Daffy786
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Hey, So I am looking to apply to medicine this year, and was wondering if anyone could provide some good sources for consistent further reading? I have a few medicine novels written by doctors, such as "When breath becomes air"and "Do no harm". Is it worth reading many novel/personal experiences type books? have heard many people mentioning the student BMJ and The new scientist but my school library, and local library offers neither. Also how do I embed this information into my personal statement?
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junior_surgeon
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(Original post by Daffy786)
Hey, So I am looking to apply to medicine this year, and was wondering if anyone could provide some good sources for consistent further reading? I have a few medicine novels written by doctors, such as "When breath becomes air"and "Do no harm". Is it worth reading many novel/personal experiences type books? have heard many people mentioning the student BMJ and The new scientist but my school library, and local library offers neither. Also how do I embed this information into my personal statement?




hi Daffy,
It really depends on how ambitious to be ahead you are.

In the six months before I attended my interview at Cambridge I read most of the following - and yes, it did impress them at interview and did help me during my first year, since, even at Cambridge, quite a few students had arrived without so doing - and struggled with the pace.

Firstly, buy 2nd hand and read Collins Advanced Modular Sciences, Chemistry A2.
& Harwood & Hughes. Collins Advanced Modular Sciences, Physics A2.

Make sure you know the answers to these elementary chemistry questions:

What do these terms mean? Hydrophilic, polar, hydrophobic (non-polar), amphipathic.

Describe the structures of the following functional groups: alcohol, aldehyde, ketone, carboxylic acid, amine, amide.

Describe the structures of ester, thioester, anhydrides and peptide bonds.

What is the meaning of pH, defined as the negative log (base 10) of hydrogen ion concentration?

What is meant by entropy and enthalpy changes, and of how these are related to the Gibbs free energy change?

What do the terms electrophile and nucleophile mean, as applied to chemical reagents?


Physics & medicine:
You can use wiki - detailed - advanced to research and answer the following :
What is capacitance?
State Le Chatelier's principle
What is heat, and what is the lowest temperature that can be achieved?
Describe the responses of rods and cones to variations in light intensity.
How does the ear act as a transducer in response to sounds?
What is meant by frequency response? What is meant by intensity levels?
Describe the effects of ionising radiation on living tissue.

Human Biology and Introductory Medicine :

Understand Mendel's laws of segregation and independent assortment?

Define the following systems: musculoskeletal, nervous, cardiovascular, respiratory, digestive and genito-urinary.

Know the principal components of the following systems: musculoskeletal, nervous, cardiovascular, respiratory, digestive and genito-urinary?

Know the approximate positions in the human body of the principal components of the following systems: musculoskeletal, nervous, cardiovascular, respiratory, digestive and genito-urinary?

READING 1st year texts
: I suggest choose at least two, maybe three of these and read them cover to cover : I took only one week vacation & read four of them in my summer before coming up, it really paid off.

Anatomy
Dean, M.C & Pegigton, J. Core Anatomy for students. Vol 1 The limbs and vertebral column; Vol 2 The thorax, abdomen, pelvis and perineum. W B Saunders 1995

Biochemistry (one of)
Bender, D.A. Introduction to Nutrition and Metabolism, 3rd edition, Taylor and Francis, 2002.

Clinical Skills
Epstein O. Clinical Examination, 3rd edition. Mosby, 2003 ( great book)

Evaluation of Evdence
Petrie A, Sabi C. Medical statistics at a glance. Blackwell Science, 2000

Histology
Young, B. and Heath, J.W. Wheater's Functional Histology, 4th edition, Churchill-Livingstone, 2000

Physiology
Pockock, G. & Richards, C.D. Human Physiology - the Basis of Medicine, Oford Universiy Press, 1999


Understanding medical statistics and especially histology will make your first year a whole lot easier. It's frankly amazing how many students struggle with just 25 hrs a week reading, after lectures. This will really help you - and maybe, like me, you'll be aiming for an award or prize by the end of year 2.

Very best of luck -
[email protected]

































































































































































































































































































































































































































Health Physics Option (eyes and ears)

3.14 Revise the structure and function of the different parts of the eye.
3.15 Revise how visual defects can be corrected by suitable lenses.
3.16 Describe the responses of rods and cones to variations in light intensity.
3.17 How does the ear act as a transducer in response to sounds?
3.18 What is meant by frequency response? What is meant by intensity levels?
3.19 Describe the effects of ionising radiation on living tissue.





































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































Basic mathematical concepts

2.1 Do you understand these terms: hypothesis, theory and proof?
2.2 What is meant by "statistical significance"?
2.3 Do you understand the terms "log" and "exponential"?
2.4 Can you explain the concepts of integration and differentiation?



















































































































































































































































Basic physical concepts

3.1 Define the terms: mass, force, pressure.
3.2 Distinguish between work and power, and define watts and joules.
3.3 State Ohm's Law relating potential difference, current and resistance. Resistors added in series sum, but in parallel the conductances sum (conductance = 1/resistance).
3.4 What is capacitance? What is a capacitor?
3.5 Can you explain the difference between current and voltage?
3.6 What is the difference between reflection, refraction and diffraction?
3.7 What is the ideal gas equation?
3.8 What do you understand by partial pressure of a gas?
3.9 State Le Chatelier's principle (Chemistry A level).
3.10 Can you explain how surface area to volume ratio changes with size - why is it important?
3.11 What is heat, and what is the lowest temperature that can be achieved?
3.12 What are kinetic energy, potential energy and pressure energy?
3.13 What is the first law of thermodynamics (energy can neither be....)?



















































































































































































































































Health Physics Option (eyes and ears)

3.14 Revise the structure and function of the different parts of the eye.
3.15 Revise how visual defects can be corrected by suitable lenses.
3.16 Describe the responses of rods and cones to variations in light intensity.
3.17 How does the ear act as a transducer in response to sounds?
3.18 What is meant by frequency response? What is meant by intensity levels?
3.19 Describe the effects of ionising radiation on living tissue.



















































































































































































































































Basic biological concepts

4.1 What are the main structural features of a prokaryotic cell?
4.2 What are the main structural features of a eukaryotic cell?
4.3 What are the main constituents of a biological membrane?
4.4 What are the main organelles found in the cytoplasm of eukaryotes?
4.5 What are carbohydrates, amino acids, nucleotides and fatty acids?
4.6 What is meant by the term macromolecule?
4.7 What is the structure of DNA?
4.8 How does DNA encode genetic information?
4.9 What is RNA and what is it used for?
4.10 How is the amino acid sequence of proteins specified by DNA?
4.11 Briefly explain enzyme catalysis.
4.12 Do you understand what is meant by the following terms: hormone, neurotransmitter, growth factor and receptor?
4.13 What do the terms "dead" and "alive" mean?



















































































































































































































































Tissues and organs

5.1 What is a chromosome?
5.2 What is the difference between mitosis and meiosis?
5.3 Do you understand Mendel's laws of segregation and independent assortment?
5.4 Do you know the main long bones of the human body?
5.5 Define the following systems: musculoskeletal, nervous, cardiovascular, respiratory, digestive and genito-urinary.
5.6 Do you know the principal components of the following systems: musculoskeletal, nervous, cardiovascular, respiratory, digestive and genito-urinary?
5.7 Do you know the approximate positions in the human body of the principal components of the following systems: musculoskeletal, nervous, cardiovascular, respiratory, digestive and genito-urinary?
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junior_surgeon
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(Original post by Daffy786)
Hey, So I am looking to apply to medicine this year, and was wondering if anyone could provide some good sources for consistent further reading? I have a few medicine novels written by doctors, such as "When breath becomes air"and "Do no harm". Is it worth reading many novel/personal experiences type books? have heard many people mentioning the student BMJ and The new scientist but my school library, and local library offers neither. Also how do I embed this information into my personal statement?
- daffy
Ps: I ought to say, I am an intellectual type med student. 3A* + 1A Maths Physics Chemistry Biology - and I learn easily, with or without tuition.
But I strongly suggest you DON'T read medical novels - and (especially) don't watch TV series - they're fictional, totally misleading and owe more to soap-like nonsense than medical reality - as you'll soon discover.
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ax12
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(Original post by Daffy786)
Hey, So I am looking to apply to medicine this year, and was wondering if anyone could provide some good sources for consistent further reading? I have a few medicine novels written by doctors, such as "When breath becomes air"and "Do no harm". Is it worth reading many novel/personal experiences type books? have heard many people mentioning the student BMJ and The new scientist but my school library, and local library offers neither. Also how do I embed this information into my personal statement?
Unless you're planning on Cambridge (and even if you are), what the above poster has said is totally unnecessary. Those two books are really good, I love anything by Atul Gawande. You can read anything that you find interesting. You can talk about what you've read in your personal statement by talking about what you've learnt from them or how they've changed your perspective in some way. Don't talk too much about them though, maybe a sentence or two, as other things like your experiences are far more important.
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Daffy786
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(Original post by junior_surgeon)
- daffy
Ps: I ought to say, I am an intellectual type med student. 3A* + 1A Maths Physics Chemistry Biology - and I learn easily, with or without tuition.
But I strongly suggest you DON'T read medical novels - and (especially) don't watch TV series - they're fictional, totally misleading and owe more to soap-like nonsense than medical reality - as you'll soon discover.
I only do Maths, Biology and Chemistry, not physics- do I still need to learn the physics related questions? Also the chemistry textbook that you suggested is not my exam board, as well as the fact that I do linear Alevels, as opposed to modular. I was thinking of applying to Cambridge however, but surely if I were to read up on first year textbooks such as anatomy or histology at this stage It would not make much sense to me? Also the list of questions you posted, do these come up in Cambridge interviews? Ideally I wanted a list of books or a source of information where I could stay up to date with current medical issues or emergence of new "things", in order to be able to answer and discuss questions regarding current affairs.
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Daffy786
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(Original post by ax12)
Unless you're planning on Cambridge (and even if you are), what the above poster has said is totally unnecessary. Those two books are really good, I love anything by Atul Gawande. You can read anything that you find interesting. You can talk about what you've read in your personal statement by talking about what you've learnt from them or how they've changed your perspective in some way. Don't talk too much about them though, maybe a sentence or two, as other things like your experiences are far more important.
I was planning on Cambridge- how would that change my personal statement from other London based Unis like Imperial/UCL? Ideally I wanted a list of books or a source of information where I could stay up to date with current medical issues or emergence of new "things", in order to be able to answer and discuss questions regarding current affairs. Also do you recommend having a separate paragraph solely dedicated on reading, as currently I have it at the end of my personal statement listed in extracurricular activities/hobbies.
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junior_surgeon
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(Original post by ax12)
Unless you're planning on Cambridge (and even if you are), what the above poster has said is totally unnecessary. Those two books are really good, I love anything by Atul Gawande. You can read anything that you find interesting. You can talk about what you've read in your personal statement by talking about what you've learnt from them or how they've changed your perspective in some way. Don't talk too much about them though, maybe a sentence or two, as other things like your experiences are far more important.

Not true. Increasingly, any decent medical school looks to push candidates harder on pre-medical & medical knowledge - since every single applicant these days has done the voluntary work /my experience of medicine / my ethics - so much so it's a cliche. That opinion comes not only from me, but from my
tutors.
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ax12
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(Original post by Daffy786)
I was planning on Cambridge- how would that change my personal statement from other London based Unis like Imperial/UCL? Ideally I wanted a list of books or a source of information where I could stay up to date with current medical issues or emergence of new "things", in order to be able to answer and discuss questions regarding current affairs. Also do you recommend having a separate paragraph solely dedicated on reading, as currently I have it at the end of my personal statement listed in extracurricular activities/hobbies.
I don't know how medicine or the other universities score your personal statement, it's worth checking their websites. Regardless, they don't expect you to learn things that they will teach you on their course prior to arriving. I doubt they put that much emphasis on reading to warrant a whole extra section, but I'd try and find out what they want from current students if they know, or their admissions website if available.

You can look at the health sections of news websites to see what is going on at the moment, and I'd be up to date with things like the junior doctor situation.
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Asklepios
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(Original post by Daffy786)
I was planning on Cambridge- how would that change my personal statement from other London based Unis like Imperial/UCL? Ideally I wanted a list of books or a source of information where I could stay up to date with current medical issues or emergence of new "things", in order to be able to answer and discuss questions regarding current affairs. Also do you recommend having a separate paragraph solely dedicated on reading, as currently I have it at the end of my personal statement listed in extracurricular activities/hobbies.
There's no list of books you *need* to read, but it will be an advantage for interviews places like Cambridge. However just read stuff you're interested in - it can be anything about science! Some popular options include emperor of all maladies by siddhartha mukherjee, selfish gene by Dawkins, etc.

For current issues, books aren't that great because they can get outdated and they're not as straight to the point as online stuff. Again here there's nothing specific, but I'd just google topics. Some recent important things include: gene editing with CRISPR, induced pluripotent stem cells, cancer immunotherapy (especially stuff like CAR T-cells), personalised medicine/molecular diagnostics
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Daffy786
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(Original post by Asklepios)
There's no list of books you *need* to read, but it will be an advantage for interviews places like Cambridge. However just read stuff you're interested in - it can be anything about science! Some popular options include emperor of all maladies by siddhartha mukherjee, selfish gene by Dawkins, etc.

For current issues, books aren't that great because they can get outdated and they're not as straight to the point as online stuff. Again here there's nothing specific, but I'd just google topics. Some recent important things include: gene editing with CRISPR, induced pluripotent stem cells, cancer immunotherapy (especially stuff like CAR T-cells), personalised medicine/molecular diagnostics
what books would be advantageous for Cambridge interviews?
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Asklepios
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(Original post by Daffy786)
what books would be advantageous for Cambridge interviews?
Nothing specifically. Just have something vaguely sciencey you can talk about. It will also help as the more you've read, the better you'll be able to talk about science. one of the big things they're looking for is how passionately you can talk about science and medicine.
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junior_surgeon
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(Original post by Daffy786)
I only do Maths, Biology and Chemistry, not physics- do I still need to learn the physics related questions? Also the chemistry textbook that you suggested is not my exam board, as well as the fact that I do linear Alevels, as opposed to modular. I was thinking of applying to Cambridge however, but surely if I were to read up on first year textbooks such as anatomy or histology at this stage It would not make much sense to me? Also the list of questions you posted, do these come up in Cambridge interviews? Ideally I wanted a list of books or a source of information where I could stay up to date with current medical issues or emergence of new "things", in order to be able to answer and discuss questions regarding current affairs.

RE Interview:

I can speak knowledgeably only about my successful interview at Cambridge.

After the usual generalities and courtesies, I was asked about a field that interested me. I said eye surgery. They asked me two basic questions then one very tough one on retinal detachment. I answered it in detail with reference to the bloody supply and all the nerves branches - their route etc Basically, as my friends have endorsed, if they don't start asking you some difficult / thought-provoking questions, they're 90% not interested in you. The exception would be say, one of my colleagues had read nothing strictly medical, excepting some advanced books on the abnormal psychol. and disease course of different types of schizophrenia over lifetime - she got in too.

If it's any consolation, I think interviews are getting a little easier than when my
uncle attended Oxford med school interview in the 1970's and was asked to describe the entire route of the glossopharyngeal nerve from the medulla oblongata of the brain, laterally into the posterior cranial fossa, leaving the cranium via the jugular foramen ... descending down the neck, anterolateral to the internal carotid artery. passes between the superior and middle pharyngeal constrictors and terminates by dividing into several branches – lingual, tonsil and pharyngeal. In those days, you read Gray's Anatomy page by page if you wanted to be a surgeon )

Of course, if you're applying to Hull or East Anglia or Keele, I doubt very much you'll have a similar interview.
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junior_surgeon
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Apologies, I should add that you will be required to understand all sorts of medical physics. But not for interview. My suggestion is choose an area of medicine (not politics) that interests you and really know it like it matters to you.
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