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, we are focussing on Leeds Medical School, a member of the Russell Group of UK research-intensive universities. Ariah, a Leeds Medic, will share her experiences and insights as a current student throughout.
Let’s start with an overview of Leeds Medical School…
Overview Of Leeds Medical School
Leeds Medical School History
In 1831 Leeds Medical School was created by 6 physicians and surgeons, becoming 1 of 10 Medical Schools founded at the time, with the aim of serving the needs of 5 medical institutions in the city. It provided the foundation for the future establishment of the University of Leeds. The Medical School now has multiple sites throughout West Yorkshire.
The University of Leeds offers 2 different Undergraduate medical programmes, all leading to the award of a medical degree, MBBS (Bachelor of Medicine, Bachelor of Surgery). They offer the traditional 5-year Undergraduate Medicine programme, alongside a 6-year Gateway Year to Medicine programme for widening access. There is no 4-year accelerated Graduate programme.
Leeds Medical School
Notable alumni of Leeds Medical School include Kamran Abbasi – executive editor of the BMJ (British Medical Journal), Berkeley Moynihan – a noted British abdominal surgeon, Professor Margot Shiner – a pioneer in the field of Paediatric Gastroenterology and Nutrition and Harold Shipman – the only Doctor in the history of British medicine found guilty of murdering several of his patients.
Why did you choose to study at Leeds?
“Originally, I was really stuck between Leeds and Newcastle. When I went for my interview at Leeds, something just clicked and I realised it was the place for me. The Uni campus and Medical School has such a nice and friendly feel and is right next to the town centre so you still feel in the middle of everything.
The student life is really great and in terms of the course, you get early patient contact from Year 1 which was really appealing. Leeds overall – I love the look of the city – it’s big and is really geared towards students because there are so many students around. There is plenty to do and experience.”
What is the best thing and worst thing about your Medical School?
“The best thing is the sense of community within the Medical School – it’s quite a friendly and tight-knit environment which can be so helpful when you feel stressed etc. as everyone is in the same boat. The city itself is such a lovely place to be a student and is a very fun place to live which is important as you are there for at least 5 years.
Admin is notoriously bad at Leeds. I’d say the lack of communication about placements etc. is probably the worst thing and it can take a while for them to communicate vital information – but from what I gather, this can be a common university issue.”
The following link will take you to the Complete University Guide Medicine League Table. Here, you can see that the University of Leeds Medical School takes 22nd position with an overall score of 97%:
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 home students at the University of Leeds is £9,250. For international students, it is £36,500. 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.
Leeds offers a wealth of financial support in the form of loans, grants and scholarships including the Leeds Alumni Annual Fund and School of Medicine Scholarship. The Student Advice Centre in the Leeds University Union can offer individual advice if ever needed.
What are the living costs like?
“An average pint is about £3.50 – you can get one for £2 with a student card in Royal Park Pub. 1st Year accommodation can range from £100-160 a week, depending on location and whether you want an ensuite etc. Most 1st Year accommodations are shorter contracts at around 38 weeks so you often don’t pay for the whole year.
I haven’t needed to use public transport much but a bus ticket can cost around £2-4 depending on the length of the journey. Leeds generally is quite a student-friendly city so most clubs and pubs will have student deals and some restaurants do the same – make use of student discount apps!”
What Is Studying Like?
Leeds Medical School offers an integrated teaching style, combining training in medical theory and clinical practice. Pre-clinical teaching is taught primarily through lectures, case-based learning, inter-professional learning, virtual resources and self-directed. Students will get early exposure to clinical settings in order to build confidence in patient contact and enhance history-taking, examination and clinical skills. Anatomy is taught via prosection.
In later years, students will engage in full-time placement in hospitals, GPs, hospices and private organisations in the wider community. These will be located all over the Yorkshire and Humber region, including Harrogate, Sheffield, York, Hull and Bradford.
What is a week in first year like at Leeds Medical School?
“In 1st Year, a large chunk of time is spent in lectures and group work. For each module, there are normally 2-3 hours of lectures and a group work per week where you go through questions or do group presentations. IMS is mainly biochemistry and physiology and is a bit of A-Level recap and building on this – this is probably 4 hours a week of lectures and group work. I and P is more psychology-based and is also about populations e.g. chronic diseases and how they can affect people – this is 1-2 hours of lectures and 2-hour group work with presentations and projects.
IDEALS is a few hours of group work a week and more of a discussion to do with leadership, teamwork etc. After Christmas, you have half a day of placement a week and a module to learn more about clinical diseases. There is an hour or so of anatomy a week where you get to go into the anatomy lab and look at prosections with a booklet and facilitators to guide you through – there are usually lectures or online videos to accompany this and help your understanding. Every term there are a few communication sessions where you get to practice talking to patients in a classroom setting.”
The course is divided into the following stages: introducing the fundamentals of clinical practice (Year 1), building on the fundamentals (Year 2), increasing clinical exposure with junior clinical placements (Year 3), gaining in clinical experience with speciality placements (Year 4), the transition from medical student to Doctor (Year 5). The curriculum is spiralling – what you learn will be built upon in later years.
The Research, Evaluation and Special Studies strands run throughout and incorporate SSCs (Student Selected Components), elective experience and an 18-month final project.
After Years 2, 3 or 4, students have the option to intercalate in order to broaden their knowledge in a field of interest and enhance career opportunities.
Between Years 4 and 5, a 6-week elective period takes place in which students can remain within the UK or travel abroad to experience Medicine in an area they choose or carry out a particular project.
Summary of the curriculum:
Year 1: introducing the fundamentals of clinical practice
- Introduction to the core professional themes, as well as the biomedical scientific principles which underpin clinical practice.
- Compulsory modules:
- Individuals and Populations
- Integrated Summative Exam 1
- Research, Evaluation and Special Studies 1
- Innovation, Development, Enterprise, Leadership and Safety 1
- Introduction to Medical Sciences
- Body Systems
- Clinical Assessment, Reasoning, Ethics and Patient Safety
Year 2: building on the fundamentals
- Developing knowledge of clinical laboratory science to understand the types of investigations carried out in diagnosis of common conditions and disease.
- Compulsory modules:
- Control and Movement
- Individuals and Populations 2
- Integrated Summative Exam 2
- Research, Evaluation and Special Studies 2
- Innovation, Development, Enterprise, Leadership and Safety 2
- RESS 2 Special Studies Project
- Essential Medical Science
- Clinical Pathology
- Clinical Assessment, Reasoning, Ethics and Patient Safety
Year 3: increasing clinical exposure with junior clinical placements
- Integration of clinical skills and knowledge, demonstrating this through history taking and formulating basic differential diagnoses.
- Gain experience of patients with more particular needs through placements in Integrated Medicine, Surgery, Perioperative Care, Primary Care and Elderly Medicine & Rehabilitation.
- Compulsory modules:
- Integrated Summative Exam Year 3
- Year 3 OSCE
- Innovation, Development, Enterprise, Leadership and Safety 3
- Campus to Clinic 3
- Research, Evaluation and Special Studies 3
Year 4: gaining in clinical experience with specialty placements
- Develop greater understanding of the genetic, social and environmental factors that determine disease, and understanding of the principles of treatment and the response to treatment.
- Surgical and perioperative care; acute illness; recurrent and chronic illnesses; mental and physical disabilities; rehabilitation; relieving pain and distress; and palliative care.
- Compulsory modules:
- Year 4 OSCE
- Integrated Summative Exam Year 4
- Extended Student Research and Evaluation Project Year 4
- Campus to Clinic Advanced 4
Year 5: the transition from medical student to Doctor:
- Aims and outcomes are conflated into a series of domains, underpinned by a core set of cases, presentations and skills, linked to early postgraduate practices and the requirements of Tomorrow’s Doctors (2009) and the New Doctor.
- Compulsory modules:
- Year 5 OSCE
- Integrated Summative Exam Year 5
- Extended Student Research and Evaluation Project Year 5
- Campus to Clinic Advanced 5
This course was developed to allow students, from widening participation backgrounds, the opportunity to study Medicine. It offers a preliminary year to help refine your scientific understanding and develop the study skills required for the Medicine course. If students successfully complete this year by reaching the required grades on assessment, they progress onto the standard 5-year Undergraduate course to join those students in Year 1.
What Makes Leeds Medical School Unique?
What makes your Medical School unique?
“The course structure is a big pro – you get patient contact from Year 1 by going on placement which really helps put into context why you are learning things and see the bigger picture. This is especially helpful in 1st Year when you learn a lot of science-based content which can be a tad dry! There is also a big patient carer community which other Medical Schools have now adopted. This basically means there is a large group of real patients and carers who volunteer to help with medical education so all throughout Medical School, you always get to practice skills e.g communication or mock consultations with real patients and carers.
This is so helpful as there is no better way to learn than with real patients and it gives you a safe space to do this in a classroom before you go and do it onwards. The Medical School, as a whole, is a really nice tight-knit environment and the medic sports teams and societies are a real plus and help with making friends, especially in other years which is so helpful for advice and notes!”
Leeds Medicine Selection Process
Stage 1: Candidates are screened against academic criteria.
Stage 2: Score is combined with the score given for your BMAT result. Decision may be helped with non-academic criteria.
Stage 3: Top-ranked candidates progress to interview.
Stage 4: Applicants attend interview.
Stage 5: Offers made based upon calculated score from interview.
Leeds Medical School Entry Requirements
|GCSEs||6 GCSEs at grade B/5 or above including Mathematics, English Language, Biology and Chemistry (or Dual Science)|
|A-levels||AAA including Chemistry or Biology, Physics or Mathematics if Chemistry not taken. EPQs not considered. 4TH subject not an advantage, A* not rated as higher than A. Re-sits only accepted in exceptional circumstances|
|IB||Overall score of 35 with a mark of 6 in 3 Higher Level subjects one of which must be Chemistry or Biology|
|Other||Cambridge Pre-U, Irish Leaving Certificate (Higher Level), Scottish Highers/Advanced Highers|
|Exam||Gateway To Medicine|
|GCSEs||6 GCSEs at grade C/4 or above including Mathematics, English Language, Biology and Chemistry (or Dual Science)|
|A-levels||BBC including Chemistry or Biology at B grade, Physics or Mathematics must also be offered if Chemistry not taken. 4TH subject not an advantage. Re-sits only accepted in exceptional circumstances. BTECs not accepted|
|IB||Overall score of 29 with a mark of 5 in Higher Level Chemistry|
What To Include In A Personal Statement
Leeds Medical School advises applicants to read advice on personal statement writing on the Medical Schools Council website. Ultimately, they are looking for motivation and commitment to Medicine through perseverance, resilience, initiative, concern for others and the ability to communicate. Try to show the core values and skills of a good doctor that you have gained from your experiences that make you right for the medical career.
Leeds are aware that work experience opportunities have been limited due to the Covid-19 pandemic and express that clinical work is not generally a requirement. They would like you to show that you have gone to an effort to gain an understanding of what a career in Medicine involves. This can be in other healthcare environments, voluntary opportunities, paid jobs or online programmes.
You may be asked to reflect on experiences you have included in your personal statement in your interview so be sure to know it inside out and be candid!
Leeds Medical School Admissions Tests
You need to undertake the BioMedical Admissions Test (BMAT) in order to apply to the University of Leeds. It is a 2-hour long computer-based test. Applicants’ BMAT scores are ranked into quintiles with a maximum of 5 points on offer: those in the highest 20% receive 5/5, and those in the lowest 20% receive 1/5. This score is combined with scores for other parts of the application to decide which candidates are invited for interview. The essay section will be used for a discussion at one of the MMI stations. The UCAT is not accepted.
Interviewing at Leeds
MMI Interview Style
The number of students interviewed is approximately 750; over double the places available. Interviews take the form of Multiple Mini Interviews (MMIs). There are 8 stations, each lasting 6 minutes and assessing candidates’ ethical reasoning, self-evaluation, communication skills and problem-solving.
There is 1 station specifically testing you on your BMAT essay. This is often a discussion around the topic so make sure you read up on it beforehand and know it well. Familiarise yourself with your essay and practice justifying points you made, including why you chose that topic. The decision to make an offer depends entirely on your performance in the interview, quantified by calculating a ranked score.
Leeds Interview Questions and Scenarios
Tell us what you did to find out about Medicine?
Why do you want a career as a Doctor rather than another health-related profession?
What would you do if you gave a patient a double dose of a drug by accident?
Why did you choose that topic as the focus of your BMAT essay?
What has been your biggest life lesson?
What Is Life Like Outside Of Studying?
Outside of study time, what do most people get up to?
“There are plenty of extracurriculars to get involved in. In terms of sports clubs, there is a society for basically every sport from football to ultimate Frisbee to surfing. On top of this, there are medics and dentist sports clubs which are a great way to meet other medics and often have training and match times that are easier to make as medic schedules are normally more hectic! A few examples – netball, football, running, basketball, rugby, hockey If sports aren’t your thing there are plenty of non-sports societies as part of the union – my housemate was Vice President of the baking society!
There is also the nightlife in Leeds which is up there with the best student night out in the country (although I am slightly biased). There are plenty of student nights nearly every day of the week with cheap drinks deals and lots of fun. There is also the legendary Friday night Fruity at the union. Leeds is also famous for the Otley Run a fancy dress pub crawl that people come from all over the country to do!”
What is the Leeds accommodation like?
“There are a few on-campus halls. Charles Morris is catered and is mainly jack and jill ensuite – it is right in the middle of campus so perfect to roll out of bed five minutes before lectures. Henry Price isn’t catered but still on campus and normally a popular option. Cityside and Central Village are very modern accommodations
Sentinel Towers and the Tannery are about a 10-15 minute walk from the Medical School and are a good location for medical students – they are both all ensuite too. James Baillie and Devonshire are near the main student housing area and about a 20-minute walk to campus. There are a few halls a bit further out like Oxley, which is probably a 40-minute walk. There is a mixture of shared bathroom and ensuites in most accommodations so make sure you check what is best for you.”
Leeds Medical School Contact
Telephone: +44 (0)113 2431751
Email: [email protected]
University of Leeds,
Final Advice For Studying At Leeds
What advice would you give to a first-year student starting at your Medical School?
“Enjoy it because it will be over sooner than you can imagine! I think the main thing is not to worry too much about workload, yes it can be difficult at times but you got accepted for a reason so of course you can do it! It’s important to give yourself time to get used to Uni life. It’s often the first time you’ve lived away from home and you are trying to balance the Medicine workload and making new friends as well as looking after yourself. Don’t be too hard on yourself and don’t be surprised if it takes you a bit longer to settle in.
Most importantly, enjoy the whole experience, and try as many new things as you can – you’ve worked hard to get into Medical School in the first place so enjoy it as much as you can. Medical School is a marathon, not a sprint, so keep on top of work but try to do things you enjoy or 6 years will go very slowly.”
Check out our other UK Medical School Reviews:
Leeds Medical School is an exceptional place to study, and we’ll help you get there.
The 6med Complete Bundle puts all of our bundles together. You’ll get a place on five of our Crash Courses, Personal Statement re-drafts, mock interviews, Personal Statement, BMAT, UCAT and Interview Online Courses, access to BMAT & UCAT.Ninja™, BMAT essay marking and all of our critically acclaimed workbooks as e-books. To find out more, click the button below. This massive bundle is quite literally all you need for your Medicine application…
By Phoebe Baker