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Student Life

How to make the most of your medical school’s teaching style

BMJ 2017; 358 doi: (Published 21 August 2017) Cite this as: BMJ 2017;358:j2997
  1. Kristen Davies, fifth year medical student
  1. Lancaster University, UK

Current medical students share their advice

The three main teaching styles used by UK medical schools are traditional, problem based learning, and integrated.1 In this article, Student BMJ readers offer advice on how to make the most of each style if you’re a first year medical student.

Traditional courses

Courses offering a traditional approach are divided into preclinical and clinical years. The first half of the course is mainly lecture based and concentrates on biochemistry, basic science, and providing a strong foundation in anatomy and physiology. The second half of the course focuses on teaching clinical skills—such as how to examine patients, how to take a history, and communication skills—and consolidates the preclinical learning through experience on the wards.

Stay on top of your note taking

Zak Tait, third year medical student, University of Oxford, UK

In preclinical years, lectures come thick and fast and many topics are covered only once, although lecturers will recap big physiological concepts and drug pathways at the end of each year. This is a big jump from how A levels are taught, but is manageable if …

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