Medicine @ Anglia Ruskin | Q&A
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These questions have been answered by Elif, a third year medical student at Anglia Ruskin University.
On an average week with lectures and placements how much free time do you normally have? (Hours each day roughly)
Below is an example of a typical week at Anglia Ruskin Medical School
As you can see our days start at 9am and finish at 4pm. We have three lectures every morning, lasting until 12pm. We then get an hour for lunch, followed by non-lecture based teaching in the afternoons.
In the afternoons we are split into four groups of 25, and we have rotations that we go through every week. For example, on Monday, my group had Histology, on Tuesday and Friday we had SML (Student-Mediated Learning), which is essentially the afternoon off to do your own studying, and on Thursday we had Clinical Skills.
We have 5 days per year for GP placement and one afternoon off per block for our trust placement.
So in terms of free time, this depends on how you individually manage yourself. The Medical School tries to ensure we finish the day (regardless of if we are on placement or afternoon teaching) by 4pm, so we have time to study and relax. We also do get the entire Wednesday afternoon off, which most people use as time to pursue hobbies, participate in their societies and practice sports. Despite the teaching being rather intense with full-on days, we do maintain a good work-life balance with roughly 2-3+ hours of free time each day and potentially more on the weekends.
Where are some typical placements?
We are taught in blocks, so in first year, we spend the first 7-8 weeks going over ‘principles’ which comprises all the basic science concepts we need to know, followed by 6 weeks of Respiratory, 6 weeks of Cardiovascular and 8 weeks of Gastrointestinal. We aim to have 1-2 afternoons per block at a trust placement where we will be with a consultant who specialises in the block we are currently learning. The consultants have our timetables thus ensuring to correlate what we do on placement to what we’ve been learning at university. These placements start at around 1pm and finish at 4pm, but depending on where you are you can expect to return back to campus later than that. In terms of GP placement, we have 5 days over the year where we spend the entire day at our allocated Practice. The GPs typically allow us to do our own supervised consultations, observe their consultations and get signed off for specific tasks we are set by the Medical School. Many of the GPs try to book patients in for the days we will be there, so again we can see patients with diagnoses related to what we are learning. We also have a ‘block placement’ at the end of the year in first and second year, where we spend 2-3 weeks in a hospital – I was allocated AMU and ICU in my first year which I enjoyed thoroughly as I met such a variety of patients and even had the opportunity to take my first set of bloods! We assist on ward rounds, get to scrub into surgeries but most of all it’s a way to practice our clinical skills.
Can you summarise what students wear on placement and to lectures?
Placement: Smart, modest clothing, eg a shirt with trousers/skirt
Lectures: No specific dress code, but you need to look presentable eg jeans/tracksuit
What buildings do the medical students work in?
We have a designated study zone in the medical school building, but we also use the library in the Lord Ashcroft building.
Is there on-site parking available for students?
Students are able to park on campus but you will need to purchase a permit. However, there are some free parking spaces adjacent to the campus itself which most students opt for.
What fitness facilities are there on and nearby campus?
We have a brand new university gym next to campus with affordable student rates. There are also other gyms not affiliated with the university but close enough that students go to those too. On campus we have a sports hall for indoor sporting tournaments (i.e futsal, badminton etc) and for sporting societies to practice.
How often are you assessed both in formal and informal tests?
Formatives (mock/informal): 1 at the end of every block, general formative SBA in December, spot test in January, OSCE in February/March (3 stations)
Summatives (formal): 2 x 240 question SBA papers, OSCE (10+ stations – the number increases as we progress through medical school), and an anatomy spot test (20 stations). We are also examined on our Portfolio which we complete throughout the year, consisting of an SSC (Student Selected Component – essentially an EPQ), reflective pieces, taking a patient history at GP practice and clerking a patient on our trust placement.
Is the content as heavy as other medical schools or more?
From what I hear about the workload at other medical schools, I’d say ARU is pretty even and in some cases more content-heavy as we do have fifteen lectures per week with afternoon sessions almost every day.
Do you know how many students are commuters?
About 50% commute from around Essex and London.
What is the UCAT cut-off score?
There is no strict cut-off score at present as the school is new, however a score of 600+ is standard.
How do you revise and make notes with the teaching at ARU? (for a student starting in September)
90% of our teaching is lecture-based, so most of my revision is centered around learning the relevant information on powerpoints. My method of revision may not work for everyone, but I personally review my lecture notes, then read around the topic on YouTube/Osmosis/Oxford Handbook (as it’s impossible to learn everything through a 45 minute lecture!) and I make summary notes on a spreadsheet in Q+A format for active recall. I also review the learning objectives on the powerpoints to ensure there are no gaps in my knowledge.
Would you recommend buying any textbooks in advance? Is there the option of borrowing at the library?
I would honestly say there is no point in buying any books in advance. The Medical School will send you a list of essential and suggested books, but unless you solely work from textbooks, I’d advise against it. There are many free pdfs available online, the BMA has a borrowing scheme and there is also a wide selection of books in the library for you to borrow. I bought a few books before medical school, however I do not use them nearly as much as I thought I would as I now get the majority of my information from online pdfs and YouTube videos.
Thank you Elif for answering these questions! You can find out more about her below:
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