Last year I shared my first year timetable, so this year it’s about time I did the same with my second year timetable! Just like last year, each week the timetable is slightly different so I’ve tried to pick one that I think best represents a “typical week”.

To be honest, the format of learning and methods of teaching don’t change much from first to second year so this timetable does look quite similar to my last year’s one…

As you can see in second year, our weeks still run by PBL cases. We still have our communication sessions, lectures associated with the case, anatomy sessions, EBM (Evidence Based Medicine) and Histology. I’d say the main difference between the 2 years is the way the weeks run. In first year a “PBL week” is Monday to Friday, whereas in second year it’s from Tuesday to the following Monday. That means you have the weekend to research the case so you essentially have more time, but it also means that you do have to do work in the weekend! The timetable is actually a little lighter than first year because we tend to have fewer lectures. Anyway, let’s talk through each day…


A new week, but Monday is the last day of the previous case. In the week shown above, Monday is the last day of case 5. The couple of hours I have in the morning before my first session I tend to finish off any remaining questions from the cases, read over my PBL notes and create a quick summary that I can take with me to the session in the afternoon.

The consultation skills session involves learning different examination and communication techniques. We also had a couple of ethical communication sessions this year as well as a Stopford A&E session. Stopford A&E was quite bizarre, it was a session in which we were promoted to junior doctors on a busy simulated A&E ward and had to deal with differnt patients, try diagnosing, handing over patients etc.

In the afternoon for our closing PBL case we discuss the case and share what we have leaernt. After that we have a lecture which is again associated with the previous case.


On Tuesdays all we have is the opening session for the next PBL case. One week we had a Clinical Reasoning session which is a new thing introducted by the medical school to try and get us to “think like a doctor”. As you can see the rest of the day we’re free, so that tends to be my day to make a start on the week’s Anatomy work. We get given an Anatomy workbook so I’ll just work through that, reading up on the topics in detail using websites such as TeachMeAnatomy.

On Tuesday evenings though, I do have an additional Arabic language class that I signed up to. That goes from 5.30 to 8.30, so eats up a huge chunk of my free time.


The day that’s usually free for both first and second year. I’ve only had one of my hospital placements on a Wednesday morning, but part from that you usually have the whole day to use as you please. I tend to dedicate my Wednesdays to work on my PEP (Personal Excellence Pathyway) report which is a research project we have to do here at Manchester (but more on that in another blog post).


Anatomy first thing, it’s the only 9am I have in my timetable so it’s definitely a struggle to get up. In the Anatomy sessions we go through and get tested on content we should have learnt from the anatomy workbook. We also get the opportunity to dissect and try and locate differnt structures on real specimens. After Anatomy we have a Histology session (on alternate weeks). This is structured like a lecture and involves looking at microscopic slides of the anatomy we’ve been doing. We need to be able to identify different cell types types of tissue.

The time after Histology I tend to use to add any extra anatomy points I picked up from the session to my notes, finish my anatomy notes and also make some notes on histology.

After that it’s lectures, we usually have 2 or 3 that are relevant to the current case. Lectures aren’t compulsary and all are podcasted so it’s up to you whether you want to attend or not. I started the year going to lectures, but then near the end I completely stopped as I found it more helpful to slowly go through the podcasts in my own time. During Thursday afternoons instead I tend to make a start on PBL using the online resources that are made available to us and then as the podcasts were uploaded I’d start looking through those.


On alternate weeks we have EBM (Evidence Based Medicine) sessions in which we learn how to appraise evidence, look at sources of bias in medical literature etc. The session is computer based, we have a bit of a lecture and then get to work through tasks and questions in pairs/groups.

I usually try to spend the rest of the Friday morning and the early afternoon doing as much of my PBL case as possible with the impossible goal of trying to finish it. PBL does get longer from first to second year, my average case is abot 60-70 pages long, so I don’t think I ever did manage to finish it on teh Friday.

Again, with the lectures on Friday afternoons I tend to do a similar thing to Thursday and go through them in my own time. Some weeks I go home early on Fridays if I’m not going to the lectures and give myself an early weekend.

And that’s a wrap! The timetable lightens between year 1 and 2, but somehow the workload increases, so all the free time is needed to catch up on a bit of PBL and a bit of Anatomy at every opportunity.

Posted by:Life of a Medic

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