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Phase I overview

The first year of your medical career!

There are five Blocks, being five weeks each. Earlier ones are the heaviest, but the workload does lighten as you establish the basics, building on them through the year.

At the end of each week, there's a mini formative-exam to check your learning progress. And at the end of each Block, there's a 'Consolidation week', with a mandatory, but self-assessed, online formative.

Everyone has a favourite - and least favourite! - Block or Theme, but Phase 1 will give you a good foundational knowledge about the human body and its physiology, from top to toe.

This year is the foundation for your clinical placements, and eventual whole medical career - so the hard work you put in now will help you in the long run.

Welcome Week & Pre-learning


Block 0

Leads: Emily Reid & Dr Greg Moorlock

25th - 29th September 2023

The hidden Block! But, it's just 1 week.

But, it's essential you cover these intros to all the concepts and basics of cellular medicine - the later content will be harder to grasp without these foundations.

This is also your intro to WMS and our Welcome Week. So plan your time to cover the content, but be social too: meet your groups, and future colleagues!

Health, Metabolism, & Homeostasis


Block 1

Lead: Dr Seley Gharanei

2nd October - 3rd November 2023

Formative deadline: 9th November

Here you'll learn what's normal, before the abnormal, concerning basic cell processes, the gastrointestinal tract, and abdominal viscera.

It's lecture-heavy, especially CTB, with many Theme-intro lectures! Feeling overwhelmed by the sheer volume of information isn't uncommon, so remember - if you find a lecture/topic/organ particularly hard, ask your lecturers (and peers!) for help with it. Plus, flag it, so you know to come back to it in consolidation week.

Keep asking questions, and speak to the other students. Everyone has strengths - maybe it's an area like CAI, or creative conceptual thinking. But it's easier to learn from, and with, others, than to go it all alone!

Consolidation week; 6th - 10th November

Falling behind in Block 1 is very normal, so don't panic - you have this week to catch up. Also, you'll revisit many of these topics in other Blocks anyway!

Blood, Lungs, & Heart


Block 2

Lead: Dr Helen Strachan-Jones

13th November - 15th December 2023

Formative deadline: 21st December

Now it's the respiratory and cardiovascular systems, plus haematology, immunity, and ear, nose, and throat anatomy.

Many early CTB lectures are a bit 'physics-y', as there's a focus on gas exchange and pressures and flow... but hang in there. It clicks into place with commitment, though please do check these resources that we wish we'd used first!

You'll learn many of the 'big' conditions you'll see in your medical career; Heart Failure, Pulmonary Embolisms, Asthma, and Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD). Engage with the workshops, and ask questions to work on your comprehension.

Maybe you're still trying to work through Block 1, and rethinking your study methods. That's fine! Remember you have a mock OSCE in the last week; take the time to prepare for it, but remember it's just for your own knowledge of how you've progressed.

Consolidation week; 18th - 22nd December

Review what you need to, and complete the formative exam. Remember it has feedback questions before you can start it though! It was another heavy Block, so tidy it away now, and enjoy your Winter break...

Winter Break - 25th December - 5th January

....and breathe! You made it: well done on slogging your way through the first term. There are many views on how you should spend your time now. And it is entirely up to you! But, most importantly - take time to have a break. This year is a marathon, not a sprint, so take care of yourself!It's important to return in January feeling refreshed and ready to tackle the brain-bending anatomy of Block 3 -which has pre-work, so give yourself time to complete it...

Brain & Behaviour


Block 3

Lead: Dr Mark Richards

8th January - 9th February 2024

Formative deadline: 15th February

Formally introducing on the central and peripheral nervous system, plus all things eyes and a variety of neurological conditions.

It's unsurprisingly also a very content-heavy and complex block, with more sessions on CAI than CTB. Balancing lectures, SDL, and Community Days, you'll also start half-days in local hospitals to practise your consultations and examinations with real patients!

Staff are aware it's a challenging Block and are very helpful - you just need to ask! And try not to get too overwhelmed by the volume of CAI: things will start to fall into place, and you'll be building on your developing knowledge to handle the more complex concepts.

Consolidation week - 12th - 16th February

Between B3 and B4, many students seem to love one and dislike the other! Either way, cover anything you missed, recap the content, then take the break (and note your physio's and gym-goers - they're pretty good at Block 4!)

Locomotion


Block 4

Lead: Dr Erin Fillmore

19th February - 22nd March 2024

Formative deadline: 28th March

Here the focus is the musculoskeletal system. You'll cover skeletal structure, bone formation, muscle physiology, healing, muscle attachment sites and how these indicate movements, and muscle neurovasculature and how damage presents clinically.

There's a week per half-limb, with a recap, and numerous new names. But, they start to make sense if you step back and think conceptually - and each week will feel smoother as you get used to the terms. You'll cover them in too, as there's quite a few sessions on the many movement examinations.

It's actually a great Block for daily practice - think about which movement and muscle you're using when you type, sit down, raise your shoulder? Where does it attach, and which nerve supplies it? Now your body is a revision tool: use it to help you!

Consolidation week - 25th -29th March

Don't forget the formative exam! Revision starts to ramp up now, so maybe take some time here to catch your breath first.

Easter Break - 1st - 12th April

The start to your revision for the summative exams. You could plan via Blocks, Themes, specialities, or however you understand the links. Whatever your approach, try to organise your notes or materials, and make a realistic timetable or set of goals.

Be flexible - adjust your expectations of what is possible as you work, and remember to set limits on your workload as well. Prioritise key areas, and if you're still stuck on a topic, revisit it with a new approach - and you can always contact staff.

But be kind to yourself: eat well, take breaks, speak to other students, and your friends and family - and as always, do not be afraid to ask for help! It's normal to take a break to avoid burn out: you'll be powering through from Block 5 until exams, so take the time now to get yourself in the right frame of mind.

Reproduction & Child Health


Block 5

Leads: Dr Helen Poulton & Dr Cath Hunt

15th April - 17th May 2024

Formative deadline: 23rd May

Finally, you'll cover human reproduction, growth, and development, from the physiology to congenital abnormalities to labour, plus child health, contraception, and sexually transmitted diseases.

You'll be balancing this alongside revision, and organising yourself can be a challenge. But, the Block is front-loaded, with fewer lectures in later weeks. Our advice is to begin the Block keeping on top of new material, and prioritise the concepts and complex areas that need time to sink in. Then the reduced lecture-time closer to exams can be for revision.

There's also a CAI spot-test - exam conditions, but it's purely for your own insight into which areas you need to focus on. Top tip - write down your instinctual answer, as well as your 'thinking' one, and compare!

Consolidation week & Exam revision - 13th - 31st May

You still have a final formative! Revision sessions are held throughout the first week - you should definitely attend these, as they'll give you essential info on what to expect come exams.

It's an intense few weeks, with emotions running high and lots of rumours - read our student-perspective revision tips for WMS Phase I exams.