Psychology research isn’t just about dogs drooling when
hearing a bell or rebellious student inmates going mad in a university
basement. There’s so much more and this is what I am going to focus on in this
blog. I want to tell you how I got into Psychology research and what it
Before going into the more hardcore stuff, I would like to
talk a bit about myself. I am a 20-year-old Romanian studying BSc Psychology at
the University of Manchester. During high-school years, my studying profile was
on hard sciences (i.e. Computer Science, Maths, Physics, Chemistry), and I only
had one year when I was studying Psychology so it wasn’t intense at all. I did
further studying alongside what we were taught in class and I took part in a
county-level Olympiad where I achieved 4th place. In the last year
of high school, I had grown an interest in Neuroscience so I decided to apply
for the University of Manchester unique joint-honours programme – BSc Cognitive
Neuroscience and Psychology. Eventually, I chose Manchester because it was a
red-brick university and the overall living costs were cheaper than London
(which, at the time, was my dream city). All summer before coming to
university, I read a lot of Psychology-related books and articles (Freud, Jung,
Eysenck, some basic research studies, etc.). I came to university, started my
course, and after one month I have switched to the BSc Psychology course.
The first semester was hard. I didn’t exactly know what I was
supposed to do - how to look up trustworthy sources, how to reference, how to
write up an essay, what to study and read. The academic system I had just
gotten out of was completely different from the British Higher Education
system. Imagine changing the tap water from the goldfish’s bowl to distilled
water and me being the goldfish. By working my way through the referencing
guides provided by the university, paying attention to the feedback and discussing
with my academic advisor about my insecurities, I was able to feel more
confident in my studies.
My Journey into Research
At the end of the first year, I applied for a position as a
Research Assistant for a study investigating whether religion and implicit
attitudes play a part in gay men getting jobs. I had to write a cover
letter saying why I was interested in that position and show that I had the skills
needed. I had some experience in the HR field from my involvement
in societies, so I wrote about that and about my interest in social psychology
and recruitment. I also had to tailor my CV for the position by including my
research skills developed throughout 1st year’s curriculum and my
I was accepted, and over the summer I had to write
a literature review analysing previous theories and evaluating research
methods. I worked hard on it and gathered 9 pages of work - which has earned me
the appreciation of the coordinator. We started the process of testing the
participants in the second semester of the second year, as there were some
problems with the ethics of the project. As the research assistants, we guided
the participants through the research process. Unfortunately, we had to stop
when the Coronavirus situation began.
The next research project I was about to undertake, as part
of the Short Work Placement Unit, was aimed at investigating the sense of
community experienced on the BSc Psychology course. I was supposed to do a
literature review, spending some time looking at variables that might influence
this effect, and decide accordingly how the project will look like in terms of
the research methodology which thrilled me. Unfortunately, this project was put
on hold due to lockdown reasons as well. On the bright side, The University of Manchester offers a variety of research programmes and internships which I could undertake in the future, so I am not panicking.
My advice for you would be to always keep an open mind and
let yourselves be submersed by whatever you find that interests you. Explore,
research, experiment. See what appeals to you the most and pursue it
passionately. Be conscientious with your work, and always keep an open mind.
For more information, please visit these websites:
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
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
- University tutor – acts as a facilitator and ensures
that key topic areas to be picked up on have been discussed or added to the
In first and second year, EBL works via a 2-week rotation
- 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
Useful links from Manchester Dental School:
- Follow this link to get a more detailed description of the
course content at Manchester Dental School:
- Follow this link to read blogs written by Manchester Dental
Students about some of the exciting things they get up to!
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
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
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
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
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!
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
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!
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
- 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.