Welcome to the 12th 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 Faye Bate, a 3rd year medical student at Anglia Ruskin University.
Most prospective medical students who are interested in ARU have concerns over the fact it is a brand new medical school. As a member of the first cohort, I’m going to deep dive into all the issues and surprising positives that are attached to being a pioneer. As well as this, I’m going to talk more about the teaching style, the medical school itself and my overall experience throughout the last 2 years.
- An Overview of Teaching Methods
- Typical Timetable of a 1st year Medical Student at ARU
- The Non-Medical Stuff
- 3 Top Tips For Applying to ARU
An Overview of How We Are Taught
The curriculum at ARU is integrated. Right from September we are taught the clinical relevance of what we are learning and have our first placements in the November of first year. Occasionally we have ‘CBL’ style lecture (more interactive and with an increased clinical focus) however the majority of our lectures are taught in a more didactic manner.
All our lectures are in the morning and are taught as a year group (100 students) and in the afternoon we move into smaller groups for workshops, clinical skills and placement.
Workshops and clinical skills are taught in groups of 20-25 and placement groups are usually made up of around 6 students on hospital placements and 2 for GP placements.
One morning a week we also have dissection for 2 hours. At ARU we do full body dissection and are the only medical school in England that offers thiel embalmed cadavers which preserves a more life-like appearance and feel in comparison to formaldehyde.
The first 2.5 years of the course are taught in system blocks. Each block focuses on a system of the body and during the block we are taught the physiology, anatomy, biochemistry, pathology and pharmacology relating to that system. For example in the respiratory block we dissected the lungs, learnt about the pathology of lung cancer and had clinical skills sessions teaching us how to use our stethoscopes to examine the lungs.
Half way through 3rd year our teaching becomes hospital based. As it is an integrated curriculum, the distinction of preclinical/clinical isn’t as well defined however the first 2.5 years at ARU could be considered the equivalent of ‘pre-clinical’ as teaching is predominantly campus based.
A Typical Timetable of a 1st Year Medic
Here’s an example timetable from our first week of the respiratory block. This timetable just includes our lectures which are taught to the whole cohort in the morning and afternoons are reserved for smaller group work like clinical skills and placement. We always have Wednesday afternoons off and then normally 1 or 2 additional afternoons off too.
The Non-Medical Stuff
Chelmsford is a quiet city and the campus is also pretty small. However, if you involve yourself in an active sport or society, you won’t get bored. If you do miss the hustle and bustle of a bigger city, London is less than 40 minutes away on the train.
I’ve been part of the cheerleading team for 2 years which has kept me fit as well as introduced me to some of my best friends. As well as sports, there are also plenty of Medicine speciality societies which is admirable considering the med school has only been open for 2 years.
Pros of Studying at Anglia Ruskin
• Support offered by staff (you aren’t just a number)
• Med school community (I know all my cohort and a lot of the staff by their first names)
• Early patient contact
• Brand new building and state of the art facilities
Cons of Studying at Anglia Ruskin
• The element of trial and error that comes with being a new establishment
• Small city + quiet campus
• Other people’s prejudices about going to a new med school
3 Top Tips For Applying to Anglia Ruskin
To decide on who receives an interview at ARU, candidates are first screened to ensure they meet the academic criteria (anyone who doesn’t will be rejected at that point) and then the remaining candidates are ranked based on their UCAT score. Personal statements are not considered pre-interview.
Because of this, my advice would be to:
1. Ensure you meet academic criteria so that you aren’t wasting a choice.
2. Achieve a high UCAT score to maximise the chances of being offered an interview
3. Spend a lot of time preparing for the MMI’s if you are given one. One of our lecturers has said to me before that they interview a lot of students so you will need to make a positive impression if you want to be offered a place. The pillars for marking are available on the ARU website so when answering practice questions, focus on these.
Thank you Faye for writing all about studying at Anglia Ruskin! You can follow her up on her socials:
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4 replies on “What’s it Really Like To Study Medicine at Anglia Ruskin Medical School?”
Very useful blog Faye. I am from Wales (Carmarthen) as well. I just wonder how often do you go home from ARU Chelmsford campus, what type of transport (please provide extra details about public transport, cost, hours of travel, medical school workload in relation to going home etc)?
Hey Faye. Many thanks for such a detailed and comprehensive insight. My question is I’ll be starting my medical school journey as a Biomedical Science student and will transfer at the end of year 1 to year 2 medicine. Will l miss out on a lot of year 1 teaching/lecture content as Biomedical Science year 1 is very different from medicine year 1? Thank you.
Hey, you may want to contact Faye directly using the social links above as she can’t reply yo the comments under this post.