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How to Prepare for Medical School

Have you applied to study medicine at university? Perhaps you’ve secured a place at a medical school and you want to know how you can best prepare before your course begins? We’ve compiled a helpful guide below which has plenty of advice for those who are preparing for medical school.

What Can I Do in High School to Prepare for Medical School?

There are a few things you can try to do in high school to not only prepare for medical school, but to see if it is a course that you might enjoy.

Volunteer at a local care home/hospice/day centre

Volunteering with the elderly and/or sick will give you an impression as to whether working in the care sector is right for you. A lot of universities like to see that you are passionate about helping others - an important trope for medical students - and that you have gone above and beyond to dedicate your spare time to helping them. 

Read around the subject

Obviously it is highly unlikely that you will have any experience of what medical school is like before applying to study there. Therefore it is essential that you read around the subject and get to grips with what you could expect. Sign up to magazines/journals such as the British Medical Journal; watch documentaries about hospitals, GP surgeries, etc.; read books by current or ex-professionals to understand from an insider’s perspective the demand of the work.

Attend a Medicine summer course

Immerse yourself for a few weeks in the subject in a university summer school and get an authentic experience of what studying medicine at university could be like. 

From fast-track one week courses in the spring to practical-based learning programs in London and traditional Oxbridge-style learning, we offer a variety of medicine courses for you to choose from. Click here to find out more about them. 

Will a Medicine summer school improve my chances of getting in?

It is of course impossible to say whether attending a medical summer school will improve your chances of getting into medical school. There are many elements that make up and have a deciding factor on your application; predicted grades, your interest in the subject, your extracurricular experience and how well the admissions team believe you would fit into both their university and the course itself. 

Attending a medical summer school will of course help your university application to glow. Showing the admissions team and tutors that you spent your spring and/or summer holidays participating in a medicine course only shows your dedication and passion for the subject. 

However, it is important to stress again that a summer course cannot guarantee that it will help you to get into university, and you shouldn’t be deceived by other summer school companies that promise it will help your chances. It is just another achievement to add to your CV or personal statement to show universities that you are passionate about the subject.

What are the best summer activities for a medical student?

Attending a Medicine summer course

Obviously attending a summer course is a great way to spend your summer as a medical student as you can further develop your knowledge on the subject whilst also meeting new friends and enjoying lots of new experiences. 

Oxford Summer Courses offers a range of medicine summer schools for you to choose from which all help you to further develop your knowledge of the subject. From the traditional Oxbridge-style learning  program in Oxford and Cambridge, we also offer courses in London which adopt a more practical-based learning approach with industry visits, so there is a course to suit you and your style of learning. 

It’s also important to take some time during your summer holidays to relax and enjoy the break. That’s why all of our summer courses adopt a balanced timetable of academic sessions and extracurricular activities/day trips. We’ll ensure you have plenty of time to relax and also explore the city you’re studying in and nearby famous sites. 

Volunteering in the care sector

As already mentioned, volunteering some time to help those who need it is a great way to spend some of your summer holidays. 

Whether you’re raising money for an important medical-related cause or taking the time to help someone, you are not only offering some invaluable experience to someone else’s life, but you’ll also be getting hands-on experience of the care sector which will be invaluable to your career in the medical field. 

Travel and relax

Your summer holidays will feel like a well deserved break when they arrive. It wouldn’t be a bad idea to take the time to unwind, see friends/family and travel, so you’re feeling refreshed and ready to tackle the new academic year when it arrives. 

What should I do in the summer before medical school?

Read ahead

Medical school will be intense and often challenging, so, if you want to get a head-start, it may be worth doing some pre-course reading or pre-studying. Whether you want to read a few journals or brush up on a topic you aren’t as clued up on, any work you do over the summer will only help you more when term begins.


Even with the cover of student loans, university can be an expensive experience. Spending a few months working and saving will help you to pay for food shops, entertainment, course books or extra expenses that may crop up during your time at university.

Have fun!

Studying medicine is a long and intensive subject, so it’s important you take some time in the summer before your studies begin to relax and prepare for a busy few years of studying. 

Take the time to hang out with friends and family, travel, and do all the things you enjoy! Because when term starts, your timetable will be looking pretty full!

Got more questions? Get in contact with us on Instagram, Facebook or Twitter

Or if you want to learn more about university summer schools for medicine and how they could benefit you in your last years at school, read our helpful blog here.

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Have you applied to study medicine at university? Got lots of questions about how to best prepare for your first day on campus? Take a look at our article on how to best prepare for your first day at medical school.

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