For some medical schools an intercalated degree is not compulsory, it may be optional. During my 3rd year of study, I decided that I wanted to do an intercalated degree. This was for many reasons. Despite it being an extra year of study, I believed that it was the right decision in order for me to maximize my potential during my time at medical school. As I am still unsure of what I would like to specialize in later on, I am doing my intercalated degree internally at St. George’s. Here, I am able to study further in depth a variety of specialties whilst conducting a research project.
It has been 1 and a half months since I started, and I have decided to share 4 key tips that I have learnt so far.
Get things done early.
In medicine, you are not always used to writing many essays as coursework and having many deadlines. However, with an intercalated degree, this is the case. As part of my modules I am required to write essays, whilst also doing my research project. I believe the best way to tackle this is to make a note of the deadline, make a plan for the essay and start writing immediately. This will save plenty of time later on for your research project and for other assignments.
Use this year as an opportunity to conduct research and perhaps get published.
Many of you may know that getting published can give you a maximum of 2 points for your Foundation Programme Application. Aside from this, taking part in research gives you essential skills that you will need later on post medical school. Doing research and trying to get published is a long, difficult journey, but it is one worth taking.
Don’t forget medicine.
It is important to note that you are taking a whole year out of studying medicine. In order to have a smooth transition back into medicine after intercalation, it is important to keep reviewing your past material. Try to stay on top of the medicine. Perhaps this could be taking a couple of hours a week out of your normal schedule to revise some of the content you had learnt in your previous academic years.
This is your year to do as much as you can.
One of the great benefits of doing an intercalated degree is the sudden realization that you have a lot more free time. If you’re like me, you are probably in university 2-3 times a week. As a result, you are able to do a lot more in that free time. Apart from doing your work, you can perhaps take up a sport, join more societies etc. I see it as your year to engage in as much as you can because the next few years of medical school will be very intense.
Deciding to do an intercalated degree has been one of the best decisions I have made. Not only am I developing skills that will benefit me in future, many opportunities are coming my way this year such as being able to present my research at conferences. Don’t forget that you also get to graduate at the end of this year with a couple of extra letters after your name.
Written by Khadija Owusu