Medicine at Newcastle is a course like no other. Newcastle is the dream student city: vibrant and fun, with a very welcoming atmosphere from both students and locals alike. It is an incredible place to study. The medical course is challenging and stimulating but also a lot of fun!
The method of teaching in the first two years with medicine at Newcastle is officially termed ‘case-based learning’. This sounds complicated but means that the teaching is based around a patient or ‘case’. For example, one of the first cases was on the heart and this discussed a patient, Paul, who has a heart attack. Over the course of the cases (usually two weeks each), we look at the normal structure and function of the respective organ system, its pathophysiology (what can go wrong), applicable treatments or ‘management’, and also any relevant clinical examination – just what you’d expect from any medical degree.
Most of the taught material is lecture-based but it’s supported by seminars that relate to the case’s content. Seminars, though, are perhaps more through a ‘clinical reasoning’ (application of knowledge) lens. Textbook knowledge (from lectures/seminars) is also accompanied by clinical skills sessions, where we learn how to perform examinations on patients. I find that Newcastle Medical School frequently emphasises the importance of being a ‘well-rounded practitioner with good academic knowledge’; basically, excellent communication skills and sufficient knowledge.
Obviously, the style of delivery has changed quite a bit during COVID-19, with the majority of learning moved online: all lectures and seminars so far have been over Zoom, with very limited in-person teaching of clinical skills.
Newcastle is famous for its nightlife and (at least, before COVID) it does not disappoint. For some, the medical social life revolves around ‘Medbar’. This is a weekly event, every Friday night, where medics gather to chat, meet people from other years, chew over the week’s events and, of course, drink a (sensible!) amount that is within our limits.
Of course, if drinking isn’t for you, there are plenty of other fun ways to spend your time in Newcastle. There’re numerous fun societies to join, such as Wilderness Medicine Society who organise loads of trips away – who doesn’t love hiking with some beautiful scenery? Some rather competitive (and some less competitive) sports teams, such as the Social Tennis Society and Running Club, are also options.
Tips when applying to Newcastle
- – If you’re wanting to apply to medicine at Newcastle, put a little bit of extra work into the UCAT. There’s a reasonably high score requirement to get an interview.
- – Be yourself – try to relax in your interview. They want to get to know you and your interests (and not just pre-rehearsed answers).
- – Wherever you choose to study, studying medicine is a privilege, but you mustn’t let it take over your life: it’s essential to have other hobbies and interests. A diverse social circle outside of medicine is, I would say, essential to stay sane!