Medicine @ Hull York | Q&A
These questions have been answered by “medic_diaries16”, a 5th year medical student at Hull York Medical School.
What’s the selection process for HYMS and what do they prioritise?
HYMS have 3 stages of the selection process: The first stage consists of academic screening ( GCSEs and A-levels or degree qualifications if you’re a graduate), if you qualify for these, you move onto the 2nd stage which is selection for interview (which depends on your UCAT SJT band, UCAT score, GCSEs and contextual data) and all the applicants are ranked and the applicants with the top scores are invited for interview. After the interview, your interview performance, UCAT SJT band and contextual data(widening participation based) determines who gets an offer.
Further detailed information about this can be found on the HYMS website.
In terms of prioritisation, if you meet the minimum academic requirements, have a good UCAT score and good UCAT SJT band then you should have a decent chance at obtaining an interview. After the interview it does depend on your interview performance as said previously. Personal statements are more to detect any red flags and to screen out those applicants with serious red flags rather than using them to determine who gets a place.However, I am not an admissions expert so best to confirm this using the website above or asking admissions at HYMS directly.
Do you know if the selection process differs for international students?
I am not an international student so I can’t help much on that as I am not aware of the details. Your best chance would be to go on the HYMS website information on international students or email/call admissions directly. However, as far as I am aware the selection process is the same as those applying from the UK.
In the first 2 years do the medics at Hull and York mix with each other at all?
In the first two years, you are either based at Hull or York so you hardly see students from the other site. However, we do have the exact same lectures at the same time through video linking so you are getting the same educational experience. Also, there are opportunities such as the cross campus fair in first year when you can meet the other site students or you can engage with the other students through any societies that may plan inter-site events etc and social events such as end of year or mid-year balls which everyone attends. But predominantly in the first two years, you only mainly see students on your site.
Which accommodation do most medics stay at?
Again, this depends on whether you are at York or Hull. I can’t comment on York as I was based in Hull for the first 2 years. In first year most people apply for university student accommodation which are all on site at the university in Hull such as taylor court, the courtyard or the newly built westfield court or even university owned student houses. In second years, most people decide to rent student houses with the friends they’ve made but this is something to only think about much later when you’re here. Again, you can choose to live in university accommodation in second year if you wish to do so. In the later years, free accommodation is provided if you are at any other site other than your base site ( so Hull or York – where you were for the first 2 years). If you are in your base site so hull for me, you have to find and fund your own accommodation which again can be a student house you rent or NHS/university accommodation.
What’s the social-life and work-life balance like at HYMS?
With good organisation, you can have a good work-life balance especially in your first two years. At HYMS, we have quite a bit of self directed study for example for PBL so you have to do that in your own time and if you are organised and get your work done then you can easily find plenty of time for socialisation throughout the week. Also, Wednesdays in the first 2 years are half days so a lot of social events and society events happen on wednesdays which you are free to attend assuming you have managed your time well on the other days. HYMS have their own societies and social events separate from the uni throughout the year organised through medsoc and individual societies that give you plenty of socialization and there’s something for everyone! You get to take advantage of the general university events and the medical school’s own societies events as well! Again, this is all down to organisation and good time management but it is possible to keep up to date with your studies and have a decent social life.
What are exams like in first year?
In first year, you will have both formative and summative assessments. Formative assessments are throughout the year to test your knowledge and progress and to highlight any areas of weaknesses so for example we have written applied life science and health and society formative papers in November and March, we also have formative anatomy spotter exam and your OSCE (later on in around March time) is also formative in first year. Formatives are like mock exams so while they are useful to test your knowledge, they do not affect progression ( whether you will pass the year and go onto the second year or not). Summative assessments ( that determine your progression so whether you have passed the year and can go into second year) happen all at the end of first year. They consist of 3 written papers and an anatomy spotter exam. Upon passing these, you will progress onto second year, however if failed you get a second chance to resit these exams in the summer.
Written papers are multiple choice questions with the exception of the health and society paper which may contain some essay based questions.
Anatomy spotter is when you have to answer questions about the anatomy of the different organs by looking at prosections laid out in front of you in the lab.
OSCE – objective structured clinical examination is going through a series of stations( a bit like an MMI) where you have to for example take a history or do an examination. In first year, it is limited to simple history taking and examination skills.
What societies have you joined?
So, within MedSoc, there are lots of specialty specific societies so there’s pretty much a society for most medical specialties like HeartSoc or SurgSoc etc. These societies do lots of events throughout the year giving you more information about the speciality and providing you opportunities to do stuff that will boost your portfolio up for example conferences related to the specialty. I was part of GPsoc and teddy bear hospital( we go onto primary schools doing various activities with primary school kids and teaching students more about what doctors are, making them less afraid of visiting the doctor etc) in the first 2 years. Later, in my clinical years I joined the committee for both societies, becoming vice president for Gpsoc and treasurer for teddy bear hospital ( which again is a great chance to do something outside of your daily routine and learn useful skills which can look good on your portfolio). There are also non-academic societies both within the university you are based at and medical school organised ones such as we have a HYMS hockey team, York medics football club etc.There are also plenty of other great societies which you can find out more about here: Student societies
Also, I was part of the ISOC a lot in my first 2 years, the ISOC both at Hull and York for any muslim students interested are also great for organising social events for muslim students and where you can meet other muslim students doing other courses.
How friendly and inclusive are the staff and other students?
The staff are great at HYMS, the student support system is great and extremely useful if you are struggling with anything academically or personally at any point. HYMS in general is a very friendly medical school perhaps because of its smaller size and community-like feeling. Initially when I started, there was perhaps a lack of diversity as I didnt have many female muslim students in my year however as the years have gone on, there has been more diversity. Even in later clinical years, the staff based at the hospitals are really friendly and always there to help if you need it!
What’s the ratio of lectures to PBL sessions per week?
In first and second year, you have about 5-6 lectures in a week approx ( this does vary weekly and some weeks you may have more) and then you have 2x one hour and a half PBL sessions weekly. A lot of the PBL outcomes are covered in the lectures as the theme of the week is based on one topic say diabetes etc. For some PBL learning outcomes, you might have to do some self directed independent research for ( but this is a skill you will need to have in any medical school).
Do you have to attend lectures or can you just watch them online?
All the lectures in first and second year are recorded so you can watch them online and most students do this however attending lectures in real time also has its advantages such as the ability to ask questions there and then and less time spent on the lectures later on. However, I would recommend to initially attend the lectures and see how you do and then you can decide what suits you better, watching them online at your own time or attending them.
Are you able to choose your clinical placement sites in clinical years?
Generally the medical school aims for you to have experienced all 5 placement sites in your 5 years at HYMS. These 5 sites include: York, Hull, scunthorpe, grimsby and scarborough (my favorite site). You can choose a buddy who you are allocated to a site with however so far you can’t choose your sites, you are allocated these from the medical school as they want everyone to have gone through all 5 sites throughout their time at HYMS. However, if you have certain exceptional reasons for why you need to be at a specific site then you can request for that with your reasons but that’s only for people with genuine reasons who need to stay at a specific site.
Where can you stay during your clinical placement years when it isn’t at your base site?
If you are not at your base site( Hull or York) then you will be provided free NHS accommodation from the medical school for the duration of your placement at that site.
How big is the step up from A-level?
I would say, the step up from A-level isn’t about difficulty increasing but more about the fact that the amount of knowledge you have to learn increases. Medical school is not hard as in the concepts are not difficult to understand but it can be hard due to the vast amount of content you have to learn and remember! But this is the same regardless of which medical school you go to! However, medical school and university in general is a lot more independent compared to a-levels,you are not spoon fed information anymore. You have to be proactive and manage your own learning as no one will chase you up to do a certain thing, you have to be organised and manage your time well.
Is there anything you would recommend to read over or revise to help prepare for starting medical school?
No, personally I think the summer before medical school should be used solely to relax and get your stuff ready to take to uni. You will not miss out on anything by relaxing and just enjoying the summer before an intense degree. When you start medical school, most places start with a block where you cover the basic foundations of medicine to get everyone on the same page as remember lots of people are either coming from gap years or graduates so don’t worry about revising to prepare for medical school.
Do you find the communication teaching useful?
Yes! We have clinical skills teaching right from first year! Learning how to talk to a patient, take a good history and how to do various examinations for the different systems is so valuable! This is the part of the course that from the start makes you feel like you’re really becoming a doctor. Having the teaching means that when we go onto clinical placements in the hospitals and Gp, we can actually start talking and examining patients and have somewhat of an idea about what we are supposed to ask etc. Communication is vital for life as a doctor and HYMS are well known to produce doctors with excellent communication skills and that goes down to the communication teaching we have right from the start in first year.
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