Written by Simran, a 3rd Year Medical Student at Edinburgh.


  • I struggled a lot with the change in the learning environment in university. In highschool, the way I learned was quickly not becoming feasible or effective in medicine. 
  • The lack of availability of past paper questions seemed so daunting- how would I know what to expect? I tried a lot of different learning methods but I think it’s important not
  • to get too bogged down with this. Make your primary notes from the lecture but I would not solely rely on it. Use youtube videos (Armando Hasundungan, Osmosis) to learn
  • the concepts in a different angle as it will truly test your understanding. For the systems based approach, I wish I had started familiarising myself with Davidsons early on. 
  • A few of questions in first year (and almost all in second year) will give you vignettes and understanding the pathology is not enough, you might want to look at how they present too!
  • Use peerwise, PassMedicine for questions.

Social life: 

  • Really try and make the most of first year and second year. You will always be busy and have things to do and deadlines will always be a thing but after medical school you wont remember spending hours in the library. You will remember all the potlucks, parties, sports events, friends gathering that you went (or missed). So socialisation is important, however don’t feel pressured to go out partying and drinking all the time just because you’re at university; if thats not your thing, you will friends with other interests.

Mental health: 

  • Its really important to know when to take a break. Sometimes, you are your own worst critic and bully and you can keep pushing yourself too hard which can impact your mental health a lot.
  • Moving away from your family and support network is hard but there is ALWAYS someone to go to when you are struggling. Its super important to know the early signs before they become too much to manage. 
  • Invest some time in self care everyday, (this sounds dramatic but some do it naturally and others make it a secondary priority) and just take some time to ask yourself how you are doing. This doesnt have to 
  • involve mediatation but going on walks, reading books, eating well, having a hobby and taking time out of medicine and university life is important. 
  • When this doesnt cut it, there are always people waiting and ready to help you- NightLine, Samaritans or even your friends just to name a few. Asking for help is never a big deal, but not asking can turn into one.