regional attachments in 5th year and some of your GP placements in 4th year (max is about 1hr drive). But you get travel reimbursed and for the regional attachments you get onsite accommodation.
4) The other things that I've noted throughout my time here as downsides (e.g. 3rd year being quite intense then 4th year being a doss) are being altered and changed for future students so I can't really comment about how they'll be for you!
5) Brighton SU are good but Sussex SU are a bit rubbish... all they seem to care about is various protests and that means that they don't focus as much on things like campus life and societies (in my experience).

In conclusion I would definitely recommend BSMS. I've really enjoyed my time here. I think the main thing that I love about it still is the small year factor. From speaking to medical students at big London medical schools, they don't know most of their year and there is more of a risk of getting lost within the big crowds. BSMS are very good at helping people who are struggling and trying to ensure that we all get a good experience, and I can't help but feel that some of that might be lost at a bigger medical school.


I don't know how much of that is relevant to comparing it to Plymouth as I've never been! But good luck and congratulations for getting your offers!

Email me if you have any more questions, my finals are in 4 weeks so I may be quite busy and not reply but I'll definitely do my best if there is anything particular you are interested in! I may be able to answer some questions about things like societies etc.
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michellelinnea
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(Original post by RachelDawn)
I'm a final year at BSMS! It was my first choice, although I can't comment on Plymouth as I never applied there or went to any open days.

1) Brighton is awesome! Great nightlife, close to the beach, close to the South Downs, very quirky with weird shops down the lanes, lots of music festivals and lots of things going on.
2) BSMS only has about 150 people per year, so you get to know everybody in your year and some of your lecturers get to know you. It means that whatever small groups you're split into you feel comfortable chatting to everybody (even if you don't know them very well).
3) BSMS is only 11 years old and it means that they really listen to feedback from students and try to change their course to improve it based on what people say. For example, I did my Obs/Gynae placement in 3rd year. We fed back that it was quite stressful and that we thought it would be better in 4th year, and now that's what future years are getting. Also we used to have our elective at the beinning of 4th year but people fed back that they would gain more out of it if it was after finals and so I think that future years are having that too!
4) Integrated course - first and second year are mostly lectures but you have 1 day a week of clinical skills and get exposed to communication skills and history taking early on. From year 3 onwards you are more based in the hospital and then things become a lot more clinical.
5) As BSMS you are a part of BSMS, Brighton and Sussex. This means you have 3x the number of societies you can join, 3x the number of libraries etc.
6) Very friendly staff and (for the most part) consultants that are very keen to teach.
7) Dissection in first and second year! I can't remember if Plymouth offers that or not but it's good for anatomy learning.
8) They are listening to and responding to a lot of feedback about how prepared finals years felt when they became F1 doctors. This is more relevant for me right now but they are putting on a lot of extra sessions to prepare us in the interim between passing finals and actually starting jobs in August.
9) Good links to London (if you care about that sort of thing!)

Downsides, in the interest of fairness:
1) Brighton is expensive to live in. My rent currently is £375 per month for one room in a 4 bed house and I would say that that's average/towards the good end of the price range.
2) The hospital has got some building work starting - I don't know how much it will affect anything (the hospital is still going to be running so it can't be that bad! And it's all so they can become a major trauma centre in the future) but it might mean slight disruptions (at a guess).
3) Because we're on the coast you have a bit of a trek for some of your regional attachments in 5th year and some of your GP placements in 4th year (max is about 1hr drive). But you get travel reimbursed and for the regional attachments you get onsite accommodation.
4) The other things that I've noted throughout my time here as downsides (e.g. 3rd year being quite intense then 4th year being a doss) are being altered and changed for future students so I can't really comment about how they'll be for you!
5) Brighton SU are good but Sussex SU are a bit rubbish... all they seem to care about is various protests and that means that they don't focus as much on things like campus life and societies (in my experience).

In conclusion I would definitely recommend BSMS. I've really enjoyed my time here. I think the main thing that I love about it still is the small year factor. From speaking to medical students at big London medical schools, they don't know most of their year and there is more of a risk of getting lost within the big crowds. BSMS are very good at helping people who are struggling and trying to ensure that we all get a good experience, and I can't help but feel that some of that might be lost at a bigger medical school.


I don't know how much of that is relevant to comparing it to Plymouth as I've never been! But good luck and congratulations for getting your offers!

Email me if you have any more questions, my finals are in 4 weeks so I may be quite busy and not reply but I'll definitely do my best if there is anything particular you are interested in! I may be able to answer some questions about things like societies etc.

Wow that answer was more thorough than I ever could have hoped for. Thank you so much! Very much appreciated. Plymouth doesn't have dissection (huge downside for me because I might want to become a surgeon so having dissections is definately something I weigh havily in my decision making).

I'm afraid I didn't quite understand point 8. Do you feel prepared for F1? Is it generally not thw case to feel prepared for your foundation year? Do you know what kind of reputation BSMS has? Oh and even if the SU of Brighton and Sussex are not all that good (in you opinion) isn't the medspc good? or what's your take on them?

Good luck on your finals! Have you decided where you want to go an have your elective?
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michellelinnea
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Oh and can I ask you why BSMS was your first choice?


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username1824715
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Ok, answers:

1) Sorry about point 8 - I should have clarified further! I think what I was trying to say is that F1 is a step up from finals. Medical schools all prepare you and throughout 5th year you do spend a lot of time shadowing F1s, but before finals (for me anyway!) the focus was very much on learning knowledge and examinations and how to take good histories. In the post-finals stage they just consolidate things that you should have been picking up all along but that are much more relevant now - for example how to prioritise a job list, how to lead a ward round (rather than just being on one), how to decide what to do when you are called to assess a patient on call, and then how to handover to your seniors. Practical tips about skills, prescribing etc which you should have been exposed to but may not have focused on in such a practical manner. Does that make more sense?

2) I'm not sure about reputation - all I can say is that I know we score highly every year on student satisfaction.

3) I think MedSoc are great, there are always lots of socials being organised and they are really keen on sporting societies. There are a lot of societies but because we are quite a small med school I think it's fair to say that there are probably less than bigger schools. For example I ran the BSMS choir in second year but nobody carried it on the year after me and I don't think we currently have one (unless somebody has started one up again!) However Sussex have 2 choirs so you could just join them instead. But yes generally I would say MedSoc are really good.

4) The way that I went about choosing medical schools went roughly like this:
- Rule out everywhere too far away (I'm from Oxford and just drew a big circle around it!)
- Rule out anything PBL (some people love it, I wasn't keen!) or too traditional with no early clinical exposure (so Oxford and Cambridge etc were out).
-Rule out London (I didn't want to live there!)
-Doing things this way I was left with Cardiff, Bristol, Brighton, Leicester, Nottingham and possibly a few others that I've forgotten now. Those are the open days I went to anyway!
-Out of these, Brighton and Leicester both have small year groups which I thought was quite good! I think Bristol don't do dissection (although I can't remember now).
-I applied to Cardiff, Brighton, Leicester and Nottingham because I liked these 4 most on open day.
-I was lucky enough to get offers from all 4, and firmed Brighton and Leicester as my top 2 on UCAS because of the reasons above.
-I eventually chose Brighton over Leicester because I just had a really good feeling from the open day, the campus is lovely and you get to live by the sea!

I'm not sure all of my reasoning was 100% correct and I might have missed places out etc, but that's how I did it anyway.

Ooh and I've already done my elective! I think for future years they are going to put the elective at the end of 5th year but I had mine at the beginning of 4th year. I went to the Philippines. I think the way that they are changing it is better though as you'll be able to get a lot more involved when you're out there!

Any other questions, just let me know!
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michellelinnea
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(Original post by RachelDawn)
Ok, answers:

1) Sorry about point 8 - I should have clarified further! I think what I was trying to say is that F1 is a step up from finals. Medical schools all prepare you and throughout 5th year you do spend a lot of time shadowing F1s, but before finals (for me anyway!) the focus was very much on learning knowledge and examinations and how to take good histories. In the post-finals stage they just consolidate things that you should have been picking up all along but that are much more relevant now - for example how to prioritise a job list, how to lead a ward round (rather than just being on one), how to decide what to do when you are called to assess a patient on call, and then how to handover to your seniors. Practical tips about skills, prescribing etc which you should have been exposed to but may not have focused on in such a practical manner. Does that make more sense?

2) I'm not sure about reputation - all I can say is that I know we score highly every year on student satisfaction.

3) I think MedSoc are great, there are always lots of socials being organised and they are really keen on sporting societies. There are a lot of societies but because we are quite a small med school I think it's fair to say that there are probably less than bigger schools. For example I ran the BSMS choir in second year but nobody carried it on the year after me and I don't think we currently have one (unless somebody has started one up again!) However Sussex have 2 choirs so you could just join them instead. But yes generally I would say MedSoc are really good.

4) The way that I went about choosing medical schools went roughly like this:
- Rule out everywhere too far away (I'm from Oxford and just drew a big circle around it!)
- Rule out anything PBL (some people love it, I wasn't keen!) or too traditional with no early clinical exposure (so Oxford and Cambridge etc were out).
-Rule out London (I didn't want to live there!)
-Doing things this way I was left with Cardiff, Bristol, Brighton, Leicester, Nottingham and possibly a few others that I've forgotten now. Those are the open days I went to anyway!
-Out of these, Brighton and Leicester both have small year groups which I thought was quite good! I think Bristol don't do dissection (although I can't remember now).
-I applied to Cardiff, Brighton, Leicester and Nottingham because I liked these 4 most on open day.
-I was lucky enough to get offers from all 4, and firmed Brighton and Leicester as my top 2 on UCAS because of the reasons above.
-I eventually chose Brighton over Leicester because I just had a really good feeling from the open day, the campus is lovely and you get to live by the sea!

I'm not sure all of my reasoning was 100% correct and I might have missed places out etc, but that's how I did it anyway.

Ooh and I've already done my elective! I think for future years they are going to put the elective at the end of 5th year but I had mine at the beginning of 4th year. I went to the Philippines. I think the way that they are changing it is better though as you'll be able to get a lot more involved when you're out there!

Any other questions, just let me know!
Thank you! point 8 is more clear now, I am just wondering if you feel that BSMS is preparing you well enough? Did you enjoy your elective? The whole oportunity sounds amazing.

And I think I am going to firm BSMS, I loved the atmosphere and the staff&students seemed so nice and welcoming! Plus the more I research and think about it I become more sure.

And thank you so much for everything! You've been very helpful!



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username1824715
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Yes, I think BSMS prepares us enough, it's just inevitable that the jump will be a scary one, and so it's important to be somewhere where they will continue to support you even after exams are over! (I'm sure everywhere does!)

Have fun at BSMS - I'm going to miss it, I'm a bit jealous that you have it all ahead of you!
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michellelinnea
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Thank you so much! I am very excited ☺️


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