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Find out what our undergraduate veterinary medicine students have to say about living and studying in Edinburgh.
My First 4 Months of Vet School

My First 4 Months of Vet School

Hi everyone! My name is Nina and I am a first year GEP vet student here at the Royal (Dick) School of Veterinary Medicine. My previous post focused on why I love living in Edinburgh and why I quickly fell in love with the city. In this post, I want to lead you through what we have been doing in vet school so far since starting the programme in August. It’s hard work, but I promise you will love it!

August 9th – September 22nd

We had orientation during the first week of school where we got to tour the campus and pick up our essentials for first semester. We were given dissection kits, a dog bone box (yes filled with real bones), student cards and much more. We had 2 courses for the summer semester: Animal Body 1 Anatomy of the Dog and Animal Life & Food Safety. Anatomy consisted of dissections every week (on campus) and online lectures where we learned about bones, muscles, nerves and body systems. We had an oral exam that was worth 20% and a multiple-choice exam that was worth 80% of our grade close to the end of September. I know this may seem intimidating as this grading system is much different than the standard North American one, but I promise it’s not as bad as it seems. Everyone I know did substantially well and our class average was high! Animal Life consisted of online lectures and in-person handling practicals for dog/cat, cattle and sheep species. We had small assessments after getting to work with the animals to make sure we were comfortable with handling them. In this class we cover topics such as animal husbandry, nutrition, public health and more. Animal life is a yearlong course, so we haven’t had our final assessment for this class just yet.

September 23rd – September 26th

Here we had a small break where we got to relax before starting our second semester 😊 Many students chose to spend their break exploring Edinburgh, travelling around the UK or just hanging with friends.

September 27th – November 26th (present)

After this we began our second semester. Semester 2 consists of 3 courses: Animal Body 2, Animal Life (continuation from summer semester) and Professional & Clinical Skills. The second Animal Body course material is based on molecular concepts where we learn subjects such as virology, immunology, inflammation, parasitology, bacteriology and pathology. We attend labs and practicals on campus around twice a week that really help solidify all of the concepts we learn in class. We even started having some lectures in person since covid restrictions started to ease up. We have covered even more species this semester for our Animal Life class, such as horses, reptiles, exotics and avian. Our Professional & Clinical Skills class revolves around teaching us how to act professional in the work place with both animals and humans. Currently, we are in the process of finishing up this second semester and we are about to enter our revision week where we will be studying for our final exams come December.

I hope that this gives you a bit of an outline in what to expect when starting vet school and what kind of topics you will be covering when first starting school. Even though the material can be a lot, I find that it is very do able if you find the right study habits. Something that I find helpful for exams is studying out loud with friends. I hope this brings insight to your idea of what vet school is all about and I wish you all the best !



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