Welcome to the 4th week of the Virtual Medicine Open Day: giving you an insight into each of the UK medical schools and the opportunity to ask current medical students about the realities of studying there!
This post is written by Sophie, a 3rd year medical student at Newcastle University.
In the 2 years I have spent at Newcastle University, I have thoroughly enjoyed the experience and I have learnt a lot about myself and medicine. Being a regional medical school, I have had the opportunity to explore the North East and learn about various diseases and illnesses. I’m hopefully going to give you some insight into what it’s like to study medicine at Newcastle in this post.
- An Overview of Teaching Methods
- Typical Timetable of a 1st year Medical Student at Newcastle
- The Non-Medical Stuff
- 3 Top Tips For Applying to Newcastle
An Overview of How We Are Taught
At Newcastle, the first two years are taught using an integrated approach. Our teaching is made up of lectures, group seminars, clinical skills sessions, and dissection. Newcastle teaches in a case-based format. Each case takes on average 3 weeks to cover, and the case itself is about a patient with a condition of a particular body system. In the case we learn about the body system the case is related to (e.g. The patient could have Otitis Media which is an ear infection, therefore we would learn about the physiology of the ear).
Our seminars are usually in groups of 10-15 whereby a single tutor takes the session. The sessions are interactive and cover anything from pathology to communication skills. Anatomy is taught in the Dissection lab where in groups of 10 or lower, an anatomy demonstrator (usually a doctor during their surgical training) goes over anatomical aspects of prosections and helps us learn the different parts. A common misconception of dissection at Newcastle is that the students actually dissect the cadavers in year 1 and 2, however this is incorrect as we only observe prosections.
We have 10 clinical days spread over year 1 and 2 – 5 at a GP and 5 at a hospital. In year 1 and 2, students just observe health care professionals and occasionally take a history/do an examination. Our clinical skills sessions are taught in a room that resembles a hospital ward, and that is when we learn the various skills for our OSCE.
A Typical Timetable of a 1st Year Medic
I can’t access my first year timetable any more – however there is no difference between the timetable in first and second year besides what case is being covered. Just be aware that the ear usually isn’t covered in first or second year at Newcastle.
The Non-Medical Stuff
Newcastle is a really welcoming university. Its fresher’s week has loads of exciting events going on, they have something for everyone. It also does not matter if you don’t drink at Newcastle as there are plenty of events for people who don’t drink to get involved in. There are lots of societies at Newcastle, pretty much any sport you can think of and many other interesting ones. For example, I played Medics Netball and was a part of the medical society, which puts on events like a free bar every Friday, and various bar crawls.
One of the reasons why I love studying at Newcastle is the city. There is so much to do; visit the beautiful quayside, view art at the Baltic, go to the beach at Tynemouth or visit the pubs in Jesmond. The locals are really friendly and always there to help you if you need. There are lots of different accommodation options at Newcastle, ranging from a 2 -30-minute walk. I was in the furthest away accommodation; however this was still only a 30 minute walk, and they offered a free bus so it really wasn’t a problem.
Pros of Studying at Newcastle
• Regional Medical school – You get to travel around the North East, with the opportunity to spend some time in the Lake District. Therefore, you will meet people from all walks of life and see a variety of different conditions.
• Medical society – As said above, medical society is a huge part of studying medicine at Newcastle. With weekly socials it really gives you the opportunity to make lots of friends and have a good social life.
• Close to the beach – Newcastle city center is only a 20 minute metro journey from Tynemouth and Whitley Bay. The beaches are beautiful and there is lots of fish and chip shops and other restaurants along the sea front.
Cons of Studying at Newcastle
• Regional medical school – you may have to move out of Newcastle and live near Middlesbrough if your 3rd, 4th,or 5th year hospital is in the Tees base unit. There are still nice places to live in this area, however its further away from all the business of Newcastle.
• Case based learning – I enjoy the style of learning at Newcastle as it allows me to put the physiology of a particular system into context, using the case. However, some people think the cases make it difficult to fully cover all of the medical content. As the work is focused on a clinical case the anatomy, pathology, drugs etc. are not worked through systematically.
3 Top Tips For Applying to Newcastle
1. Strong UCAT – Entry into Newcastle is highly based upon your UCAT score. The unspoken ‘boundary’ is a score of 700 or above, however I know people who achieved below this and still got in. If you’re looking to apply here make sure you fully prepare for your UCAT.
2. Be friendly – Newcastle is known for being a really friendly and welcoming city. At my interview, the interviewers were all very kind and relaxing, and encouraged us to have fun and just loosen up. An enthusiastic introduction and a smile will get you along way.
3. Know about the city – In my interview, the interviewers appreciated it when I demonstrated interest in the city. Do a little bit of research about the city and its history. If you get asked in the interview about what draws you to the city/university, then you’ll have something to say that is a bit outside of the box from what they usually would hear (e.g. great reputation etc). If your interviewer is a geordie – they will love this, as the locals are so passionate about the city.
Thank you Sophie for such an interesting insight in to Newcastle! Find out more about her on Instagram:
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