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Situated in a campus-based University with the city centre just a 10-minute walk away, Leeds Medical School is rated among the highest in terms of student satisfaction. The MB ChB programme taught at Leeds uses an integrated teaching style within its spiral curriculum to ensure that medical students receive the highest standard of education in regard to patient contact and clinical exposure. With placement from year one, students are able to become comfortable with life on a ward early on while cementing their clinical skills with scientific knowledge in lectures.
Year 1: First Year medical students experience a varied and diverse timetable with each week comprising of lectures, seminars and small group-work teaching to help tackle their learning from every angle. This is complimented with 2 hours in the dissection lab every week as well as half a day of placement, which increases to a full day in second year. Year one focuses on laying the foundations of scientific theory behind medicine, with modules such as Intro to Medical Sciences and Body Systems helping you to get an in depth understand of human anatomy and physiology. This is supplemented with modules on the effects of disease on entire populations and improving clinical readiness and excellence. Leeds prides itself on having a strong focus on research, so modules on research skills and analysis are taught throughout all five years.
Year 2: Year two further strengthens student’s understanding of medical sciences and anatomy and begins to focus more on the individual diseases that can affect the human body, with modules including Essential Medical Sciences, Control & Movement and Clinical Pathology. Students are also exposed to more placement per week with multiple rotations in both primary and secondary care. The course also places a high focus on communications with seminars led by the patient-carer community, a network of patients who have years of experience working with healthcare professionals, assessing students on their bedside manner and ability to lead consultations.
Year 3: From third year onwards students are exposed to full clinical placement 4 days a week, increasing to 5 from fourth year. Students have access to Leeds’s vast number of teaching hospitals including the LGI and St. James (two of the largest teaching hospitals in Europe), Bradford, Wakefield, Harrogate, Pontefract, Halifax, Airedale and Wharfdale. Third students experience 5 rotations of general medical placements comprising of GP, acute medicine, surgery, special senses and elderly care. This means that the focus of theory learning switches from primarily lecture based to self-directed learning. Although there are lecture weeks at the end of each placement rotation, the amount of learning students are expected to do on their own does increase from second year. Second- and third-year students also get to choose from a wide range of student-selected projects (or SSPs) at the end of the first term where they are able diversify their knowledge with teaching on anything from ambulance care and prison medicine to introductory Spanish and Sign Language.
Year 4: From fourth year placements become even more specialised including oncology, paediatrics and obstetrics and gynaecology. Students also undertake a two-year research project known as an ESREP which challenges involves putting into practice the research skills they have learnt over the previous two years. Students work in pairs and are supervised by a clinical professional to create a paper, audit or report from a wide range of options or even a self-selected project.
Year 5: Fifth year focuses on preparing students for their upcoming roles as foundation year doctors in the NHS including the culmination of their ESREP projects and a final selection of placements that lead up to their final university exams and OSCE and the SJT and Prescribing exams taken by all medical students nationwide before graduation. Unlike other medicals, with access to such a large pool of hospitals the student body is not split up and sent to other parts of the country, meaning the medical student community stays together throughout all 5 years.
Experience the city – before applying make sure to visit Leeds if you can and see the wide range of amenities and adventures Leeds and Yorkshire have to offer. These include multiple shopping centres, hundreds of student-focused restaurants and arguably the best night life in the entire country! Leeds is a large, open and diversely multicultural city with over 75,000 students living there from year-to-year. The Yorkshire dales and Roundhay Park are also only short drives away if you want to escape the city and experience breath-taking views and fresh air.
Research the course – different medical schools offer different styles of teaching. Leeds is integrated but other styles include problem-based learning (PBL) and traditional so make sure to research and find out which style best suits you.
Be yourself – the application for Leeds Medical School places a strong focus on the interview, so make sure not to only to prepare well for the questions they might throw at you but also to answer honestly! Interviewers are trained to be able to recognise when a candidate is being dishonest or isn’t able to truly understand the role of a doctor as well as the benefits and challenges that come with it. Remember the NHS wants doctors who are not only prepared but also kind and empathetic.
Do check the medical school’s admissions requirements, however Leeds no longer places any weight on the personal statement, meaning that a higher proportion of candidates are invited to interview, where a bulk of the assessment is carried out.
-by Darius Oraee, current medical student at the University of Leeds
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