Work Experience For Medical School?! What You Actually Need To Know!

Hello hello!

IMG_9480

I get a lot of questions about the sort of work experience that is necessary to help build a successful medical school application. There are a variety of different ways that you can prove a commitment to medicine and science, and the development of characteristics necessary to make a good doctor. Below are a few ideas that I think could help you with this, and certainly helped with my application!

1. Hospital work: This is fairly obvious, but it is important to try and get some sort of shadowing experience in a hospital. Particularly because, when applying for a degree that can last up to 6 years, it’s important to prove to yourself, and to the universities you’re are applying to, that you understand what you are committing to. During your time in a hospital, try to get some exposure to as many different specialities as possible, so you can get some idea of the variety within medicine.

2. Volunteering: Volunteering at somewhere like an old people’s home, or a hospice, is a great way of demonstrating you possess the empathy and selflessness needed to be a good doctor. These are great places to gain experience, as you are often given a lot more responsibility, and there is more scope for long term involvement; I volunteered at a local home for two years.

3. Tutoring/mentoring: Leadership, reliability and a passion for education, are characteristics expected of a doctor, and can be displayed by taking it upon yourself to teach younger students. It’s a great way of showing your commitment to helping others, and ability to undertake responsibility, while making a little money as well!

4. Research: When applying to a university that offers an intercalated medical degree, it’s important to show a dedication to science. A great way of doing this, is to get involved with some research. You can do this by contacting professors, or researchers, at local universities, involved in areas you are interested in. I shadowed a PhD student, working in cognitive neuroscience, over one on my summer holidays, and really enjoyed the experience.

Processed with VSCO with m3 preset

This may seem like a long list, but do not worry if you feel like you can’t manage everything! So long as you feel that your extra-curricular activities show that you are developing the skills and characteristics that will help you be a good doctor, you’re on the right track!

Medical School Interview Advice: How I Got Into Cambridge

This is a new video on some tips and tricks, that I feel helped me do well when interviewing for medical school at Cambridge University, such as:

  1. Practice, practice, practice: Interviews are very odd environments to be in, particularly after happening most of your life sat in classrooms, absorbing information. This may the first time you are asked to really debate and explain your idea s and understanding of different topics. Practising this with teachers, or other doctors, can help you formulate your own style of effectively putting across information
  2. It’s good to keep an eye on any healthcare or NHS related news, as it’s not unlikely that you may be asked about these. Bear in mind that some things may not seem specifically healthcare related, but can still be topical, e.g Brexit .

For more tips, watch the video below:

The 5 Hardest Things About Studying Medicine

  1. No rest for the wicked! As a medical student, you will have one of the densest timetables at your university. At Cambridge, while some friends may have 2-3 hours of lectures a week, you can easily have double that in day, not to mention the supervisions, reading, and essays that also need to be completed. You can often feel like you’re missing out on some of the social events, that most of your friends have time to do!
  2. When studying medicine, it’s too easy to feel guilty when taking time off; there’s always a new disease you could look up, another practical skill you could polish. When there’s a never-ending list of skills and knowledge you need to acquire, it can often feel like doing anything other than work is slacking. Creating a work-life balance is incredibly difficult mentally, even is you have set personal time aside.
  3. Medicine, while a science, can also be incredibly emotional. Often you are dealing with, not only sick (or even dying) patients, but their family and friends. Even outside of the hospital, often we may have lectures that may strike a chord, particularly if you are dealing with things in your personal life. Having to remain strong, in what may be an emotionally draining setting, requires a hell of a lot of resilience!
  4. Competition! While I love my medic friends, sometimes it can feel as if we are all competing against each other; for a better exam result, for a place on paper, or the attention of a consultant. This can sometimes make it hard to completely relax around these friends, and be open about times that you are struggling, or even about success!!
  5. The uncertainty: in the current, British, political climate, the future of the NHS is not very clear. As medical students, this uncertainty about what the future holds for us, and for our patients, can be a great concern. Attitudes of hospital staff, and those they treat, have been affected by the instability and disorganisation of the NHS, and lack of support by the government, and this can sometimes make it a difficult environment to work in.


However, do not let this put you off! There are plenty of reasons to love and appreciate medical school, and my top 5 will be revealed in my next blog post!

Promises To Myself, For My Final Year Of Medicine


This Monday I start my final year of medicine. My last year of SIX. At the beginning of each year I like to set aside some time to think about my goals for the months ahead, and this is all the more important as I enter the final stage of my education.

Firstly, my focus is going to be on my mental health. Medicine has always, and will always, be stressful, and it’s important that I really learn to deal with that, before I leave the safe space that is Cambridge, and enter the scary reality of the NHS.

I also desperately need to focus on my physical health and fitness. It’s very easy to use my workload and many commitments as an excuse for not getting to the gym, or eating out instead of making a healthy meal, and things will only get worse when my work hours increase. It’s important for me to create a routine where health and fitness are a steady part of my routine, before my foundation year starts.

However, my primary focus is going to be on ensuring that I am the best junior doctor I can be. Quite frankly, the idea of being let loose in a hospital is terrifying. I still don’t feel ready to diagnose and treat patients on my own, and, in reality, I wont be alone; I’ll always be working as part of team. But, I want to make sure that I’m an asset, as opposed to dead weight. I’m going to target most of my energy towards improving my clinical knowledge and reasoning, so I can best serve my patients when I FINALLY get that title.


What are your goals and targets for the upcoming academic year?

Frequently Asked Questions!

Hi Guys, This video is collection of a few of the questions that I get asked regularly, about being a medical student, at the University of Cambridge. I thought it would be more efficient to answer them in one go, instead of sending the same reply individually. Hopefully this is useful, if there are any questions I’ve missed out, post them below!

My Favourite Places In Cambridge

In this video, I take you around my favorite places in Cambridge; the places I go to when I want to wind down, and forget about all of the work I have to do!

  1. St John’s College: This is the college I am at! I’ve never quite gotten over how beautiful it is, and I’ve been here for almost 5 years.
  2. The market: I’ve always loved the market, particularly the food stalls. In a city as small as Cambridge, I’m very luck to have access to fresh food, and produce, from all over the world. My favorites are the falafel stand and, of course, the Nigerian food stall.
  3. The Botanic Gardens are just so stunning. Even in the winter, there is still such a bright mixture of different plants, flowers and trees. I’m always amazed at the ability of the gardeners here to grow such diverse and tropical plants, in England, of all places.
  4. The Fitzwilliam Museum is one of my favourite places to just wander, and waste a few hours. They also hold great events, such as ‘Love After Dark’, where you can spend the evening amongst amazing works of art.

I hope you found this video fun, and got an insight into the world of Cambridge, outside of lecture theaters. Let me know if you’ve been to visit, and the different places that you loved!

5 Things I Wish I’d Known Before Medical School | Cambridge University

Hi Guys! This video is about 5 things I wish I’d known before I started University. The fact that I’m at medical school, puts a bit of a unique spin on it. Hopefully this gives those of you thinking about applying to medical school, some idea of what it’s like here!

If you have any questions, please comment below, and I’ll get back to you, as soon as possible!