The first two years of the course involves a structured timetable of lectures and practical classes during the day, which are supplemented by small–group (usually two or three students), one-hour supervisions arranged in College three or four evenings per week. Supervisors will set essays to write throughout the term.
University is not like school. There are significant differences between the way you are taught at school and the way you will learn at University, and sometimes you may feel bewildered by the transition. In place of relatively small school classes, information at University is delivered by means of lectures (essentially a 50-minute monologue) to groups of over 300 students. Lecturers will issue hand-outs, but you will also need to develop your listening, concentration and note-taking skills to get the best out of this. The material will be delivered quickly, and it is then up to you to understand and assimilate it.
The information you are provided with in lectures will be developed and set in context in practical classes. Although classes may be large you will work in small groups with demonstrators on hand to help and answer questions. These sessions are vital to your education and attendance is mandatory.
The supervision system is there to complement the formal teaching and the onus is very much on you to make use of it, and to develop study and time management skills to help you cope with, and master the material. College supervisions will play a very important part in your education. Students are encouraged to make them interactive and take full advantage of them to ask questions about any parts of the course you need help with.
By the end of the first two years we also aim to give you a sound grounding in the basic knowledge and skills necessary for working with patients in the clinical part of the course. These include certain technical skills, and the skills of listening and talking to people, generically known as communication skills which are essential for a doctor.