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Advice for Students

It would be very difficult to find a medical student at Edinburgh who wishes they had gone anywhere else! If the beautiful city and prestigious international reputation aren’t enough for you, the high standards of research, broad selection of intercalated subjects and world-class facilities consistently place Edinburgh Medical School high in the league tables. The range of extracurricular activities available is huge, both university-wide and medic-specific, and medical students run their own sports clubs, comedy show and even annual musical! Edinburgh graduates continually place amongst the best in the UK in postgraduate specialty exams and its academic ethos offers medical staff who are keen to teach and encourage research projects.

Please explore our website to find out what it might be like to be part of the Royal Medical Society at Edinburgh and read some tips and comments about applying to medical school from RMS council members below! If you still feel unsure about whether to apply to Edinburgh, you can email your questions to with the subject ‘Prospective Student Questions’ and we will do our best to help! Please bear in mind, however, that we cannot help with specific questions about individual applications and the application process; the Medical School Admissions Team will assist with queries.

Organisations in Edinburgh


Welcome Week


Prospective Students


Current Students


After Med School


Hints and Tips for Prospective Students

Lucy, 3rd Year (intercalating in Anaesthesia, Critical Care and Pain Medicine)

  • Make sure you know what you are committing to before you decide to apply. Speak to junior doctors and medical students- see what their experiences are like and if you can see yourself doing the same in a few years’ time.

  • Personal Statement- in terms of work experience quality is much more important that quantity, and you don’t need to have experience in a hospital. When discussing you work experience in your personal statement, focus on what you have gained from your time the placement and what you have learnt.

  • Extra-curricular activities are also important to include be that sports teams, volunteering, music etc. its likely you will have been involved in many activities at school but try to avoid making this section like a shopping list – instead focus on a few of the most important things and link the skills you have developed back to medicine

  • When choosing a medical school think about the place. You will be spending 5/6 years of your life studying there so its important to pick a city that you can imagine yourself living in; this is perhaps more important than things like the course structure and early clinical exposure

Oliver, 4th Year

  • Don’t be afraid of interviews! Northern Irish students especially tend to fear they will sell themselves short, but its a chance to show who you are as a person and that you can communicate, not to show off all of your achievements and knowledge. 

  • You’re applying to medical school to learn everything you need to know to be a doctor – you don’t need to know any detailed science, anatomy or clinical medicine before you get in!

Louise, 2nd Year

  • Many people have heard bad things about PBL but it’s not as big a part of the curriculum as people often make out. It’s a few hours a week and it really helps to consolidate what you have learned in the past week. So don’t be put off when you see it in the curriculum because it’s not as scary as you think!

Hannah G, 3rd Year (intercalating in Infectious Disease)

  • For many people it can be difficult to get experience in a hospital but it’s not quantity that matters when it comes to writing your personal statement. From experience, I think it is far more important to reflect on what you have learned, the skills you have developed and how the things you have seen changed your perspective of the healthcare system. Reflection is a recurring theme in medical school so it is important to get used to it early!

  • As with everything, it is important to maintain a balance so make sure you give yourself and your brain a break. Whether that comes in the form of joining a sports team or one of the many societies university has to offer. Keep yourself healthy, both mentally and physically, to ensure you can do your best academically. 

  • Finally, and most importantly, make sure you enjoy yourself; university is an amazing opportunity, put yourself out there and have fun!

Hannah P, 4th Year

  • Edinburgh is an amazing city and you can see why everybody loves it; it’s really compact and welcoming, but packs in so much to see and do.

  • When applying, enthusiasm, good manners and initiative will get you everywhere!! There are lots of reliable sources of good advice online.

  • Doctors and students are usually keen to help interested pupils, so ask absolutely anyone you can about applications, work experience and whether medicine is the right career for you!-

  • The medical school’s mixture of teaching styles was one of the big appeals for me, which includes lectures, small group tutorials, problem-based learning and anatomy labs. You get eased into clinical skills with communication in Year 1 and then add in more practical skills in Year 2. – Edinburgh also has the best range of intercalated subjects for medical students.

  • The university wants medics to have a range of interests, so there is definitely time to pursue sports, societies or research.

Useful links

Applying to medical school


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Welcome Week

Have a look at our Welcome Week Guide, and have a look at a selection of societies that you can get involved with. Make sure to get involved with Medics' Bingo as well.

MedSoc Videos

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Medics' Bingo

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Current Students

Written by Simran, a 3rd Year Medical Student at Edinburgh.


  • I struggled a lot with the change in the learning environment in university. In highschool, the way I learned was quickly not becoming feasible or effective in medicine. 

  • The lack of availability of past paper questions seemed so daunting- how would I know what to expect? I tried a lot of different learning methods but I think it’s important not

  • to get too bogged down with this. Make your primary notes from the lecture but I would not solely rely on it. Use youtube videos (Armando Hasundungan, Osmosis) to learn

  • the concepts in a different angle as it will truly test your understanding. For the systems based approach, I wish I had started familiarising myself with Davidsons early on. 

  • A few of questions in first year (and almost all in second year) will give you vignettes and understanding the pathology is not enough, you might want to look at how they present too!

  • Use peerwise, PassMedicine for questions.

Social life: 

  • Really try and make the most of first year and second year. You will always be busy and have things to do and deadlines will always be a thing but after medical school you wont remember spending hours in the library. You will remember all the potlucks, parties, sports events, friends gathering that you went (or missed). So socialisation is important, however don’t feel pressured to go out partying and drinking all the time just because you’re at university; if thats not your thing, you will friends with other interests.

Mental health: 

  • Its really important to know when to take a break. Sometimes, you are your own worst critic and bully and you can keep pushing yourself too hard which can impact your mental health a lot.

  • Moving away from your family and support network is hard but there is ALWAYS someone to go to when you are struggling. Its super important to know the early signs before they become too much to manage. 

  • Invest some time in self care everyday, (this sounds dramatic but some do it naturally and others make it a secondary priority) and just take some time to ask yourself how you are doing. This doesnt have to 

  • involve mediatation but going on walks, reading books, eating well, having a hobby and taking time out of medicine and university life is important. 

  • When this doesnt cut it, there are always people waiting and ready to help you- NightLine, Samaritans or even your friends just to name a few. Asking for help is never a big deal, but not asking can turn into one.

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3D Scans

After Medical School

Information coming soon... 

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