By Charlotte Chesters- Thompson
I’ve just finished my first year studying Medicine at the University of Liverpool. Before my interview in January 2019, I’d never been to Liverpool, but the more I walked around and met people I could be studying with, the more I knew this was a place I could see myself for the next 5 years.
Liverpool always has something to do. It’s got a huge music and art culture as well as great museums and restaurants – just walk down Bold Street and you’ll see this. It’s a city that’s small enough to walk around but big enough to never run out of things to do. The university is only a 15-minute walk from the City Centre, the docks are within walking distance and the beaches are just a short train journey away. It’s the perfect place if you want the best of both worlds.
Anyone will tell you that the workload for Medicine is huge and, although this is true, there’s still plenty of time in the day for other things. Contact hours vary week to week, but the average is around 25. This isn’t all lectures though. We have seminars, anatomy, communication practice and research projects among others.
The main reason I chose Liverpool was because of their application requirements. They don’t judge as heavily on the UKCAT as other universities do and they offer an integrated style course. You get clinical exposure from first year and the teaching is very interactive – especially in anatomy and clinical skills. Year 1 focuses on the normal function of the body, year 2 on what can go wrong and years 3-5 bring everything together and integrate it into the clinical setting. Teaching is done in structured and straightforward blocks based around the 7 bodily systems, and so every 3 weeks you’ll learn everything about one system of the body, be tested on it and move onto the next. This makes it easier to keep track of notes but can make it harder to understand how each system influences the others. This isn’t too much of a problem as teaching is linked back to previous blocks and there are seminars that focus on bringing everything together. Lecturers are working clinicians and experts in their field. meaning that the teaching is of a high-quality.
Liverpool has 7 major hospitals, so there’s no shortage of placements or volunteering. In the first few weeks at university you’ll be introduced to a massive array of opportunities that can further your clinical exposure and benefit your CV. But don’t worry too much about these in first year, you’re not expected to know what speciality you want to go into for quite a while.
At Liverpool, the Multiple Mini Interview (MMI) technique is used. These are held in the Crypt underneath the Metropolitan Cathedral and so, you might just feel like you’ve ended up in the completely wrong place! From my experience, the best way to prepare for an MMI is to think about what qualities you have that would make you a good doctor. Go through your personal statement and pick out examples that demonstrate these. The school love to see what work experience you’ve done – it’s useful to get as much variety as you can including hospital wards, any volunteering and maybe even some research – and more importantly what you think you’ve learnt from it. It’s all about reflection going into Medical School. All the interviewers are super friendly and even if they don’t seem it, it’s important to stay calm, they just want to see how you react under pressure. And of course, don’t forget to create an interesting response to the ultimate interview question – why do you want to study medicine?
Outside of teaching, there are so many societies to join, both medical and non-medical. There’s a society for almost every speciality you can think of and lots of Medics sports teams including hockey, football and rugby. It may seem like there’s a lot going on – and there is – but there’s no pressure and you can do as much or as little as you like. Outside of medicine there’s no shortage of activities either. The gym and pool are situated right in the middle of campus and there’s an endless list of societies to join. This is a great way to get to know people outside of your course and accommodation.
I can’t recommend Liverpool enough. It’s an amazingly friendly city and the Medical School provides in-depth teaching and exciting opportunities to inspire a new generation of doctors.