The four students had intercalated in a variety of subjects: pharmacology, psychology and statistics, giving several different perspectives.
Initially the focus was on the pros:
Through undertaking an intercalated degree students can gain valuable new skills and enjoy a subject they are genuinely interested in. Students can also gain confidence in interpreting and analysing research papers, something that we have minimal exposure to in medical school but are expected to do throughout our medical careers. Furthermore research projects provide opportunities for students to get work published and present research at conferences.
Followed by cons:
Many students find their intercalating to be the most challenging year at medical school and the written exams can be extremely tough. The workload can be heavy – completing a research project, module coursework and summer exams.
Intercalating adds another year of study to an already long course. The talk covered the integration into the new year group and return to a medical degree after a year away. Whilst intercalating may be off putting due to moving years most students do not find this to be a problem and integrate well with a new year. Losing clinical knowledge can also be a worry to students, however, most of them found the transition back into clinical medicine to be fairly easy.
They all found intercalating to be a great experience and would highly recommend it. However, it is not for everyone and researching the degrees thoroughly before choosing is essential.
Sarah Lynch and Anon