Medicine Year 1 Review 💉

It's come to the end of summer and the start of university again so I thought I would write up a little cheat sheet for those preparing for Year 1 Medicine and the specifics at the UCL course.
Medicine is extremely hard and challenging but most importantly, you have to remember why you are doing it and think of the end goal. Having completed first year, I struggled but I also passed. It doesn’t matter what grade you get because at the end of the day, a pass is a pass. You’ll have mostly lectures and science to learn but also, the opportunity to speak to patients and they’re the moments everything suddenly seems worthwhile.

The year, at UCL, starts with Foundations of Health and Medical Practice. I honestly didn't get the module for the first part. Until I spoke to one of the course organisers, I couldn't grasp why they were teaching us about all these seemingly random things. But first off, a lot of the content many will have covered before either by general knowledge or through A-level and GCSE courses. They are trying to make sure everyone has the same level of understand because different courses and exam boards teach a selection of different material. Some of the things I knew others didn't, like blood groups, and vice-a-versa, like meiosis. And then they through in some brand new stuff that completely throws you, like embryology. But don't worry too much because the new stuff is usually covered again in later modules. Finally, hey quickly run through investigative medicine but you won't get tested on it this year. 

Infection and Defence is the second module of year 1 and seemingly the most put together. After the shambles of the introductory module, Foundations of Health and Medical Practice, it’s nice to have a solid timetable with clear end goals. Also, the single best answer questions put at the end of most lectures and a final lecture each week make everything click and you realise how you will be assessed in the future.

Circulation and Breathing was my favourite module because it's the start of anatomy and it's more clinically focuses. A lot of patients have respiratory and cardiac problems, and while everyone has infections, the second module is more of a scientific module about the immune system rather than treating patients. Also, conditions from this module will become more chronic and long-term by the time we are practicing professionals due to the ageing population. 

Finally, we end on Fluids, Nutrition and Metabolism. The unit has recently changed due to feedback making it less packed than before thanks to ongoing feedback from students. I think the metabolism content from Charmain is taught extremely well but the anatomy is atrocious. I could barely understand it and pelvis is terrible. Spend extra time on the anatomy for sure, especially nerves and blood vessels. 

Throughout the year you have small group work with tutors who are experts in their own field. Use them! They are here to help. Unfortunately, how helpful they are depends on whom you get. My first year was terrible because he barely understood us and wanted to teach what he wanted rather than ask us but my second was amazing. He really let us choose what we were struggling with and opened up the room to questions constantly. 

The final key module is the now called CPP (Clinical and Professional Practice). Go to the lectures! If you go to the lectures and listen, you won't need to revise these topics, giving you more time to revise the science. Use the time in Thursday's tutor sessions and implement the knowledge. Lastly, the revision sessions at the end of the year are really helpful and run through all the key facts ready for exams the next week. 

There is a brief run through of all the important details for Year 1 Medicine at University College London and some quick tips along the way. 

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