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Book review: Making a Medic

Written by FY doctor David Brill and aimed at medical students, ‘Making a Medic: The Ultimate Guide to Medical School’ is the voice of the witty, straight-talking buddy you wish you’d had to guide you through medical school.

It’s packed full of wisdom from the insider’s perspective of attending one in the UK. The first part is about the ‘golden rules for surviving medical school’, which I found incredibly insightful and highly relevant to those teaching medical students, too.

On top of this, there are plenty of life lessons about getting the most out of the opportunities offered by medical school, which were widely applicable. Many begin unsure of how to navigate the vast workload or the murky waters that come with the experience, but Brill summarises his top tips in an easy-to-read, engaging style.

By the second half, we’re faced with an in-depth look at the pre-clinical and clinical years, meaning more targeted information covering every step of the way.

Amid this, there’s some great illustration showcasing the typical structure of the day, ‘what the hell happens on ward round’, and getting the most out of clinical placements.

Clinical placements can be the most challenging to navigate

I’ll definitely be sharing it with my students, as clinical placements can be the most challenging to navigate. The wealth of learning opportunities can sometimes be intimidating, with everything seeming chaotic compared to the structured teaching on campus. Students also worry about presenting or answering questions in this environment, and Brill provides some great preparation techniques.

He also includes a detailed section on preparing for exams like OSCEs, which will be welcomed since it’s full of clinical tips and coping strategies.

Overall, I wish I’d had this at medical school. The book is succinct and easy-to-follow, yet provides a great level of practical detail that medical students can use consistently throughout their education.

It also contains plenty of ‘secret’ tips you’d usually have got from students in the year above. It would make an ideal gift for anyone who’s studying medicine or aspiring to, but I must reiterate how useful I found it from the tutor perspective too – it brings to life the thoughts of students, allowing you to tailor your teaching.

Dr Mydhili Chellappah is deputy stage 2 GP lead at King’s College London’s Undergraduate School of Medicine

Making a Medic: The Ultimate Guide to Medical School is published by Scion Publishing Ltd