What our students say
JONAS SANDBRINK, 1ST YEAR STUDENT AT TRINITY COLLEGE (2017-2020):
Hi! I am a first year medical student at Trinity College Oxford. As I am from Germany, studying medicine at Oxford and in the UK was not the natural choice. Nonetheless, I am so glad I am here - the teaching is great and there are many intriguing people around.
The pace of the coursework is challenging but with a little time management it’s not impossible to keep up with. Next to coursework, 5-6 times rowing training per week, and going to interesting talks and debates, I still find time to relax and go out with my friends. The thing I like best about the course is the variety of material being taught, even in 1st year! Every week is different and new material is covered, every week you get to know more interesting facts! Learning anatomy in the dissection room on prosected specimens (conducted by surgical trainees that teach you weird mnemonics) and learning biochemistry, physiology, and pharmacology in extremely well conducted laboratory practicals is always interesting and fun.
It is amazing to learn everything about the human body from incredible tutors and lecturers that dare to prove textbooks wrong with the latest research and love to discuss their subjects. Tutorials give you the chance to ask questions and really make sure you understand the topic covered. I am very much looking forward to doing my own Final Honour School research project at the end of 2nd year - although I already enjoy the amount of primary source literature we get in touch with. If you think that pursuing research on top of practicing as a doctor is for you, definitely apply to Oxford! Another amazing thing about Oxford in general, but also the medical community, is how international everything is - lecturers and students from all over the world come here to work together. The medical student body is one of the most diverse at Oxford, hence you get the chance to make friends with people from many different backgrounds and with a wide variety of ambitions. There are many societies where you can catch up with people from your home country, but to be honest, college life and especially studying medicine surrounds you with so many lovely people that I do not miss home too much.
Even though the interviews might sound daunting at first they are quite an exciting experience in themselves, I got to meet many interesting people, some of whom I am still in contact with. It’s also a real first taste of uni life and a unique experience of Oxford and its colleges, so just apply and give it a shot! Studying medicine at Oxford is a challenging but very rewarding experience - you will not find a place where the teaching is better or the community more supportive!
ALEXANDER GRASSAM-ROWE, 2ND YEAR STUDENT AT CORPUS CHRISTI COLLEGE (2016-2019):
Hi, I’m Alex, a 2nd year medic at Corpus Christi College. Oxford medicine has provided me with opportunities to talk to world leaders in certain fields, and prepared me with the knowledge to understand what they’re saying, and more importantly, to engage with the discussion critically. The best part of pre-clinical medicine at Oxford is that you dig beyond simply trusting what a textbook says, and examine the evidence, within its context relating to the experience of the patient’s illness and the doctor treating the disease. The course is rigorous, rewarding those with an interest and the diligence to persevere. The Oxford pre-clinical course has equipped me with the skills to go forward into academia, clinical school, or adventures such as biotech. However, whilst providing a comprehensive understanding of the medical sciences from the scientific viewpoint, the course does not neglect the patient centred aspects of medical practice – the highlights of my time here have included our trips to shadow GPs and talk to patients. Furthermore, the psychological aspects of medical practice are not neglected, with great options for us to get involved deeply in understanding how the mind works. The pre-clinical course truly provides a holistic viewpoint from molecular biology through to organism-wide physiology and complex psychosocial aspects of the medical sciences. I am currently about to embark on my lab project, which every 2nd year starts after their end of year exams. I will be working on ascertaining the efficacy of a drug to stop arrhythmia in certain diseases.
Oxford pre-clinical course also provides you with many skills putting you at a high world level. For example, the essay-based element of most tutorials and examinations requires students to truly interact with what they are studying and be able to dynamically manipulate the information to present it in a relevant, meaningful and easy to read manner. Being dyslexic and not having studied essay topics at A-levels meant I had trouble at the beginning but with the support of my tutors and other resources at Oxford I now truly feel confident in essay writing, being asked by external groups to get involved in medical textbook editing etc. Studying at Oxford isn’t all work, and it’s encouraged for students to get involved with various elements of their college and the university-wide clubs and societies. I’m involved in a choir, act as my JCR’s welfare officer and still have time to attend the many number of fascinating talks going on in Oxford about a variety of subjects or enjoy a drink with friends in one of Oxford’s beautiful pub gardens or green spaces etc. The collegiate system of Oxford lends itself well to medicine, becoming close knit with your fellow medics at your own college and other colleges, whilst mixing with non-medics at your college, ensures a diverse range of interactions and experiences. Furthermore, Oxford has extensive financial support for those from lower-income backgrounds and this is not a barrier nor a hurdle to anyone studying at Oxford from enjoying all that there is to offer here. I cannot thank Oxford’s pre-clinical medicine course enough, nor recommend it highly enough. Believe in yourself and take the first steps in applying!
JESSICA PRINCE, 3RD YEAR STUDENT AT ST JOHN'S COLLEGE (2014-2017):
Hey! I’m a 3rd year medical student at St John’s College. Studying medicine at Oxford has surrounded me with people who have a passion for what they do and aren’t happy to just accept what’s written in a textbook but instead question how and why, it’s brilliant. The course here is different to many medical schools in that you spend the first 3 years learning the scientific basis of clinical practice before spending your final 3 years in a hospital and GP surgery. This has given me an excellent understanding of why we give a particular drug to a patient, its mechanism of action and the key experiments that have lead to a drug discovery, for example.This will be invaluable not only in clinic but also if we choose to pursue academic medicine. Also, as a taster of academic medicine, at the end of 2nd year all medical students choose a research project that interests them and carry out cutting edge research with a lab, for example I am currently looking at personalising medicine for liver cancer. This is a unique experience to Oxford and many students even have their data published in reputable scientific journals such as Nature! Another unique aspect of the course is the predominant essay based style of examination during the first 3 years. The ability to portray your opinion concisely and logically is a very useful, transferrable skill which this course has taught me. Studying sciences at A level meant I had no previous experience in writing and was utterly terrible however, over the last 2 years I have found a real interest in this and now write and edit for a number of journals. Tutorials have been a real perk of studying at Oxford, the opportunity to discuss a particular topic in detail with a world renowned professor and your colleagues is an incredible way of learning. After 3rd year you also get the option of transferring to a London medical school for your clinical years and there are a number of clinical placements available abroad in Sri Lanka and Australia for example enabling students to experience the diversity of medical care in different areas of the world. To develop this further, in 6th year after finishing exams in January, medical students have 3 months of elective, often funded in part by your college, to work wherever you choose and develop your interests further. Outside of medicine, Oxford has a fantastic social scene; I’m part of a band, take part in a number of sports and make the most of the night life here too. There are over 300 societies and if that’s still not good enough for you and you want to set up something new and exciting, the university will be willing to fund this. So, if I haven't sold medicine at Oxford to you yet, Oxford was just last week ranked top university in the Telegraph. Go on, give it a shot, you’ve got nothing to lose.
JOSEPH DELO, 2ND YEAR STUDENT AT MAGDALEN COLLEGE (2008-2011):
Medicine is a challenging subject, at any university. The thought of reading it at Oxford seemed, at first, daunting, but turned out to be one of the best choices I’ve ever made. I thought I’d be out of my depth and struggle with the fast pace and demanding work, but instead I found that, though the work is harder than A-level, the course is designed to ease you in, and tutors and lecturers are very helpful and understanding. The unique tutorial system helps, in that topics are covered in-depth in very small groups and this means weaker areas can be targeted. There are a few each week, linked to what is covered in lectures; they require reading and sometimes an essay to be written beforehand, but are designed to stretch you, and see how you think. The interview on applying is much like this, intended to see how you tackle a problem, to which there often isn’t a right or wrong answer. I’ve found the course very interesting, stimulating and extremely enjoyable. The work is challenging but it is an extremely rewarding and fascinating subject, especially at Oxford where there is a lot of research going on. The lecturers are at the forefront of their fields which means topics are covered in depth, by people who are obviously passionate about their subject, and have often made many of the discoveries that are taught! There are lectures and practicals during the week, but much of the afternoon is free, allowing plenty of time for tutorial work and extracurricular activities, of which there are many at both university and college level. I’ve been part of my college’s MedSoc committee for two years as well as coxing for my college rowing teams. The BA in Medical Sciences, done in the third year, is a unique opportunity to experience research firsthand and study, in depth, options which interest you most.
The Medical Sciences Teaching Centre is a well-equipped, new building with lots of labs and the dissection rooms where there are weekly sessions looking at prosected specimens with surgical trainees. I’m really glad I chose to study Medicine at Oxford would definitely recommend it to anyone considering applying.