What's in medicine after the 10th.

Duration and procedure of medical studies: you should know that

Before you start your medical studies, you should find out exactly what to expect in the course of your studies and what the process is like. This blog article is meant to be about medical school in general. We explain to you in a simple and understandable way how the course is structured and clarify the exciting question: how long does a medical degree take?

Course of medical studies

The medical course usually lasts a total of 12 semesters (or 6 years) and can be divided into 3 study sections:

  • Preclinical
    • Duration: 1st - 4th semester
    • Exam: 1st section of the medical examination (Physikum)
  • clinic
    • Duration: 5th - 10th semester
    • Examination: 2nd section of the medical examination (hammer exam)
  • Practical year / PJ
    • Duration: 11th and 12th semesters
    • Exam: 3rd section of the medical examination

These 3 study sections only apply to the structure of the standard study program. Those who study in the model course do not have to complete a physics course. Instead, a so-called physics equivalent is developed over several semesters. In addition, he already gets an insight into the clinic in the first semesters.

Pre-clinical procedure (1st - 4th semester)

Subjects in the preclinical

The medical course begins with the first section and is called the preclinical. This usually lasts four semesters. In the standard course, the content of the first semester is very much geared towards natural science subjects. At the same time, anatomy teaching begins - both theoretically and practically in the dissecting room. In the first two years, the scientific and medical basics for the subsequent clinical section are to be taught. The following subjects are taught in the pre-clinic:

  • biology: Genetics, cytology, bacteriology and virology
  • physics: Basics for physiology (fluid mechanics, mechanics, radiation)
  • chemistry: Basics of biochemistry (inorganic chemistry + organic chemistry)
  • biochemistry: Metabolic processes in the human body (glucose metabolism, lipid metabolism, hormone metabolism, etc.)
  • physiology: How does the healthy human body work? (Blood circulation, cardiac excitation, sensory physiology, blood components, etc.)
  • anatomy: The anatomical composition of the human body (with most of the pre-clinical)
  • histology: Study of tissues (looking at different organs and systems under the microscope)
  • Psychology and sociology: Doctor-patient relationship, coping with illness, etc.
  • terminology: Mostly an introductory course in medical terminology

Internships in the pre-hospital (nursing internship)

During the course, the practical content complements the theoretical knowledge acquired. This takes place in the form of a nursing internship and first aid training. The nursing internship must have been completed by the physics course at the latest. This can be done during the semester break or even before applying for medical studies. Many students who completed the nursing internship before starting their studies report that they had more time for other things such as vacation, study or additional internships after the first pre-clinical semesters. This means that for high school graduates wishing to start studying medicine, it is highly recommended to do an internship after graduating from high school. Please note that the internship certificate is only valid for two years.

Most important pre-clinical examination

The first section of the medical course, the pre-clinical phase, is concluded with the first section of the medical examination, the so-called Physikum. This exam consists of an oral and a written part:

  • Written part: In the written part, 320 multiple-choice questions must be answered over two days.
  • Oral part: In the oral part, the student can expect three 20 to 30-minute exam interviews on specific subjects with the respective lecturer. According to the new license to practice medicine, these interviews will be conducted on the subjects of anatomy, physiology and biochemistry.

Both parts of the exam can be passed independently of each other. If you only pass the oral part on the first attempt, you will have to take the written exam in the next semester.

Clinic procedure (5th - 10th semester)

Now at the latest, the students' eyes will start to shine. As a rule, every medical student finds at least one clinical subject that he / she is enthusiastic about during the course of medical studies. Within the section of the clinic, the students get an insight into "real" medical areas.

Subjects in the clinic

These include the following subjects, among others:

  • Anesthesiology
  • General medicine
  • Occupational and social medicine
  • Ophthalmology
  • General surgery, trauma surgery, plastic surgery
  • Biometrics and Computer Science (Epidemiology)
  • Dermatology and venereology
  • Gynecology and Obstetrics
  • Otorhinolaryngology
  • Human genetics
  • Hygiene, microbiology and virology
  • Internal medicine (gastroenterology, cardiology, pulmonology, endocrinology, nephrology, etc.)
  • Paediatrics
  • Clinical chemistry and laboratory diagnostics
  • Neurology and neurosurgery
  • Emergency medicine
  • Orthopedics
  • pathology
  • Pharmacology and toxicology
  • Psychiatry and psychotherapy
  • Psychosomatic
  • Forensic medicine
  • Environmental medicine
  • urology

Objective of the clinical section

During the clinic, on the basis of the preclinical subjects, the diseases that arise in everyday clinical practice are worked out and patient-friendly handling is tested. For this reason, the students complete so-called block internships in the hospital at regular intervals.

In the standard course of study, the clinical section of medical studies begins in the fifth semester, i.e. after passing the physics course. In the model course, on the other hand, clinical content is standard from the first semester. The clinic takes a total of five semesters (i.e. up to the 10th semester). Then the practical year begins.

Internships in the clinic (clinical internship)

Similar to the nursing internship in the pre-clinical phase, practical work must also be performed within the second part of the study. This is called clinical traineeship in the clinic and must be completed during the lecture-free period. In total, the full service consists of four small 30-day clinical traineeships. There are some conditions to be observed here. The clinical elections must be held as follows:

  • 1 month general practitioner
  • 1 month outpatient (practice or ZNA)
  • 2 months inpatient (any station)

Often the students use the internship as a good opportunity to gain experience abroad. Not only the subject, but also the country in which the practical work is carried out can be selected by the student himself / herself. In this way, you can practice dealing with patients in a foreign language and get to know new cultures and hospitals.

Main examination of the clinical section

The clinic ends with the second section of the medical examination: the so-called hammer exam. This is divided into a written and an oral exam. In the written part of the exam, the student has to answer multiple-choice questions on the content of all clinical subjects. The oral part, on the other hand, is only completed after the practical year. All mandatory clinical traineeships must be proven before the examination. Overall, the hammer exam is the largest exam in medical studies.

Practical year / PJ (11th - 12th semester)

Structure and goal of the practical year

The practical year (PJ) is divided into three tertials, each lasting 16 weeks. Nowadays the tertials are compulsory in the subjects of surgery and internal medicine. The third subject is chosen by the student himself / herself. Here, too, students like to take the opportunity to spend a year abroad. The aim is to prepare students for their time as an assistant doctor. The students should gain a direct insight into everyday hospital life and carry out medical activities under supervision.

The recognition requirements for a PJ abroad differ from state to state. It is therefore advisable to contact the responsible state examination office in good time before an internship abroad. The clinics abroad also expect early applications. The most popular places are even given two years in advance.

PhD thesis

Many patients attach great importance to whether the doctor treating them has a doctorate. However, this is not automatically granted to you at the end of your medical studies. Medical students often work on their doctoral thesis while they are still studying. This can also be the reason for its extension. About 66% of human medicine are currently doing a doctorate. You have to decide for yourself whether the doctorate is worthwhile for you. However, the doctorate does not say anything about the professional skills in dealing with patients.

Duration of medical studies

Medical studies take a long time compared to other courses, that's no secret! The standard period of study for the degree varies between 12 and 13 semesters depending on the federal state. That is the equivalent of around six to six and a half years. However, only the minority of medical students manage to complete their studies within the standard period of study. Since the course is very time-consuming and internships are to be completed even in the lecture-free period, the students have very little time for themselves.

Average time to study medicine

Is it possible to complete the medical degree in the standard period of study? Although the standard period of study is only 12 semesters, medical students need an average of 12.9 semesters to complete the course in full.

Specialist training

If, after completing your studies, you are still aiming for specialist training, this means another five to six years of training for you. If the weekly working hours are reduced to part-time, the training time will of course be extended. One advantage over studying, however, is that you can earn a bit of money this way. After completing your training, you will then have to pass a specialist examination.

Did you already know that admission to medical studies is also possible without a high school diploma? If you want to know more about this, read our article "Studying medicine without a high school diploma: Is it possible?".

Podcast on the process and duration of the medical degree

Do you want to go into more detail? Our team of authors has published a new episode for the article in the Kitchen Medicine podcast. In this episode you will find out all the important information you need to complete your medical studies. What is the preclinical? What subjects do you have there? What is the clinic?

Show notes:
Preclinical subjects - 03:00
Anatomy and preparation course - 10:40
Biology, physics, chemistry - 14:15
Histology - 9:00 p.m.
Physiology and Biochemistry - 21:25
Pre-clinical exams - 26:30
Nursing Internship - 28:25
Physikum - 30:25
Clinical stage of study - 35:30
Practical year 41:50