5th year medical student at Imperial - AMA Watch

AortaStudyMore
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I'm now an old (and theoretically wisened) medical student in london, so feel free to ask me about applications, interviews (I've been on the interview panel), life as a med student, living in london, exams etc etc
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Kangaroo17
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(Original post by AortaStudyMore)
I'm now an old (and theoretically wisened) medical student in london, so feel free to ask me about applications, interviews (I've been on the interview panel), life as a med student, living in london, exams etc etc
Hi there!

I'm wondering, i've decided i want to do medicine this late into the year (year 12) so should i take a gap year? I'm just worried it would affect my chances of getting in to a high ranking uni (aiming for oxbridge too).

or is it possible to get work experience now? i have got volunteering sorted.
Academia is absolutely ok however.

Thank you!
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epicsickomode
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Thanks for taking the time do this AMA, very cool

Just a couple of questons;
- I think I am heard Imperial have BSc year. If you are 5th year what bSC you are do?
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AngryRedhead
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How hard are OSCE’s?
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AortaStudyMore
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(Original post by Kangaroo17)
Hi there!

I'm wondering, i've decided i want to do medicine this late into the year (year 12) so should i take a gap year? I'm just worried it would affect my chances of getting in to a high ranking uni (aiming for oxbridge too).

or is it possible to get work experience now? i have got volunteering sorted.
Academia is absolutely ok however.

Thank you!
Hey, so its technically not too late, but there are a few things you need to be doing, firstly, you do need to get work experience, its not too late for that, but you need to do it before the ucas submission in october! Secondly, you need to do volunteering long term, I started in february of year 12, if you started recently, then that should still be fine. You also need extracurricular stuff, such as sports, music, hobbies, team activities. Again, this is all possible over the summer and early autumn. Also remember that you need to do the ukcat some time over the summer and will need to do the BMAT later on in the year for oxbridge, ucl, imperial + some others. You will be busy over the summer, but it is definitely possible. You dont need to do anything particularly different to get into oxford or cambridge, except for the BMAT, but they will expect your personal statement to be more academically orientated, so bear that in mind. Cambridge has a strong emphasis on the interview, so that will be where you make it or break it for them, but that is quite far in the future so dont worry right now.
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AortaStudyMore
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(Original post by epicsickomode)
Thanks for taking the time do this AMA, very cool

Just a couple of questons;
- I think I am heard Imperial have BSc year. If you are 5th year what bSC you are do?
Yh imperial does a BSc in 4th year, it is technically in Medical Sciences, but you specialise in a area of medical science for a year, so mine was in pharmacology, and you therefore get a BSc in Medical Sciences with (Specialty e.g. Pharmacology). Having an extra degree gives you a slight advantage in terms of applying for foundation posts after med school, some med schools such as imperial make you do an extra degree, and if you go to a med school that doesnt, then sometimes students there will take a year out to do a bachelors degree. The advantage is pretty negligible, but it is pretty cool to get a degree before you finish uni! It also gives you some opportunities to get published in a scientific paper, which can also give you an advantage after med school
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AortaStudyMore
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(Original post by AngryRedhead)
How hard are OSCE’s?
They are pretty easy tbh, although it isnt easy to do very well. Most people pass them, because the OSCE essentially involves following a checklist procedure, although there can sometimes be some curveballs. Imperial only does 1 OSCE in the whole time you are at med school, the final 2 years have PACES, which are like OSCEs but more flexible in how you can perform
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Jasmine_2001
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What's the timetable of a first year like?
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Kangaroo17
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(Original post by AortaStudyMore)
Hey, so its technically not too late, but there are a few things you need to be doing, firstly, you do need to get work experience, its not too late for that, but you need to do it before the ucas submission in october! Secondly, you need to do volunteering long term, I started in february of year 12, if you started recently, then that should still be fine. You also need extracurricular stuff, such as sports, music, hobbies, team activities. Again, this is all possible over the summer and early autumn. Also remember that you need to do the ukcat some time over the summer and will need to do the BMAT later on in the year for oxbridge, ucl, imperial + some others. You will be busy over the summer, but it is definitely possible. You dont need to do anything particularly different to get into oxford or cambridge, except for the BMAT, but they will expect your personal statement to be more academically orientated, so bear that in mind. Cambridge has a strong emphasis on the interview, so that will be where you make it or break it for them, but that is quite far in the future so dont worry right now.
thank you so much!
but how would a gap year be viewed? i'm kinda on the fence there. i wouldn't really want to do it, but i've realised it could help me be certain on a course, help me get a job and get money and get volunteering/work experience and learn the violin (which i really want to do and join an orchestra). But the set back is i kinda want to be with people of my age, not even a year below (just a quirk).
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epicsickomode
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Thanks you for answer

I have one more also question. What hopitals and specialties do you going to in 5th year? Aare they different from other years? Thanks again
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AortaStudyMore
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(Original post by Jasmine_2001)
What's the timetable of a first year like?
Erm, so its basically a lot of lectures and tutorials, the days can vary but they will typically be 9am to 4/5 pm, except for wednesdays where you get the afternoon off. Some days will be more busy than others. You also have regular PBL sessions (like once every 1 or 2 weeks for a an hour or two as far as I can remember). PBL gets a lot of stick, but theyre actually some of the best sessions you do in first year haha.

In terms of content, first term (october - december) involves lectures on molecular and cellular medicine, so you will do some things that you learnt in school and also learn about cellular biochemistry (such as glycolysis and krebs and stuff), how cells work including immune and blood cells, how tissues work and also a lot of genetics. You do basically all of your lab work in first term, sch as microscopy and electrophoresis etc. After first term of first year, you only go to the lab again a couple of times in med school. You also have lectures on sociology and epidemiology, which are super boring unfortunately (but you only have to do it for a term). Second and third terms are more interesting, you start doing full body dissections, and you start systems based lectures on the cardiovascular, respiratory, gastrointestinal and renal organ systems, as well as some endocrinology and neuroscience. You also learn chest, abdominal and pelvic anatomy. All of this is taught in the form of lectures (mainly), tutorials, dissections and living anatomy (i.e. drawing on eachother lol). You do learn a fair bit about pathophysiology, diagnosis and treatments in first year, but the focus is on the science rather than the management of disease at this stage
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Unnamed User
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(Original post by AortaStudyMore)
I'm now an old (and theoretically wisened) medical student in london, so feel free to ask me about applications, interviews (I've been on the interview panel), life as a med student, living in london, exams etc etc
Hi!
How do you study for exams?
I'm struggling to pass one of my modules in first year (different course)

I tried learning content, making notes, doing papers etc. but can't seem to be able to get the hang of it.

Thanks
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AortaStudyMore
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(Original post by Kangaroo17)
thank you so much!
but how would a gap year be viewed? i'm kinda on the fence there. i wouldn't really want to do it, but i've realised it could help me be certain on a course, help me get a job and get money and get volunteering/work experience and learn the violin (which i really want to do and join an orchestra). But the set back is i kinda want to be with people of my age, not even a year below (just a quirk).
Do a gap year if you want (and it sounds like you do), you wont be viewed any less favourably (as long as you spend it doing something worthy and not going on loads of holidays haha). As for the age thing, I know it may seem like a big deal at school, but once at uni and as you get older, no one will even know or care that you are a year older. Age doesnt mean anything, there will be grad meds there who will be older, and even if you went straight from school, like I did, there will still be people who are younger, unless you were born in like august haha. I mean, you could take a gap year and only be a few months older than someone who didnt take a gap year if you were born late in the academic year and the other person was born early on in the subsequent academic year, if you get what I mean.
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AortaStudyMore
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(Original post by epicsickomode)
Thanks you for answer

I have one more also question. What hopitals and specialties do you going to in 5th year? Aare they different from other years? Thanks again
So you do different things in every clinical year of med school (at imperial at least). In third year, you do a term of medicine, a term of surgery and a term in a GP. In 5th year, you do the "specialties", which consist of paediatrics, obstetrics and gynaecology, dermatology, GP, infectious diseases, oncology, radiology, psychiatry and you can also choose to do a placement in something that interests you. 5th year at imperial is long, as you have a lot to cover, so you are on placement from one summer to the subsequent summer (grim). Final year kind of covers the remaining areas of medicine (such as emergency medicine) and you also recap everything again before sitting finals, and then if you pass finals then thats it, you are a doctor

EDIT - Forgot to answer which hospitals. Placements can be at a huge number of west london hospitals, this year I am at west middlesex, chelsea and westminster, st marys, charing cross and some others, you do have to do a fair bit of travelling to placements unfortunately
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AortaStudyMore
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(Original post by Unnamed User)
Hi!
How do you study for exams?
I'm struggling to pass one of my modules in first year (different course)

I tried learning content, making notes, doing papers etc. but can't seem to be able to get the hang of it.

Thanks
Which course do you do? My revision methods have varied from year to year, but something that has stuck in particular is flashcards, I highly recommend them. Generally I will make summary documents for the main things for the exams (e.g. in my case, the pathophysiological process of atherosclerosis), and I will then supplement these with lots and lots (and lots) of flashcards. It is in my opinion the best way to memorise huge quantities of information for an exam. Another tip is to try explaining things to someone (ideally a layman such as a family member or friend). If you dont have someone like that, then pretend, and explain to yourself as if you were explaining it to someone who doesnt understand the content. Good luck and lmk if ant other problems
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FloralPrints
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ik this may sound stupid but is there some sort of specification to follow in med school? if not, how do you know if you've learnt everything for you're exams? (I'm curious as I know there is obvs a jump from A-level to uni)
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Ayan Khan
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Is medicine really as difficult as they say it is?
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ecolier
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(Original post by Ayan Khan)
Is medicine really as difficult as they say it is?
This is such a subjective question, I look forward to hear OP's opinion.
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Ayan Khan
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(Original post by ecolier)
This is such a subjective question, I look forward to hear OP's opinion.
Exactly. Some people stress to the nth degree, but some people cruise through.
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AortaStudyMore
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(Original post by FloralPrints)
ik this may sound stupid but is there some sort of specification to follow in med school? if not, how do you know if you've learnt everything for you're exams? (I'm curious as I know there is obvs a jump from A-level to uni)
There is not really a national specification like there is in school, although the GMC have guidelines or something that medical schools adhere to so that doctors are at a certain acceptable standard when they qualify. At your individual med school, there will probably be learning objectives that outline what you need to know for the exams. For example, a learning objective may be something like explain the pathophysiology of SLE (aka lupus). As you can see, the problem here is that it is quite a broad objective, which makes it hard to know exactly what level of detail you need to know for exams, and as a result, there are often a lot of exam questions that seem completely random. More often than not, the examiners will write questions that definitely are not linked to an LO, which can make exams frustrating. But, what youll find is that there is some content in lectures that is more important than others (e.g. if the content is taught by a certain high profile lecturer or if it comes up over and over in multiple lectures). What you do is learn that in detail and learn everything else as a bonus, this will be more than enough to pass, however if you want to do really well then you probably will need to learn the small details mentioned by lecturers (whether you do this or not depends on how keen you are to revise every lecture).

It is very different from school, but you do pick it up quite quickly so dw!
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