Skip to content. | Skip to navigation

Life as a pre-medical student: A typical week

vicky hargest medical pre-medical studentVicky Hargest tells us about the typical week of a pre-medical student. As she gets into the routine set by her timetable will it be all she expected or are there a few surprises on the way?

Medical school so far has proved an exciting challenge. There has definitely been a steep learning curve but when studying towards a career like medicine it certainly doesn’t seem like a chore.

The timetable for pre-med students does not alter much from week to week, however there is enough medical content to hold our interest and make us remember what we are working towards.

A biological beginning

Monday mornings begin with biology where we have been learning about the subject from scratch. Having done an AS-level in biology this is welcome revision for me.
The first few weeks began with the foundation topics such as cell structure and function, osmosis and active transport and DNA to name but a few.

It has proved a great way to start the week, as after this gentle beginning comes what I can only describe as a chemistry marathon. From Monday afternoon until 4pm on Tuesday we are fast becoming acquainted with Avogadros number, alkanes, metallic bonding and ligase reactions to name but a few of the topics covered so far.

Chemistry in a year

It was a little daunting at first knowing that we would be covering the equivalent of A2 chemistry in one year and we are certainly moving at break neck speed. However we are all so focussed that (despite the odd headache) we are actually starting to enjoy the lessons.

It helps that both the tutors are extremely enthusiastic and have PhD’s so know their stuff. In fact one of them actually wrote the Letts chemistry revision guides so it’s no wonder we often pin him down after lectures asking for further explanations.

Fascinating physics

Wednesday mornings consist of physics. Having been through the basics of Trigonometry and learning SI units we are now transferring our new found ‘skills’ to measuring the pressure exerted on hips and why pregnant women have back problems. When put into a more medical context it is easy to see why physics can be a fascinating.

Medical biology a surprising challenge

After the more ‘taxing’ subjects it is back to the medical biology for the remainder of the week. It would be wrong to make the assumption that this is the ‘easier’ of subjects. I certainly had that opinion before starting this course but as the weeks progress is obvious that biology is actually very intense due to all the facts we have to learn.

The content is immense, histology, immunology, disease and populations, infectious diseases, statistics! In one session I came across 27 words or processes I had never encountered before. With exams coming up after Christmas I’ll certainly be looking at ways to improve my long term memory.

Although studying on a pre-med course may seem a little detached from ‘real’ medicine, that could not be further from the truth. The content is almost always related to health and the human body and with visits to the dissection rooms coming up I can’t help but feel like a true medical student.

About Vicky

Vicky Hargest is a medical student at the University of Sheffield. Although she has an arts degree (health studies) she has taken the pre-med route (six year course) in order to learn foundation sciences.

She is the first in her family to enter higher education - proving that medicine is for people of all ages and backgrounds.

Having worked in medical education for the last six years she is now seeing things from the other side of the fence.

Related links