Semester III

Semester three was (for me) gastrointestinal and nervous and locomotor 2 though this will be semester 4 for anyone starting now.

GI was good! Lots of poo talk but lovely big structures with clear anatomy and well known physiology. It is a straight forward no nonsense topic and I really enjoyed it!

Neuro – yes, it was hard. Yes, I thought I might just fall down dead during revision, but in retrospect it isn’t as hard as people make out. There is a lot of abstract content (and a lot of content in general) but I got really caught up in thinking the anatomy was going to be impossible…. and it really (REALLY) wasn’t. Yes it is a little more abstract but it is far from impossible. In comparison to GI anatomy is harder but physiology is more interesting. I loved learning the way things work and realise why a lot of interesting quirks happen and why symptoms occur. Alternating hemiplegia was particularly interesting.


Results came out Friday and after all the hell that was revision I actually did better in Semester 3 than I did in Semester 2 which I thought was easier! I think as you progress it does get harder, but I think that we get better at doing it.

Onto semester 4! My last lecture based year. Eeep!

Semester II

Passed semester 2! Really really pleased. I had some really lovely feedback from my medicine in practice teacher which was brilliant. The exam was so strange, talking to a fake patient while my GP teacher hid behind a curtain! But as the most practical part of the course so far I am really pleased to have done well!


Onto Semester III!

Update on Southampton Selection Process for Medicine BM4 BM5 & BM6

Things are changing at Southampton! Here is a quick rundown of the latest info I have:

No real changes. Entry grades are BBC with interviews decided on personal statement. Graded on interview and personal statement and offers given to the highest scorers. Interview will also have a group task.

5A*-C grades at GCSE,

Big big changes. GCSEs 7A*-B grades, and A levels now required AAA. In addition, applicants will be ranked by their UKCAT. Those scoring the highest in the UKCAT will be invited to interview. The selection day will be a group interview and individual interview.

Still 2:1 in any subject, C grade now required in Chemistry A level though if your degree contains a lot this can be waived. All applicants will be ranked by their UKCAT. Those scoring the highest in the UKCAT will be invited to interview. The selection day will consists of a written component, group interview and individual interview.

Structure of semester II exams

Results day soon!!

The exams were much the same as the first. Short notes (that one required us to learnt a lot of complicated biochemistry – don’t forget your Krebs cycle/TCA cycle and glycolysis etc) and then a one best answer with drug calculations at the end.

Additionally there is:

Semester II Essay
SSU2 assessment – which was my cake and an essay
Medicine in practice assessment (a family report on the baby you’ve followed for a year, a presentation and an observed history taking)
IPLU essay and group presentation – scored a cool 100% on that one. Rather pleased.


Once you pass all 5 components and semester 1 then you progress to year two!

Offers and Southampton Interviews

Congratulations to everyone with their offers to study BM5/6 (and 4 of course). I met quite a few of you during the offer holders open days (with the BM6 one tomorrow). The university had a record number of applications this year so absolutely well done.

It would seem that the university is introducing interviews as of this year so you dodged that bullet well.

Lots of people ask me what they should study before starting and how to get ahead. I felt like that too. But to be honest, just enjoy it. Enjoy your summer and do nothing. You’ll miss that when you start.


Semester I exams and Semester II

So, we are now well into semester 2. I am pleased to say I passed semester one and passed it well. The anatomy was hard to learn but the exam wasn’t nearly as hard as the practice exams in the practical sessions.

The exams (though this may change) are a written paper called “short notes”. This is like mini essays/bullet points/diagrams on questions with drug calculations at the start. Then there is the one best answer which is statistics and then multiple choice questions.

They’re scary but not too bad, honest. Most of the year group got C grades (around 100 people), while only 50ish got A-B grades. Seriously don’t expect A’s in med school! I was more  than happy with my B!

Semester 2 is “RCR” or “Respiratory/Cardiovascular/Renal” 1. So far it has been interesting, with a lot more practical sessions than foundation of medicine. Blood pressures, ECGs and respiratory examinations have been covered so far for example.

We also are continuing our student selected unit with the humanities module. It requires a creative outcome (art, scultpure, writing etc) and I am making a cake! As always there is an SSU essay (reflective) to go alongside it and Medicine in practice (kinda clinical sessions) will also be examined this semester with an essay, a presentation and being observed taking a patient history.

We’ve also got our big essay due in 4 weeks. This time it is on Infective Endocarditis and related drugs, lesions, ECGs and blood pressures/ABGs. Busy busy busy!

So that’s the run down of Sem II so far!

BM5 at Southampton – October

So I have been back a month. So far we have covered a variety of topics in the Foundations of Medicine course.

In anatomy we have covered the skeleton and muscle. Next week we start the nervous system. The course has been revamped however and is now much better. Small group study frequently means you get good one on one time with teachers.

We have covered muscle and bone in histology along with connective tissue. This is a series of practicals and lectures and ties in nicely with anatomy! Pathology is similar with small group studies (and we get to see a post-mortem!) and lectures on inflammation and edema (which we had a small symposium on, this is like an interactive lecture).

In biochem and cellular biology we have done cell communication (so action potentials for example) and we have also done biomembranes and ion distribution within the body!

We have also done a little bit of communication skills in lectures and tied that in during MiP – Medicine in Practice. Here we have already met out families who we will follow for a year, and practiced history taking. Next week we start on real patients.

We have done a little psych and sociology and are currently on IPL – Interprofessional learning week, although this is likely to be removed from the syllabus next year.

The first assignment – a 2500 word essay on chronic pain and depression is also due on the 5th of November and we have also had small group tutorials to support us with it.

There is lots to do and lots to learn but it’s a good start!
Will update in a few weeks time!

BM5: Restart!

So I had to drop out of the 1st year of BM5 just before Christmas but I am coming back in October to start again!

The blog will be more detailed and shinier than ever and I will try to post once a week about life as a medical student. To those joining me in Autumn, come say hi!

Making Strawberry and Blueberry Jam

I was feeling creative and decided to make jam. Couldn’t find a recipe i liked the look of so made one up… Worked quite well so thought I would share!


1kg Sugar with added pectin ( got this from Sainsbury’s)
1kg strawberries
Handful of blueberries


Chopping board
Large heavy bottomed saucepan
Jam jars –  sterilised as per my other blog post!
Plastic circle things that go with the waxy discs
Waxy discs
Sugar thermometer ( optional )

Step 1, gather the stuff



Step 2 chop and hull the strawberries. You want to get rid of all the leaves. One good technique is to cut under the leaves at each each side to create a v. This wastes less fruit than cutting off the whole top. You want to cut them into chunks.


Step 3, smush the fruit with the sugar in a saucepan. I used a potato masher. Then when it’s all mixed, begin heating slowly. This helps with the smushing. Don’t smush all lumps out unless you want a smooth jam but the seeds and blueberries wills hinder this.


After 5 mins of mixing and smushing it should look like this:


Heat slowly, stirring occasionally until it reaches 120 degrees C, or until the bubbles will not stir down but the liquid below is not cloudy. It shouldnt be grainy with sugar.


Quickly spoon the jam into warm sterilised jars, at the wax disc and plastic disc and pop the lids on!


You can see the plastic disc sticking out from under the lids.


Keeps for 6 weeks in fridge open,1 year in jars in cool dark place.