• Izzy McNestry

A Typical Week in the Life at Bristol Medical School


From the perspective of a first-year student

What is the typical week of a medical student? No matter where you go to medical or dental school, learning is very different from learning at university and will take some getting used to. The routine requires more independence and self-motivation, but the workload shouldn’t put you off if you’re passionate about the degree.

At Bristol, one of the most attractive aspects of medical school is the course structure and early clinical exposure. As a first-year student, typical days would consist of 2-3 lectures and a tutorial which I found was a good balance of teaching and interactive learning. Bristol uses a CBL (Case-Based Learning) structure for its second and third terms, with its first term dedicated to the basics of physiology, anatomy, consulting skills, and biomedicine.


CBL (case-based learning) Learning


CBL and PBL (problem-based learning) are common types of teaching in UK medical schools. What this involved in Bristol was being introduced to a ‘case’ on a Monday, followed by training on the same topic for the following two weeks, then the cycle would repeat. CBL suited my learning style well It allowed me to organise myself, selectively spending more time on subjects that interested me or that I found challenging. This flexible approach gave me time to be involved in other aspects of the university, primarily sports and socials.


Clinical Exposure


Within weeks of joining the medical school, I talked to real patients alongside a GP and loved it. Bristol recognises the importance of consultation skills and gives students many opportunities to put them into practise.


In summary, any medical degree demands your attention and focus, but won’t take over your whole life if you don’t let it. Taking time to get used to your new schedule is hard, but everything gets easier with practice, and your first year will be over before you know it.


It is important to thoroughly research all of your university choices and applying tactically is important. If you have any questions about which universities to apply for, we would love to hear from you!