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During the long break between A-Levels and embarking on your medicine degree it is difficult to know how to fill your time. We’ve got some top tips to make sure you are prepared as best you can be for the madness of a medicine degree.

Do any Preliminary Work

At Oxbridge, it is quite likely that you will be set preliminary work, to do the summer before you start university. It is important that you do this, it is designed to ensure that you all start with the same level of understanding, and you will be disadvantaged if you haven’t completed it (as well as probably a little embarrassed.)

Revise your Science A-Levels

Science, especially Biology and Chemistry, is central to a medicine degree. Although you may have secured the grades, it is definitely worth spending some time looking over the content of your A-Levels, and making sure you know the key topics and formulas. It will boost your confidence in the first term, if you are already happy with all the foundations

Revise Maths

Maths is also a large part of a medicine degree, so it is worth looking over your Maths A-Level notes too. Statistics also forms a large part of medicine, and is used regularly in lab reports. Although you will be taught the necessary statistical tests, if you didn’t do much statistics at A-level, it will be helpful if you find a Statistics A-Level textbook and teach yourself some of the basics. 

Get an anatomy textbook and start learning

A huge part of the anatomy course in first year medicine is just memorising various parts of the body and their function. You can give yourself a head start if you find a basic anatomy textbook and begin to make notes and learn some of the anatomy. You may get sent a reading list, and if so, getting the anatomy textbook is a good place to begin. If you don’t get sent a reading list, here are some standard anatomy textbooks that would be helpful:

  • Gray’s Anatomy for Students
  • Netter’s Atlas of Human Anatomy
  • Gilroy’s Anatomy-An Essential Textbook

Try to do some work experience 

Another way you can fill your time in the long break and prepare for university is trying to get hold of some medically relevant work experience. Especially if you can work in a medical research lab, even if it is just washing up petri dishes, this will help acclimatise you to a medical lab, meaning dissection class will be a breeze come first year!

Read medical news 

Medical ethics, and current issues regarding medicine in the news is part of the medicine degree. This may not necessarily have been something you have studied before at school, and it is therefore worthwhile for you to keep up to date with current affairs, surrounding healthcare. Really think about these issues and the ethics involved, this will get you into the right frame of mind for medical ethics!

You could also have a look at some of the books on our Medicine reading list, so that you keep thinking about the issues of the modern profession.


Of course – remember to relax, and have fun over the summer! You’ve worked hard to get a place, and you’ll soon be starting five or six years of yet more hard work, so make the most of your break. Even if you only keep up with academic work a little, it’ll all help!