My first semester on the MBChB Medicine course

From dissection sessions to consultation skills, Arabhi Krishnan takes us through her very first semester studying on the MBChB Medicine course in Manchester. Arabhi reflects on the tough but enjoyable moments and what she got up to on her hospital placements.

Arabhi Krishnan.The year was 2022, and I was embarking on a new adventure…starting medical school. Semester one went by in a flash and looking back over the last couple of weeks, I realise we have covered a lot of content, probably explaining why I was always so tired!

Here is a little overview of everything that happened in my first semester.

Essential Skills

The first two weeks of the course was called ‘Essential Skills’, designed to give us an insight into the layout of the semester. After a few welcome lectures from the medical school, we had our first group session. During the semester, you stick with your group for anatomy sessions, clinical skills and tutorials. I was nervous about meeting my new group but after a few ice breakers, I felt a lot more comfortable with everyone.

My week at a glance

Every Monday morning, we started the week off with a new case which we discussed with our group. The case covers the learning material we will need to focus on that week, including the anatomy.

During the first two weeks of the course, we had sample cases to go through with our groups to familiarise ourselves with how they work. The anatomy sessions during the first two weeks gave us an introduction to the basics we would need to know that would help us in understanding the content. By the end of the first two weeks, I had gotten used to the routine we would have for the rest of the semester and was very keen to start learning the content!

With the help of our tutor, we began each week by creating a learning agenda, so we had a plan to work towards that detailed all of the content we would need to cover. We then spent the rest of the week gathering information from lectures, mini-learning sessions and anatomy sessions.

On Fridays we had the opportunity to meet up and reflect upon what we had learnt that week. I really enjoyed these sessions as our group got along really well and our discussions were always engaging.

Consultation skills

Consultation skills was the favourite part of my week. Over the course of the semester, in small groups, we learnt how best to conduct a patient consultation to gather a good history whilst being an empathetic doctor.

My favourite part was practising our consultation skills with patient actors. Being able to speak to a patient actor in a learning environment meant that I could get feedback on my skills without the pressure of making mistakes.


Though the hardest part of the semester, I still enjoyed the anatomy content we covered. We had a dissection session followed by a tutorial every week. As I learnt quickly, in order to make full use of these sessions, it was important to look over the content ahead of time.

We are lucky to have cadavers to aid our learning, but it does take time to get used to the environment and identifying the different parts. I spent a lot of the first few weeks trying to understand if I was looking at an artery or a vein!

Early clinical experience

I’ve had two hospital placements so far, which I quite enjoyed, but I’m mostly looking forward to having a GP placement soon. Although we couldn’t do that much during our hospital placements yet, we spent a few hours on different wards, speaking to patients and using what we learnt in our consultation skills sessions to gather a history and create a rapport with the patients.

By mid-December, we had finished our eight cases of learning for the semester. With Christmas around the corner, my group decided to do Secret Santa and spend the last Friday of term exchanging gifts over hot chocolate!

Learn more about studying medicine at Manchester and our Consultation Skills Learning Centre facilities.

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