5 Things you should know about being a medical student

Updated on May 12, 2020

Getting ready for university is always a stressful time in one’s life, especially for medical students, who are preparing themselves for one of the hardest and longest degrees taught at university. Perhaps you’re still preparing your UCAS statement, wondering how to become a medical student and whether it’s worth the enormous commitment. Either way, this article is here to help put you at ease by telling you five things to know before becoming a doctor. 

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5) It’s hard work so don’t expect a lot of free time

If you’re going to medical school or planning to do so, you’ve almost certainly heard this before. Still, it bears reiterating that medicine is one of the most work-intensive, and difficult degrees you can study. Expect frequent exams, tests, and even the occasional essay or research paper for good measure. You’ll also get to do lots of lab work, sometimes with new pharmaceuticals or viral samples, so it’s not all bad. The little free time you do get won’t align with other students who aren’t studying medicine, who might have things like free periods and days off. Don’t let this get you down though, as it only means you will form a stronger social bond with your fellow medical students.

4) It isn’t a myth. There actually is a handwashing exam

Yes, you read that right. If you really want to know how to be a good medical student, you might want to start practicing your handwashing. You’re probably wondering how someone can grade you on washing your hands. What happens is, your hands are covered in a sticky UV slime, you then wash your hands for the set amount of time and at the end, place your hands under a UV lamp to see how much gel is left. The handwashing test is part of a bigger exam so it’s not like you need to pass it to succeed in your degree. 

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3) Your research will be applicable to numerous other fields of study

One of the great things about a medicine degree is that the knowledge you acquire is relevant and applicable to numerous other topics. Let’s say you want to specialize in mental health, your research would have applications in several subjects from literature to sociology. If you do a dissertation on mental health, your research may entail reading a sociology essay or two, as a society often plays an instrumental role in our mental health. You’ll find that with sociology papers topics often pertain to medicine and how societal constructions affect our health, you can find a few examples here: https://gradesfixer.com/free-essay-examples/sociology/. Combining your knowledge of medicine with other doctrines will be a great way to explore new ideas and contribute to different academic conversations. Even if you don’t want to personally mix your courses, your friends in other disciplines may seek out your medical knowledge for some of their own projects that involve health and medicine.

2) Wondering about things to buy for medical school? Don’t forget your stethoscope

No, you don’t get given your stethoscope for free. Just think of it as a symbol of your vocation, and a valuable instrument that will accompany you through your entire medical career. There is plenty of helpful advice out there to help you choose the right stethoscope. If you start saving now, you could buy one that will last a lifetime and make a great reward for all your hard work getting into medical school.

1) Medicine is a spiral course

What is a spiral course you ask? Well to give just a few examples, topics such as anatomy, the effects of different drugs, and diseases will all be covered multiple times during your degree. Often you will revisit them to study them in more depth, but don’t think your teachers are expecting you to just remember everything the first time you cover it. The whole point of medical school is not to study just so you can pass exams, but to repeatedly enforce the information you learn through numerous repetitions and make it almost second nature by the time you have to apply it in your career. Medicine is hard, but your course will be designed to help you absorb as much of the information you learn as possible so don’t panic too much.

Hopefully, this list will give you some ideas about the trials of being a medical student. The above examples are supposed to forewarn you, but also make you optimistic. It’s not all work, you will still get some free time to enjoy all the other amazing aspects of university life. While a medicine degree is hard work, you’d be hard pushed to find a more fulfilling, enlightening, and worthwhile degree to study. 

The Editorial Team at Healthcare Business Today is made up of skilled healthcare writers and experts, led by our managing editor, Daniel Casciato, who has over 25 years of experience in healthcare writing. Since 1998, we have produced compelling and informative content for numerous publications, establishing ourselves as a trusted resource for health and wellness information. We offer readers access to fresh health, medicine, science, and technology developments and the latest in patient news, emphasizing how these developments affect our lives.