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 Abbie a second year medical student at Warwick University. 

I’ve now been at Warwick a year and a half meaning I have survived Phase One and (thanks to Covid) I will finish Phase Two in January. It was my first choice (between a choice of Kings College London and Warwick) and we are the biggest Graduate course in the UK so there is a LOT to cover. 

Before you keep reading Warwick is a graduate entry course only!

Contents

  1. An Overview of Teaching Methods
  2. Typical Timetable of a 1st year Medical Student at Warwick
  3. The Non-Medical Stuff
  4. Pros
  5. Cons
  6. 3 Top Tips For Applying to Warwick
  7. Q&A

An Overview of How We Are Taught

The degree is split in three phases here so it’s easier to talk about it this way. Phase One is first year, Phase Two is second year, and Phase Three is years three and four. 

In first year, you cover 90% of your pre-clinical teaching. This is the only year (bar the first term of year two) that you are a pre-clinical medical student. Warwick uses a mixture of lectures, CBL, interactive anatomy sessions, clinical skills sessions and we use plastinates for our anatomy models. If you don’t know what they are, google Body Worlds. We use specimens from the same company.

We get patient contact early. In the first term you will go out into the community to chat with patients in their homes and in the second term you will go into hospitals and see patients with consultants in bedside teaching sessions. The first term of second years you have “clinical Mondays” and you officially start placement in January of Second year. 

First year, first term is lecture heavy however on Mondays and Thursdays, half of the day is CBL meaning you get some time off. CBL is case base learning and essentially you work as the doctor going through the case. However, the focus isn’t on the diagnosis but why you are carrying out each test, why symptoms present the way they do and why certain tests come in a certain order. You have a new case every week and work in groups of 6-9 pupils plus a facilitator to keep you on track. Anatomy teaching is split between lectures, interactive sessions with radiology and exercises, small seminars (15 people) and sessions with the plastinates. We get the entire of Wednesday off to do whatever we like with whether it be self-directed learning, sports or Netflix binging!

A Typical Timetable of a 1st Year Medic

The Non-Medical Stuff

Warwick is known for our peer teaching schemes. We are supportive of each other and competition doesn’t really rear its ugly head here. We are naturally more career aware being that little older than our undergraduate counterparts, so we like to teach and get involved in research. We have a huge non-science support network here as Warwick admits non-science graduates and we run student seminars for first years where second years teach. We also have anatomy and physiology days for the first years. 

The MedSoc also runs lots of societies and we have our own sports teams (cycling, rugby, hockey, basketball, football, skiing etc) and lots of specialty societies and charity societies such as street doctors. We are essentially a university in itself! 

Warwick university itself is a campus university but there are very little rooms offered to first year medical students, so most people tend to live in neighbouring areas or in Coventry. Unlike most other medical schools, our placements are not far with our farthest hospital being 30 minutes from the university meaning we have one of the smallest “catchment zones”. This means no long commutes and you stay generally in the same areas, so you don’t have to move to a new house to be near placement or university. First year it is recommended you live close to the campus as you will be here 4/5 days a week, but you can move further out after first year. 

Past the first year you can also work as a residential tutor on campus which is looking after a block of first years for discounted accommodation as you count as a Post-Grad !

Pros of Studying at Warwick

• Supportive community – no one is left behind and rankings aren’t really spoken about 

• Warwick generally does well in the SJT (50% of the final exams)

• The university does listen, changes that we as students have suggested have been implemented within the year we suggested them

• Short commuting distances to placements 

• Supportive staff who are never more than an email away

• No undergraduate students on the course, youngest person here is 21 years old, oldest (in my year) is 44 years old.

• Broad range of backgrounds means CBL is fruitful!

• Early contact with patients 

• Outside of lectures/ placement tasks you do not have much extra work in the form of case reports etc to do. 

• You get post-grad perks such as access to post-grad study areas and the opportunity to become a residential tutor.

Cons of Studying at Warwick

• First year is INTENSE. You learn everything most undergraduates do in two years in a year. It’s doable, but you need to be disciplined and keep up with your work

• The medical school can feel like a bubble. You are separated from the rest of the university by a path and the main student body doesn’t really know Warwick has a medical school so we don’t have any representation in the SU in the forms of a medical student. 

• It’s a graduate course so you have to pay the first £3500 of your first-year tuition fees. 

• Coventry public transport is not the best in the world. 

3 Top Tips For Applying to Warwick

1. Nail the Verbal Reasoning section. Warwick love this section so it will be the most important section of your UCAT.  

2. Make sure you get references from your work experience supervisors early. They will want references from your supervisors so grab them as early as possible! 

3. Warwick are very much looking for people doctors. They are not interested in someone who can recite off the entire Krebs cycle but can’t speak to another human. Work on your communication skills in hospitals. Work Experience students can also chat to patients! In fact, they will love it as lying in a bed all day is incredibly boring!


Thank you Abbie for writing all about Warwick! You can follow her up on her socials and blog:


Your Turn To Ask Any Questions!

Thank you for submitting your questions, they’ve now been answered by a current student – click below to read the answers!

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Posted by:Life of a Medic

One thought on “What’s it Really Like To Study Medicine at Warwick Medical School?

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