For pre-clinical medicine (years 1 and 2) I’d say the vast majority of people worked independently. I know some people did used to revise in groups, but with pre-clinical medicine it really is about learning the content and making sure to establish your own personal understanding of it. Nobody can really help with the learning that just has to be done that’s why I think a lot of people just got on with it and did it themselves. Additionally, at Manchester, our course is very much structured around working in small groups for example the PBL sessions are essentially a compulsory session in which you’re engaging in group revision. Because we already have those established group teaching sessions, that’s probably why a lot of us did other bits of study independently.
In the first 2 years (beyond compulsory sessions) the only form of group studying I engaged in was a collaborative effort on PBL with my flatmate in year 1. We basically wrote up notes to each of our PBL cases together, splitting the case in to 2 between us. Just before OSCEs we also memorised the muscles together as we both served as motivation for each other to get it done and we practised examinations on each other. It was always just the 2 of us and I feel like large groups in pre-clinical medicine, where the emphasis is on learning content a lot more, just wouldn’t work very effectively. But…everyone’s different and that might work for some.
For clinical medicine however, group studying is quite a vital element to your study schedule because a lot clinical medicine relies on technique and method – things you can only achieve by actually practising! So over this year I did practise with a group of friends many times throughout the year – sometimes in a group of 4 and sometimes in just pairs. That group practice is key to making sure you actually know the examinations, assessing your history taking skills etc and everyone does kind of have a little group they work best with.