- Studying medicine
We know how challenging it is to study medicine so we've pulled together this list of practical tips and real life advice to help you make the most of your time as a medical student.
AMA and AMSA togetherkeyboard_arrow_down
The Australian Medical Association (AMA) is the peak membership organisation for all medical practitioners and the Australian Medical Students Association (AMSA) is the prime membership organisation for medical students in Australia. AMSA and AMA encourage medical students to join both organisations.
Together the AMA and the AMSA recognise that medical students are the future of medicine in Australia. The AMA supports and works with AMSA in representing the interests of medical students in Australia and is your collective voice on national issues.
Through the State and Territory AMAs, membership for students enrolled in a medical degree in an Australian university are eligible for honorary (free) membership of the AMA. Check your State or Territory AMA for details of the benefits of student membership or find out about free AMA student membership here.
As a medical student studying in an Australian university, membership of AMSA is automatic, giving access to a range of member benefits, events, and educational, social and leadership opportunities.
To get involved with AMSA, this can be done locally through your university Medical Society and interest groups or nationally via AMSA networks and events. Click for the contact details for the Medical Societies HERE
Top tips for surviving medical schoolkeyboard_arrow_down
Tip #1: Have a balanced network.
Medical students are famous for becoming very close knit and this is for good reason: as your work and routine become more stressful it is important to be able to talk to people in a similar position. But there is a world outside of cadavers and microbiology, so it’s equally as important to have non-medic friends too.
Remember one of the reasons you were accepted into medical school is because of your diverse range of interests and talents so make sure you don’t lose these. Get involved in as many activities and societies as possible, keep an open mind and try new things.
Tip #2: Join your local MedSoc and the AMA.
Each medical school in Australia has its own medical student society, fondly known as a MedSoc. These are run by students who organise events, sports teams, and nights out which are a great way to get involved and meet people. They also provide plenty of helpful information and advice for getting through medical school and internship applications.
AMA membership sets a good habit for the future and it is here you will find the resources and advice to steer you through your medical career and to provide assistance personally and collectively. All State AMAs engage with medical students either directly, through the MedSocs or via representative fora established by those organisations. The AMA has a student representative on its Federal Council – the peak policy-making body of the AMA.
Tip #3: Take it seriously.
This is not high school. The behaviour and volume of work expected of you will be different from other students. Turning up hungover to dissection is not a good idea, and while it’s ok to miss the odd lecture or tutorial you’ll find there’s a huge volume of material being presented and topics move on quickly. You will need to juggle a lot of different elements simultaneously and this will take a level of maturity and time management.
Tip #4: There are many ways to study.
Don’t compare your methods with others. It doesn’t matter if you prefer to study in a library or out on the grass somewhere. In silence or with music. If you use a million different colours to highlight your book or post-it notes. If you like to make short notes, mind maps, diagrams or flashcards. If you study alone or in a group. Find out what works for you.
Tip #5: There’s more to medicine than textbooks.
Learn what medicine is all about. Read the latest journal article, case report or reputable medical blog on topics that interest you. Yes, it’s more reading, but it will help bring together all the concepts you are studying and show you how to apply them in real life.
Tip #6: Get copies of previous exams.
This is VERY IMPORTANT! Let’s be honest, there are only so many questions you can ask about the same topic so a lot of questions are going to be repeated. They may be worded differently, but the concepts will be similar, and reading and understanding these will give you a good idea of what to expect on your next exam.
Tip #7: Keep an open mind.
Throughout medical school you will meet a huge range of people and they can all teach you something. Seeing and doing as much as possible will enrich your time as a medical student. You may have your heart set on a speciality now, but most medical students change their mind as they progress. You don't want to miss out on opportunities because you’re focused on one field.
Tip #8: Enjoy yourself.
Studying medicine is rigorous and overwhelming, so make sure you don’t burn out by setting aside time to regularly relax. Go to the gym. Play a sport. Go out with friends. It doesn’t have to be every day, but taking time to do things you enjoy will help you stay invigorated, enthusiastic and better able to cope with the pressures of medical school.
Tip #9: have a GP.
If you are going to be a doctor, then you should know the importance of having your own GP to advise you on your health, fitness and wellbeing. Having “corridor consultations” does not compensate for a private and confidential conversation with your own GP, so don’t be tempted to seek the advice of other students or new graduates. The AMA in most States will help you find a GP if you do not have one, although it is likely your Medical School has a list of “student friendly” GPs too.
Each Australian medical school has an established medical society which is owned and run by the medical students currently studying medicine.
Visit their websites for details of their leadership team and activities for 2016.
Australian National University Medical Society http://anumss.org Bond University Medical Society www.msbu.org.au Deakin University Medical Society http://medusa.org.au Flinders University Medical Society www.fmss.org.au Griffith University Medical Society www.gums.org.au James Cook University Medical Society www.jcumsa.org.au Monash University Medical Society www.mums.org University of Adelaide Medical Society www.amss.org.au University of Melbourne Medical Society www.ummss.org.au University of New South Wales Medical Society www.medsoc.org.au University of Newcastle Medical Society www.unms.org.au University of Notre Dame Medical Society www.msand.org.au University of Queensland Medical Society www.uqms.org University of Sydney Medical Society www.sydneymedsoc.org.au University of Tasmania Medical Society www.tumss.org.au University of Western Australia Medical Society www.wamss.org.au University of Western Sydney Medical Society www.uwsms.org.au University of Wollongong Medical Society www.umss.org.au
AMA Indigenous Peoples’ Medical Scholarship - The Australian Medical Association offers a scholarship to eligible Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander students who have entered an Australian university to study medicine. The value of the Scholarship is $10,000 per annum and is awarded for a full course of study subject to review at the end of the year. Applications open on 1 November each year.
Australian Medical Students Association - AMSA members can apply for a number of scholarships and bursaries.
John Flynn Placement Program - Run through the Australian College of Rural and Remote medicine.
Australian Defence Force - Education - Get sponsored to study at your university and graduate with a rewarding career in the Navy, Army or Air Force.
Medical rural Bonded Scholarship (MRBS) Scheme - The MRBS is an Australian government initiative.
Bonded Medical Places (BMP) Scheme - The BMP is an Australian government initiative.
Commonwealth Medical Internships (CMI) initiative - the CMI is an Australian government initiative available to international full-fee paying graduates of on-shore Australian medical schools
IMPORTANT: This list is not a complete list of all available Scholarships. Contact the university at which you intend to study to obtain a list of other available Scholarships and Awards.
Applying for internshipkeyboard_arrow_down
We recommend you visit the website of the Health Department in the State or Territory in which you are seeking to undertake your intern year. The following links take you to the State/Territory sites for specific intern placement information. Each State and Territory determines its priority listing for intern placements. This information is available from each of the State and Territory Health Departments. Please note that the information for 2018 is not yet available. Check the websites below for full information.
Australian Capital Territory http://www.health.act.gov.au New South Wales http://www.health.nsw.gov.au/careers Northern Territory http://health.nt.gov.au/Careers/index.aspx Queensland https://www.health.qld.gov.au/employment/work-for-us/ South Australia http://www.sahealthcareers.com.au/ Tasmania http://www.dhhs.tas.gov.au/careers Victoria http://www.health.vic.gov.au/jobs/ Western Australia http://ww2.health.wa.gov.au/Careers
If you are unsure about your pay or entitlements in your new job, as a member of the AMA, your State AMA has industrial officers who can ensure any issues or errors are sorted out at no additional cost to you. (Note: conditions may apply)
Employment for doctors in training in Australia will vary, sometimes significantly, between States and Territories. So the AMA has developed a guide to assist junior doctors to be able to understand the individual state systems and be armed with questions and direction as to where to obtain further information.
Career counselling, CV building advice and template, interviewing skills tips and trickskeyboard_arrow_down
As the competition for medical training positions increases, proactively managing, planning and reviewing your career is now more than ever a critical component of helping you secure that much coveted role.
The first impression you make upon applying for a new job is through your cover letter, curriculum vitae (CV) and interview. These tools require attention to detail ensuring they deliver the message to your employer in a clear and concise manner, whilst still conveying the right information.
To assist you in being better prepared and more confident to engage in your interview process, the AMA Career Service and the State AMA Careers Advisers/Consultants offer a range of support services for doctors and medical students.
These may include:
- Writing a Medical CV - a self-paced online learning module available via doctorportal Learning for AMA Members (FREE) and non-members. The learning includes a sample CV download for easy reference
- CV development and review sessions
- review of cover letters and other application documents including selection criteria responses
- career assessments
- interview preparation
- career tips and tricks.
The AMA Career Service aims to support you in navigating and proactively managing the professional challenges and opportunities that present throughout your career lifecycle.
Contact your AMA Career Adviser that supports your State or Territory for details on their one-to-one career advisory services. Please note, some services are paid while others are only available to AMA Members.
Member State Contact
Australian Capital Territory
P: 1300 133 655
Anita Fletcher, Career Adviser (AMA Federal)
Anita is an HR professional with extensive experience in operational and management roles in the private and NFP sectors. Anita knows what does and doesn’t appeal to recruiters and selection panels, working closely with doctors to help them achieve their career goals. Anita can assist members with planning and preparing for the next steps in their career and improve communication skills so that doctors can approach critical interviews with confidence.
New South Wales
P: (02) 9439 8822
Anita Fletcher, Career Adviser
Anita is an HR professional with extensive experience in operational and management roles in the private and NFP sectors. Anita knows what does and doesn’t appeal to recruiters and selection panels and is the point of contact for the AMA (NSW) Careers Service, working closely with doctors to help them achieve their career goals. Anita can assist NSW members with planning and preparing for the next steps in their career and improve communication skills so that doctors can approach critical interviews with confidence.
P: (03) 9280 8722
Mardi O'Keefe, Senior Consultant
Mardi O’Keefe is a career management and organisation development professional with 20 years of experience working in the corporate, government and health sectors. Her expertise is in supporting individuals to navigate and manage the professional challenges and opportunities that surface throughout their career. Mardi is experienced working with professionals at all stages of their career – from graduation to retirement - and supports doctors operating at all levels within a health service hierarchy. Mardi has a BSc (Psych) and a MAppSci (Organisation Dynamics) and is a member of Group Relations Australia. She is accredited to use a number of psychometric tools including Birkman International and the SHL suite of products.
Carolyn Speed, Consultant
Carolyn Speed is a human resources and legal professional with diverse expertise in both the private and public sector as a senior lawyer and consultant. She has extensive knowledge of the medical profession, with particular insight into training pathways, career progression and health services gained through her work with health clients, as well as through her strong family and personal connections in medicine. Carolyn is an experienced manager, mentor, advisor and editor and is a valuable resource to AMA members commencing or navigating their career pathways.
IMPORTANT: Please note that when accessing these services, 3-5 working days’ notice is required, prior to application due dates and interview dates to allow sufficient time to complete the service and provide you with the best opportunity for that competitive edge.
For more information visit the doctors in training page for more information on the intern and early postgraduate years
Study Medicine identifies and compares each of the Australian university medical degrees - direct entry and degrees leading to undergraduate or postgraduate medicine.
For any questions about AMA Career Advice, please email firstname.lastname@example.org
This material is generic in nature and is made available on the understanding that the AMA is not engaged in rendering professional advice. Before relying on the material provided, users should carefully evaluate its accuracy, currency, completeness and relevance for their purposes, and should obtain professional advice relevant to their particular circumstances where necessary.Whilst every effort has been made to ensure the accuracy of the information on this Resource Hub, the AMA or its employees cannot be held responsible for any loss or damage arising to any person as a result of using this site.