If you are reading this, you may be preparing to start medical school this September or thinking about applying. And you may be asking yourself what a medical student timetable looks like. So, in this post, I am going to give you a look at just that. I just completed my first year at Lincoln Medical School so I will be giving you real screenshots of my first year medical student timetable. Coming into first-year I did not expect such an intense timetable. We have a lot of 9 a.m’s and I mean a lot, and sometimes 5 or 6 lectures a day. And days off ehhhh well there’s not that many of those. I really don’t want to put you off, but I want you to be prepared! You will get used to it, and if you love the course you won’t mind so much.
In the first three years of the course, we have approximately 16 to 18 hours of teaching contact time with around 20 hours of independent study per week. Which was a huge adjustment from when I was in sixth form because I usually had 3 lessons a day and the rest free periods. So, jumping back into more contact time was tough.
Now going into the real life medical student timetable. Firstly, I want to say that a typical week at Lincoln Medical School (LMS) is never regular. Our timetable varies from day to day, week to week. I know at some medical schools and other courses you have a fairly regular timetable which follows a pattern each week. But at LMS no week is ever identical to another.
Each year is split into two semesters, at Lincoln medical school we kind of work in 6-week chunks. Where at the end of every 6 weeks we have a ‘formative’ assessment which doesn’t count to your actual degree. This semester was much lighter than the second which is main the reason I am splitting this post into semester 1 and semester 2. It has more days off and time for other things but this is good to allow you to settle into university life.
Monday– Mondays usually involve lectures in the first half of the day and finish with a practical. If we had histology lectures in the morning it would usually be followed by a histology practical in the labs or computer room looking at virtual microscope slides.
Tuesdays– Expect anything from Tuesdays. You could have a day full of lectures, workshops, 2-hour seminars or an even a hospital visit. In semester one, you only have 1 hospital visit but you can probably bank it being on a Tuesday.
Wednesdays– This is typically clinical skills days. A lot of universities have Wednesday afternoons off for extra-curricular activities and Lincoln Medical School does follow suit. So, you will never really have anything on Wednesdays past 12 pm. We have sessions in the clinical skills labs in smaller groups that usually last 2 hours. Clinical Skills sessions are usually my favourite part of the week. Its where we learn all the things that make you feel like a doctor, for example how to carry out a respiratory exam.
Thursdays- Usually just lectures or an occasional practical session.
Fridays- TGIF! Fridays were usually always my ‘light’ days as sometimes this was my day off. If I did have anything on a Friday it was never too intense or a tightly-packed. But this changed in semester 2 when I had no more Fridays off and turned into more of a 6-hour day.
example 1: Week In Semester 1 (This Example Is Taken From Week 3)
Example 2: week in Semester 1 (this example is taken from week 7)
Semester two is when things start to get a bit more interesting in my opinion. Each week has a theme e.g. Asthma, Heart failure, Breast Cancer etc. and every Friday at the end of the day we have a 2-hour Plenary session which is run by an external clinician. These plenary sessions are to round up the week and answer any questions we have. Another exciting thing in semester two is that we start anatomy teaching and have fewer histology sessions. So, you will start to see anatomy lectures and practical sessions timetabled. We also start our first optional module of the course in semester two and have more placement days. This includes 2 hospital and 2 GP visits.
Mondays- Often around 3 lectures in the morning with an anatomy practical in the afternoon. The practical anatomy session lasts for 1.5 hours and is taught in your seminar groups. We learn anatomy at Lincoln Medical School using prosections as opposed to dissection.
Tuesdays- You could be on a placement, having a seminar or in lectures. Hospital visits are half-day placements (9-12 pm) which you attend in groups (never the whole cohort at the same time). GP placements are a full day visit (9-5 pm) and you will either be by yourself or in a pair.
Wednesdays- Basically the same as semester 1. Clinical skills practical or 3 lectures in the morning and the entire afternoon off.
Thursdays- Typically 5-6 lectures on Thursdays of varying topics.
Fridays- Usually 3 lectures in the morning, lunch, 1 more lecture and then the Plenary. The lecture after lunch is the ‘setting the scene’ lecture for the anatomy practical on the following Monday. They purposely put it on the Friday in hope that you will prepare over the weekend for the practical. Then every Friday afternoon we have the 2-hour plenary session which is led by an external physician who specialises in the field that the week was based on.
Example 3: Week In Semester 2 W/o Placement (This Example Is Taken From Week 21)
Example 3: week in semester 2 w/ Placement (this example is taken from week 25)
So, what is a typical week in the life of a medical student? Well, it’s never really ‘typical’ at Lincoln Medical School but I hope you now have a better insight on what it could potentially look like when you start medical school. I didn’t do a foundation year so I couldn’t shed light on what a foundation year medical student timetable looks like at LMS in this post. But if you’re interested, I’m sure I can ask one of my foundation year friends for you guys. Let me know! As always, my social media are open to questions or if you want to talk about anything medical or non-medical related. See you in the next post!