Firstly, we’d like to begin by congratulating our upcoming Medical Students, welcome to the family. We understand that right now you’re probably experiencing a whirlwind of emotions; excited to begin your dream course, worried about leaving home and anxious realising that it’s all real, you will become a doctor. We get a lot of questions asking about what you can do to prepare and so we’ve come up with a list of points and hope that this blog post can be of help to you. If you’re not sure of what to take to University then check out our University Checklist blog post too.
1. Check your emails and keep up to date.
From the day you receive your offer your emails become your best friend, this is how the majority of information you’re given will be communicated. Get into the habit of checking your emails at least twice a day, in the morning before you leave your accommodation and also in the afternoon. Once you receive your university email address try and set up the account as part of your phone mail so that your emails are easily accessible and all in one place.
2. Join Facebook group chats
There should be Facebook chats set up for year 1 Medics 2017/18 Medics, this may be different to the offer holders chat as not every offer holder will have got in to your medical school. The group chats give you the opportunity to socialise as well as ask any questions you may have. Normally the chat will have been set up by a member of the med Soc committee (an older medical student) so they are on hand to answers any enquiries and offer encouragement and support as you prepare for Medical School.
Make sure you have Folders to organise your work sheets or handwritten notes and also make use of dividers to section each topic. Create folders on your laptop to make it easier for you to easily access previous work. Also ensure you have a memory stick to back up your work onto as you do not want to be stranded if your laptop crashes.
4. Keep a diary/journal
Cultivate the habit of writing things down, e.g. Deadlines, pre-reading, to do lists etc. Keeping a diary gives you the time to pre plan your day and reflect, if you write your plans down you’re more likely to do it. Whether it be on your phone or a physical copy keeping a diary is extremely beneficial. You can note your experiences if you’ve had an interesting day at placement for example, keeping a diary/ journal is helpful in the long run as when you look back on what you’ve previously written you can recognise and appreciate your growth and your journey.
5. Establish your note taking strategy early on
Decide whether you will be taking your notes on your laptop, by handwriting them or using a tablet. If you feel like one of these strategies is not working for you do not hesitate to change your strategy quickly. The quality of your notetaking determines how much revision you have to do.
6. Have a suitable device to record lectures
Some medical schools do not record the lectures for students but we would recommend you take this into your own hands by recording the lectures yourself anyway. Recording lectures is great especially towards exam season, it allows you to go over and fill in gaps in your notes from lectures and also it is good to have it available until you understand. We would recommend that you create a file (e.g. Google drive) to put all your titled lecture recordings.
7. Do not buy textbooks before you start
You will be given your reading list fairly soon but we advise that you stay away from making any purchases prematurely. Medical textbooks are extremely expensive as you’ll soon come to realise and the worst thing is buying a super expensive textbook you only need once during the entire year. Once you start university, request and borrow the books you need and see whether you like them before purchasing your own copy. Also ask older medical students what books they would recommend you buy and don’t buy as they would know what is useful.
8. Don’t pre-read before you start
After finishing your A-Levels, summer is that well deserved break needed after all that hard work so don’t ruin i