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    Hey guys, I'm in a bit of a dilemma right now and any input is appreciated, especially medical students from either of these medical schools.

    I've been lucky enough to get offers for medicine from BSMS and Plymouth but I don't know which one to choose. I know I have loads of time to decide but it's really bugging me.

    I love Plymouth as a city and the campus is in the city centre which I really like. I also like how flexible and nice the timetable is with lots of free time. But my issue is is that they're PBL and I feel like I wouldn't be able to learn or revise from independent study or from group sessions and even if I did, I wouldn't know how much to learn.

    Brighton on the other hand is an integrated course (which suits me more) and is also a bit more lenient on people who miss their offers (which I may do) but I'm not sure if I like the city or not since it doesn't have all the shops and places I like (unlike Plymouth) and the city centre is kinda far from the medical school.

    Keep in mind I've not explored any of these places, my opinions about the city come from research and google maps so if anyone has actually visited these cities, please correct me if I'm wrong.

    Thanks!
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    (Original post by Omarmanutd)
    Hey guys, I'm in a bit of a dilemma right now and any input is appreciated, especially medical students from either of these medical schools.

    I've been lucky enough to get offers for medicine from BSMS and Plymouth but I don't know which one to choose. I know I have loads of time to decide but it's really bugging me.

    I love Plymouth as a city and the campus is in the city centre which I really like. I also like how flexible and nice the timetable is with lots of free time. But my issue is is that they're PBL and I feel like I wouldn't be able to learn or revise from independent study or from group sessions and even if I did, I wouldn't know how much to learn.

    Brighton on the other hand is an integrated course (which suits me more) and is also a bit more lenient on people who miss their offers (which I may do) but I'm not sure if I like the city or not since it doesn't have all the shops and places I like (unlike Plymouth) and the city centre is kinda far from the medical school.

    Keep in mind I've not explored any of these places, my opinions about the city come from research and google maps so if anyone has actually visited these cities, please correct me if I'm wrong.

    Thanks!
    It seems like from what you have said, Plymouth would suit you in terms of everything except the fact its PBL, but Brighton doesn't suit you except the fact its an integrated course. So depends if you want to be in a vibrant city or in a town. I would go for Plymouth as even in PBL, there is support for students, and its going to be how you will be studying after when you apply for specialty training etc. Also bear in mind that Brighton is an hour train from London so it isnt too bad
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    I'm in a similar position in that I'm currently deciding between HYMS and Plymouth... So I can tell you what I know about Plymouth but can't help you with BSMS.

    Although Plymouth offers a PBL curriculum, it is supported by lectures, which covers the 'essential' information (which is common among all PBL based curriculums), so you're not left all on your own. Having spoke to current medics who learn from a PBL based curriculum (not at plymouth, but same concept), the whole 'not knowing how much to learn' is a problem that almost everyone worries about, but at the same time, is also something that most medics get used to - normally within the first term. So yes, that may be a problem initially, but in the long run wouldn't be something that you should worry about (in my opinion anyway, but up to you really)

    Unfortunately, your problem with not knowing whether you are suited towards independent study or group sessions isn't something that I can help you with, because that's up to each individual and how they learn. For me, I'm quite versatile in my learning approach, but I do know that I work well with others so I'm just hoping that counts for something (especially considering the fact that both HYMS and Plymouth are PBL based).

    Quick question, why do you feel that you are more suited to an integrated course?

    Also, in terms of BSMS being more lenient with missed grades, I'd just like to add that I remember reading somewhere (on TSR) that for 2017 or 2016 entry (can't quite remember) everyone who achieved AAB and firmed Plymouth were let in - I think there's also a FOI document with these stats.

    Other than the actual teaching methods, it seems that location seems to be a major deciding factor for you, so are you planning on going to visit either Plymouth and/or Brighton, as that might allow you to make a more informed decision (for example, say you visit Brighton, and love the city, that could make your choice easier)?

    Have you considered any other factors that might help you make your decision, such as: teaching hospitals, amount of clinical exposure, nightlife, student satisfaction, cohort size, living costs, distance from home, actual course structure (e.g at Plymouth it's a spiral system and most of your learning in years 3 & 4 come from hospital/ clinical rotations)

    I'm waiting to hear back from one more med school, and once I do, I'm gonna make a pro and cons list for all my offers, so I can come back and update you on my list for plymouth when I do if you'd like.

    I'm actually also going on the applicant day tomorrow, so am hoping to get a better feel for the uni and course and can also let you know how it goes.

    Quick disclaimer: I'm not actually trying to sway you towards Plymouth in any way, I'm just informing you of what I know. And tbh despite everything I've said, I'm actually leaning more towards HYMS than Plym

    Hope this helps
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    (Original post by hopefulmedic234)
    I'm in a similar position in that I'm currently deciding between HYMS and Plymouth... So I can tell you what I know about Plymouth but can't help you with BSMS.

    Although Plymouth offers a PBL curriculum, it is supported by lectures, which covers the 'essential' information (which is common among all PBL based curriculums), so you're not left all on your own. Having spoke to current medics who learn from a PBL based curriculum (not at plymouth, but same concept), the whole 'not knowing how much to learn' is a problem that almost everyone worries about, but at the same time, is also something that most medics get used to - normally within the first term. So yes, that may be a problem initially, but in the long run wouldn't be something that you should worry about (in my opinion anyway, but up to you really)

    Unfortunately, your problem with not knowing whether you are suited towards independent study or group sessions isn't something that I can help you with, because that's up to each individual and how they learn. For me, I'm quite versatile in my learning approach, but I do know that I work well with others so I'm just hoping that counts for something (especially considering the fact that both HYMS and Plymouth are PBL based).

    Quick question, why do you feel that you are more suited to an integrated course?

    Also, in terms of BSMS being more lenient with missed grades, I'd just like to add that I remember reading somewhere (on TSR) that for 2017 or 2016 entry (can't quite remember) everyone who achieved AAB and firmed Plymouth were let in - I think there's also a FOI document with these stats.

    Other than the actual teaching methods, it seems that location seems to be a major deciding factor for you, so are you planning on going to visit either Plymouth and/or Brighton, as that might allow you to make a more informed decision (for example, say you visit Brighton, and love the city, that could make your choice easier)?

    Have you considered any other factors that might help you make your decision, such as: teaching hospitals, amount of clinical exposure, nightlife, student satisfaction, cohort size, living costs, distance from home, actual course structure (e.g at Plymouth it's a spiral system and most of your learning in years 3 & 4 come from hospital/ clinical rotations)

    I'm waiting to hear back from one more med school, and once I do, I'm gonna make a pro and cons list for all my offers, so I can come back and update you on my list for plymouth when I do if you'd like.

    I'm actually also going on the applicant day tomorrow, so am hoping to get a better feel for the uni and course and can also let you know how it goes.

    Quick disclaimer: I'm not actually trying to sway you towards Plymouth in any way, I'm just informing you of what I know. And tbh despite everything I've said, I'm actually leaning more towards HYMS than Plym

    Hope this helps

    Thank you very much for your response! To be honest the only factors I'm taking into account is curriculum, the city itself (for me it's not about nightlife but the city centre and just stuff to do) and free time. It's not that I'm lazy but I like to spend free time making really nice detailed notes and Plymouth seem to give a lot more free time than Brighton (Brighton basically has a 9-5 timetable).

    The reason I feel more suited towards a n integrated system is because I feel like I need to be told what to learn and I just wouldn't be good at learning through my own study and research. Also, I would feel more confident knowing that what I'm learning came from a qualified professional rather than me😂

    However I should also mention that I also like a degree of freedom in that I learn and revise in my own style. For example, I'm currently doing my A levels, I don't revise from my textbook or teachers notes but I make my own notes using the textbook and the teachers notes. Also, if the teacher recommends I do something that won't benefit me as I don't learn that way, I won't do that and I'll be doing things my way.

    Could you let me know more about how PBL works on the offer holders day? I was supposed to go today but I wasn't able to and I saw that they had a lecture for the offer holders on how PBL works which I really wanted to know about. Someone in the Facebook offer holders group chat did link a medsoc booklet which provided an example timetable that most med students have and it seems that PBL only makes up about 20% of the timetable so it's not too independent but I would really like to know the specifics of how Plymouth run PBL
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    Okay, seeing as curriculum seems important to you have you taken into consideration the fact that Plymouth run a spiral based curriculum? And that that's something quite unique to plymouth med school (as far as I know). --> This is something I think you should definitely look into if you haven't already, and could really help you sway either way tbh.

    'Integrated courses give you the chance to get some early clinical exposure, while still offering the support structure of scientific teaching, which is delivered in the form of lectures and seminars. [...] An integrated course may involve a fair amount of PBL, or none at all.' - quoted from medicportal

    ^^ That is my understanding of an integrated course, and from what I know, plymouth do integrate clinical teaching early on, especially with local GP and community placements that start in year 1, which then progresses to rotations of hospital placements in years 3 & 4, and then in year 5 you basically shadow an FY1. You also have weekly (or every fortnightly) clinical skills sessions, where you start learning and practising clinical skills such as taking bloods etc from year 1 --> and after talking to some plymouth first years today, depending on who supervises you for your GP placements, you could have the opportunity to actually take blood from real patients (this is a choice, you are by no means forced to do so, especially if you don't feel ready).

    Have a look at this document (from page 18 onwards) which has a better breakdown of the curriculum:
    https://www.plymouth.ac.uk/uploads/p...UG18_PAGES.pdf

    You are right in recognising that the PBL sessions themselves only make up a small proportion of your timetable, but to be adequately prepared for these sessions it is 'suggested' that you spend almost the same number of contact hours in self directed learning. However, having talked to current PBL students (not just at plym), rarely do students put in the same number of contact hours towards self directed learning, but still feel that they have adequate knowledge. So yes PBL sessions don't take up that much of your time, but expect to spend a much greater portion of your time preparing for the sessions.

    In terms of how Plymouth run their PBL, my understanding is that in a fortnight there are 3 PBL sessions. The sessions are divided so that you spend the first session discussing the case given to you, looking at any new terms, medical conditions/ anatomy/ symptoms/ causes/ effects that may be unknown and creating a 'concept map'. For example, today we were given the example of a patient who had a history of high blood pressure, but hadn't requested a repeat prescription in over a year, but was experiencing a lot of stress in terms of risk of losing his job and his house being potentially repossessed. The patient then comes to the GP requesting tablets/ medication to help aid his sleeping patterns due to his lack of sleep. So here, some of the points that would be included in the 'concept map' would be: insomnia - causes and effects, stress - causes and effects (and then we could list causes to include family/ work life etc), hypertension - causes and effects and potential medication for all these --> these would all be things that would be unknown to the PBL group. The concept map could also try to explore why the patient hadn't come back for a repeat prescription in so long. By the end of PBL session, the group would have come up with objectives (this could be few, vague questions, or many, specific questions). For example, objectives after this session could be: causes and effects of insomnia, hypertension, stress and also looking at potential reasons for 'non compliance' from patients. The facilitators will guide you towards the aim of each PBL case (normally each case has a different aim, e.g one aim could be to learn the anatomy of the heart), so there is no need to worry about going off on a tangent or researching unnecessary things.

    You would then go and do your own research and make your own notes in response to the objectives. The second PBL session is normally utilised to discuss everyones findings and allow you to add to your notes if you might have missed anything out. An important point to consider here, is that, notes are actually not allowed in PBL sessions (at plym) to encourage students to really understand the information that they have researched and put students in a position to be able to discuss what they've learnt without reciting it --> helps reinforcement.

    My understanding of the third PBL session is then approaching the case in a more generic manner, e.g would it have been different if the patient was female? if so, how? I think this is to help detach the learning away from the PBL case and allow you to have much more generalised knowledge regarding similar situations, as opposed to associating all your learning on that topic with that one particular case.

    One of the first year med students I talked to today mentioned that they felt that there was a lack of guidance on how to approach PBL sessions at the beginning, but after a while they just sort of got used to it. (just thought that might be useful)

    ^^^ Regarding the PBL sessions & the way they're taught, this info is what I can remember from today, not necessarily saying everything that I have written is all there is to it/ or 100% true. I'd suggest you contact the admissions department who would then be able to put you in contact with a medical student who can answer any other particular questions you may have.

    Seeing as you mentioned that the city itself was a factor that you were taking into account, I just thought that from what I saw today, although Drake Circus is packed with a fair number of shops and is typical of any sort of 'city centre', outside of Drake circus there is almost nothing to do in the city, which for me was a slight let down (coming from a large city). BUT on the other hand, I was actually really impressed with the anatomage table and the whole concept of learning through virtual dissection.
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    (Original post by hopefulmedic234)
    Okay, seeing as curriculum seems important to you have you taken into consideration the fact that Plymouth run a spiral based curriculum? And that that's something quite unique to plymouth med school (as far as I know). --> This is something I think you should definitely look into if you haven't already, and could really help you sway either way tbh.

    'Integrated courses give you the chance to get some early clinical exposure, while still offering the support structure of scientific teaching, which is delivered in the form of lectures and seminars. [...] An integrated course may involve a fair amount of PBL, or none at all.' - quoted from medicportal

    ^^ That is my understanding of an integrated course, and from what I know, plymouth do integrate clinical teaching early on, especially with local GP and community placements that start in year 1, which then progresses to rotations of hospital placements in years 3 & 4, and then in year 5 you basically shadow an FY1. You also have weekly (or every fortnightly) clinical skills sessions, where you start learning and practising clinical skills such as taking bloods etc from year 1 --> and after talking to some plymouth first years today, depending on who supervises you for your GP placements, you could have the opportunity to actually take blood from real patients (this is a choice, you are by no means forced to do so, especially if you don't feel ready).

    Have a look at this document (from page 18 onwards) which has a better breakdown of the curriculum:
    https://www.plymouth.ac.uk/uploads/p...UG18_PAGES.pdf

    You are right in recognising that the PBL sessions themselves only make up a small proportion of your timetable, but to be adequately prepared for these sessions it is 'suggested' that you spend almost the same number of contact hours in self directed learning. However, having talked to current PBL students (not just at plym), rarely do students put in the same number of contact hours towards self directed learning, but still feel that they have adequate knowledge. So yes PBL sessions don't take up that much of your time, but expect to spend a much greater portion of your time preparing for the sessions.

    In terms of how Plymouth run their PBL, my understanding is that in a fortnight there are 3 PBL sessions. The sessions are divided so that you spend the first session discussing the case given to you, looking at any new terms, medical conditions/ anatomy/ symptoms/ causes/ effects that may be unknown and creating a 'concept map'. For example, today we were given the example of a patient who had a history of high blood pressure, but hadn't requested a repeat prescription in over a year, but was experiencing a lot of stress in terms of risk of losing his job and his house being potentially repossessed. The patient then comes to the GP requesting tablets/ medication to help aid his sleeping patterns due to his lack of sleep. So here, some of the points that would be included in the 'concept map' would be: insomnia - causes and effects, stress - causes and effects (and then we could list causes to include family/ work life etc), hypertension - causes and effects and potential medication for all these --> these would all be things that would be unknown to the PBL group. The concept map could also try to explore why the patient hadn't come back for a repeat prescription in so long. By the end of PBL session, the group would have come up with objectives (this could be few, vague questions, or many, specific questions). For example, objectives after this session could be: causes and effects of insomnia, hypertension, stress and also looking at potential reasons for 'non compliance' from patients. The facilitators will guide you towards the aim of each PBL case (normally each case has a different aim, e.g one aim could be to learn the anatomy of the heart), so there is no need to worry about going off on a tangent or researching unnecessary things.

    You would then go and do your own research and make your own notes in response to the objectives. The second PBL session is normally utilised to discuss everyones findings and allow you to add to your notes if you might have missed anything out. An important point to consider here, is that, notes are actually not allowed in PBL sessions (at plym) to encourage students to really understand the information that they have researched and put students in a position to be able to discuss what they've learnt without reciting it --> helps reinforcement.

    My understanding of the third PBL session is then approaching the case in a more generic manner, e.g would it have been different if the patient was female? if so, how? I think this is to help detach the learning away from the PBL case and allow you to have much more generalised knowledge regarding similar situations, as opposed to associating all your learning on that topic with that one particular case.

    One of the first year med students I talked to today mentioned that they felt that there was a lack of guidance on how to approach PBL sessions at the beginning, but after a while they just sort of got used to it. (just thought that might be useful)

    ^^^ Regarding the PBL sessions & the way they're taught, this info is what I can remember from today, not necessarily saying everything that I have written is all there is to it/ or 100% true. I'd suggest you contact the admissions department who would then be able to put you in contact with a medical student who can answer any other particular questions you may have.

    Seeing as you mentioned that the city itself was a factor that you were taking into account, I just thought that from what I saw today, although Drake Circus is packed with a fair number of shops and is typical of any sort of 'city centre', outside of Drake circus there is almost nothing to do in the city, which for me was a slight let down (coming from a large city). BUT on the other hand, I was actually really impressed with the anatomage table and the whole concept of learning through virtual dissection.
    I honestly cannot thank you enough! You've given me so much information from which I can make a better decision from! Obviously i can't make a decision immediately and I've still got a lot of research to do but I really appreciate the help and will definitely use this info when it comes to making a decision
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    Quick question - what is a spiral curriculum, I couldn't find what was meant by it in the prospectus

    Also, I'm quite confused as to the typical timetable for a first year Plymouth student. According to the prospectus, in a two week cycle, a student would be in lectures/sessions for approximately 50 hrs 30 minutes yet according to last year's medsoc freshers pack (which I'll leave a link down to below), a typical timetable has 29 hours of lectures/sessions in a two week cycle which is almost half. Idk which one is right and it's quite important to me since I need free time to consolidate my learning. What do you think?

    https://www.plymouth.ac.uk/uploads/p...017-18-min.pdf
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    Hi im a first year at Plymouth spiral curriculum means that you meet a concept several times and each time you revisit it you go into more detail (basically you continually go over things you learn)my time table is kind of 8/9 lectures a fortnight, 3 x 2 hour sessions of LSRC (life sciences- basically lectures but in small groups and you move round different rooms), 2x 2 hour sessions of clinical skills, 3x 2 hours of PBL, 1x 2 hours of community placement and we have an hour of WRAP at the end of each case unit which is basically practice questions in a lecture- I think that is it!I could not recommend Plymouth enough- I missed my offer and they were really helpful and I obviously still got in!
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    (Original post by Isobeld1999)
    Hi im a first year at Plymouth spiral curriculum means that you meet a concept several times and each time you revisit it you go into more detail (basically you continually go over things you learn)my time table is kind of 8/9 lectures a fortnight, 3 x 2 hour sessions of LSRC (life sciences- basically lectures but in small groups and you move round different rooms), 2x 2 hour sessions of clinical skills, 3x 2 hours of PBL, 1x 2 hours of community placement and we have an hour of WRAP at the end of each case unit which is basically practice questions in a lecture- I think that is it!I could not recommend Plymouth enough- I missed my offer and they were really helpful and I obviously still got in!
    Thank you for your reply! Just a few questions

    1)Do you think it's difficult to learn from PBL or do you get used to it over time?

    2)What were your grades in what subjects if you don't mind me asking. It's because I feel like I may not not get an A in chemistry cos I'm quite bad at it so I'm taking the missed offers policies of both medical schools as an important but factor when deciding

    3)With all the lectures, sessions and community placements you mentioned, are they in a week or in a fortnite?
 
 
 
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