Imperial College London

Top tips: from A-level results day to preparing for life at medical school


Top tips: from A-level results day to preparing for life at medical school

Today thousands of pupils across the country receive their A-level results, with over 300 pupils heading to Imperial to study medicine.

We spoke to three first-year medical students at Imperial College School of Medicine (ICSM) – Jack Hall, Josephine Akoro and Eva Tadros – who share their wisdom on dealing with results day and top tips on surviving the first year of medical school.

Jack, Josephine, Eva

How did you feel when you opened your A-level results last year?

Jack: I felt elated, as I knew I had achieved a huge personal goal and made it to Imperial! Getting the offer to study here was an achievement within itself, but getting the results I was looking for really helped solidify the work I put into my academic career in secondary school and set me on course for London.

Josephine: I was at an airport waiting for a flight when I received my A-level results. I hadn’t slept all night because I was so nervous. Once I finally opened my results, I felt so relieved and excited, and couldn’t wait to tell my friends and family.

Eva: It was all such an incredible adrenaline rush, to be perfectly honest. I experienced a whole spectrum of emotions – anxious, excited, worried, thrilled and petrified – all at once! It was a little exhausting waiting for results day for so long and then it’s a little underwhelming after you open them because you’re just like – OK, so what’s next?

Any tips on dealing with disappointment on results day?

Jack: Very rarely in life is every door to a given place closed to us. Coming to ICSM, it has been incredible to hear about the range of different ways each individual made it here, and if one thing is clear to me it is that there is no ONE way to make it. If results don’t go your way, take some time out to reflect on what your priorities are, what options are still open and how hard you’re willing to work for what you want. If the answer to the last question is ‘really really hard’, there is a very healthy chance you will make it to wherever you want to be in life.

Eva: Do not panic – at all! That’s the worst possible thing you can do and it will put you in an awful mindset that ill-equips you in handling what comes next. You have done your best and tried your hardest to ace those exams and get the grades and your effort will pay off. Plus, it’s all done now, so it’s no use stressing over them or getting upset over possibly not achieving the grades. Ensure you have a clear mind that will allow you to make smart decisions following your results.

How have you found the first year of medical school?

Eva: An absolute rollercoaster. I have never cried so much, laughed so hard, learned such a vast amount and met so many people – all within the span of less than a year. It was very daunting at the beginning because though some of the content was similar to A-levels, most of it was completely new, and having such a great amount of information given to you in such a short time span can be quite scary at first. However, once you get used to it, it all becomes very worthwhile.

Jack: Fantastic for so many reasons! I have found the course challenging but really engaging and the hard work I put in has certainly paid off. Furthermore, I really feel as if I’ve established myself here and built a real life for myself at Imperial. Being surrounded and working with so many likeminded people has been an incredible opportunity, and being at an institution like Imperial pushes you to be the best version of yourself.

Josephine: I’ve really enjoyed my first year; I’ve found the content interesting and stimulating. At times I have found it hard to stay on top of everything, however there are many places to turn to for help and support. 

What advice would you give to new medical students joining Imperial this autumn?

Josephine: My advice would be to get involved with as many societies as you can at first. Over time you might find that there are some that you don’t want to continue doing, which is totally fine! Societies are a great way to make friends. My other piece of advice would be to use online flashcard websites such as Brainscape for revision, as they use very effective active learning techniques.

Jack: Don’t hold back! The Imperial world is your oyster this year – try and push yourself (as much as you feel comfortable) into getting involved in university life and meeting people! Also, don’t worry if your Fresher’s experience isn’t the same as everyone else’s – there’s no one right way to do it and we all have to take things at our own pace.

Eva: Get organised! Make sure you compartmentalise all the different things you need to do and that you get a planner to ensure you account for both the academic and social side of things as well as allocating time for revision. Though cram-revising was often my approach to things whilst I was in school, it would actually be incredibly difficult, if not impossible, to pass university exams using that technique. Doing bits and bobs throughout the year is definitely the way forward.

Learn more about Eva's first year at medical school over on the Imperial Medicine Blog


Ellyw Evans

Ellyw Evans
National Heart & Lung Institute

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