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English 11-12

Why English Is Essential For Medical Studies

Many students wonder if they really need English for Medical Studies. In this article, we explain why English is Essential for students wishing to pursue Medical Studies.

English is undoubtedly one of the most unanimously unliked subjects of all offered in the HSC. Many current and former students can easily differentiate between the effort they have invested in other subjects in comparison to English which can often feel like a mind and energy drain with little reward.

In this blog post, we will uncover one of the aspects of study during medical study that is often overlooked as students work towards their dream career in Year 12 – the importance of English.

Beyond the specific texts or themes you study throughout high school, English is a set of critical thinking and creative skills that are arguably not as well developed in other courses.


1. Critical Thinking

The crux of HSC English is developing the means to critically consider texts prescribed to you by your school. During the process of reading your prescribed texts, you will find yourself hopefully considering line by line what the authorial intention is and the ways in which the values or ideas of the composer’s social context emerge. All in all, what you are effectively doing is making a critical evaluation of the composer’s intentions and how successfully that delivery is carried out.

To consider the parallel, in medical school, a very important aspect of medical study is completing mandatory research. In that research, you are required to complete a literature review which involves reading multiple pieces of literature on the research field you are conducting and critically evaluating it in light of the aim, method and results. While the subject matter is clearly different, the process of actively reading and responding to other’s work is a skill that is developed in Year 12 and necessary during your medical studies.

Why English Is Essential For Medical Studies critical thinking

2. Crafting cohesive and logical written work

For the majority of the assessment tasks demanded of you throughout Year 12, you are required to compose analytical pieces of work which sustain an argument from multiple vantage points. Within your studies, you learn to appreciate the importance of ensuring your sub-arguments are all cohesive and work constructively to prove your main thesis, and you are also rather meticulous with the way in which you signpost and organise your thoughts. In essence, you are not just conscious of the argument you would like to make, but also need to ensure that it is delivered and communicated in a manner that is logical, easy to follow, plausible and unique. In addition to this, you are asked to craft a creative or discursive response that achieves a similar criterion: that response needs to be unique and engaging and delivered in a manner that can be easily read and understood.

The necessity of being able to craft longer responses that are cohesive and logical emerges within medical studies in the form of research paper writing as well as general exam question answering. As you conduct the mandatory research mentioned earlier, you are expected to independently write up your methods, results and a lengthy discussion where you apply critical thinking skills and self-assess your research. You are in effect the expert in that research field and thus you have to be conscious of the fact that you need to communicate your experiment simply and logically such that it can be followed and published within the relevant scientific field. In addition to this, your medical studies will be riddled with intensive exams which often require you to compose lengthy responses to hypothetical medical scenarios. In these situations, a large proportion of the criterion assesses your ability to act in a manner that is attuned to concepts like medical triage, and are thereby logical and sequential.

As such, all of the elements of writing that you develop for both analytical and creative pieces during Year 12 re-emerge during your medical studies. One of the most common pitfalls for medical students conducting research papers are not comments regarding the calibre of their scientific understanding but rather comments on the lack of cohesion in their paper when describing the methodology. This occurs as a result of forgetting the very basic argumentative skills you develop in your essays during your senior years. Just as in high school, the recommended means of improving is by wider reading and more practice.


3. Verbal Communication

The recent syllabus has implemented a multimodal or speech-like component into HSC English assessments. Often these assessment types focus more broadly on the way in which you deliver your analysis and argumentation of texts, rather than the specifics of the argument you are making in of itself. While a rather daunting task, multimodal presentations enhance your ability to communicate your standpoint.

The importance of learning the skill of clear, concise and well-projected verbal communication cannot be understated in the medical field. On a day-to-day basis, hospital placements will demand that you interact with individuals at senior stages in medical progression, as well as professionals from other disciplines. It is important that you are confident enough to speak up to them, provide your input, respond when required, as well as ask questions as much of the early medical stages are rooted in learning from your seniors. Further to this, verbal communication is paramount in patient interactions for developing rapport and trust.

A good doctor is one who can communicate clearly, simply, and concisely the present state of the patient and future treatments for example, and so you need both the confidence and knowledge in order to communicate effectively.

All in all, the skills you derive from HSC English are of great importance for excelling in your medical studies and achieving the positive impact on patients that drives your motivation to embark on the career in the first place.


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Written by Matrix Education

Matrix is Sydney's No.1 High School Tuition provider. Come read our blog regularly for study hacks, subject breakdowns, and all the other academic insights you need.


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