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Student View - Enquiry Based Learning in the Manchester Dental School

by YPU Admin on June 4, 2020, Comments. Tags: biology medicine health, BMH, dental hospital, dental school, dentist, dentistry, and EBL

About Me

Hi everyone, my name is Ayoola Bode and I am a fourth-year dental student at the University of Manchester. Being a dental student has been both a rewarding and challenging experience as you are learning a lot of new information and trying to develop intricate manual skills for clinical dentistry. However, Dentistry is such an interesting and varied course to study.

In fourth year, we’ve been able to treat children for the first time and it’s such a nice feeling being able to reassure them and give them stickers at the end of appointments. During my time in dental school, I’ve taken part in various societies and initiatives, but my greatest achievement has to be being elected as co-president of the Manchester Dental Student Society this academic year. It has allowed me to truly be involved within my dental school and organise events to bring dental students together. Here's a picture of my wonderful committee!

What is EBL?

Manchester Dental School is known for its unique approach to learning by the use of Enquiry Based Learning (EBL). EBL is a form of active learning that utilises posing questions or identifying issues from cases or scenarios which students independently research to develop their knowledge from the questions or issues identified. EBL is carried out within a small group of 8 to 10 students, mediated by a facilitator but it is very much student-led. I see EBL simply as a style of learning that is really driven by curiosity.

There are different roles taken on during an EBL session:

  • A chair – this person leads the group in reading the new case out loud, directs the group to identify any new or unfamiliar words in the case and stimulates the group discussion.
  • A scribe – this person notes down key points during the discussion and learning objectives the group set for themselves.
  • Other students – contribute ideas and engage in discussion.
  • University tutor – acts as a facilitator and ensures that key topic areas to be picked up on have been discussed or added to the learning objectives.

In first and second year, EBL works via a 2-week rotation timetable:

  • Week 1 (session 1): Monday - A new case is discussed in EBL groups (1 hr)
  • Week 2 (session 2): Wednesday - Discuss what you have researched (1.5 hrs)
  • Week 2 (session 3): Friday - Group Assessment (1hr)

At the start of every new EBL case, a new scribe and chair are chosen, so by the end of the term, everyone would have had a chance to take on a more active role. There is an assessment during session 3 of each case which contributes to the overall coursework grade at the end of the year. You do get to do the assessments within your groups, and they are more like activities instead of the traditional question and answer written assessment format which makes them a bit more fun.

In between session 1 and session 2, EBL is always supplemented by lectures, anatomy classes or lab practicals that link to the general theme of the case being worked on for the 2 weeks. For example, in second year, we had a case that revolved around blood pressure and in a lab session we learnt how to take each other’s blood pressure and the anatomy classes for those two weeks involved examining a heart prosection from a cadaver while being taught by an anatomy demonstrator.

How has EBL benefited my learning?

Initially, EBL seemed very daunting and too independent, but each case is so well supplemented by teaching and I eventually adjusted to the style of learning during my first term of first year. EBL is beneficial as it creates a safe space to ask questions and be inquisitive. It has allowed me to improve my ability to explain complex scientific ideas to people in a simple way which in turn has made me more confident in my ideas and a better communicator.

Useful links from Manchester Dental School:


 

Student View - Managing Medicine Multiple Mini Interviews

by YPU Admin on June 3, 2020, Comments. Tags: biology, BMH, interviews, medicine, MMIs, and student view

Introduction

And breathe. In through the nose and out through the mouth. That’s what I told myself as I stepped into the Stopford Building for the first time.

My name is Danish Hafeez, I’m a 4th Year medical student at the University of Manchester. I’m from London originally and the first time I’d ever been to Manchester was for my interview. It was my first medical school interview, so my parents insisted on coming with me and making a trip out of it. So, in early frosty January we made our way along the M6 for the 4 hour drive to Manchester. In the end, I got to have dinner in the town centre and lunch on the curry mile before my interview, which gave me an insight into the places I’d be frequenting once I was a student there!

What can I expect from MMIs?

Like everyone else, I was very nervous about my interview, it being my first official interview ever. More than anything I was nervous about the infamous MMI: “Multiple Mini Interviews”. I had read on the online forums, found interview books to help and practiced with teachers, family and friends. Nothing is quite like that moment when my parents dropped me outside the Stopford Building on Oxford Road, where you spend the majority of your first 2 years as a medical student, and I walked through the glass doors for my interview.

It was nothing like I expected; I was greeted by friendly student ambassadors, who were current medical students, who helped me feel at ease and spoke to myself and the other students waiting for their interview. Seeing all the other students helped to put me at ease to know I wasn’t going it alone. At the end of the day, the medicine interview isn’t about proving that you’re ready to be a doctor but rather about showing you have the potential to become one and the drive to work throughout medical school, which will give you the skills and knowledge you need to be one.

After having some time to sit and get to know the other students, we were all led down a short corridor to the communication skills learning centre (CSLC) for our interviews. This is a mock ward area with lots of smaller rooms coming off an atrium, closed only with curtains. The MMI is made up of 8 stations, each one lasting 8 minutes. You are allocated a certain station to start on and slowly move round to each one until you have done all 8. Not to worry though, there is plenty of time between stations to move between each one and the helpful student ambassadors are on hand to help you move between each one. 

Outside each station will be a brief instruction of what you must do in that particular station which you have a minute to read before starting. My biggest piece of advice is to just take a few seconds to read the instruction and have an idea of what is expected of you in that station, there are no tricks and the medical school wants to help you to be able to demonstrate your best self. In each station, there is usually an examiner and occasionally an actor if there’s role play. Not to worry if the examiner seems serious or doesn’t seem very chatty, they’re just doing their best to stay fair and assess you.

The stations themselves varied greatly in their content. They included roleplaying a scenario, discussing my personal statement, prioritisation, talking about GMC (General Medical Council) principles and instructing other medical students to complete a task! You might finish a station early which is completely fine and doesn’t mean anything has changed. Although 8 stations in 8 minutes feels like a long time, you get so absorbed in the station that the time flies by. Before I knew it, I was thanking everyone and led by the ambassadors back to the front of the building to be greeted by my parents and the long drive down to London.

Top Tips for MMIs

I think the most intimidating part of MMIs is how foreign they are before you apply to medical school. Once at medical school, you’ll have clinical exams that follow the same format (known as OSCEs). Therefore, the best thing you can do is to practice some mock stations whether it be with a friend, family member or teacher. Just practicing doing a few stations in 8 minutes just to feel more comfortable with the format. Other than that, be sure to know your personal statement well and qualities that it demonstrates, ready for any questions that come at you! Compared to traditional interviews, MMIs give you an opportunity to make a good first impression 8 different times. This is great because even if one particular station didn’t go so well, you have 7 other chances to impress the examiners! Try to treat each one as a fresh start and not worry about what you’ve already done. In addition, MMIs are great at giving you opportunities to demonstrate your skills by carrying out various activities e.g. showing empathy when roleplaying, rather than just talking about them as in more traditional panel interviews.

The MMI is a great chance to get a feel at a university you might be at for the next 5 years! If you can try to take some time to walk around the university, chat to the current students about anything you have questions/concerns about and just try to do your best. You’ve already done all the hard work of putting an application together and preparing for the interview!

Note: This is reflective of my personal experience of the Manchester MMI interview and the exact location/station format can be slightly different each year!

Going Further...


 

Student View - The 'Personal Excellence Plan' at Manchester Medical School

by YPU Admin on June 2, 2020, Comments. Tags: biology, biology medicine health, BMH, medicine, Research, and student view

Introduction

My name is Minahil Qureshi and I am currently a third year medical student at the University of Manchester, and prior to this I hold a first class degree in BSc Clinical Sciences. It is a huge privilege to attend a Russell Group university that is so well known for its research, and through the Manchester Medical School, have been lucky to do my own research as part of the course. 

What is the Personal Excellence Plan?

During the five years of the medical course, we undertake a module called the ‘Personal Excellence Plan’ (PEP), which becomes more advanced as each year goes by. This is a module that we have the ability to really make our own and can tailor it to fit our future career goals and research interests.

During my first year, I carried out a group project to create a scientific poster about the effects of the Mediterranean diet on the possible reversal of diabetes. I also wrote a solo report summarizing my main findings. Creating a scientific poster is very different from the kind you may create at school, but thankfully we had a very knowledgeable tutor who helped to facilitate our work and guide our research in the right direction. I really enjoyed this project, as it gave a good taste of how to create and present scientific work, and also how to collaborate with others on research, which is so important locally and globally.

For my second year PEP, I wrote a mini dissertation about my chosen topic: ‘The link between mental and physical health’. I am extremely passionate about highlighting this relationship, because knowledge of the many factors affecting the two forms of health can help us to combat the adverse effects on our wellbeing. My work was greatly commended by my tutor, and they asked for it to be showcased on the website for other medical students to look to as an example. This piece of research is definitely a noteworthy highlight for me thus far as a medical student!

This year, I was really excited to do my third year PEP, as I had transitioned into the clinical years of my degree, and thus the PEP was also set to be more clinical. The work from this project had the potential to directly impact treatments and patient care, and could have even been published in a scientific journal or presented at an international conference! These accolades would look brilliant on any doctor job applications in the future, and so really emphasises how useful this PEP module is at Manchester.

I had been lucky enough to secure my first choice research project, which was going to be based at Salford Royal Hospital in my current favourite specialty: neurology. Neurology is all about the brain and its function, and I truly find nothing else more fascinating, thrilling and impactful. Unfortunately, due to COVID-19, this dream research project was cancelled.

However, I was not distraught for long, due to the wonderful kindness of my research supervisor. Despite the fact that my supervisor is a senior neurologist on the frontline, they took the time out to email me about the possibility of writing a mini report that could get published! This is now something I am doing separately from the PEP module, but this has only been possible due to the professional networking that this module gave me the opportunity for.

I hope this report goes well so that I can repay a little bit of my supervisor’s kindness! At the University of Manchester, it is the eagerness to teach and generosity of talented academics that really makes the experience of being a student here one of a kind. Teamwork makes the dream work!

Going Further...

 

Student View - Work Experience for Your Medical School

Introduction

Applying to medical school can often be a daunting experience that seems like never-ending hurdles! However, piecing apart a good application can be helpful in finding out what will make you stand out from the crowd. My name is Cameron and I’m a final year medical student at the University of Manchester, in this blog I will focus on a key part of any medical school application: work experience.

Classically work experience is perceived to be countless hours following doctors around a hospital. Although this can be useful, many other activities are equally acceptable to talk about in a personal statement or at interview. The key concept universities are interested in is demonstrating that you have experience in a caring environment. This can range from volunteering in an elderly care home, shadowing a GP or other healthcare professional in primary or secondary care, or caring for a friend or relative with additional needs. The idea behind this is to gain an insight into what it is like to care for someone else and crucially what you learned from it.

When it comes to work experience its quality over quantity. Describing your time in a few settings is much more beneficial for your application than listing all the departments you visited in a hospital. The most important part to write about, and a crucial skill to develop for a career in medicine, is the ability to reflect. How did the caring experience make you feel? What did you learn from it? How has this benefited you? And crucially, what have you observed that will change how you act next time? Reflection is a crucial skill that is continuously needed in a medical career. Showing that you can talk about not only what work experience you did but how it gave you an insight into medicine, showed you what skills are required as a doctor, will make your application stand out from the rest. 

Finding Work Experience

It can be hard to find work experience opportunities, but here are some tips that can help:

  • Ask the relevant member of staff at your school about possible opportunities in a caring environment or any work experience schemes ran with the local NHS trust.
  • Look online to find opportunities for shadowing and volunteering. 
  • Phone up your local care home or charity to see if they are willing to allow you to come and help out, whether this is something as simple as chatting to elderly residents and supporting their daily needs.
  • Charities are always welcoming additional support so this experience should be easy to find.

Currently during lockdown, it is difficult to find these opportunities however you can still use your time effectively. Take up a new skill or hobby that you can demonstrate requires the vital skills of a doctor. There are numerous volunteering opportunities observing social distancing that you can take part in, for example participating in schemes that telephone isolated individuals who are particularly vulnerable in lockdown. Also, keep an eye on university websites and social media channels to see what is suggested for those seeking to study medicine.

It’s good to bear in mind that any form of work or volunteering can be discussed at the interview or in your personal statement to demonstrate the skills and experience you have. Whether this is working is a supermarket or helping out with your local sports team. Think out how skills such as leadership, teamwork, reflection, timekeeping, and organisation can be discussed and applied to why you would make a great medical student. 

Going Further...

To find out more about Medicine at Manchester - https://www.bmh.manchester.ac.uk/study/medicine/
To find out about entry requirements and more about the course at UoM - https://www.manchester.ac.uk/study/undergraduate/courses/2020/01428/mbchb-medicine/
Find out ways to volunteer during the Coronavirus pandemic - https://www.gov.uk/volunteering/coronavirus-volunteering

 

Student View - Studying Physics at University

by YPU Admin on May 29, 2020, Comments. Tags: Physics, science, STEM, student view, and UoM

Introduction

My name is Yulia Yancheva and I am currently a third-year MPhys Physics student at the University of Manchester. The Physics course at UoM is a combination of theoretical and mathematics subjects, programming, and experimental laboratories.

How is Physics Different at Uni?

One of the main differences between university and high school is that at university, the degree is focused mainly on one topic, in my case Physics. This allows students to gain a lot of subject-specific knowledge in significant depth. For example, in Physics, we do not only learn different subjects, but we also learn how to think like physicists. This allows us to often know the answer to questions that we have not seen before just because we have enough knowledge of the basic physics laws in the world that surrounds us.

Another major difference between high school and university is that in university, students are mainly independent. This means that it is a personal choice for each student how to organise their time and make sure they are up to date with all new material. There are lectures, tutorials and workshops that help us to organise our time but we do not have a teacher who makes sure we have attended and learned the new material – it is our responsibility to do that! Everybody tries to keep up with all the new lessons because at the end of each semester we have exams where we can show what we have learned during the semester.

Physics at Manchester

I have studied a very diverse range of subjects during my university degree in Physics. For example, in my first year, I had a module on astrophysics and cosmology during which I learned about stars, planets, telescopes and the Universe in general. I also had a module on quantum physics and relativity, which was taught by Prof Brian Cox. During this module, I learned about time and space as scientific concepts as well as about black holes and even various scientific paradoxes.

Apart from the theoretical subjects, I also spend a lot of time in the experimental laboratory. For example, in my third year, I was working with graphene – this is a material that was discovered by Professor Sir Andre Geim and Professor Sir Kostya Novoselov at The University of Manchester for which they were awarded the Nobel Prize in Physics in 2010. I spent four weeks in which I was investigating the electrical properties of graphene and I found the work very interesting and engaging – it felt like real research. Here is a photo of myself doing a task that was required for this experiment – I was handling ammonia and hence the safety goggles and the face mask.

At the University of Manchester, Physics students work in pairs in the laboratory. We also have lab demonstrators who introduce us to the experiments and help us if we get stuck. However, in third and fourth year, most of the time students work with their lab partners without the demonstrators being there all the time. This makes the lab experience unique – there is a lot of brainstorming going on between lab partners and it almost feels like solving a puzzle.

Going Further...