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Halfway through Medical School

It’s official, I’m halfway through medical school!!

Last week we had our Halfway Ball at the beautiful Grand Connaught Rooms (London), and it was a lovely evening. It started off with reception drinks and photos, followed by a 3-course meal and finally ended with lots of music and dance.

In this blogpost, I reflect on the last 3 years of medical school, which has gone by very fast. This will include some of the things I have learnt and achieved over the years.

1. The jump between A-Levels and Medical School was SERIOUS!

a. The majority of us have been the high achievers throughout school and over the years we had perfected our revision strategy, which mostly consisted of following the relevant specifications and doing a bunch of past papers. Then you come to medical school and realise that this same strategy may not work. You’re suddenly surrounded by people who were also the high achievers and you may have not done as well as you hoped in your first medical school exams. It’s important to not be disheartened. Do not compare yourself to others. Use the first couple of months or even the first year to adopt a suitable study strategy that will work best for you.

2. Spaced repetition is the key to SUCCESS!

a. After my first exams I adopted the revision strategy of using flash cards and doing spaced repetition. More details of this method of study can be found in the blogpost titled ‘How I study in Medical School: Spaced Repetition’. Using this method of study although difficult in the initial stages, has proven to be very beneficial for me and I still continue to use it now during my intercalated degree.

3. Take your SSC projects SERIOUSLY!

a. We often question our universities as to why they keep giving us the extra essays or projects to take and we often believe it is a waste of time. However, they are put in place to help us build our medical portfolios. Be open and speak to many doctors, find out what they have going on, especially if you have found your area of interest. Immersing yourself in these projects can give you many opportunities as I have been blessed to have such as giving and winning oral and poster presentations at conferences.

4. I decided to INTERCALATE!

a. At St George’s, intercalating is optional. If you decide to intercalate, you must have achieved above a certain decile in your exams. During my 3rdyear of medicine I weighed up the pros and cons and finally came to the decision of intercalating and it has been the best decision yet. Rather than typically studying one area in depth, I do a bunch of different modules alongside my research project. This year has not been intense as medicine, I’m only in 2-3 times a week which leaves me with plenty of time to do some independent study, research and conduct many school outreach sessions.

5. Find the right BALANCE!

a. One thing I always tell people is that it is very important to be organised and to find the right balance. Studying and working hard is vital, however it is also key to set aside some time to unwind and have fun with some friends and family. After all, time goes by so quickly, so why not make the most out of your time during medical school.

Overall, I’m very excited for what the remaining 2.5 years of medical school has in stall for me!

Khadija Owusu


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