Hints and Tips for Prospective Students

Lucy, 3rd Year (intercalating in Anaesthesia, Critical Care and Pain Medicine)

  • Make sure you know what you are committing to before you decide to apply. Speak to junior doctors and medical students- see what their experiences are like and if you can see yourself doing the same in a few years’ time.
  • Personal Statement- in terms of work experience quality is much more important that quantity, and you don’t need to have experience in a hospital. When discussing you work experience in your personal statement, focus on what you have gained from your time the placement and what you have learnt.
  • Extra-curricular activities are also important to include be that sports teams, volunteering, music etc. its likely you will have been involved in many activities at school but try to avoid making this section like a shopping list – instead focus on a few of the most important things and link the skills you have developed back to medicine
  • When choosing a medical school think about the place. You will be spending 5/6 years of your life studying there so its important to pick a city that you can imagine yourself living in; this is perhaps more important than things like the course structure and early clinical exposure

Oliver, 4th Year

  • Don’t be afraid of interviews! Northern Irish students especially tend to fear they will sell themselves short, but its a chance to show who you are as a person and that you can communicate, not to show off all of your achievements and knowledge. 
  • You’re applying to medical school to learn everything you need to know to be a doctor – you don’t need to know any detailed science, anatomy or clinical medicine before you get in!

Louise, 2nd Year

  • Many people have heard bad things about PBL but it’s not as big a part of the curriculum as people often make out. It’s a few hours a week and it really helps to consolidate what you have learned in the past week. So don’t be put off when you see it in the curriculum because it’s not as scary as you think!

Hannah G, 3rd Year (intercalating in Infectious Disease)

  • For many people it can be difficult to get experience in a hospital but it’s not quantity that matters when it comes to writing your personal statement. From experience, I think it is far more important to reflect on what you have learned, the skills you have developed and how the things you have seen changed your perspective of the healthcare system. Reflection is a recurring theme in medical school so it is important to get used to it early!
  • As with everything, it is important to maintain a balance so make sure you give yourself and your brain a break. Whether that comes in the form of joining a sports team or one of the many societies university has to offer. Keep yourself healthy, both mentally and physically, to ensure you can do your best academically. 
  • Finally, and most importantly, make sure you enjoy yourself; university is an amazing opportunity, put yourself out there and have fun!

Hannah P, 4th Year

  • Edinburgh is an amazing city and you can see why everybody loves it; it’s really compact and welcoming, but packs in so much to see and do.
  • When applying, enthusiasm, good manners and initiative will get you everywhere!! There are lots of reliable sources of good advice online.
  • Doctors and students are usually keen to help interested pupils, so ask absolutely anyone you can about applications, work experience and whether medicine is the right career for you!-
  • The medical school’s mixture of teaching styles was one of the big appeals for me, which includes lectures, small group tutorials, problem-based learning and anatomy labs. You get eased into clinical skills with communication in Year 1 and then add in more practical skills in Year 2. – Edinburgh also has the best range of intercalated subjects for medical students.
  • The university wants medics to have a range of interests, so there is definitely time to pursue sports, societies or research.

Useful links

Applying to medical school