Name: Calvin Mak Hoi-kwan Age: 22 Course: Bachelor of Medicine and Bachelor of Surgery School: University of Hong Kong Year of study: five Duration of programme: five years Young Post: What courses did you take? Mak: In Year One and Two, I acquired general medical knowledge, like anatomy, medicine, physiology and microbiology. From Year Three to Five, I had clinical training and put my theoretical knowledge to practice. YP: What aspects of medicine interest you the most? M: I like surgery a lot. Performing surgeries on patients is challenging. Some of the new surgical techniques are very interesting. For example, minimally invasive surgery is becoming more and more common nowadays. Instead of cutting open a patient's body with a scalpel, doctors insert an endoscope and perform surgery on the infected area with the help of a screen. Not only are patients spared gashes and scars from a big operation, they also suffer less post-surgical pain as the wounds are much smaller. I like to read medical journals and keep myself up to date on new technologies. YP: Did you enjoy your clinical training? M: Yes. From Year Three to Five, I did internships at many hospitals, including Queen Mary Hospital and Queen Elizabeth Hospital. My duty was to assist surgeons during operations. In Queen Mary Hospital, I had the chance to observe surgery on a lung-cancer patient. I was really impressed by the surgeon's enthusiasm for his work. By working in hospitals, I also learned to communicate with patients and take care of their needs. YP: How are the courses structured? M: In Year One and Two, much emphasis is placed on problem-based learning. The students are divided into groups of about seven. Each group is given a case and have to come up with the most suitable treatment after discussion. For example, we once had a case where a patient was suffering wrist pain. We had to analyse the physical structure of his hand, interpret an X-ray and prescribe treatment for the patient. Sometimes, students learn through teleconferencing. They sit in a lecture theatre and watch how an operation is performed on a large screen. YP: How are the students assessed? M: In contrast to other disciplines, we don't get any GPAs [grade point averages]. We only get a failure, pass or distinction in Year Five. As only those who fulfil all requirements will be promoted to the next year, nearly all students who make it to Year Five have at least a pass. They will also have done an internship in a hospital upon completion of the course. Admission Selection for admission is primarily based on results in the A-Levels and HKCEE, but other factors, such as performance in interviews and reports of academic referees, may also be considered. Career prospects Upon completion of the five-year course, graduates need to work as an intern at a local hospital for a year. After that, they have to choose an area, such as paediatrics or gynaecology, to specialise in. Afterwards, they can work in public or private hospitals or pursue private practice. They can also do medical research.