What are the pros and cons of taking a year out during medical school?
- By: Caroline Elton
I started off by asking a clinical colleague this question, and this is what she said: “I can’t see any pros. No problem doing a BSc, but taking more than one year out threatens the momentum that one generates doing undergraduate medicine, and I think would make it very difficult to return.”
Coming at the question from my angle as a careers psychologist, I would tend to agree. Over the past decade, I have counselled hundreds of junior doctors. Many of those who had serious doubts about medicine, or who repeatedly failed postgraduate examinations, took years out during their undergraduate training. Essentially, these junior doctors opted for time out from their undergraduate studies because they weren’t enjoying their time at medical school. If this is the case with you, then the question you need to focus on is whether you want to continue training to be a doctor.