1. Traditional vs Problem Based Learning
When choosing your medical school it’s important to consider different teaching styles.
The more traditional universities will start with a focus on theory. This means the first few years will be made up from lectures and tutorials with little to no patient contact.
Others, like Hull York Medical School (HYMS), offer Problem Based Learning (PBL). This includes clinical placement from term 1. Here the focus is on independent learning. As a result students focus on one case per week which is supplemented by lectures and workshops.
For me, the teaching style at HYMS was a good fit as patient contact was essential to me.
2. Learning anatomy at medical school
Another thing to consider is anatomy. There are two routes that universities will take with the teaching style.
The first, prosection, is learning by observation. This is where a cadaver is either studied pre-dissected or an experienced anatomist takes the lead.
In contrast dissection is learning by doing.
HYMS uses both techniques. The focus is on prosection in weekly anatomy sessions but there are also opportunities to do dissection yourself.
3. Your academic history
Different medical schools will weight components of your application differently.
Take a look at which universities align their selection criteria with your strengths. For example do you have a very strong UCAT score or do you have good GCSEs?
Would you fare better in a traditional panel style interview? Or would you prefer to complete short practical assessments demonstrating different skills? This is known as the Multiple Mini Interview (MMI) style.
4. Non-traditional entry routes
Furthermore if you’re not coming straight from A levels or equivalent you will need to do some more research. Try to find out which universities accept applicants from non-traditional routes.
Alternatively if you are a graduate doing resits or looking for a foundation year make sure you check which university will best suit your needs.
5. Work experience requirements
Most universities offering medicine will expect you to have undertaken some work experience. As a result it’s important to make sure you check the guidelines of each university as some can be quite specific.
I found most universities wanted voluntary work in a healthcare setting. For me this meant weekly volunteering in a care home.
Still can’t decide?
Finally, remember to keep in mind the broader aspects of university life as well. You will spend at least 5 years at your chosen university so it’s essential you like the location and social offering too.
If you’re still having trouble deciding between universities I would recommend visiting on an open day. You could even bring a list of questions to help you narrow down your options further.
Find out more about applying for medical school
Take a look at the HYMS selection procedure.