Author's advice

Everything you wanted to know about Health Science

Here are interviews with two of the authors of the aptitute books. Over the past few years, I had seen their hard work pay off. Yet one thing bothered me. How had they done it? How did they actually get into medicine? Health Science is such a challenging course. Yet clearly someone must be getting into medicine. What was their secret?

When Nick and Luke were studying, they didn’t really know any med students. Nick spoke to one who recommended that he “just study hard”. That advice is rather unhelpful. Study what? How? For many students, health science is such a bombardment of information that they don’t know where to begin.

In high school, you probably had a teacher telling you what to study. If you had a problem, you could ask your teacher and easily get a response. You probably had parents who encouraged you to do homework. However at university, most of us are free to do what we want. This is liberating. Most of us move out of home for the first time. It is extremely liberating. Yet at the same time, it is also stressful. Because of the way that the University is structured, it might seem that no one cares if you do well. The lecturers are often too busy to worry if you understand what they are saying.

We all know the story of an eager student, who moves to Dunedin. He or she is studying Health Science, and is going to get into Medicine. When I was a Residential Leader in 2007, there were perhaps 50 or so eager students. Unfortunately, many of them gave up on Health Science. They were not motivated enough. Some of them were highly capable people, who just couldn’t handle the pressure. There is no doubt that you will meet people like this.

Indeed, after one month, there were only about half of the original amount of students who were still claiming that they were studying health science to get into medicine. Maybe there were about ten dedicated students at the end of the year. Perhaps two of them actually got into medicine. Unfortunately, the chances that you will get into medicine are slim. There are hundreds of other people who are intelligent, and motivated. And these people are competitive.

Nick and Luke are two such people. Their story is interesting in that they did not come from a private-school background. Their parents are not famous surgeons. Yet they managed to succeed in what is perhaps the most challenging course in the entire country.

Remember, there is a lot of hype about Health Science. You will hear lots of rumours of what does and doesn’t work. While everyone will have a different Health Science experience, I really hope that you can pick up a few helpful tips.

R Wright