Autumn Irving-Carr

Autumn Irving-Carr


3 minute read

Article Overview:

Universities are looking for students with an understanding of medicine as a career and one way to develop your knowledge and comprehension is through research. Research can be done at home, including reading relevant documents, publications, books and listening to podcasts. Researching the best materials to access can be difficult as there is so much information available online. We have collected resource information from university websites to find out what you could be reading and listening to, in preparation for your medical school applications. So whether you like to get comfy with a good book, listen to a podcast whilst walking or flick through a website, we have all bases covered. 

Professional bodies and councils

• The Medical Schools Council’s (MSC) Selecting for Excellence report has a statement on the core values and attributes needed to study medicine.    

• The MSC also provide information on graduate outcomes, discussing professional values, skills and knowledge.

• The General Medical Council has information regarding the core qualities of doctors in their GMC Good Medical Practice Guide.

• The NHS provide a description of the values of the NHS Constitution. 

Many universities encourage students to read these documents and are hoping to see a reference to the skills and attributes discussed in your application. You can use the desirable qualities to aid your reflection and application.  


The Royal College of General Practitioners recommends aspiring medics to listen to the below podcasts:

• BBC Inside Health

• Talk Medicine by the British Medical Journal

• Sharp Scratch by the British Medical Journal

The University of Oxford recommend:

• Oxford University Podcasts

• Radio 4 Science & Nature podcasts

• BBC Science Podcasts

Podcasts are a great way to enhance your learning, as they provide an alternative to reading. This learning style can result in more engagement and a deeper understanding of complex topics. Podcasts are a convenient way to learn on the go as well as engaging in dynamic conversations in the medical community. 

Non-fiction reading

Recommended by the The Royal College of General Practitioners:

• The Appointment by Dr Graham Easton

• Reasons to stay alive by Matt Heig

• With the end in mind by Kathryn Mannix

Recommended by The British Medical Association (BMA):

• When breath becomes air by Paul Kalanithi

• Do No Harm: Stories of Life, Death and The Language of Kindness by Christie Watson

• Life at the Extremes by Frances Ashcroft

Reading non-fiction medical books will give you a broader understanding of the medical profession and offer you an alternative insight. These books are thought provoking and would be a great discussion point during an interview!

Fiction reading

 Recommended by Hull York Medical School:

• The Essential Guide to Becoming a Doctor by Adrian Blundell, Richard Harrison and Benjamin Turney (British Medical Journal books)  

• Learning Medicine: How to become and remain a good doctor by Peter Richards, Simon Stockhill, Rosalind Foster and Elizabeth Ingall (Cambridge University Press)

• Getting Into Medical School (2012 entry) by Simon Horner (Trotman)

Reading medical fiction is a great way to prepare for your future studies and career! You can start developing your knowledge base and you will have a deeper understanding when taking part in work experience. 

Other online resources

The Royal College of General Practitioners suggests using Observe GP 

Observe GP is an interactive video platform, showcasing the different roles within a GP practice. A variety of patients and scenarios are presented and activities appear throughout the videos to allow aspiring medics to reflect on what is shown.

You can access Observe GP at https://www.rcgp.org.uk/observegp

Remember, your medical school preparation is a journey!

There are so many things that you can do to prepare for your medical school application. You don’t need to do everything at once, but instead take steps towards your goals. We hope these resources and recommendations will help you explore the ways you can develop your knowledge and understanding. 

For more information on the application process, work experience and more, access the Education Projects ultimate guides