Medicine @ BSMS | Q&A

These questions have been answered by Evie (2nd year) and Eleanor Deane (4th year) medical students at BSMS.

Evie’s questions + answers:

What is the ratio like between undergraduates and graduates in each year?

I would say there are between 30-40% graduates in each cohort – my year seems to have the highest proportion so far!

Do you know any dyslexics on your course and do they feel supported by the disability service at BSMS?

Yes, my Boyfriend! He’s a fourth year med student at BSMS. He gets extra time on all essays and exams, as well as a separate room to do his exams and feels reasonably supported, when he started he had a meeting with the disability team to sort out what requirements he would need. 

Are assessments both summative and formative?

Yes they are. Formative assessments are usually used to help you keep track of your learning, if you do badly in them it won’t affect your grade, the school might ask you to check in with your tutor or student support if there’s anything you’re struggling with. 

What are the format of the assessments e.g an essay?

There’s lots of different formats, in the first two years you have 2-3 essays, end of year exams and a clinical exam. 

In years three and above, you get an additional assessment called CBD (case based discussion) where you talk about a patient’s diagnosis/treatment/prognosis to senior staff and you do them once per term. I haven’t done one yet but apparently they are quite terrifying so wish me luck! 

In fourth year you do an IRP (independent research project) in which you submit a presentation and a small dissertation-like document. Finally, in fifth year, it’s almost all clinically based and you have your final exams and situational judgment exam.


How often are students expected to write essays yearly?

hey’ve actually started to decrease the amount of essays in each year as previous cohorts said the workload was too much. So in my first year I only had two essays to do, one in first term and another in second term. It’s going to be the same for my second year and then I think it increases to three in Year 3. 

What are the interviews like? Do you have any advice for them?

The interviews for BSMS are MMI (multiple mini interviews) where you’ll be grouped with about 5 other prospective students and you go around 6 stations – with 5 minutes at each station with a minute break in between each. I really enjoyed it as a panel interview can seem so daunting whereas this almost seemed like speed-dating for medicine! My advice would be to try and practice timed responses to get used to the pressure a bit. I would definitely recommend looking at answers for questions like ‘what do you think are prominent healthcare challenges in Brighton and Hove?’ and ‘why study medicine and not nursing or paramedic practice?’ as these seem to be popular questions. Keep abreast of healthcare updates in the news and take it a step further by critically thinking about what the pros/cons would be and always try to relate back to the pillars of medicine, core values of NHS etc. 

Do many students choose to intercalate?

Quite a few! Medicine is a marathon and not a sprint, so I love that you can take a year out to explore something you’re interested in, medical or not. It’s a great chance to do something fresh, live somewhere different and get some credentials to your name. But at the same time, you shouldn’t feel pressured to intercalate for the sake of having more letters after your name, you’ll regret it and risk being miserable for a year. It’s a great experience to have if you want it, but not essential to get a good job or be a good doctor!

Eleanor questions + answers:

Are there any intercalation options within the medical school or do you have to go to other universities?

You can choose to intercalate on any of the intercalated degrees offered at the University of Sussex, the University of Brighton, and Brighton and Sussex medical school. So there are around 14 different options if you choose to stay in the area. You can read about these in further detail here.

How do you find all the different methods of anatomy teaching used? Which do you find the most helpful?

I found using a combination of different methods useful and it depended on the topic. For memorising information I found making flashcards based on the information BSMS provided very helpful and effective.

What format are the student selected components in? E.g. reports, placement

The student selected components generally take place one a week or every other week. These are usually classroom based, but some have a placement element. They are generally assessed through a presentation or an essay.

How are students allocated between the Brighton or Sussex university campuses?

All students will have lectures together at the medical school on the Sussex university campus. For accommodation, if you choose to live in halls you can apply to the halls that you prefer. For example I chose one of the halls on the Sussex campus as it was cheaper than the other Sussex halls and the Brighton halls at the time. The halls are generally more expensive if you choose to have an en suite bathroom or catering. I got my first choice of halls and I think at the time you ranked them in order of preference. 

Approximately how many students are there in BSMS?

For my year there were around 120, but this has been increasing and the new intake is 200 in a year. 

How is the BMAT used in the application process?

There is a detailed guide on how the BMAT is used here. The requirements for BMAT score are generally not excessively high and widening participation factors are taken into consideration. 

How are your clinical years organised?

In third year you rotate through Medicine, Surgery, Elderly medicine and psychiatry. In 4th year you rotate through the specialities (8 x 5 week rotations at the moment) such as obstetrics, gynaecology, neurology, rheumatology, and infectious diseases etc. In 5th year you have regional placements which are the same rotations as 3rd year but generally in different locations as well as GP and Emergency Medicine placements. For further information on this, see this link. 

I’ve recently started a blog, which includes this blog post on money worries as a medical student.

Thank you Evie and Eleanor for answering these questions! You can find out more about them below!


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Posted by:Life of a Medic

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