Choosing between four medical schools... help! Watch

ArcaneRoses
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Hi everyone!

I have been lucky enough to receive offers to study medicine at St Andrews, Edinburgh, Sheffield and Newcastle. Are there any medics or non-medic students from these universities that would mind sharing their experience? My biggest concern at the moment revolves around the fact that Edinburgh and St Andrews are 6 year courses while Sheffield and Newcastle are 5 years. I have dyslexia and, as such, am a very slow writer so the idea of completing a thesis kind of terrifies me... If anyone has experience with the BSc year at these universities, and would be willing to share, I would greatly appreciate it!

Thanks so much for listening to me ramble !!!
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alleycat393
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(Original post by ArcaneRoses)
Hi everyone!

I have been lucky enough to receive offers to study medicine at St Andrews, Edinburgh, Sheffield and Newcastle. Are there any medics or non-medic students from these universities that would mind sharing their experience? My biggest concern at the moment revolves around the fact that Edinburgh and St Andrews are 6 year courses while Sheffield and Newcastle are 5 years. I have dyslexia and, as such, am a very slow writer so the idea of completing a thesis kind of terrifies me... If anyone has experience with the BSc year at these universities, and would be willing to share, I would greatly appreciate it!

Thanks so much for listening to me ramble !!!
What is the difference between the 5 and 6 year courses? You don't have to intercalate if you don't want to but it will help in the future depending on what you want to do. You will get help and support with your dyslexia. I had a dyslexic student intercalate with me and he did quite well on his thesis.
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rickyrossman
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Big congratulations on getting 4 offers!

Think about location. Med school is usually 4-6 years long so you'll want to be happy in the city. I'm an Edinburgh student (not medicine though) so I can give you some background. Edinburgh is quite touristy, accommodation prices are quite high but not as high as London. An ensuite room is usually around £120-£170/week depending on location and provider. If you're into parties you should pick Pollock Halls (not sure how far it is from the med school though) The good things about Edinburgh is the social life. You'll find anything you like ranging from ballroom dancing to all night video game sessions with compsoc. Edinburgh medical school is very old and prestigious. Its alumni found many of the ivy league schools in the US. Royal infirmary is one of the biggest hospitals in the UK.
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ArcaneRoses
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(Original post by alleycat393)
What is the difference between the 5 and 6 year courses? You don't have to intercalate if you don't want to but it will help in the future depending on what you want to do. You will get help and support with your dyslexia. I had a dyslexic student intercalate with me and he did quite well on his thesis.
Hi there!

Thanks so much for the prompt reply At Edinburgh and St Andrews, intercalculating is mandatory. You mentioned that a BSc would help me with my future prospects, would you mind specifiying? I know that a BSc will give me an additional 3 or 4 points when I'm applying for foundation year programs but that isn't very significant (at least not in my option). Are there any other benefits you know of? Additionally, could I ask what medical school you attended?

Thanks again for the feedback!
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alleycat393
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(Original post by ArcaneRoses)
Hi there!

Thanks so much for the prompt reply At Edinburgh and St Andrews, intercalculating is mandatory. You mentioned that a BSc would help me with my future prospects, would you mind specifiying? I know that a BSc will give me an additional 3 or 4 points when I'm applying for foundation year programs but that isn't very significant (at least not in my option). Are there any other benefits you know of? Additionally, could I ask what medical school you attended?

Thanks again for the feedback!
Yes I did some reading after posting and worked it out. Yes it will give you an additional 3-4 points which when put against everyone else applying will always help as most people intercalate now if they can. It will also help if you ever want to do research or want an academic career. I'm not a medic but I work (and teach) at a medical school.
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ArcaneRoses
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(Original post by rickyrossman)
Big congratulations on getting 4 offers!

Think about location. Med school is usually 4-6 years long so you'll want to be happy in the city. I'm an Edinburgh student (not medicine though) so I can give you some background. Edinburgh is quite touristy, accommodation prices are quite high but not as high as London. An ensuite room is usually around £120-£170/week depending on location and provider. If you're into parties you should pick Pollock Halls (not sure how far it is from the med school though) The good things about Edinburgh is the social life. You'll find anything you like ranging from ballroom dancing to all night video game sessions with compsoc. Edinburgh medical school is very old and prestigious. Its alumni found many of the ivy league schools in the US. Royal infirmary is one of the biggest hospitals in the UK.
Edinburgh does sound amazing! I am a little bit of an introvert, truth be told, and haven't touched alcohol in my life... So, I was a little worried there would be too much partying in Edinburgh for my tastes ... However, you mentioned that they have many other extracurriculars to get involved in which sounds amazing!! Would you say that most students are fairly friendly or no? I was worried about going to a more prestigious med school in case people were kind of 'full of themself' so to speak ...

Thank you so much for your feedback - it is greatly appreciated
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ArcaneRoses
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(Original post by alleycat393)
Yes I did some reading after posting and worked it out. Yes it will give you an additional 3-4 points which when put against everyone else applying will always help as most people intercalate now if they can. It will also help if you ever want to do research or want an academic career. I'm not a medic but I work (and teach) at a medical school.
Yes... I suppose every point help! I would definetly take that into consideration I was good to hear that your student who had dyslexia was well accommodated! I hope I have a similar experience... Thank you again for all your help!
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rickyrossman
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(Original post by ArcaneRoses)
Edinburgh does sound amazing! I am a little bit of an introvert, truth be told, and haven't touched alcohol in my life... So, I was a little worried there would be too much partying in Edinburgh for my tastes ... However, you mentioned that they have many other extracurriculars to get involved in which sounds amazing!! Would you say that most students are fairly friendly or no? I was worried about going to a more prestigious med school in case people were kind of 'full of themself' so to speak ...

Thank you so much for your feedback - it is greatly appreciated
Tbh compared to other universities edinburgh isn't exactly a party school. Only some 1st years in pollock will party lots but most others won't. Though if you live in private accommodation (like iQ fountainbridge) you'll find its louder because there's lots of napier students.

Lots of friendly students in Edinburgh. You shouldn't have any problems making friends. Everyone loves doctors. (But not surgeons lol)
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ArcaneRoses
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(Original post by rickyrossman)
Tbh compared to other universities edinburgh isn't exactly a party school. Only some 1st years in pollock will party lots but most others won't. Though if you live in private accommodation (like iQ fountainbridge) you'll find its louder because there's lots of napier students.

Lots of friendly students in Edinburgh. You shouldn't have any problems making friends. Everyone loves doctors. (But not surgeons lol)
Good to hear! I loved the city when I visited Kind of a weird question, but do you find travelling between class and accommodation annoying and/or difficult? I noticed on google maps that some of the residency halls are kind of far away from the main campus... I am from Bermuda were everything is literally a 5 min drive away so the thought of a long commute is kind of a turn off (Sorry for all the tedious questions btw!)
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UKCATrocks
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If you want to have any chance to compete against London trainees, you NEED to intercalate.
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ArcaneRoses
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(Original post by UKCATrocks)
If you want to have any chance to compete against London trainees, you NEED to intercalate.
Hi there! Could you clarify why that would be? Do they all intercalate?
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UKCATrocks
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(Original post by ArcaneRoses)
Hi there! Could you clarify why that would be? Do they all intercalate?
Most yes
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rickyrossman
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(Original post by ArcaneRoses)
Good to hear! I loved the city when I visited Kind of a weird question, but do you find travelling between class and accommodation annoying and/or difficult? I noticed on google maps that some of the residency halls are kind of far away from the main campus... I am from Bermuda were everything is literally a 5 min drive away so the thought of a long commute is kind of a turn off (Sorry for all the tedious questions btw!)
Just looked up where Edinburgh teaches medicine. It seems that your pre-clinical years will be taught at the main (Central) campus. So you'd want accommodation near george square. I'd recommend potterow student accommodation. It will be less than a 2 minute walk from your lectures.

Your clinical years will probably be based at the royal infirmary. Thats in little france which is quite far from the central campus. But you have 3 years until then so no need to worry.
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ArcaneRoses
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(Original post by rickyrossman)
Just looked up where Edinburgh teaches medicine. It seems that your pre-clinical years will be taught at the main (Central) campus. So you'd want accommodation near george square. I'd recommend potterow student accommodation. It will be less than a 2 minute walk from your lectures.

Your clinical years will probably be based at the royal infirmary. Thats in little france which is quite far from the central campus. But you have 3 years until then so no need to worry.
Thanks so much! I looked into the Potterow accommodation - it looks beautiful (and actually not as expensive as I would have thought!) I really appreciate all your help Maybe I'll see you at Edinburgh!
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Blazingphoenix
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(Original post by ArcaneRoses)
Hi there! Could you clarify why that would be? Do they all intercalate?
I think its less the fact that they all intercalate, but more due to how competitive the London jobs are. If you are aiming to be allocated London or academic posts for your foundation years, then you need to build up points through medical school, such as having an extra degree, taking part in research and publishing etc. alongside passing exams and the SJT.
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girl_in_black
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Congrats on getting 4 offers! I didn't study at any of the unis but I would personally choose between Edinburgh and Newcastle. Both cities are great to live in (I have lived in both) and the medical schools have a good reputation, with graduates doing very well in postgraduate exams. I don't know much about the course at Sheffield or St Andrews, but St Andrews is a tiny place with not much to do and I personally would have found it quite dull as a student.

With regards to doing a 6 year course - I think this is actually an advantage. I don't know about Newcastle or Sheffield specifically, but some medical schools only allow you to intercalate if your grades are good enough, so it can sometimes be quite competitive; if you are doing a 6 year course, you don't have to worry about this. Having a BSc will give you research experience and you will most likely get a presentation or even a publication out of it - these will also give you extra points when you apply for core and specialty training.

As for hospital placements in Edinburgh, these will be either at RIE or at WGH, however you may also have placements in Fife or in the Borders (you will be provided with accommodation for these). Public transport in Edinburgh is very reliable, so getting to placements shouldn't be an issue. Even if you finish really late (highly unlikely as a medical student!), you can easily get to the city centre from both RIE and WGH. I don't know about halls, but more senior medical students tend to live in Newington and Marchmont.
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Okorange
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(Original post by ArcaneRoses)
Hi everyone!

I have been lucky enough to receive offers to study medicine at St Andrews, Edinburgh, Sheffield and Newcastle. Are there any medics or non-medic students from these universities that would mind sharing their experience? My biggest concern at the moment revolves around the fact that Edinburgh and St Andrews are 6 year courses while Sheffield and Newcastle are 5 years. I have dyslexia and, as such, am a very slow writer so the idea of completing a thesis kind of terrifies me... If anyone has experience with the BSc year at these universities, and would be willing to share, I would greatly appreciate it!

Thanks so much for listening to me ramble !!!
I went to St Andrews. The BSc thesis is about 10,000 words long but it isn't as bad as you think. I personally found the thesis to be one of the most enjoyable parts of the course because it really is a semester where you get to explore anything you found fascinating about medical school in a lot more detail. The thesis I ended up doing in my BSc actually sparked my interest in the specialty I ended up pursuing. At St Andrews, the BSc thesis can be done clinically or in the lab. If you do a clinical thesis, most people do a literature review, and you have a lot of support from staff while you do it. I really don't think you need to worry about the thesis at St Andrews as the school is incredibly accommodating, which is one of the strengths of St Andrews I find. You also get a lot of time to write this thesis, I found my thesis semester to be the most relaxing and carefree semester in medical school because I had class once a week and was essentially free to do whatever I wanted for the rest of the week.

I personally found the St Andrews course to be exceptionally well taught, our professors were dedicated teachers rather than clinicians who give a talk once in a while, so they know exactly how to teach so that students understand. The town is small but it is only for three years and you have the rest of your life to live in a "big city". Additionally, I feel like the change of scene after 3 years means that you get to experience more schools and if you don't like St Andrews, you will be moving to a different place after 3.

If I were you, my choice would be between St Andrews and Edinburgh. I ultimately had an offer to continue my medical studies at Edinburgh but was offered a place at a different school which I chose, but I was always a big fan of the history of the Edinburgh medical school and a part of me would have loved to have attended there as well.

Last thing: the intercalating is actually incredibly useful if you ask me, because it does help you with foundation job placements, ultimately increasing your chances to get your top choice!
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nexttime
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(Original post by ArcaneRoses)
Yes... I suppose every [FPAS] point help! I would definetly take that into consideration
3-4 points might not sound like a lot, but it is. The score might be out of 100, but in reality: everyone is given 33 points automatically (yes), the SJT is out of 50 but virtually everyone gets at least 35, and few more than 45, so the actual variation is small. In reality, the significant majority of people fall within a 15ish point window, and as such 3-4 whole points is very significant.

However, its also worth remembering that this system will be scrapped by the time you are applying as the new national final exam will be implemented by then. No one knows what role intercalating might play then, but given that it counts for points in both speciality and higher training applications as well as just FPAS, it will likely remain significant.

I also think that being scared of a "thesis" (its not a real thesis - PhD theses can frequently run into the hundreds of thousands of words, whereas yours would most certainly not!), a thesis that you are given absolutely ages to write, is not really justified. Its not like you need to write the entire thing under exam conditions!

(Original post by girl_in_black)
... and the medical schools have a good reputation, with graduates doing very well in postgraduate exams.
That is true.

I don't know much about Sheffield, but St Andrews is a tiny place with not much to do and I personally would have found it quite dull as a student.
Sheffield is a bigger city than either Edinburgh or Newcastle with a famously amazing student union - not sure about the comparison with sleepy St Andrews here :p:
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ArcaneRoses
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(Original post by Okorange)
I went to St Andrews. The BSc thesis is about 10,000 words long but it isn't as bad as you think. I personally found the thesis to be one of the most enjoyable parts of the course because it really is a semester where you get to explore anything you found fascinating about medical school in a lot more detail. The thesis I ended up doing in my BSc actually sparked my interest in the specialty I ended up pursuing. At St Andrews, the BSc thesis can be done clinically or in the lab. If you do a clinical thesis, most people do a literature review, and you have a lot of support from staff while you do it. I really don't think you need to worry about the thesis at St Andrews as the school is incredibly accommodating, which is one of the strengths of St Andrews I find. You also get a lot of time to write this thesis, I found my thesis semester to be the most relaxing and carefree semester in medical school because I had class once a week and was essentially free to do whatever I wanted for the rest of the week.

I personally found the St Andrews course to be exceptionally well taught, our professors were dedicated teachers rather than clinicians who give a talk once in a while, so they know exactly how to teach so that students understand. The town is small but it is only for three years and you have the rest of your life to live in a "big city". Additionally, I feel like the change of scene after 3 years means that you get to experience more schools and if you don't like St Andrews, you will be moving to a different place after 3.

If I were you, my choice would be between St Andrews and Edinburgh. I ultimately had an offer to continue my medical studies at Edinburgh but was offered a place at a different school which I chose, but I was always a big fan of the history of the Edinburgh medical school and a part of me would have loved to have attended there as well.

Last thing: the intercalating is actually incredibly useful if you ask me, because it does help you with foundation job placements, ultimately increasing your chances to get your top choice!
Thank you so much for the information! I was looking everywhere to find out how many words the thesis was so I really appreciate the information! Would you recommend doing a lab based or clinical thesis?
I absolutely love the small town feel at St Andrew as I'm from Bermuda (which is tiny) so think I'll feel right at home! I have been allocated to the English route so I will most likely end up at Manchester or Queen Mary's. If you have any experience at either university, I'd love to hear it!

Thank you again for all your feedback, it is extremely appreciated as I feel quite over my head!
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girl_in_black
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(Original post by nexttime)
Sheffield is a bigger city than either Edinburgh or Newcastle with a famously amazing student union - not sure about the comparison with sleepy St Andrews here :p:
The comparison was purely because I don't know much about either, I wasn't referring to size hahaha
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