What Medical School Is Really Like You’ve decided you want to pursue a career in medicine and to achieve that end you’ve checked out all the medical schools, shortlisted and applied to a few, shadowed doctors and checked out different loan possibilities. While all of these are absolutely important, there is one aspect most premed students tend to overlook and that is what life at medical school really is like. If you enter med school expecting it to be anything like your high school, you are in for a huge shock. Med school is different from any other school you’ve ever attended with bigger challenges to face and more hurdles to overcome but at the end of your 4 years in med school, you will have grown in leaps and bounds professionally as well as personally. What makes medical school so challenging? The amount of knowledge that you are expected to assimilate within a short period of time is what makes medical school so challenging. At the outset, everything is exciting and you will be very eager to understand and learn and absorb all of the information being sent your way. However, as the days, weeks and months go by, you will begin to wish that the studying would just end. You will go through extended phases of sleeplessness, have to put in extensive hours of study and will end up burning the midnight oil far longer than you ever imagined. Class structure Typically, medical school combines a mix of lectures and problem-based modules. In the first type of curriculum, you will listen to lectures in a classroom and then take computerised tests. This structure gives you the clinical knowledge and understanding of the basic sciences. In the problem-based learning method, a group of students work as a team to solve patient cases. The cases are all hypothetical. For example, you may be presented with a case in which a middle-aged patient is suffering from high cholesterol and heart disease. You are then presented with a particular scenario and have to solve that case based on the diagnosis that you and your team have made. A physician monitor will supervise the entire session and the dynamics of the group will be created by that person. Within all that chaos is a sense of achievement Yes it’s hard work, harder than you may have imagined but think about it, you would be one of the few who were chosen from among thousands of applicants. Obviously the school authorities would have seen something in you that you may not even be aware of. When times get tough, the tough get going and even though it may not seem like it during your first or second year, you will get through all of those gruelling exams and practicals over the next few years and you will graduate and become a licensed medical professional at the end of it. That is something nobody can take away from you and that end reward is entirely worth all of the hard work you would have put in during your years in medical school. Eye-opening hospital work experience International hospital shadowing for school and university students Find out more You might also be interested in ... The 10 fears of (almost) every medical student Can I sit the UMAT if I already have a degree? How long is medical school and what will you learn there?