A Day in the Life of a Pre-Clinical Medical Student

By Dr Emma Brierley

Dr Emma Brierley take us through what a typical day as a pre-clinical medical student might look like.

A Typical Day...

At some medical universities such as Cambridge and Oxford the medical course is still split into a pre clinical degree and a clinical medicine degree. This type of degree concentrates on learning the science first but includes a small element of clinical experience. After three years you gain your first degree and then progress onto the Clinical degree.

When choosing a university it is important to consider whether this type of course would suit you.

As a pre clinical medical student at Cambridge University a typical day would include:

empty lecture hall

09.00am: Lecture

This could be on a topic which you may typically expect in a medical degree such as the human body or it could be on a more scientifically academic topic such as Biochemistry or Homeostasis. All the medical students will be in the lecture theatre regardless of which college in Cambridge they attend.

10.00am - 12.30pm: Practical Session

Following your lecture you will have a practical session. If the lecture has been on the human body it is likely you will have dissection after this. In Cambridge and certain other universities, medical students have whole cadavers to dissect. On the first day when entering the dissection room, I am not embarrassed to say it is very emotionally challenging to be in a room and see numerous dead bodies. These people deserve the utmost respect for donating their bodies and being able to have a lecture on an organ and then dissect it and learn more about it is a fantastic way to learn.

14.00pm - 17.00pm: Practical session/Free time

The afternoons can be quite varied. Some afternoons you may have no scheduled sessions. Other afternoons you may have practical sessions such as Histology and the importance of microscopes and recognising disease.

19.00pm - 20.00pm Supervisions

This is one of the unique attractions of studying at Cambridge. Within each topic you study in Medicine e.g. Biochemistry, Homeostasis, Anatomy you will have a 1 hour supervision with an expert in this field each week. This will typically be in small groups with 2-4 students from your college. This is a fantastic opportunity which will not only help develop your knowledge but also your way of thinking helping you develop ideas and be challenged.

Post Supervisions

Cambridge is a tough and academically challenging place to study, however there is still time for extra curricular activities and fun! This could be dinner and a drinks in the college bar, a night out at the local nightclub or punting down the Cam!

A career as a doctor is challenging and requires dedication and perseverance. There will be hurdles along the way, but remember you have a very exciting career ahead of you and that is the ultimate goal to aim for. Good luck! If you want to talk to one of our consultants about your options, we will be happy to talk to you. Ring us on (0) 207 399 1990.