King’s College London Medical School Review

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Welcome to our UK Medical School Review series. In this series, we work with current students to produce an in-depth overview of each UK Medical School, covering what it is like to study there, how the course looks and what you need to get in.

Today, our focus is on King’s College London Medical School, a member of the Russell Group of UK research-intensive universities. Ashitha, a King’s Medic, shares her experiences and insights of being a student throughout.

Let’s start with an overview of King’s College Medical School…

Overview Of King's College London Medical School

King’s Medical School History

King’s College Medical School is known as the GKT School of Medical Education. GKT stands for the different institutions where the Medical School campuses are based (Guy’s Hospital, King’s College Hospital and St Thomas’ Hospital). King’s started a Medical Department in 1829 and after the mergers with other hospitals, it became closer to the Medical School we know today. 

Notable Alumni

The Medical School has a long list of very famous alumni including Sir James Black, Nobel Prize laureate for Medicine, Richard Doll, who established the link between smoking and cancer, Thomas Hodgkin, discoverer of Hodgkin’s lymphoma, Sir Frederick Hopkins, who also discovered vitamins, John Keats, a notable English poet, Dame Cecily Saunders, pioneered the concept of the hospice and Noble Prize winner for the development of the Yellow Fever Vaccine, Max Theiler.

King’s College London Medical School

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Why did you choose to study at King’s?

“I chose King’s College London because it has amazing teaching hospitals such as Guy’s Hospital and St Thomas’ as well as boasting great research opportunities. There are lots of academic opportunities available for students at KCL to participate in during term time and in the summer holidays.

I wanted to apply to an integrated medical school with early clinical exposure, however, I also wanted a year of solid lecture-based teaching so I can understand the topics before being put into a hospital environment.”

What is the best thing and worst thing about your Medical School?

“The best thing about the medical school is the teaching. Hospital teaching and lecture-based teaching at KCL is very good and to a very high standard. The doctors are all willing to help and also happy for you to come into hospitals on non-placement days to brush up or practice any clinical skills. Furthermore, we have lots of teaching opportunities such as in the Chantler SAIL centre. This means that students are very clinically competent.

The worst thing about the university is that the admin team are quite slow at responding to emails.”

University Rankings

The following link will take you to the Complete University Guide Medicine League Table. Here, you can see that King’s takes 18th position with an overall score of 97%:

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The table also highlights 98% graduate prospects for KCL Medics so there’s little to worry about once you graduate!

Rankings will, of course, differ between other tables; the Guardian includes different aspects to the Complete University Guide. When making your own decision on which table to look at, think about what you place more importance on, such as spending per student or career prospects. Keep in mind that all Medical Schools are highly ranked with excellent ratings across the board.

Fees And Financial Support

Annual tuition fees for Undergraduate Medicine is £9,250 for home students. For international students, it is £42,840 per year. All International applicants are required to pay a deposit of £5000 against their first year’s tuition fee. Tuition fee loans are offered to all UK students by the Government and cover the course fees in full. Fees do not have to be paid upfront.

Scholarships & Bursaries

KCL offer various scholarships and bursary opportunities such as the King’s Living Bursary for household incomes of £42,875 or less where students can receive up to £1,600. 

What are the living costs like?

“Accommodation costs vary. GDS is the most popular accommodation as that is where most of the healthcare students stay as it is close to Guy’s Campus. It costs roughly £200 a week and comes with an ensuite. There is also cheaper accommodation such as Wolfson House, which costs £160 a week. However, bathrooms are shared. 

Buses are relatively cheap and cost £1.55. Tube costs around £2.40 per journey if you are only travelling within zone 1 using an Oyster card. I would recommend getting a student Oyster card and adding a 16-25 railcard to it if you have that. Drinks are relatively cheap in the university bar (Guy’s bar).”

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What Is Studying Like?

KCL uses integrated teaching. An integrated course consists of pre-clinical and clinical teaching hence the term integrated. Students have the opportunity to apply their learning from lectures in a clinical setting. This teaching style means that students have contact with patients throughout the course. 

Teaching and Assessment

Clinical teaching is based in three renowned and busy hospitals in London (Guy’s, King’s College and St Thomas’). The aim of the Medicine degree is to train students to become critical scientific thinkers, develop incredible team-working skills, be resilient and adaptable and become outstanding patient-centred clinicians. 

Students are assessed through formative and summative assessments. Formative assessments are where students are given feedback that does not contribute to their degree score and summative assessments are where students demonstrate competence against course standards and learning outcomes. These summative assessments are in the forms of project assessments, written examinations and OSCEs. 

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What is a week in first year like at King’s College Medical School?

“Monday and Tuesday consist of lectures. These are lectures according to the modules that we do so the lectures could be in cell biology and signalling, molecular and cell genetics, physiology and anatomy, and introduction to values-based clinical practice.

Wednesday we would normally have dissections but due to COVID, we had online teaching of anatomy with the demonstrators. They would use PowerPoint slides and different bones to explain the anatomy. For these anatomy sessions, we are placed in small tutor groups of around 10-15 students with an assigned demonstrator.

Thursday and Friday also consisted of lectures. Most of first year is very lecture heavy. There are also some workshops and case-based discussions that occur once a week or once every two weeks. Normally, we would have had regular clinical skills practice but this was conducted online due to COVID. In these sessions, we covered different clinical skills and were put into breakout rooms to discuss scenarios such as filling out NEWS score.”

Degree Content

Stage 1

Stage 1 provides students with a foundation in biomedical sciences and population sciences. It also kits you out with the skills to begin to integrate skills with clinical practice.

Stage 2

Stage 2 brings together science and clinical practice in blocks organised around the human life-cycle and common pathological processes. This stage places a great focus on the care of patients with common conditions in a range of clinical settings. Students monitor patients for prolonged periods of time to learn how to deliver whole-person care. 

Between Stage 2 and 3 there is the option of an intercalation year.

Stage 3

Stage 3 is all about future practice and it includes the opportunity to undertake elective study abroad. Students conduct quality improvement projects and develop skills to transform patient and population health at home and abroad. 

As a graduate with professional experience, the first stage of the Medicine degree is not necessary so students will instead start in the second stage. From this point, students have the same programme as all other medical students.

What Makes King's College Medical School Unique?

What makes your Medical School unique?

“My medical school is unique as it offers the optional BSc. Unlike other medical schools that either has the BSc as part of the degree or not, KCL gives the option for students to decide in third year. In second year and third year, there are compulsory two-month research modules that allow students to experience research and decide whether the BSc is something they may be interested in. 

Furthermore, KCL allows students to learn a language instead of completing research during second and third year. This means students have the opportunity to develop other skills which would make them a good doctor. KCL also offers the PEEP programme for first year medics. This is the Psychiatry Early Experience Programme which is a shadowing scheme to observe psychiatrists and get involved with research projects in psychiatry. This is done at the Maudsley Hospital which is a KCL hospital and is therefore only available for King’s students. This experience is a great opportunity for students to learn about psychiatry as a speciality early on.”

King's College Medical School Entry Requirements

MBBS Undegraduate Medicine

ExamMBBS Medicine Course
A-levelsA*AA, including grade A in Biology and Chemistry.
IB35 points including 766 at Higher Level, must include grade 6 in Higher Level Biology and Chemistry.

MBBS Graduate Entry Medicine

ExamMBBS Graduate Course
DegreeMinimum 2:1 undergraduate degree (or international equivalent) in a Biosciences subject.

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What To Include In A Personal Statement

King’s College London Medical School considers the personal statement when deciding on which applicants to invite to interview. They look for evidence of appropriate commitment and a realistic understanding of the academic, physical and emotional demands of a Medicine degree and career.

KCL expects their applicants to have undertaken work experience in a caring environment or observation in a clinical setting. If this is not an option for some students, then they seek evidence of working in a setting where students have had interactions with the general public such as working at a pharmacy or restaurant. It is important you showcase communication skills and the early skills and abilities required to be a Doctor.

King's College Medical School Admissions Tests

UCAT

King’s suggest that they do not have a threshold score and the overall average score of the four subtests is given more consideration than particular subtests individually. The Situational Judgment Test is also taken into account. The usual average UCAT score for successful applicants is around 2800. The BMAT is not required. 

Interviewing at King's College

MMI Interview Style

Interviews at King’s typically take place between November and March. They take the form of Multiple Mini Interviews (MMI). There are 4-7 stations, each assessing a specific criterion. Stations such as motivation for medicine, communication, science knowledge and knowledge of ethical issues are regualry used. 

King’s Interview Example Questions and Scenarios 

  • What personal qualities should a good healthcare professional have, and when and where have you had to exhibit these qualities to date?
  • An actor plays the role of your elderly neighbour. You have just accidentally run over your neighbour’s cat whilst reversing your car. You have 5 minutes to break the bad news to her.
  • You are given details of 15 individuals, including their age, sex and occupation. A nuclear attack is imminent and you are only allowed to save 5 of them from destruction. Which ones and why?
  • Without using your hands, explain how to tie shoe laces.

What Is Life Like Outside Of Studying?

Outside of study time, what do most people get up to?

“Outside of studying students get involved with lots of societies. There are cultural, religious, academic, financial societies as well as sports teams. There are separate KCL and GKT (Medical) sports teams which are a great way to meet lots of people and make friends. Students also go to Guy’s bar a lot as they have lots of events on. There are also lots of unique and fun societies such as Cheese society or Dog society. 

A lot of societies also run collaborative events with other societies such as balls and boat parties which are fun. There are also lots of well-being events run by many of the societies during exam season to help deal with stress. These include welcome packages with candles and chocolates, bringing dogs onto campus, running meditation and yoga workshops. There are also lots of free workout classes run by KCL online which includes pilates, yoga and other sports such as tennis and badminton.”

What is the KCL accommodation like?

“Depending on the accommodation, the distance varies. Wolfson House is directly opposite London Bridge station and is right next to the campus. Great Dover Street Apartments is a 10 min walk away but also extremely close to Guy’s Campus. Between Guy’s Campus and St Thomas’ hospital, there is a shuttle bus that comes every 20 mins. This is a quick method of getting from Guy’s hospital to St Thomas’ hospital.

Waterloo campus is halfway between Guy’s and St Thomas’ so is again very close by. For hospital placements, students can be placed at either one of GSTT (Guy’s and St Thomas’), King’s College Hospital or QEH/Lewisham hospitals. These are all accessible by train or bus from the accommodations as they all are close to the bus station. Labs and lectures in first year are all done at Guy’s campus and that is where you will spend most of your time as a first year.”

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King's College Medical School Contact

Telephone: +44 (0) 20 7836 5454 

Postal address:

King’s College London
Strand
London
WC2R 2LS
United Kingdom

Final Advice For Studying At King's

What advice would you give to a first-year student starting at your Medical School?

“The advice I would give is to stay on top of your workload, especially in first year. First year is a very intense year but if you manage to stay on top of the work and understand everything really well, it saves you time in the consecutive years from having to revise the topics. From second year onwards, the topics are all based on the conditions and less focus is put on anatomy and physiology. However, a strong knowledge of anatomy and physiology is needed from second year onwards. Therefore, I would suggest prioritising that knowledge so it is very solid once you go onto placements.

I would also suggest booking into Chantler SAIL centre to practice clinical skills and booking into the dissecting rooms to revise anatomy. These have both proven to be very useful for me! It is also important to get involved with lots of societies and put yourself forward for leadership positions.”

Check out our other UK Medical School Reviews:

King’s College London Medical School is an incredible place to study, and we’ll help you get there.

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