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Brighton & Sussex Medical School

Third year perspectives

BSMS > Undergraduate > What our students say > Our students > Third year perspectives

Third year perspectives

Select a student from the menu on the left to find out their thoughts on studying with us.

Rhys Nicholas

Rhys Nicholas portrait photo"I really enjoy the small size of BSMS, along with the very active MedSoc and living in Brighton as a student.

Studying in Brighton is very busy but very rewarding as most clinical staff are eager to help you learn on the wards. The clinical years are intimidating but equally as exciting because being in this environment is ultimately what you are working towards, you develop a better understanding of the career you are about to begin!"


Shashin Sood

"This is my first cardiology ward round so a little hectic but I learnt a lot.

I even took some bloods and I had the opprtunity to shadow a cardiology junior doctor and see what kind of tasks he was doing."


Enya Costin

"The clinical skills team are experts.

They know the procedures inside and out and they're also really great at reassuring nervous students that are a bit worried about trying skills for the first time."


Evie O'Rourke

"The programme is called Time for Dementia. We go over, spend some time with them, learn a bit more about the condition and how they live with it and how it's affecting them. 

It was a really nice visit. We were there for just over an hour, just chatting about dementia and how it's affected both their lives, but also about life in general."


Alicia Paessler

"I was first really drawn to BSMS after seeing that their student satisfaction levels were really high. They were at 99 percent, which was higher than any other universities I was looking at at the time. 

"There's always socials and lots of organised activities, organised for you to interact and socialise with people in your year, which has been really really lovely."


Maddy Wood

"In the morning we learnt how to insert a cannula, which is a really key skill of being a doctor. It's quite tricky at first but it does get easier with practice."


Elizabeth Aloof

Studying medicine with dyslexia and a disability at BSMS

I have a chronic pain disorder, dyslexia and prosopagnosia, which means I struggle to recognise faces.  

Applying to medicine  

I was very worried about going into medicine. There wasn’t much representation of people with disabilities becoming doctors. I was worried about whether I would be able to keep up with being on the wards, or if I would be able to do night shifts because my evening medications make me very drowsy. A lot was running through my head and, looking back, it definitely affected my confidence, both in the decision and application process.  

It wasn’t until I went to an open day at BSMS (as I am from Brighton and my college suggested it) that I truly decided I wanted to go into medicine. I spoke to a third year at the time (who I now have seen on the wards as a Foundation Doctor) who told me about their experience. They knew a lot of medical students with physical disabilities, mental health problems and learning difficulties. They told me about Student Support at BSMS and about how more than 90% of the year will speak to them at least once by the end of year one. They also outlined that 25% of students have a physical disability or learning difficulty. Everyone was really nice on the open day, which really help me push past my worries and apply. 

Studying in first and second year

I was 18 when I started medical school. Due to me doing well in my classes, I had normalised my difficulty reading and communicating for so long because my teachers had brushed it off. At BSMS, however, they have a questionnaire that screens all the First Years which flagged up that I may have a learning problem. BSMS then paid for me to have a professional assessment which found that I have a learning disorder and Irlen Syndrome. The school supported me so much and gave me a Learning Support Plan (LSP). All my exams were done in a small room and I was offered rest breaks, extra time and for my exams on to be printed on blue paper. They also gave me a learning disorder tutor who helped me with things like essays and reading. My essays also have a special stamp that tells the examiner that I am more likely to make grammar mistakes and to therefore have a different threshold for marking. Also, if I am struggling I can apply for an extended deadline for my submissions. Although I have only used this a few times, knowing that it is there as a safety net has really helped me to deal with the stress I usually feel with essays. They also offered other support, such as a laptop with special software, like spell check, that looks for common dyslexic mistakes typical spell check doesn’t find. After I finally received all the support from BSMS, my exam and essay grades shot up and I was finally keeping up with my peers in class for the first time ever. I also found that with the rest breaks, I could walk to the toilets and stretch. This made my chronic pain a lot better, which is amazing because it nearly always flares up from exam stress. 

Being on the wards 

Although I had already been on the wards in year one and year two, because of BSMS’ early exposure, third year onwards is when you are mostly ward-based. Due to this, at the end of year two I became worried and spoke to Student Support. I was worried about traveling to the hospital with my chronic pain, which worsens on public transport, and I was worried about getting lost in the hospital while following a consultant because of my prosopagnosia. What the school did is they organised with the people in charge of third year placements for me to be put on placements with my boyfriend who is in the same year as me. He is able to drive me to the hospital and is one of the few people I am able to recognise. When I started year three my worries melted away because having my partner there with me who understood my health problems made me feel a lot more comfortable and confident about learning on the wards. I also know about other people with chronic health conditions who have had friends with them on rotations and have found it to be really useful.  

What would I say to my past self?

If I could talk to the old me who was considering applying to medical then I would say to do it. The application into medical school is really daunting, even for people without other things to think about, but don’t let your health or learning problems stop you from applying. BSMS gave me so much support. I haven’t failed a single exam or essay, and I know plenty of people without health or learning problems who have. At the end of the day if you work hard it is very much possible. I met a year 9 through BrightMed who was planning to drop out because of her dyslexia, but if you can get good grades in your GCSEs and A-Levels, then you can make it into medical school and succeed. 

I would also tell myself to not be too hard on myself about accepting support. When I first started getting support and was suddenly doing better, it almost felt like I was cheating. I was very reluctant to take up the medical school on their offers because it felt like I was getting an unfair advantage. But one thing that student support told me while reassuring me on the issue, is that LSPs are only given to level the playing field. They are helping you to keep up with other medical students without learning or health problems. Extra time in an exam means nothing if you don’t know the answers, so if it helps you get better grades, it means that you need it. So, don’t be afraid to ask for help and to use the support that is offered to you.